The front runner for the honor of the most expensive judicial race this year goes to the contest between David Piper and Jane Ranum for an open seat on the Hennepin County District Court. So far, $203,728 has been raised for that race. Most of the money has been raised by Piper, whose $168,760 in contributions includes the $100,000 which he has loaned to his own campaign.
A close second is the race between Gail Chang Bohr and Howard Orenstein for the open Ramsey County seat. So far, a combined $158,730 has been raised by those candidates.
At the statewide level, Minnesota Supreme Court Justices Lorie Gildea and Paul Anderson have done comparatively well individually in attracting contributions, garnering $64,070 and $58,278, respectively. Meanwhile, their opponents, Judge Deborah Hedlund and Tim Tingelstad, have collected only about $28,000 combined.
At the other end of the spectrum is Alan Eugene Link, who has challenged Hennepin County District Court Judge Philip Bush. Link -- who has declined to provide any information about his campaign to Minnesota Lawyer and other media outlets and who has not participated in any public candidate forums -- reports self-financing his $536 campaign. He reportedly spent $300 on his filing fee and $236.76 on "door hangers," which can't have gone far in the state's most populous county. To my knowledge, this stealth candidate has made no public appearances during his entire campaign. Bush has raised $16,977 to defeat the missing Link. (Some have speculated that Link is hoping that voters somehow equate his opponent's name with that of our not-so-popular president. There is, by the way, no relation.)
More information about the candidates' funding is available at the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board website.