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 Recount

Minnesota turkeys win White House pardons

Posted by: Jennifer Brooks Updated: November 27, 2013 - 1:40 PM

The people have spoken, and Popcorn is America's turkey.

President Obama officially pardoned the Minnesota-born bird Wednesday afternoon. Popcorn edged out flockmate Caramel in a popularity contest, after the White House turned the job of choosing the official National Thanksgiving Turkey over to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"The office of the presidency -- the most powerful position in the world -- brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities. This is not one of them," joked the president, who was joined by daughters Sasha and Malia for the annual rite. "Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey. Especially at a house with two dogs. So I salute our two guests of honor -- Caramel and Popcorn -- for their bravery."

The people had spoken -- for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn -- and Popcorn, a splendid white puffball, carried the day.

"The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics," Obama said. "As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign."

Caramel may have lost the popularity contest, but he won a pardon anyway. The big birds will spend the rest of the holidays at George Washington's home, on display as part of the annual Christmas at Mount Vernon celebration. Then they'll retire to Morven Park’s Turkey Hill Farm in Leesburg, Va.

John Burkel of Badger, Minn., chairman of thee National Turkey Federation, raised Caramel, Popcorn and Minnesota's official Thanksgiving turkey (who ended up in a St. Paul Salvation Army kitchen.) The birds' names were chose by Roseau County schoolchildren and a group of Badger High School students joined Burkel at the White House Wednesday.

As Obama pardoned the birds, he announced that two replacement turkeys, already dressed, would be donated to a nearby Washington, D.C., food shelf.

"Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing. We wish you well," he said.  "And we’re going to give Carmel a break as well."

Franken + Coleman + airplane + Twitter

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: November 26, 2013 - 3:27 PM

First in, first out. DFL Secretary of State candidate ends her campaign

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 2, 2013 - 3:20 PM

Rachel Bohman jumped into the Secretary of State's race within an hour after DFL Secretary Mark Ritchie said he would not run for a third term.

Now, two months later, she is dropping out.

Bohman, who ran some of the state's larger local election offices, said the "huge personal commitment" of a statewide race simply did not fit with her desire to care for her young family.

Rachel Bohman in 2012

Rachel Bohman in 2012

"Now is not the right time for me to seek the office of Secretary of State," she said. "We will be fortunate to have a solid field of DFL candidates and I am confident that we are stronger in holding this seat and building on the legacy of Secretary Mark Ritchie if we unite as a party as soon as possible."

Bohman said that she does not plan on endorsing any of the other candidates in the race or thinking about running and plans on returning any financial contributions she received.

State Rep. Debra Hilstrom and former Rep. Jeremy Kalin, both DFLers, have filed campaign committees to run for Secretary of State. Several other Democrats and Republicans are considering running for the seat two-term Secretary Ritchie will leave open.

Coleman sees Hollywood debt in Michelle Obama Oscar turn

Posted by: Updated: February 25, 2013 - 5:54 PM
Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, taking note of First Lady Michelle Obama’s video turn as an Oscar presenter for Sunday night’s Academy Awards, revived the familiar Republican meme about Hollywood and liberals.
 
“The fact is that the president and the First Lady owe Hollywood so much,” Coleman told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday afternoon, echoing a sub-theme of his loss to Saturday Night Live performer Al Franken in the 2008 Senate race.
 
Coleman, however, apparently thought better of pressing the attack any further on one of the most popular women in America. “For her to go on,” he continued, “I’m sure everyone was very, very happy. I’m not going to criticize the First Lady. She’s very, very popular, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Franken looking strong in 2014 re-election bid

Posted by: Updated: January 22, 2013 - 3:09 PM
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, widely seen as a top GOP target in 2014, starts the next political cycle with no clear opponent and a 6 to 14 point lead over four potential challengers, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.
 
The poll finds Franken with a 52 percent approval rating among Minnesota voters, with 41 percent registering disapproval. (The numbers generally break down along party lines, with 89 percent of Democrats approving, 83 percent of Republicans disapproving).
 
More significant to Franken’s fortunes may be what the pollsters called a “weak Republican bench” in Minnesota.
 
In a study of hypothetical match-ups, Franken leads former Sen. Norm Coleman (who has said he’s not running) by 6 points (50 to 44), Rep. John Kline by 8 points (49 to 41), Rep. Erik Paulsen by 11 points (50 to 39), and Rep. Michele Bachmann by 14 points (54 to 40).
 
Even more significant, Bachmann, who did the worst of anyone the pollsters tested against Franken, emerges as the top choice of GOP voters in Minnesota to take him on next year.
 
Among Republicans, 45 percent – far and away the most – say they would like her to be their candidate. That compares to 19 percent for Kline, 11 percent for Paulsen, 4 percent for U. of M. regent and former state Rep. Laura Brod, and 2 percent for Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
 
(Recently defeated U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack was the favorite of 13 percent of Republicans, but he has signaled that he is moving to be with his family in New Hampshire).
 
A Franken-Bachmann match-up might be the most interesting from a spectator’s point of view, and both have shown themselves to be prodigious fundraisers. Franken, however, would start with a distinct advantage. Only 35 percent of voters in the state have a positive opinion of Bachmann, compared to 59 percent who see her in a negative light.
 
“The desire of Minnesota Republicans to nominate Bachmann suggests they didn't learn much from their failures last year,” the pollsters said.
 
Of course it’s still early. At this time in 2007, Franken had yet to announce his 2008 candidacy. And when he won after a long recount, it was scarcely by 312 votes. But given his current standing versus Coleman, he’s basically 6 points stronger than he was in 2008.
 
However the pundits slice it, Public Policy Polling concluded: “Al Franken does not appear to be among the more vulnerable incumbent Senators next year.”

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