Minnesota is Klobuchar country.
Except where it’s not.
In a research project published this past weekend, the New York Times broke down each Democratic candidate’s individual donors by zip code, using data from the Federal Election Commission and ActBlue, the widely used Democratic fundraising platform. Bernie Sanders has by far the most individual donors at nearly 1.4 million, followed by Elizabeth Warren (892,000 donors), Pete Buttigieg (741,000), Joe Biden (451,000), Andrew Yang (397,000), and, in sixth, with 227,000 donors, DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
With a few exceptions, Sanders is the most popular candidate with donors across America. One of those exceptions is Minnesota. Most of it.
And why shouldn’t Minnesotans back Klobuchar? She's our homegrown candidate, and a consistently popular senator. Hell, she campaigns with tater tot hotdish.
Through the first three quarters of 2019, 28 percent of Klobuchar's itemized individual donations came from here in her first three quarters. That percentage shrunk to 11 percent in the last quarter of the year, as Klobuchar's campaign picked up steam outside the state, according to MinnPost, which reports Klobuchar took in twice as much money than in any previous quarter.
Zoom in on the Times' map, and you begin to see there are places where Klobuchar is not donors' favorite. That includes much of Minneapolis and St. Paul, all of Duluth, some of St. Cloud, and a large swath in the state’s northwest corner.
In those places, like the rest of America, Sanders is donors' top pick, usually followed by Klobuchar and Warren, in that order. There are a few districts in Minneapolis where Warren beats Klobuchar out for second, and a few in St. Paul where Yang edges into the list.
There's one bastion of Minneapolis that seems solidly pro-Klobuchar is a blotch that includes downtown, Elliot Park, and the North Loop. Amy also has pockets of popularity in St. Paul, specifically downtown, around Como and the North End, and toward the Greater East Side.
Klobuchar’s strategy so far has been to hook in moderates and Republicans rather than go for leftist support, so that might explain why the Twin Cities – consistently progressive even as the rest of the state shifts from year to year – are feeling lukewarm.
A second map by the Times showing donors’ most popular candidates except Sanders paints Minnesota solidly in Klobuchar’s favor, except for a few spots of pro-Warren and Yang holdouts in the Twin Cities.
Subtract Sanders, and most of the rest of the country is a spotty sea of Warren support, though Klobuchar did claim a thin band across northern Iowa. The rest of that state largely backed Pete Buttigieg. Those two are also neck-and-neck in preliminary results of the Iowa Democratic caucuses released Tuesday, with Sanders (26.2 percent) narrowly leading Buttigieg (25.2 percent).
Warren is currently in third place in the caucus, at 20.6 percent, followed by Joe Biden (13.2 percent) and, sitting fifth, Klobuchar, with 12.5 percent.
This is what political speculators like FiveThirtyEight have warned about Klobuchar from the beginning. People who know her do seem to like her. But, as backed up by donation numbers, our state is the only one that can confess to know her.
“We are punching above our weight,” she said during the Iowa caucus, before heading off to New Hampshire. A lot of people, she said, didn’t think she’d make it through the blizzard that marked her campaign announcement, or the summer to follow. But there she was, “on the board.”
The question is whether she can stay there.