Republican challenger Chris Fields’ fundraising is still a far cry from that of 5th District Rep. Keith Ellison, but he appears to have already surpassed GOP totals for the past two campaigns.
At a meet-and-greet with supporters Monday evening, Fields announced that his campaign was just $4,000 shy of raising $100,000, adding 150 new donors within the past few days.
Federal Election Commission data, which is only available through June 30, shows Fields raising $83,255, according to OpenSecrets.org. But if Fields’ July totals are accurate, it’s the most a Republican candidate has brought in since Alan Raymond Fine raised $173,319 in the 2006 election where Ellison first won the 5th District seat.
“This race is not a foregone conclusion. It’s not the previous two campaigns,” Fields said.
The challenger remains a long shot in the heavily DFL district, though. Ellison has dwarfed Fields’ total, with $1.3 million in fundraising as of June 30. The Cook Political Report rates the district as 22 points more Democratic than the nation as a whole, while forecasters classify Ellison’s seat as safely Democrat.
But Fields is also pitching the campaign as an investment in the Minnesota Republican Party’s future. Organizing 5th District Republicans now will pay dividends when the party challenges Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken in two years, he told supporters.
Fields urged attendees to vote in the upcoming elections and said he was encouraging the party to “invest your money in this campaign because we will build back your core in the 5th District.
“We need to strengthen our base in the urban areas,” Fields said. “Minneapolis cannot be responsible for dragging the state down.”
Past electionsDemocrat Candidate Republican Candidate Money raised Vote percentage Money raised Vote percentage 2012 Keith Ellison Chris Fields $1,319,792* -- $83,255* -- 2010 Keith Ellison Joel Demos $1,397,497 67.69 $95,235 24.14 2008 Keith Ellison Barb Davis White $1,530,396 70.88 $62,099 22.00 2006 Keith Ellison Alan Raymond Fine $795,047 55.56 $173,319 21.34
*As of June 30