Oct 25, 2022 - Politics

Trail mix: Outside spending on Minnesota U.S. House race tops $10 million

Illustration of trail mix with elephant and donkey pretzels

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Election Day is two weeks away. Here's a look at some of the latest developments on the Minnesota campaign trail.

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ EARLY VOTING: More than 172,000 Minnesotans have already cast a ballot, with two weeks to go until the Nov. 8 election. That's about a quarter of the total number of absentee ballots cast in the 2018 midterm.

  • Be smart: Check out our voter guide for info on casting your ballot and key races.

๐Ÿ“บ AD WARS: Outside spending in the 2nd Congressional District battle between DFL U.S. Rep. Angie Craig and GOP challenger Tyler Kistner now exceeds $10 million, per OpenSecrets.

  • Driving the ads: Attacks. Virtually all the spending is meant to oppose the rival side.

๐ŸŒŠ WAVE WATCH: Polling, spending trends and conversations with leading strategists on both sides show signs of a "red tsunami" that could deliver Republicans a bigger-than-expected majority in the U.S. House, Axios' Josh Kraushaar writes.

  • The local angle: Goes beyond the 2nd Congressional District. A good night for the GOP could also boost Minnesota Republicans' efforts to win control of the Legislature and end a years-long statewide losing streak.
  • What to watch: A spokesperson for the state House GOP campaign said they're expanding efforts to target "seats not on map a week ago." Democrats, meanwhile, continue to spend on cable TV in at least one seat President Biden won handily in 2020, ad data shows.

๐Ÿ“ฃ SURROGATE WATCH: Second gentleman Doug Emhoff comes to Minnesota today. He's the latest high-profile Democrat to touch down in the state to rally voters ahead of the midterm.

  • Other recent Democratic surrogates include: Vice President Kamala Harris, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and U.S. Rep. Cori Bush. On the GOP side, Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel and GOP leader Kevin McCarthy have made local stops for events or fundraisers in the final stretch.
  • Between the lines: In many cases, these visits are more about firing up and mobilizing base voters and volunteers, not reaching undecided swing voters.

๐Ÿ˜ฎ DEBATE DRAMA: Gov. Tim Walz isn't the only Minnesota candidate eschewing debates. More than 50 Republicans legislative candidates declined to participate in debates sponsored by the League of Women voters, per a list compiled by the DFL Party.

  • The other side: A spokesperson for the House GOP campaign said candidates are participating in debates sponsored by local cities and chamber groups. A Senate GOP spokesperson noted that some Senate candidates have done the LWV forums.
  • Between the lines: The League's advocacy on progressive issues of late has drawn criticism from some Republicans across the nation.

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