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 Republicans

DFL plans to spend more than $1 million on ads in the governor's race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: September 10, 2014 - 4:37 PM

The DFL Party plans to launch a major ad campaign starting next week to support Gov, Mark Dayton's re-election.

Ken Martin, DFL Party chair, said the party would spend more than $1 million on the ads. Martin would not say what message the ads contain.

"It’s a very significant buy," Martin said. "We haven’t seen anything from the other side yet in a real way. "

The DFL's $1 million ad buy is one of the single biggest ad campaigns the low-key governor's race has yet seen. There is little public sign that the state Republican Party, still paying off old debts, has plans for paid television ads.

Neither Dayton nor Republican challenger Jeff Johnson has yet aired any television ads, although the DFL governor has some ad reservations lined up for later this month. The anti-Dayton Freedom Club spent six figures on ads before the primary but went silent for a few weeks. Public documents indicate Freedom Club is ramping up for second ad campaign. The pro-Dayton Alliance for a Better Minnesota has also spent on ads.

Both of the two main contenders for the governor's post are furiously raising cash. According to reports filed this summer, Dayton had raised more than three times what Johnson had and had more than six times the cash banked than had his Republican rival.

Johnson faced a competitive primary in August and has been spending significant time raising money since his win.

On Tuesday, Martin also accused Johnson of being disingenuous about his connection to the Tea Party.

"This is a question of character," said Martin.

Martin said Johnson was trying to "reinvent" himself post-primary.

"It's the hypocrisy. It's the lying. It's the misleading," Martin said.

As proof, Martin shared a video of Johnson saying on Tuesday that he had not asked for the Tea Party's endorsement and questioning whether the Tea Party even endorses.

The DFL compared that to a video of Johnson at an April Tea Party meeting in which he says, "I would be truly honored to earn your support and endorsement in this race."

But that request, the Johnson campaign said, was about requesting the individuals' support for his Republican party convention endorsement bid. Almost all of the South Metro Tea Party group to whom to he was speaking were convention attendees, said Johnson spokesman Jeff Bakken.

Johnson has frequently spoken at Tea Party gatherings across the state and been welcomed by Minnesota Tea Party leaders and meeting attendees.

Bakken also said that the DFL smack did not smart.

"Minnesotans are smarter than the Democrats think they are and will see these silly, juvenile attacks for what they are: Meaningless tripe being peddled by people and politicians terrified of losing their power," Bakken said.

Judge dismisses candidate Michelle MacDonald's complaint against GOP

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: September 10, 2014 - 12:25 PM

An administrative law judge has dismissed a complaint by state Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald against the state Republican party and its leaders, ruling that she failed to show evidence they attempted to coerce her into repudiating her endorsement or distributed false campaign material.

In the five-page order issued Tuesday, Administrative law judge James LaFave ruled that MacDonald’s allegations were without merit.

MacDonald accused the Minnesota Republican Party, its executive committee, Chairman Keith Downey, attorney Patrick Burns, Judicial Election Committee chairman Doug Seaton and former state auditor and former Republican National Committeewoman Pat Anderson of violating the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act.

MacDonald alleged they conspired to deter her from continuing to run as a Republican for Supreme Court justice, despite her having received the party’s endorsement at its May convention.
But in his ruling, LaFave said MacDonald failed to include any evidence or accusations that would prove a violation of the law.

“The complaint does not allege that Mr. Burns, or anyone else, gave Ms. MacDonald items of value, or promised to do so, in return for her withdrawal as a candidate for office.”  LaFave wrote.

The disclosure of MacDonald’s legal troubles drew ire from state GOP leadership who say they, along with most delegates outside the 18-member Judicial Election Committee, didn’t know about MacDonald’s arrest or controversial legal philosophy when they endorsed her to run against Justice David Lillehaug. However, they could not withdraw the endorsement without calling another convention but instead took action to bar her from campaigning at the Minnesota State Fair.

MacDonald, who stands trial Sept. 15, is scheduled for a hearing today on whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for her trial. Minnesota court rules do not allow the filming of criminal proceedings.

