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 U.S. senators

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, John McCain introduce legislation to make importing Canadian pharmaceuticals easier

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 8, 2014 - 9:33 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sens. Amy Klobuchar and John McCain introduced legislation Tuesday that would allow people to import personal pharmaceutical drugs from Canada.

The Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act allows individuals to import cheaper drugs in the same dosage, form and potency as drugs in the United States. Americans spent an average of almost $1,000 per person per year on prescription drugs -- roughly 40 percent more than the next highest country.

"In Minnesota, we know that Canadians often pay much less for their prescription drugs, but current law prevents Americans from importing these cheapar alternatives and benefitting from these savings," Klobuchar said, in a written statement. "This bipartisan bill would ... inject new competition into the U.S. pharmaceutical market."

The likelihood of a big bill like this to pass the chamber at this late stage -- the Senate has just a little more than three working weeks ahead of the August recess -- is slim, though Klobuchar staffers said Tuesday they hoped to get something through in the lame duck session after the November election.

"This is a commonsense, bipartisan bill that would mean real savings for families and that's why Sen. McCain and I are going to continue to push to get this done," she said, in a statement. 

McFadden ad blossoms into 'groin gate'

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 7, 2014 - 4:33 PM

Allison Sherry and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s first broadcast ad, said to be in the six figures, blossomed into what some are dubbing “groin gate” in social media circles Monday.

The ad features McFadden coaching young boys football. One of the boys says, “Now Coach McFadden is the one running.” Another says, “Spending has to be stopped” and “Obamacare needs to be sacked.”

Then, McFadden shouts to the junior huddle, “Let’s go out and hit somebody!” and a little boy apparently goes for McFadden in a tackle and hits him below the waist. McFadden’s voice screeches up about six notches and he concludes the ad with “I’m Mike McFadden and I approve this message” all in the high-pitched voice.

The ad sparked chatter on Twitter Monday that it employed a hit to the groin in the first major ad buy of the campaign. (Notably: McFadden shares a media consultant with Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst, who won attention for featuring pig castration in an ad.)

The McFadden campaign spokesman Tom Erickson, however, denied the below-the-belt hit:

Erickson explained on Twitter that McFadden's high pitch post-hit, which led some to believe the hit was to the groin, happened because the wind was knocked out of him.

The candidate himself said he suffered for the ad:

The football kids in the ad are real children from the Mendota Heights Youth Athletic Association, Erickson said.

McFadden hopes to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Franken has spent more than $1.4 million on television so far in four ads. McFadden has had two other smaller ads, but this is his debut on broadcast television and the “Coach” ad is running in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Rochester, Fargo-Moorhead and Mankato.  

The ad will run on four stations, campaign officials said, though early Federal Communications Commission filings show about $40,000 worth of spending on KMSP and KSTP.

A previous cable ad featured a tale of McFadden taking his son's stitches out himself the doctor wanted to charge $100 for the procedure.

Here's the ad:

Former Gov. Quie backs Abeler in GOP U.S. Senate race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 7, 2014 - 1:50 PM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Abeler told supporters Monday that he had picked up the support of former Gov. Al Quie in his primary run against better funded Senate candidate Mike McFadden.

"Jim continues to connect with the people all across Minnesota," Abeler said in an email.

In the missive, Abeler notes that rival McFadden has cash and established support on his side. McFadden won the the GOP endorsement to vie against Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in May and has raised almost $3 million to Abeler's $112,000, as of their last reports.

But Abeler told supporters he sees 'shades of" the Virginia House race that saw U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's surprise upset to little funded upstart David Brat last month in Minnesota.

"Simply spending a lot of money does not assure a good outcome," Abeler said. "Wasted money in one campaign does mean that other campaigns, such as critical MN House seats or the governor's race risk becoming underfunded because of unnecessary resource drain."

Last month, Quie endorsed former House Rep. Marty Seifert in the governor's office. Seifert, like Abeler, is challenging the Republican party's endorsed candidate in the August primary. Four years ago, Quie, who served in the U.S. House from 1958 to 1978 and was governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Seifert and then Independence Party's Tom Horner for governor. The Horner backing got him banned from Republican Party activities for two years.

Photo: Jim Abeler and Al Quie//source: Jim Abeler for U.S. Senate campaign

GOP Senate hopeful Mike McFadden, Sen. Al Franken parade around in the 8th CD

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 3, 2014 - 11:31 AM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Al Franken and his GOP rival Mike McFadden are both decamped in the critical 8th Congressional District this holiday weekend riding Independence Day parade routes.

McFadden is fishing with four of his sons today on the Lake of the Woods in Baudette. On Friday, McFadden will walk in both the Delano and Walker Fourth of July parades and stop for lunch at the Old Creamery Cafe in Rice, where he will talk to voters "about what their frustration with Washington and what they're looking for in a U.S. Senator," campaign officials said.

Franken will walk parades in Aurora and Gilbert tonight and tomorrow will walk in the Eveleth, Tower, Ely and Biwabik parades, staffers said.

Both sides see the 8th CD as critical to a victory in November. It's known to be a swing district and subject to the whims of the national mood.

Obama defends record, tries to reignite Democrats

Posted by: Baird Helgeson Updated: June 27, 2014 - 1:50 PM

President Obama spent the second day of his visit Minnesota visit offering a strong defense of his record and spark some energy in Democrats as they head into a high-stakes election season.

“Your cares and your concerns are my own, and your hopes for your kids and your grandkids are my own,” he told a crowd of 2,000 people gathered at Lake Harriet on Friday. “And I’m always going to be working to restore the American Dream for everybody who’s willing to work for it.  And I am not going to get cynical; I’m staying hopeful, and I hope you do too.”

Obama is trying to keep the U. S. Senate in Democratic hands in the coming election. Losing the Senate would be a major blow to any accomplishments he hopes to achieve in the final two years of his term.

Republicans are trying to frame Obama as out of touch with average Americans and are highlighting new data showing sagging growth in the U.S. economy.

“Instead of coming to Minnesota to listen and consider a different approach on the struggling economy, it’s clear President Obama’s visit is all about doubling down on his failed, partisan agenda and pumping up Democrats ahead of a tough midterm election,” said Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Short.

Republicans have also tried to highlight that the Twin Cities mother who has come to embody the trip for the president had been a Democratic campaign worker in Washington state.

Obama came to Minnesota after Twin Cities’ mother Rebekah Erler wrote him a letter about the hardships of raising a family.

Obama had lunch with Erler on Thursday and sprinkled anecdotes through her life throughout her speech.

“It’s amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to,” she wrote to the president. “We’re a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”

Obama took that personal anecdote to make a larger statement about the country.

“And that describes the American people,” he said. “We, too, are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”

The President's Remarks at Lake Harriet Band Shell by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

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