Dayton, allies outspent GOP to win governor's race

Democrat Mark Dayton and his allies spent significantly more than Republican Tom Emmer and his allies to win the race for Minnesota governor.

Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a group working to elect Dayton, spent $5.7 million in the race, helped by big contributions from labor unions and Dayton's family. Most of Alliance's money was spent on ads criticizing Emmer.

Labor unions spent more than $2.2 million to help elect Dayton, with money coming in both before the election and afterward to help the recount effort. The Democratic Governor's Association spent $1 million, and Dayton's family and his ex-wife gave more than $900,000.

Alliance for a Better Minnesota outspent the two groups backing Emmer -- MN Forward and Minnesota's Future. Minnesota's Future, funded mostly by the Republican Governor's Association, spent $1.4 million on the race. MN Forward, who received contributions from businesses like Target and Best Buy, spent nearly $1.8 million.

Dayton won the election by only about 9,000 votes, prompting a recount. Emmer conceded a month after the election, after it became clear he wouldn't be able to come up with enough votes in the recount.

Dayton's campaign also outspent Emmer's. Dayton spent $5.3 million in 2009 and 2010, helped by a $3.9 million in loans to himself. Emmer spent $2.8 million.

That compares to $4.6 million spent in a two-year period by former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and $2.8 million spent by DFLer Mike Hatch in the 2006 governor's race.

Part of the reason for Dayton's spending was a competitive DFL primary that included a wealthy opponent. Former state Rep. Matt Entenza spent $5.2 million of his own money on his campaign, which spent more than $6 million overall on just the DFL primary.

A big difference in the rules for the 2010 fundraising race was corporations' ability to spend to influence elections. But according to the campaign finance records released Tuesday, corporate money played a smaller role than labor unions and individuals in the overall money game.

On the DFL side, companies including Kwik Trip, Anheuser-Busch, Pfizer and SuperValu gave a total of $88,000 to groups helping to elect Dayton and support him during the recount. MN Forward received the most in corporate contributions on the GOP side -- at least $1.5 million, with big gifts from companies like Target, Best Buy and Hubbard Broadcasting.

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