2020 Presidential Profiles

Published — February 10, 2019

9 things to know about Amy Klobuchar

U.S. senator seeks to become first woman and Minnesota politico to win the White House

This article is published in partnership with MinnPost.

Introduction

The self-proclaimed “senator next door” is officially hoping to walk through another door: that of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar — who today announced she’s running for president — is a popular politician in her state of Minnesota, gaining support and cash from both liberals and, to a lesser degree, conservatives.

“I will lead from the heart,” Klobuchar told a crowd gathered outside on a snowy afternoon in Minneapolis. “It’s time to take to take back our democracy.”

Klobuchar also used her speech to address political money, calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and pledging to “get the ‘dark money‘ out of our politics.”

Klobuchar smoothly sailed to a third term in her 2018 Senate race, raising more than 38 times the cash her Republican opponent raised — and winning 60 percent of the vote. (Her “Minnesota nice” persona hasn’t worked on everyone: Back in 2011, Justin Bieber said Klobuchar should be locked up for proposing an anti-piracy bill concerning unlicensed online content.)

Before becoming the first Minnesota woman in the U.S. Senate, Klobuchar, 58, served as county attorney for the most populous county in Minnesota, Hennepin County. Her prosecutorial experience came into focus during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Brett Kavanaugh: Klobuchar’s exchange with Kavanaugh about whether he ever blacked out while drinking — he retorted, “Have you?” — went viral and earned her a spoof on Saturday Night Live.

Here are nine things you should know about Klobuchar’s politics and finances:

  • Klobuchar raked in donations from chief executive officers from 11 of Minnesota’s 25 largest corporations, according to a Star Tribune analysis of data from the 2017-2018 election cycle. Two of the CEOs, Scott Wine of snowmobile-maker Polaris Industries and Stanley Hubbard of Hubbard Broadcasting, normally give the majority of their money to Republicans. But they gave to Klobuchar anyway.
  • Klobuchar is known for her consumer rights advocacy. Online privacy protections and investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election are among her causes. She cosponsored the Honest Ads Act, which would beef up disclosure of online political ads, and spoke about passing “a whole bunch of bills” to regulate Facebook in the wake of its handling of Cambridge Analytica’s harvesting of Facebook users’ personal information. Facebook nevertheless took a small step toward getting on Klobuchar’s good side: Its political action committee donated $2,500 to her campaign in September, months after the scandal unfolded.
Amy Klobuchar (front row, second from left) appears in her high school yearbook under the heading “Look Out Jimmy Carter!!” Carter was president of the United States at the time. Klobuchar is now seeking to defeat President Donald Trump. (Source: 1978 Wayzata High School yearbook)
  • Klobuchar is worth anywhere in between $836,000 and $1.9 million, according to her latest financial disclosure from May 2018. Her assets are stored in a mix of mutual funds, retirement plans and bank accounts. She also received about $300 in royalties from her senior thesis-turned-book “Uncovering the Dome,” a history of the construction of the former Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.
  • Klobuchar currently has $3.9 million stored in her campaign coffers, which she may use in her presidential run. That puts her in the upper echelon of presidential candidates or potential contenders already in office, along with President Donald Trump, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
  • Before running for U.S. Senate, Klobuchar was a corporate lawyer in Minneapolis. Her fellow attorneys appear most supportive of her federal ambitions, with lawyers and law firm PACs together donating the most money among industry classes to her three U.S. Senate campaigns — more than $3 million.
  • From 2013 to 2018, Klobuchar collected about $430,000 more from male donors than female donors — at least among donations greater than $200, where donor names are required to be reported, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. However, a Center for Public Integrity analysis found that women provided more than half of Klobuchar’s donations between 2017 through November 2018 through the conduit ActBlue, which includes smaller checks.
  • Klobuchar had the highest staff turnover rate in the Senate, at 36 percent, according to a Politico analysis of Legistorm data from 2001 to 2016. (She told the New York Times she has “high expectations.”) A HuffPost investigation found at least three people withdrew themselves from consideration for jobs Klobuchar’s presidential campaign because of rumors involving her mistreating staff.
  • In 2007, Canadian officials gave Klobuchar a hand-blown glass bowl worth $150. A Federal Registrar filing noted “non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and U.S. government.” Klobuchar kept the bowl “for official display in 302 Hart Senate building.”
  • Klobuchar stayed on the good side of people she dated, apparently: Klobuchar said she raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends toward her 2006 Senate run.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., waves to supporters on Nov. 6, 2018, at an election night gathering in St. Paul, Minn. (MinnPost/Bill Kelley)

Sources: Center for Public Integrity reporting, Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics, Federal Registrar, U.S. Senate, the New York Times, Star Tribune, Elle, Politico, Klobuchar Senate office press releases

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John Albertini
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John Albertini

What are her voting records? ISSUES will decide who I support, corporate puppets need not apply. I will support ONLY true liberal progressives!!!

Paul Brooke
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Paul Brooke

Is this “Tiger Beat” or TCPI? I would consider it a deeply personal favor if The Center for Public Integrity never, ever, ever quoted Justin Bieber again.