Rep. Julie Bunn addresses Woodbury Democrats at Tuesday’s precinct caucus
State Rep. Julie Bunn sent a strong message to fellow Democrats at Tuesday’s precinct caucuses: Complacency could mean a loss in November.
"We are in for a serious fight," said Bunn, whose district includes part of Woodbury.
Bunn, of Lake Elmo, said Democrats could not have had a better election year in 2008, but 2010 looks quite different.
"The other side is now fired up," she said of Republicans.
For proof, Bunn talked about campaign funds. She acknowledged that one of her GOP opponents, Kathy Lohmer, raised more dollars from individual contributors last year and ended 2009 with more campaign money. That is unusual; incumbents often do better raising money.
Lohmer, who ran unsuccessfully against Bunn in 2008, raised $18,885 from individual donors last year and ended 2009 with $25,309 cash on hand, according to her recent campaign finance filing. Bunn, meanwhile, collected $17,530 from individual contributors and wrapped up 2009 with $22,894 cash on hand.
Another Republican candidate, Erik Ogren of Stillwater, raised $10,925 and ended 2009 with $16,025 cash on hand.
"It means that we’re the No. 1 targeted race" in the state, Bunn said of the Republican off-year fundraising numbers.
Of course, no savvy politician downplays an opponent, but Bunn urged Democrats to not be idle this year. That was the case last summer, she said, when it was hard to find supporters and volunteers to even walk in community parades.
"We are in for a serious fight in all three seats," she said of herself, fellow Rep. Marsha Swails and Sen. Kathy Saltzman. "It could turn very much on us."
Lohmer said she thinks there is more energy behind her candidacy this year, offering as evidence the fact that there were new faces at her GOP caucus.
As for those fundraising numbers, Lohmer said she started her 2010 campaign not long after her 2008 loss.
"When I lost, I didn’t lose by very much and I decided to run again very shortly after that," she said. "I just got right back to work and I thought fundraising is something I can do in an off-year."
Lohmer agreed with Bunn that the GOP has its eyes on the 56A seat.
"I think they want Woodbury back in Republican hands," she said.