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Published June 01 2012

UPDATED: Gulleson maintains strong lead in fundraising over Cramer, Kalk

FARGO - Despite the Republican-endorsed candidate having his most successful fundraising stretch to date, Democrat Pam Gulleson maintains a strong lead in the fundraising battle in North Dakota's U.S. House race, according to new financial disclosure documents filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Thursday night was the deadline for North Dakota's federal candidates to file their pre-primary fundraising figures, which cover the period from April 1 through May 23.

The statewide primary is June 12. Gulleson is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination, while Republicans Brian Kalk and Kevin Cramer are competing for the official GOP nomination.

While Gulleson has raised the most money and has the most cash on hand, Kalk had the most profitable fundraising period before the primary election, a comparison of the candidates' reports shows.

Gulleson reported raising $99,000 in the eight-week period, boosting her campaign past the half-million mark in fundraising since last fall. She received about $77,000 – or 78 percent of her haul – from individual donors, mostly North Dakotans, and another $21,000 from political action committees.

Of the special interest dollars, the Blue Dog PAC gave $10,000 to Gulleson, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee donated another $1,500 to her run.

Gulleson reported $313,000 in cash on hand and no reported debt as of May 23.

Meanwhile, Kalk – the Republicans' endorsed candidate – raised $132,300 in April and May, making this far and away his most successful fundraising period since he began raising money for a congressional bid in January 2011.

Kalk attributed the spike in fundraising to his successful bid for North Dakota Republicans' endorsement, which was decided April 1.

However, Kalk still has a ways to go to catch Gulleson's total fundraising. He has raised more than $300,000 in the past 18 months, including $276,800 specifically for his U.S. House run.

Of Kalk's latest contributions, $125,600 – or 94 percent – came from individual donations.

For the first time this campaign cycle, Kalk also received contributions from political party committees and special-interest groups, totaling about $6,700.

Those donations included: $5,000 from the North Dakota Republican Party, nearly $700 from District 6 Republicans in Velva, and $1,000 from the Freedom and Security PAC, which is affiliated with Minnesota Rep. John Kline.

As of May 23, Kalk reported $65,600 in cash on hand and no debt.

Cramer – Kalk's primary challenger – reported $57,000 in new contributions during the same eight-week period since April 1.

His total campaign fundraising to date now exceeds $310,000, predominantly from individual donors. In all, Cramer has received only $3,200 – or 1 percent of his donations – from political action committees.

In his latest report, Cramer reported receiving $1,000 from the RNC Member Senate Fund and $200 from the North Dakota Retail and Petroleum Marketers Association PAC.

Cramer reported having $132,000 in cash on hand and no reported debt, as of May 23.