Read the ruling here:

Dismissal

Testiness spills out over Minnesota's Israeli bonds

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: September 9, 2014 - 5:27 PM

Dozens of protestors filled the a stately Capitol office building Tuesday morning to share their view that the state of Minnesota should divest from Israel.

Despite occasionally shouting at Gov. Mark Dayton, they found the same answer others have found before: there's no current plan to change Minnesota's investment in Israel, which is two decades old.

"We really want to hear from you. We really want to understand what it's going to take," said one of the members of the divestment group, Break the Bonds.

"We have a different view, I have a different view than yours," Gov. Mark Dayton said. "As far as I'm concerned the case is closed as far as our decision. Now, I may not be here next January and there may be other new board members...From my standpoint, here we've had this debate, we disagree..."

"Why don't you answer her question," someone shouted from the audience.

"We're just at a point of disagreement," Dayton said.

Another protestor piped up to accuse Dayton of saying back in July that Palestinians "deserved" to be bombed. Dayton replied that he did not recall saying that and he did not believe he said that.

Protestors murmured in disagreement.

"You're quoted as saying that," a women said.

"You did say it, so what did you mean?" a man said.

In the July Star Tribune article protestors cited, Dayton, in fact, did not say that anyone deserved to be bombed.

He said, instead, "Tonight, I join with you in expressing my support of the people of Israel in defending themselves against Hamas’ terrorism."

Dayton suggested the protestors should return in March of next year when the long-held bonds will expire. The state currently holds $10 million in bonds issued by Israel and $15 million invested through the U.S. Agency for International Development and that is also considered an investment in Israel.

After some more shouting from protestors, Dayton said: "Excuse me, I'm going to terminate the meeting if we can't have a civil conversation."

Shortly thereafter, the Board of Investment meeting ended because the agenda was completed and the Land Exchange Board meeting began in the same room.

During that later meeting, the protestors could be heard chanting so loudly outside those left in the room had to speak louder and move closer to the board members to make themselves heard.

Updated

Student debt debate revived on Capitol Hill

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 9, 2014 - 8:28 AM

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken will join Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a Capitol Hill press conference today in an effort to drum up support for her bill that would allow an estimated 25 million people with older student loans to refinance that debt at current, lower interest rates.

The bill stalled in July, but Democrats have vowed to keep pressing Republicans on the issue. Franken, an original co-sponsor of Warren’s bill, visited the University of Minnesota last week to discuss college affordability.

GOP lawmakers have accused Democrats of trying to capitalize on the student debt issue for election year gains.

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.

GOP auditor candidate Gilbert says private e-mails compromised

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: September 9, 2014 - 10:59 AM

The Republican candidate for state auditor issued a news release Monday afternoon alleging that private e-mails between himself and a woman he had a relationship with while she was going through a divorce were released in an unauthorized fashion. 

Randy Gilbert is the GOP challenger to incumbent DFL State Auditor Rebecca Otto in November. He was mayor of Long Lake from 2005 to 2010 and now works as an auditor for Assurance Consulting 3. 

In the statement, Gilbert said he was contacted two weeks ago by a media outlet "inquiring about private and personal details regarding a past relationship." He said the relationship ended more than two years ago. 

"This is a private matter unrelated to my race for State Auditor, and I will continue focusing on informing voters why I'm the best candidate for this office," Gilbert wrote. He did not return a follow-up call seeking further comment. 

Gilbert won the Republican Party endorsement in the auditor's race last May, and last month he won the party primary. 

Republican Party chairman Keith Downey said Tuesday morning that the party was standing behind Gilbert. 

"We need Randy Gilbert, a professional accountant, as our Minnesota State Auditor, not a liberal politician," Downey said in a statement provided by the party's press secretary. "And the question of how someone illegally obtained his private emails to distract from the issues of the race is troubling." 

Jeff Johnson, the GOP's candidate for governor, also said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday morning that he is still backing Gilbert. 

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