By JONATHAN ALLEN
With a potentially competitive race developing back home in Minnesota’s 8th District, Transportation Committee Chairman Jim Oberstar collected a contribution from just one resident of the district between June 22 and Sept. 30, according to a federal election report filed Wednesday.
Jane Robbins of Pine City gave Oberstar $500 on Aug. 22.
Other than that, all of his contributions came from political action committees, Native American tribes or individual donors in other districts and states.
In all, the veteran Iron Range Democrat, first elected in 1974, collected just $233,102 in receipts over the time period. By comparison, fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann, a Republican firebrand, pulled in $5.4 million between July 1 and Sept. 30.
“We’ve got plenty of resources to carry through the campaign,” Oberstar spokesman John Schadl told POLITICO, noting that Oberstar had more than half a million dollars in the bank at the end of September. According to the Federal Election Commission, Oberstar had $568,222 cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.
Republicans are pointing to an internal GOP poll showing a tight race against Chip Cravaack to suggest the incumbent is vulnerable to defeat on Nov. 2.
Schadl says the poll is misleading.
“The best thing you could say about it is they did the head-to-head after the messaging portion and the worst you could say is it’s a push poll,” he said. “We’re not seeing anything on the ground … that would indicate that we’re in trouble.”
Schadl says Oberstar focused on Minnesota fundraising earlier in the election cycle.
Still, the campaign finance report suggests that if he’s getting support back home, it’s not in the form of money.
Oberstar raised more money from individuals in each of the following parts of the country: other Minnesota districts, Alabama, Arizona, California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia. He also collected $500 apiece from donors in South Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Indiana.
Oberstar’s other in-district donations were $1,000 from Allete PAC in Duluth and $300 from the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe in Cass Lake.