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Tim Pawlenty well ahead of rivals in election fundraising stakes

The GOP candidate had almost $1.3 million on hand at the end of May.

The latest financial disclosures for gubernatorial candidates has identified one clear leader: Republican Tim Pawlenty.

The former Minnesota governor has managed to raise $1.7 million between Jan. 1 and May 31, the Campaign Finance Board revealed on Friday.

He had $1.26 million in the bank at the end of last month, almost double the amount of his nearest rival, Democrat Tim Walz, who has $688,000 in the bank after raising $888,000.

Meanwhile his Republican opponent, Jeff Johnson, who won the endorsement for the GOP candidacy at the state convention earlier this month, has $186,000 in the bank after raising $169,000 since the turn of the year.

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Erin Murphy, the DFL-endorsed candidate, has $86,000 cash on hand after raising $260,000.

Disclosures for fellow DFL candidate Lori Swanson have not yet been released, as she only announced her run for governor following the DFL convention.

It will mean Pawlenty has a considerable war chest at his disposal for media buys as he prepares to face first Johnson in the August primaries and then, if successful, the Democratic nominee in November.

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"Our campaign is well-positioned to take our message to every corner of Minnesota," Pawlenty said in a statement to supporters. "The help provided by our supporters, volunteers, and donors in just 3 months has been simply remarkable."

Walz said that "everywhere we go, we feel the momentum building," adding: "It’s clear: Minnesotans are joining our movement to unite this great state."

Murphy feels comfortable with the role of being a financial underdog, saying her team is investing in "grassroots organizing" that clearly paid off with her win at the convention.

"We were outspent nearly 2-1, and still won the endorsement," Murphy's campaign manager James Haggar said. "The infrastructure we have already invested in, along with our ability to partner with the DFL, has positioned us to create an unmatched voter mobilization program."

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