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 National campaigns

Tea Party leaders call GOP Senate candidate a "phony" and "fraud"

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: March 30, 2014 - 12:01 PM

Tea Party leaders again took aim at GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden calling him a "phony" and a "fraud" in a podcast that aired Wednesday.

McFadden, running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken, is continuing to claim that MSNBC host Chris Matthews attacked him on a cable news show last week even though the network confirmed Matthews was talking about Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick.

In a fundraising email, still running on Facebook, McFadden says Matthews is attacking him -- something Minnesota Tea Party Alliance leaders Jack Rogers and Jake Duesenberg called disingenuous.

"This guy is a fraud. He's an absolute fraud," Duesenberg said on his Living Free podcast. "They just need some people like us to expose this behavior, which isn't only Mike McFadden's campaign, this happens all over the United States, this happens time and time again." 

McFadden's campaign manager Brad Herold declined to comment Saturday.

This adds to the apparent trouble McFadden's camp is having with the Tea Party. The same leaders earlier this month railed on the businessman for declining speaking invitations. 

Heartland campaign PAC created to go after Franken

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: March 21, 2014 - 6:38 PM


Some of the well-funded groups Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken has long warned his supporters were coming to attack him may actually be materializing.

This week, the Federal Elections Commissioner posted the registration of the Heartland Campaign Fund, a Super PAC, registered in St. Paul.

Greg Johnson, of St. Paul's Weber Johnson Public Affairs and the PAC's treasurer, said in an email that: “Minnesota voters have an important decision to make on the re-election of Al Franken. The Heartland Campaign Fund intends to engage in a dialogue with voters over the course of the election year.”

He told Bloomberg News, which first spotted the PAC's filing, that it would focus on "Franken’s failed record."

Johnson's name, however, is a familiar one in Minnesota politics. He has long been a Republican operative and activist. He has been treasurer of Minnesota's Future, a Minnesota-based independent spending committee that spent almost $1.5 million on state races in 2012 to elect Republicans and an equal amount in 2010.

Heartland's creation is the first sign that national spending may be ramped up to take down Franken, who won his first race by a razor thin, recount inducting margin.

Franken has long told backers that he would be targeted.

"We've always known that special interests were going to come after Sen. Franken and that this would be a tight race," said Alexandra Fetissoff, Franken campaign spokeswoman.

Several Republicans are running against Franken.

14031200139 by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Hearing check: Was Chris Matthews talking about McFadden or Fitzpatrick?

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: March 21, 2014 - 1:41 PM

"Chris Matthews Attacks Mike McFadden," Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden said in a fundraising email.

But Matthews, a prominent MSNBC host, actually didn't.

In the clip the McFadden campaign shared on YouTube, posted on its website and emailed to supporters, Matthews is talking about U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Pennsylvania, not the Minnesota Republican running against U.S. Sen. Al Franken, an MSNBC spokesperson confirmed. Even the YouTube generated transcript with the clip interpreted the name as "Mike Fitzpatrick."

Asked about McFaddenFitzpatrickghazigate, McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson insisted: "I hear McFadden."

A Matthews mention, particularly in a litany of "crazy right wing Christian nuts," might have been good for McFadden's fundraising. But it is not, in this case, the mention is not of McFadden.

See the full show here.

McFadden by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Republican US. Rep. Paulsen nets Democratic challenger

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: March 13, 2014 - 11:26 AM

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.

KSTP poll: Franken holds single digit leads over some Republican challengers

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: March 4, 2014 - 11:45 AM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken has single digit leads over some of his Republican opponents, a new KSTP/Survey USA poll found.

Franken, who won his first election by just a few hundred votes, had 8 percentage point leads over two of his challengers and a larger leads over four others.

Here are the numbers from the pollster:

  • "Franken 50%, Republican Mike McFadden 40%.
  • Franken 50%, Republican Harold Shudlick 36%.
  • Franken 50%, Republican Monti Moreno 36%.
  • Franken 49%, Republican Julianne Ortman 41%
  • Franken 49%, Republican Chris Dahlberg 41%.
  • Franken 49%, Republican Jim Abeler 37%."

The same poll found that Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton with larger leads over his Republican opponents. According to the poll, Dayton had between 17 and 21 percentage point leads over the candidates seeking to oust him.

Methodology from the pollster:

"SurveyUSA interviewed 600 state of MN adults 02/25/14 through 02/27/14. Of the adults, 545 were registered to vote, and were asked about the election pairings. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (69% of registered voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (31% of registered voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device."

A separate Washington Post/ABC poll found that in states with U.S. Senate races this year, Republicans have an edge over Democrats.

Photo: A new generation voting machine being demonstrated



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