WASHINGTON -- Sen. Rod Grams' fund raising improved in the last quarter, but for the second straight quarter his campaign spent more than it took in, leaving him with just over $1 million on hand.
Grams, R-Minn., releasing his figures two weeks after his main DFL challengers did, pulled in $871,000, compared with $623,000 in the first quarter. For the three-month period ending June 30, he raised less money, and finished with less cash on hand, than Democrat Mike Ciresi.
But he was ahead on both counts against State Sen. Jerry Janezich, the DFL Party's endorsed candidate; construction executive Rebecca Yanisch; and former state Auditor Mark Dayton.
''Our fund-raising success, particularly in June, is a clear indication of the growing support for Rod's efforts on behalf of Minnesotans to lower taxes and his promise to make government more responsive and effective,'' said Grams campaign manager Pat Fiske, noting the campaign raised nearly $500,000 in June.
Ciresi, a trial attorney, raised $2.16 million in the second quarter, but $2 million of that came from his own money. He finished the quarter with $1.65 million on hand.
Ciresi campaign manager Bob Decheine claimed Grams' numbers showed he is vulnerable.
''They are surprisingly low for a Republican incumbent,'' Decheine said. ''They are spending money so rapidly, they don't have anywhere near the war chest on hand that you want.''
He discounted the fact that Grams raised 40 percent more in the second quarter than the first.
''What matters is what you're putting in the bank for when the election is decided,'' Decheine said. ''The frightening thing for the Grams campaign is the cash-on-hand levels have dropped. You never want to see that for an incumbent.''
Grams spent about $85,000 more than he took in last quarter.
Fiske noted that the campaign spent $400,000 on a media buy after Grams announced his re-election plans.
''We made a decision to spend some of our reserves to talk about the work Rod had done,'' he said.
''We're feeling very good about how we're doing. It doesn't matter what Bob (Decheine) says.''
Fiske added that Grams has been actively campaigning throughout the state, including making appearances in more than 60 parades.
''We're all over the place,'' he said. ''That costs money.''
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