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Candidates in the 2nd District raise big money

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The 2nd District Congressional race is attracting big money from a wide swath of donors.

Coming in first in fundraising for the quarter just past is DFL hopeful Angie Craig, who raised more than $327,ooo.

That's about $15,000 more than Republican incumbent Rep. John Kline, who raised $313,00 for the quarter. It should be noted that Craig, an executive at St. Jude Medical, gave her campaign $7,600 of her total.

The deadline for reporting quarterly contributions was Wednesday.

The reports show Kline raised about 40 percent of his total for the quarter from political action committees, including ones organized by the for-profit college industry, the food industry and the insurance industry.

What really matters in the money race is how much the candidates have in the bank, and in this case, Kline has the upper hand when compared with Craig, with more than $563,000 in cash on hand.

A second contender for the DFL nomination Mary Lawrence, an ophthalmologist, has $1 million in the bank. But again, details matter: About $333,000 has come from donors since the start of the year. The rest comes from $800,000 Lawrence loaned her campaign.

And there's another interesting detail in the reports: Both Kline and Craig are benefitting from donors outside the state.

For Kline, that's largely a reflection of his influence as chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, where he has oversight over higher education, K-12 education, pensions and employment, among other big issues.

For instance, top officials with Apollo Education Group, which owns the for-profit college University of Phoenix, contributed thousands to Kline's campaign.

Meanwhile, Craig is benefitting from a network of small dollar donors.

throughout the country who contribute to Democratic candidates through a website called ActBlue.

A Craig spokesman said that roughly 400 of the campaign's 1,010 individual donations came from people living outside Minnesota.

It's early in the race, and Kline is expecting a challenge from the right for the Republican endorsement.

But outside groups, including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, are already paying attention to Minnesota's second congressional district as a potential 2016 battleground. As demographics of the Twin Cities suburbs have changed in recent years, the makeup of the 2nd District has shifted slightly to the left.

Even so, in 2014 Kline won with 56 percent of the vote. In 2012 he won with 54 percent.