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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Franken backs Ebola travel ban with exception for U.S. aid workers

Posted by: Abby Simons under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 29, 2014 - 1:24 PM

With days to go until the election, U.S. Sen. Al Franken on Wednesday said that a proposed travel ban to and from Ebola-stricken west African nations, should be extended to third-party countries for travelers not on direct flights, with special considerations for U.S. aid workers.

“I believe that we should have a travel ban on people who are coming from those third (party) countries who aren’t U.S. citizens and who aren’t medical personnel who are doing that work,” Franken told reporters after a Minnesota DFL Get Out the Vote event.  “I think that makes sense but that’s insufficient because most of the people coming from those three countries are U.S. citizens and of course we want to incentivize people do to that work and we want them to be able to come back.”

Franken applauded Gov. Mark Dayton’s Ebola restrictions, which requires a 21-day home quarantine for health workers returning to Minnesota after treating afflicted patients.

Franken’s opponent, Republican businessman Mike McFadden, who supports a travel ban, has repeatedly hammered Franken over Ebola, alleging a lack of leadership, and barraging voters with mailers and phone calls regarding Franken’s early departure from a congressional Ebola hearing last month.

Yesterday the McFadden campaign launched a radio advertisement featuring audio from last Sunday’s debate on WCCO TV when Franken struggled to say whether he supported a travel ban, finally saying that he had “nothing against it” but that he believed it would be insufficient because the majority of travelers from West Africa don’t fly directly to the United States.
 

DSCC job? 'No,' says Franken. 'I haven't even considered that,' says Klobuchar

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Democrats Updated: October 29, 2014 - 2:15 PM

Minnesota's U.S. Senators, both mentioned by the National Journal as possible future chairs of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, did not cozy up to the possibility on Wednesday.

"They can do whatever they like," Sen. Al Franken said of the National Journal's speculative piece. Asked if he was interested in the job, he said, directly:  "No."

Sen. Amy Klobuchar was not quite as dismissive but did not confirm any interest.

"I am focused on this election," she said as she and other Democrats set off from the Minnesota Capitol to campaign.

"I haven't even considered that," she said.

Although, when asked, Franken denied any interest in the gig heading up Democratic senators' campaign arm, Franken challenger Mike McFadden's campaign sought to bash Franken because of the National Journal mention.

"Senator Franken has repeatedly denied his partisan nature, but the fact of the matter is that by Franken’s own admission, he is seeking the ‘most partisan’ job in the Senate,” McFadden said in a new release Wednesday morning.

Franken has never said he is seeking the DSCC job and confirmed on Wednesday that he is not.

Photo: U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and other Democrats as rallied before campaigning across the state.

Updated

More than $780,000 in late money raining on Minnesota campaigns

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Minnesota legislature, National campaigns, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 29, 2014 - 11:25 AM

In the last week, more than $780,000 has refueled Minnesota's political campaigns, much of it to influence the heated contest for control of the Minnesota House.

WIN Minnesota, a funding arm of the Democratic Alliance for a Better Minnesota, has received almost $142,000 since Oct. 21. Most of that money has come from unions.

The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, which has campaigned to win a Republican House, has brought in more than $110,000 in that same time period. The coalition's largest contributor was the Republican State Leadership Committee, which focused on legislative races. The RSLC gave the group $75,000.

Other outside groups, largely ones that support Democrats, are bringing late cash to bear in Minnesota.

A host of union-driven organizations has seen more than $300,000 flow into their coffers of late. Many of those donations came from the union's parent organizations. Among them:

Education Minnesota, which generally spends more on elections than any other Minnesota union, notified the state it brought in $100,000.

Public Safety Matters received more than $110,000, including $75,000 from WIN Minnesota.

The Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund brought in a $108,000 check from its related organization.

The two men who would be governor are also making late fundraising pushes.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton received $28,000 in large donations since last Tuesday. Republican Jeff Johnson received $22,500.

In a fundraising pitch sent on Tuesday, Johnson told Republicans in a video he needed $50,000 for Greater Minnesota radio ads and $75,000 to complete his digital campaign plans.

In the text of the appeal, Johnson told supporters: "Don't let the Democrat driven media fool you -- this election is going to come down to the wire."

Asked to delineate the specific complaints against the media and the media-controlling Democrats to which the appeal referred, Johnson spokesman Jeff Bakken declined.

Instead he said, "This is a fundraising email to Republicans and our donors. Jeff's comments in the video and note speak for themselves."

Democrats start final sprint to Election Day at State Capitol rally

Posted by: Patrick Condon under Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature, Democrats, Republicans Updated: October 29, 2014 - 10:52 AM

Minnesota's top Democrats gathered in front of the Capitol Wednesday morning to launch a six-day, 31-stop bus tour of the state that's aimed at firing up the party's supporters and motivating them to vote next Tuesday. 

Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken, both of whom face voters next week, joined with the party's other statewide candidates, members of Congress and congressional candidates, legislators, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and party and union activists. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, not on the ballot this year, teased her colleague Franken, whom recent polls have shown sitting on a comfortable lead over GOP challenger Mike McFadden. 

"The latest polls have him not 10 votes ahead, but 10 points ahead," Klobuchar said, a reference to Franken's razor-thin win in 2008, which led to a months-long recount and lawsuit. 

Dayton's running mate, Tina Smith, related a discussion the two had a day earlier about the governor's view of where his race against Republican Jeff Johnson sits in its final days. Smith said Dayton often jokes that she's "hope" and he's "reality."

"I said, 'how do you feel?'" Smith said. "And he said, I feel like it's a hockey game, and I'm the goalie, and we're one point ahead and we've got two minutes, and anything could happen."

The red, white and blue bus chartered by the party has a busy schedule of stops in the coming days, with rallies on Wednesday alone in Mankato, Albert Lea, Rochester and Winona. Ensuing days bring stops throughout the state, as statewide, congressional and legislative candidates take turns participating.

Minnesota Republicans are not mounting a similar bus tour, but state GOP chairman Keith Downey said on Tuesday that its candidates would be canvassing the state in the coming days and at times making joint appearances, as well as appearing with local legislative candidates. 

Johnson campaigned Wednesday morning at a suburban bus rapid transit station, and had plans to do retail campaining later in the day in New Ulm, Fairmont and Worthington. McFadden is campaigning in Duluth with Becky Hall, a local state House candidate. 

Westrom and McFadden tour Seventh Congressional District

Posted by: Glen Stubbe Updated: October 29, 2014 - 10:12 AM

Torrey Westrom and Mike McFadden listened to veterans describe problems at the Veterans Administration and how they found help at Eagle's Healing Nest, a veteran's community in Sauk Center. 

Mike McFadden and Torry Westrom appeared with Dan “Ox” Ochsner, host of KNSI’s Ox in the Afternoon in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  

Torrey Westrom and Mike McFadden toured Douglas Machine in Alexandria, Minnesota.  His campaign manager Liz Gorham described the scene to Westrom.

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