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Gubernatorial war chest update for Dayton, GOP challengers

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It's still about six months until Minnesota voters will vote in the governor's race, and the Republican candidate has not yet been selected. But hundreds of thousands of dollars have already been raised in pursuit of the office.

The Associated Press reports that DFL incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton took in about $189,000 from January through March for his re-election campaign. That leaves him with a total of $733,000. Dayton, heir to the department store chain, made personal loans to his previous campaigns before, but he hasn't said if he plans to do that this year. In 2010, Dayton loaned his campaign about $3.9 million.

Meanwhile, MPR's Capitol View blog reports that GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott Honour leads the five-man Republican pack in fundraising. Honour raised about $250,000 since the start of the year.

Campaign finance reports filed yesterday by Honour, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, state Sen. Dave Thompson of Lakeville, state Rep. Kurt Zellers of Maple Grove and former minority leader Marty Seifert offer a snapshot of how the candidates are faring as the party’s May endorsement convention approaches.

While Honour has brought in more money than any other candidate in the race, he has far less in the bank. Johnson, who raised about $32,000 this quarter, the least of any candidate, has $141,000 available to spend compared to Honour’s $63,000.

Trailing Honour in fundraising is Zellers, who raised about $91,000 since the start of the year, including a $20,000 from his own pocket. He has nearly $78,000 in the bank. Thompson has raised about $67,000 so far this year though he has about $27,000 in outstanding debt as well. Seifert raised about $64,000.

Seifert spokesman Andy Post said the campaign recently hired Peter Aurich, who previously worked on former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s campaign, to lead fundraising efforts.

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