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.

Posts about Minnesota campaigns

Dayton earned $352K last year, gave $10K to charity

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 23, 2014 - 6:12 PM

Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton earned $352,601, a little less than half of which came from capital gains, according to tax returns he released on Wednesday.

The DFL governor, who has released his tax returns every year since 2010, gave $10,000 to charity and paid $76,008 in federal taxes and $29,932 in state taxes, for an effective tax rate of 30 percent.

The heir to the Dayton's department store fortune earned $116,092 from his state salary and $73,062 from dividends.

In 2012,  Dayton earned a similar amount from similar sources but only gave $1,000 to charity. He said at the time that he was" disappointed in myself," because of his lack of charitable contributions. He gave ten times more in 2013 than he gave in 2012. His total giving equaled about 3 percent of his 2013 income.

Releasing tax returns is not a requirement of Minnesota politicians. State law mandates only minimal release of economic interests.

In 2013, when Dayton released his tax information, Republican candidates for governor Kurt Zellers, Jeff Johnson and Scott Honour largely followed suit. They are expected to do so again this year.

Zellers’ spokeswoman Caitlyn Stenerson said he will not release his until post-primary because getting them ready would take too much precious time during the heated run-up to the August 12 election.

GOP candidate Marty Seifert declined to release his tax information last year and did so again this year.

"I don't think our income tax return is anyone's business, but can assure you our household income is less than the other GOP candidates and much less than Governor Dayton," Seifert said in a statement.

The four Republicans will vie in an August primary. The winner of that contest will face Dayton in the fall.

 

2013 Tax Returns by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Updated

GOP's Johnson expected to be 'back to normal health' in a few days

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 22, 2014 - 4:40 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is expected to be "back to normal health in a matter of days," according to information released by his campaign Tuesday.

On Monday, Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, went to urgent care with stomach pain and doctors quickly determined he needed surgery. He was taken to Maple Grove Hospital where surgeons repaired "a small perforation" in his stomach.

His campaign quoted Maple Grove Hospital's Megan Fasching as saying that the condition from which Johnson suffered, a peptic ulcer, was fairly common.

"He tolerated the surgery well and is on the road to recovery. He should be back to normal health in a matter of days with no long term effects," Fasching said.

His campaign said he would be back on the trail soon.

Johnson faces a four-way primary in August against former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Rep. Kurt Zellers and Wayzata businessman Scott Honour.

Photo: Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research

GOP's Johnson underwent unexpected surgery for a 'perforated stomach'

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 21, 2014 - 7:27 PM

Republican candidate for governor Jeff Johnson on Monday underwent unexpected surgery for a perforation in his stomach.

According to his campaign and staff at Hennepin County, where he is a commissioner, Johnson had stomach pain on Monday morning and went to urgent care. Shortly thereafter doctors decided he would need immediate surgery and he was moved to Maple Grove Hospital.

During surgery, doctors found what his campaign said was a "small perforation in Jeff's stomach. The perforation was repaired." By Monday afternoon, Johnson was out of surgery and recovering. 

"Commissioner Johnson is in the Maple Grove Hospital and is expected to be there for about a week," according to an email from Hennepin County's director of public affairs Carolyn Marinan.

Gregg Peppin of the Johnson campaign said that Johnson had not previously had stomach problems.

The campaign cleared Johnson schedule for the rest of Monday and is expected to clear it for Tuesday. Peppin said the rest of the schedule is unclear.

He will have little time to recover before facing four-way Republican gubernatorial primary next month. On Aug, 12, he will vie against former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert and businessman Scott Honour.

Over the weekend, Johnson was on the campaign trail and tweeting about his activities.

Johnson's primary opponents wished him their best:

Gov. Mark Dayton began a Monday afternoon conference by wishing Johnson his best.

“I hope that he has a speedy and complete recovery,” Dayton said.

Johnson is not the only Minnesota candidate to have election year surgery.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton had hip surgery earlier this year to repair a detached tendon in his hip, one of three Mayo Clinic procedures he has had done since taking office four years ago. Back in 2006, when she was making her first run for office, Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar had two hip surgeries.

Updated

Democrats add Nolan to vulnerable incumbents list

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: July 21, 2014 - 9:37 AM

National Democrats are calling in reinforcements for U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s re-election campaign in the Eighth Congressional District.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has added Nolan to its Frontline program — a support system for House Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents.

Nolan returned to Congress in 2013 after a 32-year hiatus, defeating a first-term GOP incumbent to win the seat representing northeastern Minnesota.

Republicans are looking to flip the seat once again, returning it to GOP control. Their candidate is Republican Stewart Mills III, a vice president in his family’s Fleet Farm retail chain.

Mills has raised outraised Nolan in three of the last four fundraising cycles, but Nolan still holds an overall cash-on-hand advantage.

Mills has reached the top level of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns” candidate training program. As challengers ascend the ranks, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans.

The Rothenberg Political Report and Cook Political Report rate Nolan as a slight favorite to win re-election.

As Election Day nears, outside groups are expected to step up their spending in the race. In 2012, party committees and political action committees invested nearly $10 million in the Eighth District race. This year, conservative groups have already spent more than $500,000 backing Mills’ campaign.

Nolan’s assignment to the Frontline program will pair him with a familiar face: Fellow Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tim Walz chairs the initiative. As part of the effort, Nolan’s campaign will have to ramp up its fundraising, volunteer recruitment and online networking.

High-ranking Republicans back Mills, Westrom

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: July 16, 2014 - 3:12 PM

The Republican challengers in Minnesota’s two most competitive congressional races are attracting more donations from high-ranking members of Congress.

During the months of April, May and June, Eighth Congressional District candidate Stewart Mills III attracted contributions from the leadership PACs of new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference.

In the state's Seventh District, state Sen. Torrey Westrom picked up donations from the PACs of Scalise, Camp, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and outgoing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.

House Speaker John Boehner’s campaign committee also donated to the Mills and Westrom campaigns.

Westrom and Mills had the best fundraising stretches of their campaigns after the National Republican Congressional Committee promoted them to the top tier of its “Young Guns" program. The designation sends a signal to sitting members of Congress that the challengers are promising candidates.

The incumbents in the races, Democratic Reps. Rick Nolan in the Eighth and Collin Peterson in the Seventh, also had their best fundraising quarters of the election cycle and still hold cash-on-hand leads over their challengers.

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