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Pawlenty sets record

Gov. Tim Pawlenty spent $3.9 million campaigning in 2006, a new state record. The mark is also twice the amount ever spent by any candidates for governor.

Pawlently decided to reject public financing, the first governor candidate to do so in nearly two decades. The state program normally provides public subsides to candidates who agree to limit total spending, which according to the Pioneer Press, maxes out at $2.4 million.

According to Pawlenty’s campaign committee, he raised $3.4 million in 2006 and used another $721,000 which he already had. He also received maximum $2,000 contributions from political action committees representing beer wholesalers, car dealers, dentists, accountants, and the Prairie Island Dakota Community.

Pawlenty’s money was well spent, considering his slim victory of one percentage point over Democratic candidate Mike Hatch. According to the Star Tribune, Pawlenty got help from constant attack ads from an anti-Hatch group in the final days of the campaign. Spending by that group and others like it, are to be announced today.

Peter Hutchinson also set a record for the most money spent by an independent candidate. Hutchinson spent $1.3 million during his campaign. At the time of the article, Mike Hatch had yet to report his results.