Some of this year's biggest House and Senate races came one step closer to being decided yesterday, when four states held primaries. Federal candidates are required to file pre-primary reports with the FEC listing the status of their campaigns' funds as of 20 days before the primary. A look at what the candidates have spent and how much they have left on hand can provide a glimpse of what is to come in the general election.
Of Minnesota's eight House districts, five are currently held by Democrats and three by Republicans. And House primaries in Minnesota were mostly uneventful.
The most-watched House race in Minnesota, for the state's sixth district, was no exception. With 97 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Tarryl Clark had a decisive 69 to 31 percent lead over Maureen Reed, her main opponent for the Democratic nomination. Clark had long ago clinched the Democratic nomination, with Reed having dropped out of the race in June. This allowed Clark to set her sights on unseating Republican incumbent and Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann. [See which industries give the most to Bachmann.]
The race is one of the most expensive House races in the country, both in terms of money raised and spent. Clark has taken in $2,411,668 and spent $1,613,293 this cycle on both seeking the Democratic nomination and campaigning against Bachmann. Bachmann has spent slightly more, $1,896,801, to hold off her Democratic challenger but has raised much more--$4,074,618. The question for Clark is now whether her fundraising machine can sustain her in a battle with a well-known Republican. As of July 21, Clark had $798,378 on hand. Bachmann, who has not had to fight a primary battle, reported on her latest FEC report a total of $2.3 million on hand as of June 30. Bachmann's fundraising advantage is also coupled with a poll advantage: a July SurveyUSA poll showed Clark to be behind Bachmann by nine points, 39 percent to 48 percent (4.2 percent margin of error).