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Minnesota Republican party whittles down debt

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Minnesota Republican party officials say they've lowered their total state and federal debt from $2.2 million to about $1.25 million.

"We've continued to make progress," said party chair Keith Downey. He said the party reduced its debt by more than $300,000 during the first half of the year. "In 2014, we focused our financial resources on the elections, and now we're back to focusing our attention on reducing the debt."

The party announced massive unpaid bills in the wake of former party chair Tony Sutton's resignation in late 2011.

According to federal finance documents filed this week, the state party's federal account, which was used to pay for the U.S. Senate race in 2014, has about $900,000 in unpaid debt.

Party treasurer Bron Scherer said that number reflects old and new debt, some of it stemming from the most recent election and some left over from Sutton's tenure.

The rest of the debt is recorded in the party's state account. Details of the party's state finances won't be available until early next year.

In the meantime, Scherer said fundraising has picked up, in part because the party used the expiration of the political contribution refund program to bolster its accounts.

For his part, Downey said he thinks the party will be in good financial shape going into the 2016 election.