With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Corey Mitchell, Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Bloomberg-founded gun group gears up in Minnesota

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor Updated: October 24, 2014 - 4:19 PM

Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun safety group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has planted a flag in Minnesota.

On Wednesday, it registered Everytown for Gun Safety Minnesota, a political committee that allows it to donate to Minnesota candidates and spend money in state elections.

Public files available on Friday did not indicate that group had raised or contributed any money this week. But the Minnesota chapter leader said in a statement that it would support certain Minnesota candidates.

"Everytown and the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action have endorsed six candidates and Governor Dayton for re-election and we are happy to support their campaigns as they were strong supporters of a bi-partisan law passed that will keep guns out of the hands of convicted stalkers and domestic abusers," Leah Auckenthaler, volunteer with the Minnesota chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Corrected to change the reference to the group from anti-gun to gun safety.

By the numbers: The $12-plus million Eighth District race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 8th District, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, National campaigns, Political ads, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 24, 2014 - 12:17 PM

More than $12 million has already been spent to sway the outcome of Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District election.

The vast majority, almost $9 million, has come from outside groups.

The parties, the PACs the interest groups have poured on the cash to re-elect Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan or replace him with Republican challenger Stewart Mills.

The result is that viewers of Eighth District television could see more than 100 ads in the district during the final week -- as well as dozens from supporters and the candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and down ticket races. There are so many ads flooding the northern Minnesota district that television stations are increasing the cost of ads.

Only some of those ads will be directly from U.S. House candidates. Both Nolan and Mills have raised significant cash but neither can compete with the horde of interest groups making their wishes known.

The outside money has largely gone to tear down Nolan and Mills. According to public data, groups have spent $4 million to oppose Mills and almost $3.5 million to oppose Nolan.

With expenditures of $3 million and $2.4 million, respectively, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are the biggest investors in the district's outcome.

The Rothenberg Political Report recently changed its rating of the race to "Toss-up/Tilt Democrat".

Here's a look at the candidates' fundraising:

Updated

Calling for your legislative door-knocking photos

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 24, 2014 - 10:17 AM

Candidates and their supporters have pounded on doors, trying to corral votes, for months.

Current House members and those who want to unseat them have walked hundreds of miles, knocked on thousands of doors and talked to a myriad of voters to get their messages out.

Here are some of the things they've seen.

Have more examples? Tweet your photo to @rachelsb.

The cash contest: An interactive look at fundraising in the Seventh District

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 7th District, Minnesota campaigns, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 23, 2014 - 5:10 PM

Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson has far more cash banked for the final weeks of his campaign than Republican challenger Torrey Westrom has for his bid, according to fundraising reports filed on Thursday.

But in the last two weeks, as national money has poured into the western Minnesota district, Westrom has raised far more cash than Peterson.

Overall, the incumbent representative, who hold a powerful seat on the House Committee on Agriculture, has raised twice as much for the campaign.

Dayton dashed from event, avoiding waiting media

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Health care, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, National campaigns, Political ads, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 23, 2014 - 7:26 PM

With questions about the state's health exchange and Republican campaign ads swirling, Gov. Mark Dayton dashed from a Thursday afternoon event about housing without taking questions from the waiting press.

Dayton's decision to leave the event through a side door with his staff was unexpected. His staff had indicated he would answer questions from reporters.

It was also unusual. The DFL governor generally makes himself available to the media.

Dayton, who is up for re-election in 12 days, made remarks at the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency Housing Awards announcement in St. Paul, listened to comments from two lawmakers and then, about 25 minutes in to the event got up to leave.

His spokesman, Matt Swenson, said the governor said as he left that he would not take questions from the press. Reporters who followed him out of the side door he exited saw his state vehicle exit the building's rear parking lot.

On Thursday, the Star Tribune reported that the Dayton administration had sought lower rates from an insurer that signed up to provide health insurance through MNsure, the state's health exchange. That insurer, PreferredOne, dropped out of the exchange this year.

Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson said Dayton should have stayed to answer questions about that.

"That’s part of the job of the governor whether it is him, me or someone else," Johnson said. He suggested the Dayton administration is panicking over the recent MNsure news.

He pledged that if he were governor, he would not avoid reporters.

"I will never unexpectedly run away from you," he said.

Also Thursday, the Minnesota Republican Party decided to delete the photo of a young boy who died from abuse in a television commercial trashing Dayton. That decision came after pressure from the boy's grandmother.

Thursday afternoon Dayton appeared at a campaign event with former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton. He was also slated to appear at a fundraiser with the former first lady in the evening.

Photo: The governor's caravan driving away from Thursday's housing event. Source: David Joles, Star Tribune.

Updated

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