Tabke reports twice the cash on hand as re-election challengers; outside money favors Mort again

By Amanda McKnight

Democrat incumbent House Rep. Brad Tabke reported more than two times the cash on hand as his two GOP challengers in campaign finance reports filed this week.

Tabke is running for re-election this fall after serving his first term as Shakopee’s House representative for District 55A. In 2018, he won with 52% of the vote against Republican challenger Erik Mortensen, who fought his way to the general election by beating incumbent Rep. Bob Loonan in the 2018 primary. Mortensen and Loonan are going head to head again in the Aug. 11 primary, and the winner will face Tabke and Legal Marijuana Now candidate Ryan Martin in the November election.

In this week’s freshly released pre-primary campaign finance reports, Tabke reported $30,827 cash on hand as of July 20. Loonan reported $12,758 on hand, while Mortensen reported $11,001, and Martin reported $150.

To compare how the candidates are faring compared to this point in the 2018 election cycle, see the below chart:

With three of the four Minnesota House candidates having faced off in 2018, here is a comparison of their cash-on-hand in July of each election cycle. Martin was not a candidate in 2018. Mortensen won the 2018 primary against Loonan.

Since January, Mortensen has received the most individual campaign contributions of all the candidates, reporting $12,627 in donations from individuals — down slightly from $13,098 at this point in 2018. Tabke has received $11,665 in individual donations, an increase over 2018, and Loonan reported receiving $9,790 from individuals — more than double what he had received at this point in 2018 (see below chart).

The amount contributed to campaigns by individual donors from January through July of 2018 and 2020. (Martin did not run for office in 2018).

Candidates also reported direct contributions to their campaigns from lobbyists and political committees and funds.

Tabke received a total of $1,775 from the following entities: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, MAPE-PAC, Minnesota State Patrol Troopers Association, and SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. He received an additional $1,100 from other political committees that were not itemized in his report (contributions of less than $200 do not require itemization per the state’s campaign finance laws), $1,300 from the 2nd Congressional District DFL, and a total of $1,150 from lobbyists.

Loonan reported receiving a $100 contribution from an unnamed lobbyist, as well as $500 from the House District 39B Rep. Kathy Lohmer campaign.

Mortensen reported receiving $1,000 from Freedom Club State PAC, a Minnesota-based political action committee, and Martin reported zero lobbyist and political committee contributions.

Due to campaign contribution limits (set at $1,000 for Minnesota House candidates), political action committees and other political groups will often spend their money to support individual candidates, but they’re spending is unaffiliated with the campaigns themselves. During the 2018 election season, Freedom Club State PAC spent nearly $120,000 supporting Mortensen’s campaign. So far in 2020, Freedom Club has spent $7,975 on pro-Mortensen advertising.

Make Liberty Win, a political action committee based in Virginia, has spent $28,102 this year supporting Mortensen’s campaign, according to campaign finance records. Make Liberty Win received only one contribution from January through July 20 — a sum of $94,000 on July 11 from another Virginia-based organization, Young Americans for Liberty.

That $94,000 was used to support three Minnesota House candidates: Mortensen, House District 23B Rep. Jeremy Munson, and House District 33B candidate Marianne Stebbins. As of July 20, the PAC reported $324 cash on hand.

The amount spent by outside political groups (i.e. a PAC, party caucus, party unit) to support a candidate through advertising, mailers, literature distribution, automated phone calls, and other means. These spenders are not directly affiliated with the campaigns themselves.

Two Minnesota-based DFL organizations, DFL House Caucus and DFL State Central Committee, have spent a combined $4,254 independently supporting Tabke’s campaign, according to campaign finance reports.

As of July 20, Loonan’s and Martin’s campaigns have not received support in the form of independent expenditures.

When it comes to expenditures incurred by the campaigns themselves, Loonan reported the highest amount spent so far this year at $12,769. Mortensen reported spending $8,179, Tabke reported spending $6,311 and Martin reported spending $158 (see below chart).

The amount spent by each candidate’s campaign from Jan. 1 through July 20, 2020.

To view an individual candidate’s pre-primary campaign finance report in full, page through the PDF below or download all four reports in one file by clicking here.


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