NEW ULM - First District Rep. Tim Walz reported Sunday that he had raised more than $217,000 for his re-election campaign during the last three months. That amount is four times the combined total of $54,000 raised by his two potential Republican challengers, state Sen. Mike Parry (R-Waseca) and Allen Quist.
The fund-raising accountings, which cover January, February and March, are mandated reports to the Federal Elections Commission.
Three-term Democratic incumbent Walz raised $217,298 during the reporting period and spent $123,661, with $708,259 in cash on hand at the end of the quarter. He reported no debt for his campaign
Walz's fund raising is on par with the last quarter of 2011 when he raised $209,000. His total funds raised for the entire campaign so far is $1.2 million.
Meanwhile, Parry and Quist have had a role reversal. They swapped places on whom had the larger and the smaller efforts.
Parry raised $17,108 this quarter and spent $9,631, with $36,410 in cash on hand. He reported no debt.
Parry's fund raising is nearly half of the $32,000 he raised last quarter. His total funds to date are $49,693
Conversely, Quist raked in $37,710 this quarter and spent $4,770, closing with $59,396 in cash on hand. He had $25,000 in debt from loans to himself.
Quist's efforts are a dramatic boost from his last quarter report of $2,200 in contributions. He has raised $39,900 to date.
Notable factors about the race are that Parry spent time in session at the Legislature and he and Quist didn't begin their campaigns until well into last year's reporting quarter. Both factors could have an influence on fund-raising abilities.
Parry and Quist have shown surprisingly small fund raising this election cycle when compared to prior Republican challengers to Walz.
During the quarter prior to Sunday's reporting, Parry raised $32,000 and Quist raised $2,200. In same pre-election year period in 2007, the Republican nominee Brian Davis had raised $59,000 in contributions while then fellow potential challenger Dick Day had raised nearly $53,000. More recently over that same reporting period, the 2010 Republican challenger Randy Demmer had raised nearly $35,000.
Comparisons with the second next reporting quarter aren't flattering either. As of Sunday's reporting, Parry is at nearly $50,000 and Quist is at nearly $40,000. For the same period in 2008, Davis raised $198,000 in contributions while Day had $203,000. In 2010, Demmer had reached $71,000.
1st District Conventions this weekend
Parry and Quist will be seeking the official Republican endorsement to challenge Walz during the Republican 1st Congressional District Convention this weekend. Both have said they are willing to abide by the nomination process.
Thus far, Parry and Quist have declined to criticize one another directly during their campaigns. However, the first preview of a debate between them was on display Friday during a forum on Twin Cities Public Television's show "Almanac."
Both candidates rehashed much of their usual campaign points, both emphasizing concerns over national debt and a need to force fiscal responsibility through deep spending cuts.
When asked to explain what they think is the difference between them, Parry said he had recently won two elections in a district he considers representative of the 1st District. He said Quist has been unable to do similarly since the 1980s. Quist fired back that he had won three elections to Parry's two elections.
One interesting comment from Parry was that he wouldn't bring the U.S. troops home until the economy improved. He said that he wanted to bring them home like any veteran, but he cited concern about the job climate and high veteran unemployment as risks they would have nothing to do when they returned.
Both Quist and Parry said they were willing to make deep cuts in entitlements to try to control federal spending. Quist said he would abolish the Department of Education, which he said he considers unconstitutional.
The endorsing convention will be held Friday and Saturday at Best Western Plus at 1111 Range Street in North Mankato. Friday's events will host a candidate's forum at 7 p.m. Saturday's events will begin at 8:30 a.m. and include the endorsement of a candidate for Congress.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)