In the hotly contested race for mayor, Mark Andrew leads the field of 35 candidates with $272,145 in contributions.
Betsy Hodges ranks second with $188,774 in donations, followed by Don Samuels with $101,602; Jackie Cherryhomes, $76,775; and Cam Winton with $72,800, according to campaign finance reports filed with Hennepin County on Sept. 3.
“The outpouring of support for my campaign since I got in the race in February has been overwhelming; this report reflects a campaign that’s uniting Minneapolis,” Andrew said. “August was by far our strongest month — we’re building momentum. Minneapolis voters want a mayor with big vision and a history of collaborating to get results.”
According to Andrew’s campaign team, 64.1 percent of his contributions came from Minneapolis and 95.6 percent from Minnesota. The campaign had 1,241 donors with an average contribution of $219.29.
Hodges had more than 1,000 donors with an average donation of $133.22, according to her campaign team.
“We are humbled by the huge number of folks from every neighborhood in Minneapolis that have come out to support our campaign to make Minneapolis a great city for everyone,” said Andrew O’Leary, Hodges’ campaign manager.
Hodges’ campaign is about $3,000 in debt, but O’Leary said it’s all planned debt. “We are very happy with where we are,” he said. “We have the money to run a large grassroots field operation. We’re talking to voters 12 to 13 hours a day, six days a week.”
Jackie Cherryhomes said her campaign team has secured contributions from more than 330 donors from every part of Minneapolis with donations ranging between $5 and $500. "The reports clearly show that this race has no clear front runner but going into the final six weeks of this effort, I believe we are well positioned to win this election," she said.
Winton, an independent candidate, said he wasn’t surprised by the fundraising totals of his DFL opponents. A few of his notable donors include former Target CEO Bob Ulrich, Hubbard Broadcasting CEO Stanley Hubbard and Vanessa Dayton, who typically donates to DFL candidates.
“Obviously, some of my opponents will out raise me — and that shouldn’t come as any surprise, since they’re current and former DFL city officials who have played the insider game for decades,” he said. “They’re running their campaigns the same way they’d run the city: sucking in and spending too much of other people’s money to pay for bloated operations. In contrast, I’m running my campaign the same way I’d run the city: getting the job done efficiently while being a good steward of other people’s money. On Nov. 5th, the voters will choose which approach they prefer.”
The other serious contenders for mayor reported the following contributions: Bob Fine, $5,765; Stephanie Woodruff, $5,040; and Dan Cohen, $1,176. Cohen has raised many eyebrows by loaning his campaign $285,000 — by far the largest loan of any candidate running for office in Minneapolis this year.
Given Cohen's hefty loan to his campaign, he has the most cash to spend. His finance report shows a cash balance of $109,362. Andrew has the second highest balance with $69,036 in his campaign coffers and Samuels the third largest cash balance with $56,292.
Samuels' Campaign Manager Patrick Layden said "the story of the day is money in the bank and value for the dollar."
"Whatever we lack in pure dollars raised is more than made up for by the discipline Don has had in maintaining the resources we need to compete in these last nine weeks," he said. "If you're a candidate who has spent most (or in some cases all) of the money you've raised so far and aren't clearly in the lead, you have to ask yourself how you can possibly compete going forward."
Fine is the latest candidate to enter to the race; he officially launched his campaign Aug. 5 and is in the midst of organizing his first fundraisers.
“I don’t want people to think I am being influenced by special interests and so I’m not seeking any major endorsements,” he said. “It is my view that residents of Minneapolis will vote based on candidates’ records and positions, not on how much money candidates raise. I feel that I am in an excellent position and look forward to meeting more voters and sharing my vision for an improved Minneapolis.”
Woodruff entered the race in June after the DFL City Convention. She said she hasn't actively fundraised for her campaign and plans to ramp up efforts this week.
"While other campaigns have proclaimed this the 'final leg' of a long campaign, in fact, the reality for the vast majority of voters I’ve talked to is that they have yet to pay attention," she said. "However, turnout is expected to be quite high. We plan to help educate those voters on my campaign and the ranked choice voting process in order to build the broadest coalition of any candidate in the race."
Larry Jacobs, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said having a strong donor base is particularly important in a Ranked Choice Voting election, he said.
“It’s not just having cash — it’s what the cash gets you. The cash is a means,” he said. “It’s a means to having a campaign operation, which is very important, particularly in Ranked Choice Voting because you need to be able to reach a large number of voters to communicate what’s a pretty complex message: it’s vote for me, but look if you don’t vote for me put me down as your second choice; if you don’t put me down for your second choice, then please think of me as your third choice.”
As for City Council races, Jacob Frey, the DFL-endorsed candidate for Ward 3, has reported raising $62,326 this year for his campaign against incumbent Diane Hofstede, who has raised just under $30,000. Both candidates loaned their campaigns $10,000. Frey has raised more than any other candidate running for City Council this year.
The Ward 10 Council race is also shaping up to be an expensive one. Incumbent City Council Member Meg Tuthill has raised more than $41,000 for her campaign against Lisa Bender who secured the DFL endorsement earlier this year. Bender has secured more than $38,000 in contributions. Tuthill has raised nearly double the amount she did in 2009.
Two other candidates — Nate Griggs and Scott Hargarten — are also running for the Uptown-area Council seat.
After the Ward 3 and 10 Council races, the battle for the Ward 13 seat is the third most expensive race this year. Linea Palmisano, the DFL-endorsed candidate, has raised $25,845 compared to her challengers Matt Perry's $17,782 and Missy Durant's $16,065 in contributions. Hodges currently represents Ward 13, which includes southwest Minneapolis neighborhoods.