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, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Abeler picks up former Sen. Durenberger's nod in Senate race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 30, 2014 - 2:16 PM

Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden has received support from many current and former Republican members of congress from Minnesota, but GOP rival Jim Abeler has picked up a few of his own.

On Wednesday, Republican former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger shared that he would support Republican state Rep. Jim Abeler in the U.S. Senate race and urged others to follow suit.

Durenberger's choice to opt against the presumed front runner and the Republican endorsed candidate fits with his choice in 2010. That year, he backed Independence Party's Tom Horner against GOP's Tom Emmer for governor.

Here's what Durenberger said about his preference for Abeler:

The death of my U.S. Senate Republican Leader Howard Baker this July reminded me of the critical importance of the U.S. Senate and of leadership at critical times in our nation’s history. This is without a doubt one of those times. Howard Baker wanted only to be known as one who used his elected office “to bring people together.” And expected members of the Senate to be willing to do the same.

Minnesota has a tradition of electing members of both parties to do just that. Minnesota needs to be represented in the Senate now by such Senators from both parties. State Rep. Jim Abeler is just such a person. Jim is a proven leader in legislative policy fields, especially health sand health care.

Many times I asked Rep. Abeler to speak to my Healthcare MBA class. In 2011, shortly after Minnesota voters elected Jim sand Republicans to a majority in the House of Representatives, he told my class: “Over my 13 years I’ve built bridges to the majority and the minority in order to better serve all my constituents. I hope my DFL friends will use those bridges to better serve theirs.”

I respect Mike McFadden’s success as a person and as a highly successful financial advisor to private business. I respect even respect the endorsement process in the party since without it I might not have been able to serve as our U.S. Senator. I even respect its right to suspend me and others from the party over other endorsements we made.

But critical times call out our responsibility to each other as citizens and Minnesotans deserves an experienced policy-making conservative to represent them in the U.S. Senate. Jim Abeler is undoubtedly just such an experienced leader and deserves your vote. He will have mine on August 12.

Photo: Former Sen. Dave Durenberger in 2010 with gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner/Star Tribune file photo

GOP's Johnson, Independence Party's Nicollet release personal tax information

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Democrats, Republicans Updated: July 30, 2014 - 11:42 AM

Following a pattern Gov. Mark Dayton set when he was first running, candidates who wish to unseat the DFLer are releasing their tax returns to the public.

After Dayton released his more recent tax information last week, both Republican Jeff Johnson and Independence Party's Hannah Nicolett released theirs voluntarily.

Minnesota requires candidates for office to disclose very little about their personal finances. The now-traditional tax return release allows Minnesotans to delve a little more deeply into their income and tax information.

According to Johnson and Nicolett's release, both earned less than Dayton, paid less in taxes but gave a greater percentage of their incomes to charity.

Last week, Dayton revealed that he brought in $352,601, a little less than half of which came from capital gains, in 2013 and paid about $106,000 in state and local taxes. He gave $10,000 to charity.

Republican-endorsed candidate Johnson and his wife earned $221,458 last year; paid about $40,000 in state and local taxes and gave away $16,390 to charity. 

Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Hannah Nicolett and her husband brought in about $68,000 in both 2013 and 2012. They gave charities about $9,500 last year and $15,500 the year before.

Other candidates' tax information is not expected to be immediately forthcoming.

Republican Scott Honour's campaign said he would release his tax information eventually. Republican Kurt Zellers' campaign said he would release his but not until after the August 12 primary, because that contest will take the campaign and candidate's energy.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert last year and this one said he would not release his taxes because he said that information is no one's business.

Here's Johnson's release:

Johnson Taxes 2013 by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

And here's Nicolett's:

2012 & 2013 Nicollet Tax Returns by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

The cash contest: Major outside political groups have already raised $11 million

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: July 29, 2014 - 6:25 PM

By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glenn Howatt

Outside groups -- unions, Democratic and Republican supporters and PACs set up just to support a single candidate -- have raised at least $15 million since the 2012 election.

Those outside groups, which had been slowly raising cash in preparation for the 2014 elections, began piling on money in earnest this summer. Since June 1, the largest independent spending groups raised more than $2.6 million, according to reports released Tuesday.

 As with previous election cycles, union organizations are gearing up with big cash. Education Minnesota, the state’s teachers union, led in fundraising among outside groups with $1.8 million already raised. All told, union affiliated PACs have raised more than $4.6 million to train on the 2014 election.

Much of that cash will benefit Democratic candidates and the Democratic Alliance for a Better Minnesota, which, with its supporters, has already brought in more than $1.8 million.

Republicans-leaning outside groups have already raised $2.6 million. The largest among them, the Freedom Club, launched a major television ad campaign against Dayton in July.

See a breakdown of the fundraising by some of the major outside groups below:

The cash contest: Candidates in key House races rolling in cash

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: July 29, 2014 - 3:19 PM

By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glenn Howatt

Candidates in competitive House races are hauling in cash, with five races topping the $100,000 mark in candidate fundraising alone.

These expensive races, according to fundraising reports released Tuesday, tend to hold several factors in common. They include a contested primary or are in swing district and sometimes both.

These costly contests are likely the ones candidates, and donors, believe are most likely to flip parties.

By House district, including money raised by all candidates:

By District:

GOP House Speaker John Boehner fundraises for himself in Minneapolis

Posted by: Allison Sherry under National campaigns, Republicans Updated: July 29, 2014 - 3:22 PM

WASHINGTON -- GOP House Speaker John Boehner is throwing himself a party in Minneapolis during the August Congressional recess.

Helping him bring in cash are Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen -- both considered safe in their re-elects this fall. 

No word on why Boehner isn't in Minnesota to help bring money in for Stewart Mills or Torrey Westrom. The two Republicans are hoping to unseat Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson in the 8th and 7th Congressional Districts respectively. Both races are considered close nationally.

NRCC Chairman Greg Walden told reporters Tuesday that Westrom is Peterson's "nightmare."



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