Spending on governor's race could surpass previous elections

Democrats Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza have spent more than $7 million of their own money in the race for governor, according to new campaign finance numbers released Tuesday.

The finance reports show this year's election could be the most expensive governor's race in Minnesota history.

Dayton, heir to the founders of the Dayton's department store, has spent more than $3 million of his own money on his campaign.

Entenza, a former state representative, has given at least $4 million of his own money to his campaign for governor.

Both are running against the DFL-endorsed candidate, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, in the Aug. 10 primary that will decide which of them will face Republican Tom Emmer.

Most of the money Dayton and Entenza have spent on their campaigns has gone toward TV advertising and direct mailings.

Kelliher has raised $982,000 in 2010, which is just a fraction of what Entenza and Dayton are spending. But Kelliher will get help from the Minnesota DFL Party with get-out-the-vote efforts that Dayton and Entenza don't have access to.

Kelliher has also focused her strategy on a ground game of phone calling and door knocking. It isn't yet clear whether that effort will be able to eclipse the air campaign by Entenza and Dayton.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, Dayton loaned his campaign $2.7 million in 2010 in addition to loaning his campaign $570,000 last year.

Dayton said he raised roughly $200,000 from outside contributors in 2010. He reports having $335,000 in the bank.

Entenza gave $3.5 million of his own money to the campaign through July 20 and also made a $100,000 personal contribution in 2009. He also reported giving another $450,000 to his campaign after last week's deadline.

The campaign reports spending $3.8 million through July 20.

Entenza and Dayton have also outspent Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner.

Emmer reports raising $785,000 in 2010, and Horner brought in $190,000.

In the last Minnesota governor's race in 2006, Republican Tim Pawlenty and Democrat Mike Hatch spent a combined $7.9 million. But that's what the DFL candidates have already raised this year before the primary.

If Entenza or Dayton wins the primary, the number is expected to rise even higher because they both say they won't abide by the spending limits in order to receive public money.

Kelliher, Emmer and Horner have all said they will abide by the spending limits.

Here are a few of the things the gubernatorial candidates have spent money on:

-- Fireworks ($3,000 by Tom Emmer's campaign for display at the Republican Party Convention)

-- Makeup ($600 by Margaret Anderson Kelliher's campaign for the DFL convention and a TV appearance)

-- Telemarketing ($38,000 by Matt Entenza)

-- Direct mailings ($340,000 by Entenza)

-- Social media consultant ($28,000 by Mark Dayton)

-- Economic development consultant ($3,700 by Kelliher)

(MPR reporter Elizabeth Dunbar contributed to this report.)

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