Minnesota campaign spending hits $100 million -- and climbing

- It's officially a nine-figure campaign season in Minnesota, fueled by both parties' efforts to gain control of Congress.

The state's eight congressional districts have seen $63 million in spending between the campaigns and outside groups, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Republicans and Democrats are both playing offense in two districts while defending two seats apiece.

A total of $20 million has been spent on Minnesota's two U.S. Senate races, while at least $17 million has been dropped on the governor's race.

"I predicted early on that Minnesota would see over $100 million in spending and, after I said it, I said 'Wow, that’s a lot of money. I’m probably off,' said Kathryn Pearson, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota. "But it looks like that will come true."

The $100 million already spent on the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and governor's races doesn't include money funneling into other statewide races or state legislative contests. That spending would push the total amount even higher.

More outside money has flooded into Minnesota's eight congressional races than New York, which has 27 seats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

The biggest spender has been the Congressional Leadership Fund, a conservative group linked to House Speaker Paul Ryan, which has dropped $8.1 million into three House races. The group launched a new ad this week attacking Dan Feehan, the Democrat running in the first congressional district, of being "weak" on the so-called migrant caravan from Central America.

The National Republican Congressional Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have spent $7.6 million and $5.7 million, respectively.

Democrats are looking to knock off two incumbent Republicans in the Minneapolis suburbs as the party tries to halt President Donald Trump's agenda by retaking control of the U.S. House. Republicans have an opportunity to pick up two open seats held by Democrats in southern and northeast Minnesota. 

"It’s somewhat astounding really, that there could be so much money spent and the outcome could remain the same or close to the same (with both parties retaining the same number of seats)," Pearson said. 

Alliance for a Better Minnesota has spent the most of any outside group on a single race -- $6.6 million against Republicans running for Minnesota governor, according to state campaign finance reports filed this week.

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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