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Peterson, Cramer start 2014 with fundraising edge

FARGO, N.D. — U.S. Reps. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Collin Peterson of Minnesota started 2014 with big fundraising advantages over their challengers for the November election.

Democratic challenger and state Sen. George B. Sinner, who didn’t start fundraising in North Dakota until he officially entered the race about a month ago, ended the first fundraising quarter with about $33,000 — a fraction of the $505,000 Cramer had packed away through March, according to campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission.

In Minnesota, Peterson ended the quarter with about $523,000 in cash on hand. Torrey Westrom, a state senator and the only Republican so far to launch a campaign for Peterson’s 7th District, has about $171,000, according to his campaign filings.

Cramer and Peterson seem to have benefited from their incumbent status, as each hauled in nearly double the money their challengers raised in the quarter that ended at the close of March.

Cramer, a Republican who won North Dakota’s lone seat in the House in 2012, raised $270,000 in the three-month period — dwarfing the $43,000 he pulled by this time in his first election. But Cramer was running for an empty seat, vacated when then Rep. Rick Berg launched a failed bid to move to the U.S. Senate.

Sinner’s late entry in the race gave him just two weeks to fundraise in the first quarter, during which he raised $37,000. Almost a quarter of that came from fellow Democrat and current U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp. Her campaign fund gave Sinner $4,000, and her political action committee, Dakota Prairie PAC, pitched in another $5,000.

Chad Oban, executive director of the state Democratic-NPL Party, noted Cramer’s fundraising advantage as an incumbent, but said the party is pleased with the money Sinner raised in a two-week span.

“He has proved he has the ability to raise money” while also setting up a campaign, Oban said. “We’re not concerned about Sen. Sinner being able to make up that gap.”

In his first full quarter of fundraising, Westrom raised $120,000, compared to Peterson’s nearly $218,000 haul. Westrom announced his campaign against the 12-term Minnesota Democrat in early December.

Kyle Potter
Kyle Potter is an enterprise reporter at the Forum. He came to Fargo-Moorhead in May 2013 after stints at the Associated Press, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minnesota Daily. 
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