Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen has netted a Democratic challenger.
Democrat Sharon Sund, who ran for the DFL endorsement in the Third Congressional District in 2012, announced her campaign on Thursday.
National Democrats had eyed Paulsen's seat for possible pick up because it is one of the few seats across the country held by a Republican where President Obama bested Republican Mitt Romney.
In 2012, Obama won 49.5 percent of the vote, to Romney's 48.65 percent in the suburban district. That year, Paulsen won re-election with 58 percent of the vote.
Sund, a DFL activist who has worked in science-related jobs for big Minnesota businesses, said in a release: "I’m running for Congress because Minnesota’s families deserve a thriving economy that rewards hard work and innovation."
When she ran in 2012, local DFL activists picked Brian Barnes to run instead and she dropped out.
Paulsen has already built up a considerable war chest to fend off any challengers. According to his most recent campaign finance report, he had $1.7 million cash on hand.
A conservative advocacy group led by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman will spend $50,000 on television ads targeting Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan.
The American Action Network ad highlights proposed Obama administration cuts to the Medicare Advantage program that could lead to higher health care costs and reduced services for seniors.
The ads are a part of a $1 million campaign targeting vulnerable Democrats around the country. The anti-Nolan commercials begin airing this weekend in northern Minnesota.
In the 30-second spot, three people sit in the waiting room of a doctor’s office as President Obama appears on a television saying, “Nobody is talking about reducing Medicare benefits.”
As an image of Nolan appears, a female narrator cuts in to say: “We know that’s not true because, for the second year in a row, the Obama administration has proposed deep rate cuts to the Medicare Advantage seniors rely on. So call Representative Nolan and tell him to fight the president’s April 7 Medicare Advantage cuts.”
Noting that Nolan has co-sponsored several bills in the past year designed to improve Medicare, spokesman Steve Johnson dismissed the ad as misleading.
“Please know that I will oppose any plan or budget deal that privatizes, reduces, or in any way compromises this successful and necessary program or the benefits it provides,” Nolan said in a statement.
Republican congresswoman Rep. Michele Bachmann will speak at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in suburban Washington, D.C., this weekend.
She’ll share the stage Saturday morning with Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin.
Bachmann’s speech at the 2013 conference drew national headlines and scrutiny from fact checkers.
In the days after her remarks, The Washington Post’s Fact Checker column awarded her eight “Pinocchios” – four for her claims about the federal food stamp programs and four more for claims about President Obama’s White House budget, which she said was filled with “perks and excess.”
Hosted by the American Conservative Union, the three-day conference showcases tea party activists, conservative opinion leaders and prospective GOP presidential candidates.
Bachmann has addressed CPAC events every year since 2010, often using the platform to criticize the Obama administration. Last year, she claimed that Obama went “AWOL” after a deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya on September11, 2012.
Bachmann was one of just 15 House lawmakers to earn a 100 percent on the American Conservative Union’s recently released 2013 scorecard, a tool used to inform conservative voters about members of Congress.
Bachmann won’t be the only Minnesota lawmaker addressing the conference.
State Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley, has a midday Friday speaking slot, according to the event schedule.
The Republican-led House of Representatives voted Wednesday to delay the tax penalty Americans will pay under President Obama’s healthcare law if they decline to sign up for coverage this year.
The bill passed with support from 27 Democrats, including Minnesota congressmen Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson, backing the legislation.
The individual mandate requires most Americans to be enrolled in health coverage by March 31 or pay a tax penalty. The House legislation would delay the fine for one year.
The bill is expected to stall in the Democratic-controlled Senate and would face a White House veto even if it succeeded.
Peterson, a conservative Democrat, has voted for similar measures before.
The Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee chaired by former Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, pounced on Nolan’s vote, calling it an “election year conversion.”
“He thinks he can pull a fast one on Minnesotans, right? With this vote, he’ll show them that he’s now protecting individuals from Obamacare, right?” an email from the political action committee read. “Except Minnesotans already know that Rick Nolan is an entrenched supporter of the health care law.”
Supporters of the GOP bill argue that individual consumers should be granted a delay because the Obama administration has postponed the implementation of several Affordable Care Act provisions that apply to businesses.
“No American should have to pay a penalty simply because the roll out of the Affordable Care Act has been so confusing. Moreover, if you’re going to give an exemption to businesses, you should also give an exemption to individuals. It’s only fair,” Nolan said in a statement. “We need to take the time to fix the enrollment glitches and get this right – and in the meantime allow the American people the common sense flexibility this one year delay provides.”
A bill that would allow Minnesota to join the states that want to change the way the U.S. president is elected advanced in a Senate subcommittee Monday.
The Subcommittee on Elections of the Senate Rules Committee approved the measure on a mixed voice vote, sending it to the full Rules Committee.
Sponsored by Sen. Ann Rest, DFL-New Hope, the bill is aimed at having the U.S. president elected by national popular vote rather than by a vote of the electoral college. It would do so by having states agree to award their electoral college votes to the winner of the national election. Currently 48 states award all electors to the candidate who wins the most vote in that state.
Supporters say the bill would end the threat of the 2nd place finisher in the popular vote winning the presidency, such as occurred in 2000, and would ensure that candidates compete for all votes, and not just in selected “battleground states.”
Ten states have passed the National Popular Vote law, but it would not go into effect until states with a majority of electoral votes have signed on, supporters say.
Opponents on the committee questioned whether such a change would affect the way presidential elections are run. Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, a former Secretary of State, raised fears of multi-state recounts if the national election total was too close to call. Under the electoral college system, she said, such recounts are limited to a few states.
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