In the Spotlight

News & Features
Go to Campaign 2004
DocumentCampaign 2004
DocumentThe race for president
DocumentThe race for Congress
DocumentMPR talk shows on campaign issues & candidates
DocumentSelect A Candidate
More from MPR
Your Voice
DocumentJoin the conversation with other MPR listeners in the News Forum.

DocumentE-mail this pageDocumentPrint this page
Congressional campaign coffers could reach $1 million or more
Larger view
U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy's race against Patty Wetterling will likely be one of the most expensive congressional campaigns in Minnesota this year. Each candidate is expected to approach $1 million in campaign fundraising. (MPR Photo/Tom Scheck)
Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy and DFL challenger Patty Wetterling have been busy dialing for dollars in the last few months. The two 6th District candidates reported today they have each raised more than $400,000 since April. The Wetterling-Kennedy contest is not the only race that is receiving attention from political donors. The candidates in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District have also been busy on the fundraising circuit. That race pits first-term Republican John Kline against DFL challenger Teresa Daly.

St. Paul, Minn. — Candidates in Minnesota's 6th and 2nd Congressional districts need to be as skilled at raising money as they are at shaking voters' hands at summer parades. According to the latest numbers, incumbent Republican Mark Kennedy appears to be in the most comfortable position. He has raised a total of $1.3 million for his campaign, and has $935,000 in the bank.

The 6th district encompasses St. Cloud, the northern Twin Cities suburbs and some eastern suburbs like Stillwater, which means a lot of that money will be spent on radio and TV advertising in the Twin Cities and St. Cloud.

Kennedy's political director Ryan Christian says the campaign intends to run several ads over the next three months, which will detail Kennedy's record in Congress.

"There's no question that advertising can be expensive," says Christian. "We're going to be spending our time getting out the congressman's record of accomplishment and the strong vision that he has for the people of the 6th district."

These campaigns are very expensive so we're going to continue to need a lot of support from people. We might need to raise another $1 million, depending on how the campaign goes.
- Patty Wetterling spokesman John Schadl

Kennedy's opponent, DFLer Patty Wetterling, has also been actively fundraising. She reports raising $413,000 and has $386,000 on hand. Wetterling spokesman John Schadl says Wetterling is happy that she raised such a large amount of money in a short period of time.

Wetterling didn't file her election papers until April 30. Schadl says Wetterling will have to continue the current fundraising clip to be competitive with Kennedy.

"These campaigns are very expensive, so we're going to continue to need a lot of support from people," Schadl says. "We might need to raise another million dollars depending on how the campaign goes."

Washington University political science professor Stephen Smith says he's not surprised that Wetterling and Kennedy have raised so much money. He says outside groups like and the National Republican Congressional Committee have been raising money on the candidates' behalf.

"This is a race that has been targeted by both national parties," Smith says. "As soon as there was a candidate identified for the Democrats who seemed quite competitive against Mark Kennedy, the money was going to be funneled in that candidate's direction. That's exactly what is happening with Patty Wetterling."

Smith says he's amazed at how much money is required to run a competitive race for Congress. Smith says it's likely each candidate in the 6th district, and in the 2nd, will raise and spend more than $1 million -- which amounts to at least $4 for every voter.

In the 2nd District, DFL challenger Teresa Daly has $296,000 in the bank. That's half of what her opponent, incumbent Rep. John Kline on hand. The district encompasses the southern Twin Cities suburbs and runs south to Red Wing and Faribault.

Daly campaign manager Darren Broton says he's happy with Daly's fundraising so far, but he doesn't think Daly will be able to match Kline dollar for dollar.

"Members of Congress seem to help each other out quite a bit," Broton says. "They always seem to write checks to each other when they're in a tough spot. But we are very excited that we outraised the congressman in the last quarter by $70,000, and if we can keep this up we will definitely close that margin."

Kline's chief of staff, Steve Sutton, says the campaign will run several advertisements touting Kline's first term in Congress. He says he's not concerned about Daly's fundraising. He points to Kline's defeat of DFL incumbent Bill Luther two years ago.

"Congressman Kline defeated an incumbent who spent $2.5 million," Sutton says. "I'll leave it to the pundits to decide if this is going to be a credible challenge. But I think it's fair to say that having raised only one-tenth of that amount, and not being well known, will make it a long road for her to travel."

Sutton says the Kline campaign hopes to raise $1.5 million to be effective in this election cycle. But he says it isn't likely that they'll stop raising money once they reach that figure.

Respond to this story
News Headlines
Related Subjects