WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar is heading to Iowa in August.
The senator has plans to campaign for Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley who is vying against GOP state Sen. Joni Ernst in an open seat.
A Klobuchar aide confirmed over the weekend that Minnesota's senior senator would be campaigning for Braley Aug. 23.
Iowa is the first-in-the-nation presidential primary contest, which always means the state is a veritable runway for presidential hopefuls and those with higher ambitions -- even in off-years.
The Iowa precinct caucuses are the first week of January in 2016.
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
While President Obama touted a middle class-centric economic agenda at Lake Harriet, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a few miles away focusing on voters that Democrats see as pivotal to their political success: women.
Pelosi, the former U.S. House speaker from San Francisco, participated in a discussion that's part of an economic agenda being promoted by House Democrats that they've dubbed "When Women Succeed, America Succeeds." It includes three principle policy goals: fair pay, paid leave and affordable child care options.
"What is the best thing we can do to grow our economy? Unleash the power of women in our economy," Pelosi told a group of about four dozen invited guests at Temple Israel in Minneapolis. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison joined Pelosi for the discussion, which also included several women who shared stories of challenges in the workforce.
House Democrats have held around 70 such sessions in recent months, with Pelosi participating in nearly 30 of them.
Both Obama and Pelosi attended a Thursday night fundraiser in Minneapolis for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which defends Democratic-held seats in the U.S. House and funds candidates trying to unseat Republicans.
Asked about U.S. House races in Minnesota this year, Pelosi said the top priority was holding on to seats of three Democratic incumbents in greater Minnesota: Rick Nolan in northeastern Minnesota, Collin Peterson in western Minnesota and Tim Walz in southern Minnesota. Ellison and Rep. Betty McCollum represent Minneapolis- and St. Paul-based districts with high numbers of Democrats.
Tyler Q. Houlton, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said Pelosi is "right to be worried about Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson's re-election chances in November. No amount of Pelosi's money will erase their long voting records."
The economic agenda laid out by Pelosi and Ellison is similar to a package of new laws that Minnesota legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton passed into law earlier this year. That package, called the "Women's Economic Security Act," included law changes meant to shrink pay differentials between men and women, and other changes intended to increase womens' earning power.
Pelosi praised the Minnesota effort, which becomes law next week, and said it should be a model for the Congress.
President Obama will land in Minnesota today at noon and stay through Friday.
Today, the president will arrive shortly after noon and participate in an invitation-only town hall at Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Park at 2:10 p.m.
At 7:30 p.m., he will attend a high-dollar fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at Sam and Sylvia Kaplan's Minneapolis home. The Kaplans have long been major Democratic donors and Obama appointed Sam Kaplan as U.S. ambassador to Morocco.
On Friday, Obama will speak about the economy at Minneapolis’ Lake Harriet Band Shell. The event is open to the public, but advance tickets are required.
The trip to the state will be Obama’s seventh, and his first overnight stay here as president. He also visited Minnesota three times as he campaigned for the office in 2008.
In this politically divided nation, even a striped cotton fabric can inflame ire.
Seersucker puckers passions as well as suits.
Congress has been caught up in the politics of seersucker as well. Back in 2012, the Senate discontinued its tradition of inviting all political stripes to don the stripes.
"Seersucker Thursday would have been on June 21," the Washington Post's Dana Milbank wrote two years ago, "but on the evening before, the Senate cloakroom’s staff notified members that the custom was being discontinued. (Sen. Trent) Lott’s former colleagues thought it would be politically unwise to be seen doing something frivolous when there’s so much conflict over major issues."
But this year, it came back, thanks to the efforts of Louisiana Rep. Bill Cassidy.
"It’s more than puckered striped suits—it’s Capitol Hill camaraderie,” he said in a statement.
We've surveyed folks on Twitter and found that seersucker gets an overwhelming "yes" among @RachelSB followers. See our complete poll below. You, too, can weigh in:
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