WASHINGTON - Some of Minnesota's U.S.. House delegation crossed party lines to support a bill to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline Friday.
The Republican-sponsored legislation drew yes votes as expected from Minnesota's GOP representatives John Kline, Erik Paulsen and Tom Emmer. But a majority of the state's five Democratic representatives - Tim Walz, Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson - also vote yes. They were among 28 House Democrats who supported the bill, which passed 266-153.
In interviews with the Star Tribune, all three said they preferred to ship heavy crude oil squeezed from the tar sands of Canada by pipeline rather than by rail.
But Walz said the pipeline issue should not foreclose a push for more renewable energy sources.
"When you get mired in these issues that become political litmus tests instead of broader-based solutions, it causes you problems," he said. "What I've always said about Keystone is that the people selling it as pushing your gas prices going down are selling you a bill of goods. But those who say if we don't build Keystone, we will not get tar sands crude - that's not going to happen."
With some tar sands oil already being extracted and much more to come, "the question now is what is the safest way to move it," Nolan said.
Peterson had earlier predicted that President Obama would veto the Keystone bill if it passed the House and Senate. The president renewed that veto threat this week.
"I don't know if there will be enough votes to override a veto," Peterson said.
Democrats Betty McCollum of St. Paul and Keith Ellison of Minneapolis opposed the Keystone XL.
Candidates for governor, Senate and Congress have spent millions to get dozens of messages on television.
But, with Election Day nearly here, these are the words they really want you to remember.
Here are their final, closing argument television ads.
Republican Jeff Johnson
Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner raised in Detroit Lakes, tailored his final ads to three different parts of the state. In all three ads, Johnson is standing in a sun-dappled, tree stand.
"He's just not up to the job any more," Johnson says of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. "It's time for new leadership in Minnesota."
In two other ads, he claims that he, unlike Dayton, will focus on Greater Minnesota.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton
Dayton's final ad is called "Rising" and highlights the way his campaign believes the state is better since Dayton took office and will be even better if he wins again.
"Mark Dayton knows we have much more to do, to help struggling families, make college more affordable, and help small businesses grow," the narrator says. "Moving forward together."
Republican Mike McFadden
McFadden's final ad shows a contrast -- the country as it is, with the country as it could be.
"Everything is at stake," a narrator reads, as various scenes of Minnesota life flit by. "Our hopes, our dreams, our future....We can make America great again."
Democratic U.S. Al Franken
Franken's final ad, called "Delivered," uses quotations from newspaper editorial endorsements to promote the candidate.
"Newspapers across Minnesota back Al Franken," the ad's narrator says. Video of Franken meeting with various people shows as different voices read selections from the pro-Franken endorsements.
Eighth Congressional District
Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan
Nolan, fighting to keep his northern Minnesota district, closed his campaign with an ad that shows him speaking to a crowd and going hunting. Against that backdrop, Nolan gives his enthusiastic stump speech.
"It's time to do what's right for the middle class," Nolan says in the ad.
Republican Stewart Mills
In Mills final ad, he speaks directly to the camera and makes the ask for viewers' votes.
"Minnesota is my home," he says in the ad, which includes childhood photos of Mills. "I'm Stewart Mills. I approved this message and I'd appreciate your vote."
More than $12 million has already been spent to sway the outcome of Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District election.
The vast majority, almost $9 million, has come from outside groups.
The parties, the PACs the interest groups have poured on the cash to re-elect Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan or replace him with Republican challenger Stewart Mills.
The result is that viewers of Eighth District television could see more than 100 ads in the district during the final week -- as well as dozens from supporters and the candidates for U.S. Senate, governor and down ticket races. There are so many ads flooding the northern Minnesota district that television stations are increasing the cost of ads.
Only some of those ads will be directly from U.S. House candidates. Both Nolan and Mills have raised significant cash but neither can compete with the horde of interest groups making their wishes known.
The outside money has largely gone to tear down Nolan and Mills. According to public data, groups have spent $4 million to oppose Mills and almost $3.5 million to oppose Nolan.
With expenditures of $3 million and $2.4 million, respectively, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee are the biggest investors in the district's outcome.
The Rothenberg Political Report recently changed its rating of the race to "Toss-up/Tilt Democrat".
Here's a look at the candidates' fundraising:
With fundraising numbers in for U.S. House candidates, the disparities in fundraising are clear.
Incumbents, in both contested and safer seats, have far more cash at the ready for the final stretch before the election.
Explore the congressional map below to view the candidates' campaign cash.
Hover over the chart below to see the candidates' hauls arranged, by district.
Alejandra Matos contributed to this report.
|Vikings (7)||Health care (1)|
|1st District (163)||2nd District (164)|
|3rd District (124)||4th District (100)|
|5th District (179)||6th District (561)|
|Funding (673)||Health care (257)|
|Minnesota U.S. senators (648)||Minnesota campaigns (1627)|
|Minnesota congressional (881)||Minnesota governor (1798)|
|Minnesota legislature (2194)||Minnesota state senators (903)|
|National campaigns (512)||President Obama (432)|
|State budgets (895)||Celebrities (1)|
|Anoka (1)||Fridley (1)|
|2012 Presidential election (325)||7th District (123)|
|8th District (243)||NHL news (1)|
|Gov. Tim Pawlenty (456)||Political ads (126)|
|Recount (98)||Gov. Mark Dayton (1406)|
|Democrats (1309)||Republicans (1500)|
|Morning Hot Dish newsletter (188)||Sept11 (1)|
|Public safety (2)||Marriage Amendment News (1)|
|Voter ID News (2)||Budget news (4)|