Politics with Jennifer Brooks

Cash on hand, robocalls and carpool scofflaws 

By Torey Van Oot

New this morning: Sen. Tina Smith's re-election campaign says she raised $1.3 million in Q3 and has over $2.7 million cash on hand. The haul is similar to her Q1 and Q2 numbers. 
The disclosure comes one day ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline for candidates to file their Q3 fundraising reports. This round is the first that will include cash reports from a number of prominent GOP candidates for federal office here in Minnesota, including Smith rival Jason Lewis, MN03 entrant Kendall Qualls and MN07 challenger Michelle Fischbach. All three entered mid-to-late Q3. DFLers Dan Feehan (MN01) and Quinn Nystrom (MN08) entered their respective races in October and will file for the first time early next year. And of course, we'll have updates from incumbents and a deeper look at the state of Amy Klobuchar's campaign finances. 
Lots to comb through when the full reports come in. Send tips and observations my way:
Also happening tomorrow: another Democratic primary debate! This time with 12 candidates all on one stage! OH via Twitter: Amy Klobuchar jokingly (???) setting expectations for this week's debate at a Democratic fundraising dinner in Ohio.  Success, she told the crowd, would be "they mention me the next day" in coverage. [h/t ABC embed Cheyenne Haslett] Klobuchar also previewed her planned message: 

"some of these ideas that my colleagues have are not bold, they’re bad ideas."

The New York Times' debate preview groups Klobuchar in the "now or never" category of candidates who have not yet qualified for November and, as a result, are "expected to be the most aggressive candidates on stage." 
Gov. Tim Walz bagged a bird in Austin. I'm told the successful hunt means he's the first governor to actually harvest a rooster at the annual Pheasant Opener. Walz shot down two birds (the DNR max). One was too far away and the dogs couldn't find it.
Scout Walz, still too young and small to hunt, stayed home. 
Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan have a busy public schedule today, attending several events commemorating Indigenous Peoples Day. Walz also meets privately with the Ambassador of Belgium this afternoon. 

Also on the calendar today: an 11:30 a.m. presser on anti-robocall legislation in the works from House DFL. A release says Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, Rep. Zack Stephenson and Rep. Laurie Halverson will "announce the intention to introduce the toughest legislation in the country to protect Minnesotans from fraudulent actors and scammers."

No shortage of post-Trump rally coverage in the weekend edition(s) of the Strib. Faiza Mahamud and Jessie Van Berkel spoke to members of the Somali community about the boos that filled the arena when the president mentioned Minnesota's large refugee population. Stephen Montemayor and Pat Condon have more on the GOP's push to flip the state in 2020. Judy Keen files the latest installment of our Proving Ground series, a dispatch from one of 19 pivot counties that went for Trump in 2016 after voting for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And J. Patrick Coolican looked at what recent voting totals and other political/demographic indicators can tell us about Trump's prospects.

One key question over the next year-plus will be how the president plays in suburban swing districts that broke for Democrats in 2018. Gazelka, whose path to maintaining the majority also likely rests on those areas, told my Strib colleagues he plans to run with Trump and “point to the substance of what he’s doing.” JVB passes along some additional comments from the Nisswa Republican on Trump's potential in Greater Minnesota: 

Gazelka said Trump will continue to work on drumming up support in northern Minnesota as the Iron Range shifts more Republican. Gazelka grew up in the Iron Range town of Virginia, and said people he’s talked to there like longtime DFL state legislators, like Sens. Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni, “but Trump and the Republicans nationally are heading the direction we want to go.”

The entrance of Michelle Fischbach, a former state senator and lieutenant governor, into the race for the Seventh Congressional District makes that region more viable for President Trump, Gazelka said


Republicans, meanwhile, are also taking aim at the protests staged outside the rally. J. Patrick Coolican files this dispatch: 

Rep. Aisha Gomez, DFL-Minneapolis, was accused by Republican House members of consorting with unruly demonstrators after the Trump rally.

"A group of protesters engaged in illegal behavior after the President's speech, assaulting rallygoers, hurling bottles at the police, and throwing traffic cones at cars. Marching among them was a sitting legislator. Gov. Walz and Speaker Hortman should be crystal clear: this type of behavior is unacceptable, and elected officials have no excuse for joining those who were at the center of the chaos last night in downtown Minneapolis," said Rep. Nick Zerwas.

an image from the video in which Gomez makes a brief appearance at the 4-minute mark.

Gomez told me Friday that she did not engage in any of the unruly activity and viewed her role as liaison between demonstrators and city officials. Having worked in the city for five years, she said she knows both Mayor Frey and police officers and at one point in the video can be seen approaching a police lieutenant. Her purpose she said, was to confer with him about getting cars out of the area quickly and safely.

"I was trying to make sure everyone was safe and that there wasn't huge clashes and that things went well. I was peaceful. In the video, I'm hugging someone," she said, sounding incredulous. "One person was arrested even though thousands were exercising their 1st Amendment rights. from my perspective it was a success."
As for her all-black attire, it's not Antifa garb. "I wear black a lot."

Gomez said she wishes Zerwas had called her. "But this is the context we're operating in," she said.

Back to TVO: If this morning's chatter is any indication, we can expect to hear more on this front from the GOP. "The anti police signs, mask wearing rioters and fires in the streets are all powerful images of the far left," GOP Rep. Pat Garofalo tweeted this morning. "This extremism is helping move suburban voters back to the Republican Party." Fox & Friends had booked Zerwas to talk about the protests this morning, but he tweeted that the segment got bumped. 

Spotted on the CFB website: DFLer Sara Flick, a marketing manager at Mayo, files to run against Sen. David Senjem in SD25. As Coolican reported last month, the Rochester-area is expected to be a top battleground for control of the upper chamber. And it appears Xcel went on a lobbying (registration) blitz this month, logging about two dozen individuals as lobbyists. Strib energy reporter Mike Hughlett IDs a number of local energy attorneys and Xcel executives on the list. 

Spotted on Twitter: KARE 11's Jana Shortal is engaged. Congrats!

And spotted in my inbox: Molly Jungbauer, chief executive officer of Hollstadt Consulting in Mendota Heights, is the new Minnesota Chamber of Commerce board chair.

Last but not least, consider yourself warned, carpool lane scofflaws! Don't cheat! 

Coolican is at your service tomorrow. Have a great week! 

-- Torey Van Oot

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