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 campaigns

Survey USA poll shows Dayton, Franken leading GOP challengers

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 26, 2014 - 8:03 PM

Both Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken are leading their Republican challengers, Jeff Johnson and Mike McFadden, in a new poll released this week. 

The SurveyUSA poll was commissioned by KSTP-TV. The poll of 600 likely voters was taken Aug. 8-21. 

In the governor's race, DFLer Dayton led Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, 49 percent to 40 percent. Hannah Nicollet, the Independence Party's candidate, had support from 3 percent of respondents, while 5 percent were undecided.

Franken is sitting on an even wider lead over McFadden, a first-time candidate. Franken, first elected by an extremely thin margin in 2008, is backed by 51 percent of respondents compared to 42 percent for McFadden. The Independence Party's Steve Carlson was backed by 2 percent while 3 percent were undecided. 

The margin of sampling error in both cases was plus or minus 4.1 percent. 

Franken's approval rating in the poll was 56 percent positive, while 35 percent disapproved of his performance. But the news wasn't all good for Democrats: the poll found that 52 percent disapprove of President Barack Obama's performance, while just 38 percent approve. The margin of error in those cases was plus or minus 3.7 percent. 

$534K subsidy headed to DFL's Dayton campaign; GOP's Johnson to get $389K

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 26, 2014 - 2:23 PM

The state of Minnesota will help underwrite DFL Gov. Mark Dayton's re-election bid to the tune of $534,000 and give Republican challenger Jeff Johnson a nearly $400,000 cash boost.

Both gubernatorial hopefuls agreed to abide by spending limits and proved they gathered sufficient financial support from Minnesota donors in order to qualify for the state subsidy payments for their campaigns.

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board on Tuesday released the information about the exact subsidy amounts the candidates for governor would receive.

It said the Independence Party candidate for governor, Hannah Nicollet, will not get a subsidy. But 236 other candidates for constitutional office or Minnesota House will be getting subsidies.

Read the list and the amounts below:

2014 Primary Public Subsidy Payments by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

GOP demands apology for 2012 Franken video; maintains party did not approach MacDonald

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: August 25, 2014 - 1:18 PM

One day after Republican Congressional candidate Jim Hagedorn apologized for a series of blog posts written years ago that lambasted women, American Indians, gays and national political figures, Minnesota GOP leaders called on the state’s DFL party chair to apologize for a 2012 video in which Sen. Al Franken was shown appearing to sport a pair of traffic cones as breasts. The video came to light earlier this year.

The news conference also ended abruptly when State Republican Party Chair Keith Downey walked out when asked to clarify whether the party approached endorsed Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald and asked her to renounce her endorsement.

“If you had to stack up the politicians in Minnesota, Al Franken would be at the top of the list for those who have issued offensive comments or actions,” Downey said at a news conference Monday morning. “It is time for him to apologize for those, and it is time for Democrat chairman Ken Martin to call on him to apologize as well.”

Martin condemned Hagedorn’s remarks as “outrageous and offensive,” but he wasn’t alone. Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also called on Hagedorn to apologize, saying “His writings do not reflect Minnesota values.”

Hagedorn, who initially defended his remarks, apologized Sunday.

In an open letter to Martin, Republican Minnesota state Sen. Michelle Fischbach and Reps. Marion O’Neill, Joyce Peppin, Cindy Pugh and Peggy Scott demanded the apology, saying “This wasn’t some ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit from yesteryear—this video was from an event in 2012.”

“I am so offended, not only this but his pattern of behavior to degrade women and to put women down,” said O’Neill, who along with Scott joined Downey at the news conference. “We are in 2014. I think it’s time to apologize, And it’s time to move forward and it’s time to stop this terrible behavior.”

Downey said that when the video first surfaced in 2012, the Republicans. “brought it to light a number of times” through social media, but never demanded an apology until Martin called on Hagedorn to do so.
“The hypocrisy jumped out at us, so today is the day,” he said, adding that “the standard has been set” with Hagedorn’s apology.

Scott called Hagedorn’s apology, which also lashed out at Franken, “sincere and heartfelt,”

“I think he genuinely is apologetic and remorseful about the comments that he made,” she said.

The news conference ended abruptly when Downey refused to discuss the latest developments surrounding GOP-endorsed Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald, who awaits trial next month for charges of drunken driving and resisting arrest.

MacDonald, who was barred from the party’s State Fair booth and removed by security last week, said she was approached by a party representative and asked to reject her endorsement, but refused. The same day, Downey issued a letter blasting MacDonald. A Republican party spokeswoman denied MacDonald was approached on behalf of the party.

However, text messages and voicemails obtained by politics.mn indicate attorney Patrick Burns approached MacDonald on behalf of the GOP.

"I have a deal from the party for you" one of the text messages read, according to the website.

Asked about the text messages and phone call, Downey maintained that the state GOP did not approach MacDonald with the request to reject the endorsement. Asked whether Burns was not telling the truth, Downey walked out without comment as reporters continued asking questions.

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.


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