Loans put Democrat Craig in money lead in 2nd

Angie Craig has the inside track for the Democratic nod in Minnesota's open 2nd Congressional District as well as the financial edge over the rest of the field.

The med-tech company executive's latest campaign report showed her with $988,000 in the bank at the end of December. But a big chunk of that _ $675,000 _ comes through personal loans to her campaign since late September.

Her main competition for the DFL nomination, Mary Lawrence, left the race last month after concluding she would have trouble winning the party's backing.

Craig is seeking the southern Twin Cities seat now held by Republican Rep. John Kline. He isn't running for a new term, setting off a scramble in his party to succeed him as the nominee.

Among the leading GOP candidates, former state Sen. John Howe loaned his campaign $600,000 toward the end of the year and had that much at his disposal on Jan. 1. David Gerson entered 2016 with slightly more than $100,000 on hand, $250,000 of which was loans he made to his campaign. Another hopeful, former radio host Jason Lewis, had $91,000 banked at the end of 2015. Former state Rep. Pam Myhra had $20,000 on hand but owed that much to vendors.

A report for

former state Sen. John Howe, former state Rep. Pam Myhra and

David Benson-Staebler wasn't available Monday afternoon. Manufacturing executive Darlene Miller got into the GOP race after the last reporting period ended.

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