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Port: Mund still isn't raising much money, and she's spending even less

Mund being this slow in deploying the financial assets her supporters have given her is bordering on political malpractice.

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Cara Mund, an independent candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, turns in signatures to get on the ballot at the North Dakota Capitol on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022.
Jeremy Turley / Forum News Service
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Minot, N.D. — In her first campaign disclosure, covering the third quarter of this year, U.S. House candidate Cara Mund reported raising just $77,790.75.

She roughly doubled that amount in the pre-general election report her campaign just filed with the FEC. From October 1 to October 19, Mund reported taking in just over $75,000. She ended the reporting period with over $127,000 cash on-hand.

And that's the interesting part.

Mund, despite financial support from a lot of in-state Democrats like state Rep. Karla Rose Hanson and Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon, is losing the money competition to incumbent Republican Kelly Armstrong in a landslide. He's raised over $1.98 million so far this election cycle.

That's not unexpected. Armstrong is the incumbent. Mund got into this race late. She's at a disadvantage. But Mund is also compounding that disadvantage by sitting on the little money she is raising.

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Per her report, Mund spent just $18,856 in the pre-general reporting period, and just $25,175 in total. Armstrong spent nearly $542,000 in the pre-general period, $2.09 million so far this election cycle, and is still sitting on more than $276,000 in his campaign.

Mund has enjoyed a lot of favorable media coverage by dint of being a bit of a unicorn in North Dakota politics. She's a celebrity candidate, a former Miss America, who made a surprise entry into the race. After Democrats moved their candidate out of her way, and having made legal abortion her top campaign issue, she'll likely lock up the roughly one-third of the North Dakota electorate that consistently votes for Democrats.

But that's not nearly enough to win a statewide election, as Democratic candidates know, and while Mund may have drawn in some pro-choice independents and Republicans who put abortion at the top of their priority list, there are still a lot of voters she has to reach and persuade.

Doing that costs money.

Money Mund doesn't seem to be spending.

We're just 10 days away from election day. I just checked the latest figures from the Secretary of State's Office, and as I write this roughly 50,000 North Dakotans , or about 14% of the turnout in our last midterm election, have already voted by absentee ballot or through early voting opportunities.

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The number of voters that can still be persuaded is shrinking. The days left in which they can be persuaded are few.

Mund being this slow in deploying the financial assets her supporters have given her is bordering on political malpractice.

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I suspect Mund supporters would spin this situation by pointing out that she's running a competitive campaign despite being at a heavy fundraising disadvantage. Which is true, as far as it goes, but it's also a consolation prize.

Being competitive isn't the same as winning, and the only way you get a seat in Congress is if you win the election.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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