Follow the money: Dan Severson’s finances and what they mean

02-17-20 Dan Severson 2010 own wordsDan Severson in a 2010 Minnesota appearance at which he stated: “Never let anybody say that we are a democracy. We are not a democracy.”       (Image: Minnesota Democratic-Farm-Labor Party)

Feb. 17, 2020 by David Silverberg

The campaign of Republican congressional candidate Dan Severson raised $107,531.14 in the fourth quarter of 2019, the fourth-highest amount of funds of all candidates in the 19th Congressional District, according to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Of that amount, $101,500 came in the form of a loan from the candidate.

Otherwise, $3,950 came from just four contributors based in California, Minnesota, Alabama and Pennsylvania—none from Florida, other than what Severson contributed himself.

Severson spent $4,362.57. Of this, the largest amount, $2,250, was spent with Fort Myers consultant Diana Watt and her company Watt Political Consulting. However, that was before Watt and her team resigned from his campaign in early January, after State Rep. Byron Donalds (R-80-Immokalee) announced his candidacy.

The split between the candidate and the consultant came despite their shared adoration of President Donald Trump. Watt and her team issued nothing but praise for Severson as they departed.

“We hold Dan Severson and his wife, Cathy Jo, in the highest regard and wish them the very best,” Watt said, according to Florida Politics. Nathan Watt, deputy campaign manager, who also left, said: “Dan Severson has served his country with honor his entire life and is a wonderful example of a man obeying God’s call on his life.”

Otherwise, Severson’s expenditures covered miscellaneous campaign items like website hosting, event tickets, digital advertising and the like.

Analysis: What it means

This is a campaign that’s already on life support.

Other than the candidate’s loan to his own campaign, he has virtually no donors, no local base of support and his hired campaign team has abandoned him. Even after being one of the first of the eight Republican candidates to file in November after Rep. Francis Rooney’s retirement announcement, Severson still has little to no local name recognition and the evangelicals, veterans and Trumpers he was counting on as his base of support have plenty of other more established and well-known choices.

Severson has had a checkered political career. After serving as a naval fighter pilot for 22 years, he was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2002 and held the position until 2011, rising to the position of Minority Whip.

He ran for Minnesota’s secretary of state in 2014 and lost by 1 percent to Democrat-Farm-Labor (DFL) Party candidate Steve Simon.

In a time before Trump, Severson caused Trump-like outrage by leveling charges of voter suppression and fraud against Democrats, which Democrats countered were baseless lies. In particular, Severson charged that in the 2014 election of DFL Sen. Al Franken, military votes were deliberately not counted.

After a bizarre dueling press conference in the same room at the same time between Severson and his opponent that took place on Oct. 14, 2014,  reporter Doug Grow of the Minnesota Post was led to ask whether Severson’s antics were designed as a “desperate bid to tie himself to the military” and inflame Republican voters. In the end, it didn’t work.

Aged 65, Severson came to Southwest Florida to retire but contemplated running in the 19th Congressional District even before Rooney’s October retirement announcement—because he thought Rooney wasn’t conservative enough.

Severson is anti-choice, pro-gun, denies climate change and opposes Rooney’s proposal for a carbon tax. He is the most overtly religious of the Republican candidates, invoking God on Trump’s behalf.

Given the state of his campaign, he might want to save some of those prayers for himself.

Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg




02-17-20 A Very Stable Genius ad




Republican Severson first to file fundraising report for 4th quarter 2019

01-23-20 Severson prayerRepublican congressional candidate Dan Severson leads a prayer for President Trump at the Lee County Trump Republican Club.                (Photo: Dan Severson for Congress campaign)

Jan. 23, 2020 by David Silverberg

Dan Severson, Republican candidate for Congress in the 19th Congressional District, raised $107,531.14 in total fundraising receipts for the last quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Severson spent $4,362.57 on his Republican primary campaign. His campaign committee, Severson for Congress, took out a $101,500 loan and raised $4,350 in individual contributions.

Severson, a former Minnesota state legislator who has used religious terms in expressing his support for President Donald Trump, is the first candidate to file his 2019 fourth quarter receipts. He currently has $103,168.57 cash on hand for the campaign, according to the filing.

The only other candidate to file a financial report to date was Democrat Cindy Banyai, who raised $913.69 in the third quarter of 2019. Her fourth quarter filings are not yet publicly available.

Totals for the other nine candidates running in the race have not yet been publicly released.


Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg

For the record: SWFL responses to Soleimani killing

Airstrike kills Iran's Quds force head, Iraqi PMU chiefIranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Quds Force, killed in a US drone strike in Iraq this morning.

Tracking official statements and positions by candidates and sitting officials is important for an informed electorate, so this year The Paradise Progressive will attempt to report official statements by Southwest Florida candidates and incumbents when major events break, in addition to its usual coverage.

Jan. 3, 2019 by David Silverberg

These are the official statements in reaction to the US killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, as of noon today, expressed through Twitter or Facebook.

  • Of three SWFL incumbents, two made statements.
  • Of two Democratic candidates, one made a statement.
  • Of seven Republican candidates, three made statements.


Rep. Greg Steube (R-17-Fla.):

“Qassem Soleimani was an integral part of Iran’s terrorist regime and I applaud President Trump’s decisive action to bring him to justice. When I served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, many of my brothers and sisters in arms were killed by Iranian explosives at the direction of Seleimani. America, and the world, are safer now that his reign of terror has ended.”

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-Fla.):

“Soleimani plotted international acts of terrorism & has the blood of Americans & our allies on his hands. As the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds force, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, who operated within Iran. Soleimani was responsible for numerous terrorist acts, instability in the region, & violence. I commend the Trump Admin for ridding the world of this evil man, and for taking the steps necessary to protect Americans and our allies from the terrorist threat posed by Iran.”

Democratic congressional candidate

Cindy Banyai:

This is a troubling escalation. Do we want to go to war with Iran? This does not seem to be sound #foreignpolicy.

Republican congressional candidates (in alphabetical order)

Dane Eagle

“This decisive military action deals a blow to our chief adversary in the Middle East and will certainly save American lives. Very proud of our President, and once again disappointed in the Fake News for trying to portray this as anything other than an extraordinary victory.”


Ford O’Connell

“Thank you President Trump for not letting attacks against Americans go unanswered. Thank you for keeping America safe.”


Dan Severson

“The United States has an incredible intelligence apparatus that works hand in hand with the greatest military on earth. We are so fortunate to have a Commander in Chief like Donald J. Trump who acts swiftly and proportionally. Soleimani killed over 600 Americans and was the leader of terrorism sponsored by Iran. This was a good day for the United States of America.”


Liberty lives in light

© 2020 by David Silverberg