Campaign cash: Auditing the auditor candidates

Otto trumps Anderson in statewide money sweepstakes

While the gubernatorial and state attorney general races have grabbed headlines in this campaign season, the race for state auditor is still worth noting. Rebecca Otto is the former state rep. who is running as the DFL challenger to GOP incumbent Pat Anderson, who first entered politics as the mayor of Eagan.

The two have done a PR dance over Anderson's record as state auditor, a post she's held since she was elected in 2002. Then, Anderson was part of the statewide regime change, when the Republicans ushered in a new era of dominance in Minnesota politics. The bottom line in this race might just be the bottom line.

If campaign-fund raising is any kind of indication at this point, Anderson might be in a little trouble. The latest state election records show that Otto has raised some $81,200 over the latest reporting period to Anderson's $73,500.

More importantly down the homestretch, perhaps, is how much each candidate has on hand to spend: Otto has $67,000, while Anderson has just more than $15,000.

Even more notable is who each candidate counts among her contributors. Otto has a host of backers in and outside of the DFL, while Anderson appears to be lacking some of the green from her own party.

For the record, the notables in Anderson's donor list include just a handful of GOP heavies, including local broadcast mogul Stan Hubbard ($500) and longtime Republican icon Wheelock Whitney ($500).

Otto, by contrast, has drawn a wide-range of supporters. She has a host of contributions from the usual DFL-machine labor unions, as well as the PAC of the Rice, Michels and Walther law firm, which counts the Minneapolis Police Department union among its clients. And, of course, she has a piece of the collective wallet of Sam and Sylvia Kaplan, the most important DFL rainmakers in state politics.

Some of the individual contributors include erstwhile DFL candidate for U.S. Senate Ford Bell ($150); former Republican governor Arne Carlson ($500); onetime media magnate John Cowles ($200); former DFL congressional candidate Theresa Daly ($200); outgoing U.S. Senator Mark Dayton ($500); recently disgraced AG candidate Matt Entenza ($125); Entenza's well-heeled wife Lois Quam ($125); current DFL state rep from Minneapolis Frank Hornstein ($125); and notorious Wellstone worshipper Rick Kahn ($500).

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