posted by Edward Felker, P-B Washington Bureau
First quarter congressional campaign finance reports are starting to roll in, and not surprisingly, incumbent Reps. Tim Walz, D-Mankato, and John Kline, R-Lakeville, hold big cash cushions.
Walz, a freshman elected in 2006 in the 1st Congressional District, topped the $1.5 million mark in cash raised for his re-election campaign. His latest report to the Federal Election Commission shows donations of $352,044 for the first three months of the year. He reported $1,024,333 in cash on hand and no debts.
Walz said in a news release that his first quarter results were based on 1,200 new donors and 5,300 individual donors for the campaign to date. Overall, individual donors have given about 60 percent of his receipts, with special-interest political action committees giving most of the balance, with the rest from party committees.
Walz' two GOP challengers, who will meet in a September primary, had yet to file with the agency in advance of the 1st quarter reporting deadline next Tuesday. They are physician Brian Davis of Rochester, who won the party endorsement last month, and state Sen. Dick Day of Owatonna.
Day said he raised about $25,000 for the first quarter but did not pursue donors aggressively because the state Senate is still in session. He said he was uncomfortable meeting with donors before adjournment in mid-May.
Davis left a voice mail message yesterday evening, saying he raised about $59,000 in the first quarter and had about $50,000 in cash on hand.
Kline, who is running for a fourth term in the south-suburban 2nd Congressional District, reported donations of $194,106 for the first quarter and had $509,926 in cash on hand. His total donations for the campaign were $833,985, of which individuals gave 64 percent.
His leading DFL challenger, Iraq war veteran Steve Sarvi of Watertown, had not yet filed but expects to report overall donations of $114,946, including $42,111 raised in March, his spokeswoman Bridget Cusick said. He ended the quarter with $38,672 in cash on hand, subject to last minute revisions.
Cusick said she expects fundraising to quicken after Sarvi steps down from his job as the city administrator in Victoria effective May 9, just after the district nominating convention on May 3. He will keep his position as a sergeant in the Minnesota National Guard, but reaches the retirement-eligible 20 year service milestone this summer.
Sarvi said in an interview that fundraising is coming along slower than he would like, but that recent endorsements helped bring in cash, as did a fundraiser with former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D. in Minneapolis. He was also planning a fundraiser tomorrow evening at the Rochester home of DFL activist Mary Moen with former Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., as the headliner.