ST. PAUL (AP) -- Democratic candidates for Minnesota governor are crushing their Republican opponents in the fundraising race for 2018.

Campaign finance reports released Thursday show Republicans struggled to raise funds in 2017 ahead of this year's open race for governor. Hennepin County Commissioner and 2014 nominee Jeff Johnson brought in the most among Republicans, with nearly $260,000.

Altogether, the six major GOP candidates raised $597,000 last year, including two who have since ended their campaigns. That's less than the haul of former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who raised the second-most among Democrats.

The wide-open race to replace Gov. Mark Dayton makes those dollars critical as candidates try to raise their profiles and build support statewide.