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 Democrats

Candidates for governor hit State Fair on opening day, spar over debates

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 21, 2014 - 12:41 PM

The two leading candidates for governor fulfilled a long tradition of politicking at the Minnesota State Fair, showing up on opening day to ask for votes and take a few swipes at one another. 

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton called the Fair "a great Minnesota tradition" -- and an ideal spot for candidates. "You stand in one place and the rest of the state comes passing by," Dayton said. 

The governor shook hands, posed for pictures and chatted with supporters for about 45 minutes at the DFL booth. Later in the day he was scheduled to be doused with a bucket of ice water while live on the radio, after accepting the "ice bucket challenge" - a fundraiser for ALS that has been popular and high-profile nationwide in recent days. 

Meanwhile, Johnson kicked off the first of what he said would be at least 10 State Fair appearances with a press conference at his campaign booth. He challenged Dayton to 13 debates between now and Election Day, and suggested that two should be held at the Fair. 

The Dayton campaign had previously agreed to six debates, and said it would not go beyond that. Johnson said that's not enough. There has been a tradition of political debates at the Fair, and Johnson called it the perfect setting to talk issues. 

"You'll not find a broader cross section of Minnesotans than at the State Fair," Johnson said. 

 

But Dayton pointed out that his predecessor, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, participated in seven debates as a candidate in 2002 and six debates as an incumbent in 2006. He said that would be plenty for voters to draw distinctions between himself and Johnson. 

 

"It's a contrived issue. I think he should focus on things people really care about," Dayton said. 

 The six debates the Dayton campaign agreed to are: Oct. 1 in Rochester, the week of Oct. 6 in Moorhead, Oct. 14 in Duluth, the week of Oct. 20 in Minneapolis or St. Paul, Oct. 31 in St. Paul and Nov. 2 in St. Paul. 

Johnson said if six debates are all that Dayton agrees to, then he'll be there as well. 

Johnson said he'd be at the Fair on at least 10 of its 12 days, sometimes for multiple visits. Dayton, too said he'd make multiple visits to the Fair. He has plans to be back Friday for several Fair events. 

Candidates flock to Minnesota State Fair

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 21, 2014 - 9:38 AM

Today marks the beginning of the Minnesota State Fair, a perennial stop for candidates to shake lots of hands, pitch their platforms and feast on fatty foods.

Today at noon, Gov. Mark Dayton will sit down with Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist Lori Sturdevant for a live interview at the Star Tribune Booth. Dayton's Republican opponent, Jeff Johnson, is also working the fair crowds this morning.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken greeted fairgoers as the gates opened. Franken’s Republican challenger, Mike McFadden, stopped by to challenge him to six debates this fall.

According to a release from the McFadden campaign, three of the proposed debates would be broadcast on either television or radio from the Twin Cities, while the remaining debates would take place in Duluth, Rochester, and Moorhead.

Franken declined an invitation from Minnesota Public Radio to debate his Republican and Independence Party challengers at the state fair.

A version of this item appeared in Morning Hot Dish, the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

ABC News lists Mills, Westrom among 'most interesting' Republican House candidates

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 20, 2014 - 4:01 PM

The congressional campaigns of Republicans Stewart Mills III and Torrey Westrom are picking up more national attention.

An ABC News piece on the five “most interesting” 2014 GOP U.S. House candidates features Mills, labeled the “Republican Brad Pitt,” and Westrom, whom the piece dubbed “the sightless [state] senator who’s never lost an election.”

Mills is challenging Democrat Rick Nolan in the Eighth District and Westrom faces Democrat Collin Peterson in the Seventh District.

Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ran a story on the Westrom-Peterson race Tuesday suggesting this could be the toughest re-election race yet for Peterson, who’s seeking a 13th term in Congress.

This item originally appeared in the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

McFadden teams with national, Minnesota Republicans on fundraising

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 20, 2014 - 1:03 PM

U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden has partnered with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican Party of Minnesota to create McFadden Minnesota Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee for his campaign against Democratic incumbent Al Franken.

Joint fundraising committees have become more popular since the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission found that donors were no longer bound by overall limits on how much they could donate to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

Federal law still limits how much donors can give to each individual candidate and party, but donors can give to as many candidates and parties as they like. So teaming up to raise money with like-minded groups and candidates has become more lucrative.

Franken has several joint fundraising committees, including Franken MVPs -- a collaboration between his campaign and his Midwest Values PAC -- and Franken Senate Victory 2014 -- a partnership with the Minnesota DFL Party.

This item originally appeared in the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

Thousands of state legislators from around U.S. in Minneapolis

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 19, 2014 - 3:32 PM

Somewhere around 5,000 state legislators and legislative staffers from around the United States have gathered in Minneapolis this week to talk policy and politics. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures kicked off its 40th annual "Legislative Summit" on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It's by far the largest nationwide organization representing state lawmakers from all 50 states. 

A number of prominent Minnesota legislators from both parties are hosting events and participating in discussions at the four-day meeting, including state Senate president Sandy Pappas, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to offer welcoming remarks at a general assembly meeting on Wednesday morning. 

Hundreds of sessions will cover a wide range of policy concerns and political issues. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is scheduled to join Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain, to discuss an initiative they're leading to reduce human trafficking in the U.S.

Other speakers include retired Gen. Wesley Clark, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and national political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the bestselling books "Game Change" and "Double Down."

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