Related story: Some of Klobuchar’s challengers not in the race to win In the race for U.S. Senate, Kurt Bills is facing a tough battle, as he has been outgunned in almost all aspects of his campaign against incumbent Amy Klobuchar. Despite the heavily weighted race, Bills is still forging ahead.
Having spent the last six years in a Senate seat, Klobuchar is the incumbent in the race. State Rep. Bills won his party's endorsement to challenge Klobuchar for her Senate seat.
Klobuchar is widely thought to have already clinched the race, having out fund-raised Bills almost 10-to-1. The Bills campaign fund-raised about $350,00 in the period between July and Sept. and $454,00 over the entire third quarter, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Klobuchar has raised about $800,000 and has nearly $4.5 million on hand.
Tucker Staley, assistant professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said that money isn't everything in a campaign, but it goes a long way.
“It’s usually more important for challengers to have money,” Staley said. “That doesn't mean that money is the only thing that leads to a victory, but it usually indicates which way the support is leaning.”
Staley said that challengers tend to struggle to get the same amount of money as incumbents. Campaign financiers are generally more willing to put their money in incumbents because they have a voting record behind them, Staley said.
“You just don’t see them getting as much money,” Staley said. “Money is important. You can’t run a campaign without it."
Mike Osskopp, Bills campaign manager, doesn’t dispute that they have been outspent. They have not had nearly the same amount of backing from corporate sponsors, and even the GOP has not been eager to put funds into the campaign.
“She’s got several million dollars in her war chest,” Osskopp said.
Her finances aren’t the only indication of her popularity. A recent Star Tribune/Mason-Dixon poll showed Klobuchar with a 43 percent lead over Bills. The Bills campaign, however, disputes that.
“That Star Tribune poll is bogus," Osskopp said. "They continue to write the narrative that makes her look good. Our independent polling shows that her support is very thin.”
Bills and Klobuchar are spending the last few days before the election in a marathon of campaigning. The two are scheduled for a debate Sunday, Nov. 4.
Klobuchar was in Duluth on Thursday for a rally. Bills, on the other hand, has been taking a more grassroots approach to drum up his support. Door knocking and taking to the streets, he is spending much of these last few days on the road.
“He’s out meeting as many people as he can,” Osskopp said. “We have just got to get the message to as many people as we can."