Duluth mayoral campaigning reaches nearly $500K

Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 6:47 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) - Election day is November 7, and Duluthians will head to the polls to vote on the next mayor.

Incumbent Mayor Emily Larson and challenger Roger Reinert are running for the seat.

“In this kind of campaign, you’ve got two well known, what I would identify as qualified candidates,” UMD Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Cindy Rugeley said. “Both of them are known to the voters. They’ve run campaigns before; they know how to run campaigns.”

Combined, the two candidates have spent almost $500,000 campaigning for the votes.

“What has really surprised me is these outside groups are involved in the mayor’s race this time,” Rugeley said. “It’s something we haven’t seen before, something I certainly didn’t expect.”

Looking at donations, Larson has received around $116,000 in contributions from residents or local organizations. Reinert has around $102,000 from donations.

Meanwhile Political Action Committees (PACs) have also spent money to campaign for the candidates.

Climate Vote Minnesota has funded $65,000 on campaigns supporting Larson. Forever Duluth PAC spent $132,000 on Reinert’s campaign.

“It’s also interesting how they’re spending money. It kind of reflects a change in politics now,” Rugeley said. “A lot of money spend online, on social media and things like that. There’s not so much spent on what has been the traditional advertising mediums.”

Per law, individuals can’t donate more than $600 to a candidate.

PACs aren’t limited to a set amount, but they are required to work independently of the candidate, funding individual campaign efforts like billboards or advertisements.

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