Ten calls and one email: How the DFL Chair raised $20 million

The dust has settled on campaign finance for the 2022 election and Democrats once again out-raised and outspent Republicans by a long shot. It wasn’t even close. The Alliance for a Better Minnesota raised $18 million and spend $15 million attacking Scott Jensen with television and digital ads. Say what you want about Jensen or his campaign, not many candidates could withstand that kind of attack.

Senate DFLers raised and spent $7.88 million, House DFLers raised and spent $8.65 million. The DFL Party raised and spent a whopping $23.23 million on state races. They also raised another $13 million in their federal account which they used to pay for overhead and salaries.

There are no similar sources of campaign money available to Minnesota Republicans. Business groups like the Chamber and Business Partnership kicked in a combined $1.6 million, while state and federal independent expenditure groups added $5.86 million. The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) spent $1.5 million late in the election to help Jensen. The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) spend $7.1 million against him.

The Senate Victory Fund (Senate Republicans) spent $3.1 in a losing effort, inexplicably leaving over $600,000 in the bank. The House Republican Campaign Committee raised and spent $2.88 million. The Republican Party of Minnesota raised and spent $1.3 million.

One final note on the numbers. While the DFL Party raised over $23 million in 2022, only $11,228 came from donations less than $200. That’s .00047% of their total coming from small donors. In other words, no regular people gave money to the DFL Party this year. It was all rich people and special interest groups. By contrast, 31% of the money raised by the MNGOP was from donors less than $200.

Remind me again, which party is the party of the rich?

To illustrate how easy it was for DFL Party Chair Ken Martin to raise the millions needed to win the 2022 election, we offer a short screenplay called Ten Calls and One Email. The story is fiction, but the names and dollar amounts are all facts taken from the MN DFL State Central Committee campaign finance report for 2022.

Ten Calls and One Email

DFL Headquarters, Chairman Ken Martin’s office, summer afternoon in July

Ken Martin

The election is coming up and we need $20 million large. Let’s get busy. Hand me my phone.

Martin leans back in his chair and dials cell phone.

Ken Martin

Alida? Hi. Ken Martin here in Minnesota. Say the election is coming up and I need your contribution. I know your ex-husband isn’t governor anymore, but we still need to protect his legacy. Those Republicans will ruin the planet if we let them.

$500k should be good for the Party. But I also need you to send $1.2 million to the 2022 Fund and another $500k to Win Minnesota. They will launder it through Alliance for a Better Minnesota. You know the drill.


Martin hangs up and makes several other calls.

Ken Martin

Vance Opperman – Ken Martin at the Party – I need your annual contribution. $400k? Perfect. Thanks

John Deal – Ken Martin from St. Paul. You’ve always been good to us. Can you kick in $300k – we’ll split it between you and your wife just to confuse people. Ha! Thanks

Someone get me George Soros’s phone number!

George – Ken Martin in Minnesota. I need money. Those Republicans are going to beat our Secretary of State and clamp down on voter fraud. We can’t have that.

George Soros

Shouldn’t we launder it through one of my funds like the Open Society Foundation?

Ken Martin

No need. If anyone complains we’ll call them antisemitic for going after you. It’ll be beautiful.

$250k? Thanks George!

Martin hangs up cell phone and switches to desk phone.

Ken Martin

Get the legislative caucus leaders on the phone. Put them on speaker. Melissa? Erin? Here’s the deal. You’re going to raise money from unions and send me what you raise so I can send your attack mail using our non-profit postal rate. It will save you lots of money and further confuse the voters. Don’t worry, the Republicans do it too. I need $4 million from the House and $7 million from the Senate. Perfect.

Oh, and Sen. Murphy – I’m not putting the party name on those nasty ads you plan to run in Moorhead about that guy’s divorce. You’re on your own there. Hold back a few hundred thousand dollars so you can buy that seat at the last minute. You’ve come a long way since that bullshit “Politics of Joy” campaign you ran in 2018. I’m so proud of you.

Martin addresses his staff:

Ken Martin

Next – let’s send an email to our list of Minnesota unions. I think there’s around 50 of them. That should net us $6 million. It always does. Squeeze the public employee unions the most — Walz and our legislators will pay them back with bigger government and higher salaries.

And don’t forget the teachers’ union. If they want fully funded education, we need a fully funded campaign.

Party staff at laptop composing and sending email.

Ken Martin

Ok, back to the phones. Get me Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker on the phone. I know he’s busy with his own state, but I bet I can get $400k out of him.

And next we’ll call the Democratic Party Chairs in Ohio and Iowa. I’ve got some federal money we can launder through them for state money. We need $560k from Ohio and $165k from Iowa. And it’s all legal! What a great country.

Almost there. What’s next? I know — let’s plan a fundraiser in California to raise another $550k. Then call our contacts in Washington D.C. The DGA, DAGA Victory, DASS Fund, Democracy PAC, Democratic Victory PAC, Equality PAC and the LGBTQ Victory PAC. That should net us another $1 million.

And don’t forget the tribes. That gambling monopoly is the gift that keeps on giving for DFL fundraising.

Martin gazes out the window, satisfied with his afternoon of calling.

Ken Martin

That was a great afternoon of calling. Now we’ll have the $20 million we need to win the election.

Call the Comms people in here to send a press release about how Republicans are beholden to rich donors.