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Mike Nowatzki, Forum News Service, Published April 15 2014

Kevin Cramer's campaign war chest tops $500,000

BISMARCK – U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer has more than $500,000 in his campaign coffers to try to fend off a challenge from Democratic state Sen. George B. Sinner in November, according to disclosure reports.

Quarterly campaign finance reports had to be filed by Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Cramer’s report shows he raised more than $269,000 during the first three months of this year and spent about $58,000.

When added to the $292,764 he had to start the year, Cramer finished the first quarter with a total of $504,576 in cash on hand.

Sinner’s quarterly report wasn’t available yet on the FEC website.

Cramer’s war chest is ahead of where it was at this point in 2012, when he had $198,892 in cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. His total contributions during the first quarter of 2012 were $43,705, or about one-sixth of what he received this past quarter.

Cramer raised a total of $1.3 million in the 2012 election cycle and spent all but about $30,000 of it on his successful campaign for his first U.S. House term. His opponent in that race, former Democratic state legislator Pam Gulleson, raised just over $1 million. She launched her campaign in November, whereas Sinner just officially announced his candidacy March 18.

Since the beginning of 2013, Cramer has collected more than $733,000 in contributions and has spent more than $262,000. He started the cycle with $33,745 and had just $3,621 in campaign debt as of March 31.