Swanson competitive in DFL Attorney General Fundraising

Perhaps the biggest surprise among the recent campaign finance data that has been reported thus far is the strong showing of the current solicitor general, Lori Swanson, in her campaign to succeed her boss, Mike Hatch, as Minnesota Attorney General. Swanson is going up against Steve Kelley in the September 12 primary. Kelley enjoys far better name recognition, having finished a strong second this summer in a bid to capture the DFL endorsement for governor. When the DFL endorsee for AG, Matt Entenza, dropped out of the race last month, Kelley hopped in and was endorsed by the party in early August.

According to the reports on file with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, Kelley has raised more than $100,000 and shows a respectable balance of $77,804.33. As of Tuesday morning, Swanson's finance report wasn't on file at the MCFB website, but the candidate told the PiPress Pat Sweeney that she had raised more than $60,000, loaned her campaign another $10,000 and, more importantly, has a balance of $62,476 on hand, very close to Kelley's cash reserve. It lends added credibility to Swanson, who is endorsed by Miles Lord and has shown a surprising strength in the unscientific "yard signs" wars in the weeks before the primary.

By contrast, former U.S. Rep. Bill Luther reports just $12,403 left in the bank, after raising slightly more than $15,000 overall. Sweeney thought this significant enough to be the focus of his story, but in fact Luther has run an extremely low-profile campaign and would not be considered a serious candidate without his previous electoral history.

Among the non-DFL candidates for attorney general, Republican endorsee Jeff Johnson has raised, spent, and retained the most money of anyone in the race, having garnered just under $200,000 thus far and showing a balance of $116,219. Independence Party candidate John James, a former official in DFL governor Rudy Perpich's administration in the late 80s, raised a decent amount of $53,901 but has only $17,439 remaining.

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