Walz has big financial lead over Hagedorn

Published 11:07 am Friday, February 12, 2016

By Mark Fischenich

The Mankato Free Press

MANKATO — Democratic Congressman Tim Walz and Republican challenger Jim Hagedorn are both generating money, and spending it, faster in their rematch election than they did two years ago.



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Hagedorn, a Blue Earth resident, announced in May that he would be running against the Mankato incumbent again after losing to Walz by 8 percentage points in 2014.

In recent filings with the Federal Elections Commission, Hagedorn detailed just under $93,000 in contributions through the end of 2015. That compares to just $36,590 at the same point in the last campaign (including $3,750 in contributions from himself).

Hagedorn was in an intra-party endorsement battle two years ago, losing the endorsement to Aaron Miller but topping Miller in the primary election for the right to take on Walz. But despite the absence of other active Republican candidates this round, Hagedorn is dipping into his campaign treasury more. He had less than $12,000 in cash on hand at the end of 2015 compared to nearly $16,000 at the close of 2013.

Walz, a Mankato resident and five-term member of the House, reported more than $677,000 in contributions so far this campaign with just over $257,000 still in the bank. At the same time two years ago, Walz had raised a bit less (roughly $635,000) but had more cash on hand ($293,491).



Hagedorn returned to Minnesota in 2009 to run for Congress after working for more than two decades in congressional and Treasury Department offices in Washington, D.C.

He dropped out of the 2010 race after failing to gain the support of delegates at the Republican Party’s 1st Congressional District endorsing convention, backing endorsed candidate Randy Demmer. In 2014, when delegates chose Miller, Hagedorn ultimately decided to take a different course — challenging Miller in the primary election and winning.

In the general election, Walz prevailed with 54 percent of the vote and the former West High School teacher dominated in campaign fundraising, garnering nearly $1.6 million compared to Hagedorn’s $241,000.

Walz continues a past practice of relying heavily on political action committee contributions, with $340,520 of his current receipts coming from union groups and other special interest organizations operating PACs. Leading contributors include a Texas-based doctors group, unions, the agricultural and food industry, and lawyers. In total, 51 percent of his contributions have come from PACs, 36 percent from large contributors, and 12 percent from small donors, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

And Hagedorn is following a past practice of dipping into his personal funds to boost his political efforts. Hagedorn made $23,000 in personal loans to his 2014 campaign and hasn’t yet repaid them, according to his Jan. 31 filing with the FEC. In this campaign cycle, he is his campaign’s largest contributor again with $6,672 in personal donations and $11,583 in loans to the campaign.

Hagedorn received no PAC contributions but relied more on business owners and others capable of supplying donations of thousands of dollars each. Small donors supplied 17 percent of his receipts in 2014. But the $15,950 provided by dozens of small donations were more than matched by Hagedorn’s five largest contributors, who combined to provide $21,125. Topping the list were donations of $5,400 from Whitney MacMillan, the retired Cargill CEO who Forbes Magazine reported is Minnesota’s wealthiest resident with $4.9 billion in assets, and $5,400 from Gary Steuart of Mabel, the owner of a company that produces plant-based creams and lotions for animals and humans.

—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.