Rep. Kristi Noem announced Friday that she had raised $360,000 over the previous three months -- the same day that she got her first Democratic opponent for the 2012 election.
Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth officially filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, allowing him to raise and spend money in the aim of running for Congress.
Barth has not made an official announcement of his candidacy, which he said would probably come in September.
Though he has already spent a little money on expenses including letterhead and a website, Barth will be a financial underdog against Noem.
Through June, Noem -- a first-term Republican -- had just over $600,000 in the bank for her re-election campaign. Any challengers would be starting their fundraising from scratch.
Noem's April-through-June fundraising was down slightly from the first three months of the year, when she raised $390,000.
Compared to the first quarter of the year, Noem raised more money in small donations but less money from political action committees and almost $30,000 less from individuals making larger donations.
About 42 percent of Noem's fundraising came from PACs in the second quarter, compared to 43 percent in the first three months of the year.
The incumbent has also been spending money: $75,000 over the three months. The biggest share of Noem's expenditures went towards raising more money, including almost $15,000 on "financial consulting." She also spent $10,000 combined on printing and postage and campaign materials, and $1,600 on her website.
Barth, the first Democrat to unofficially enter the race against Noem, said he wants to raise $100,000 between now and the Democratic primary next June, and hopes to be competitive with Noem in the general election.
But Barth said he expects to have less money than Noem.
"I don't expect to be able to compete with her this year for money," he said.
Barth, 59, who retired from a job with telephone company Qwest in 2004, said he believes his electoral success in the state's most populous county would make him a strong choice for Democrats to take on Noem in 2012. He said he will position himself as a moderate and brand Noem as an extremist.
Several other Democrats have been publically considered as candidates against Noem, including former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Matt Varilek, a staff member for Sen. Tim Johnson.
Contact David Montgomery at 394-8329 or email@example.com