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 6th District

Sartell Mayor Joe Perske to run against Tom Emmer in open 6th Congressional seat

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: May 4, 2014 - 4:29 PM

Sartell Mayor Joe Perske narrowly clinched the DFL endorsement Saturday to run against Republican Tom Emmer in the open 6th Congressional District seat.

The nominating convention delegates voted four times before Perske came up with 62 percent -- enough votes for the official endorsement. Rules require candidates to garner at least 60 percent to be nominated. He beat out Jim Read, a political science professor at St. Ben’s and St. John’s University, according to a news release.

Perske, also a middle school teacher, faces long odds in Minnesota's most conservative district and among the most Republican districts in the country. Emmer was endorsed last month.

The seat has been held for the last eight years by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is retiring at the end of the year.

"I might have what it takes ... I have been a world class marathon runner," Perske said, in an interview Sunday. "So many things I do in life I do with passion. I will do all I can to win this race for the people of central Minnesota."

Emmer nabs Tea Party endorsement

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 29, 2014 - 6:16 AM

Republican Sixth Congressional District candidate Tom Emmer has picked up the endorsement of the Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee.

Retiring U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is also formally backing Emmer to succeed her in Congress.

“Tom Emmer is exactly the type of constitutional conservative we need in Washington, D.C. He’s a hard charging conservative who will never waver,” said Tea Party express executive director Taylor Budowich in a statement.

"We are confident that Tom will carry on the legacy of tea party stalwart, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and continue her fight to reign in the Obama administration's big government liberal agenda.”

Emmer won the party endorsement this month, but the other Republicans in the race, Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, plan to challenge him in an August primary.

Emmer raises $206,000 in race to replace Bachmann

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 16, 2014 - 11:55 AM

Former gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Tom Emmer is the leading fundraiser in the race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Emmer reported $206,000 in campaign contributions through the first three months of 2014, while his opponents continue to rely largely on their own bank accounts.

Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah and former state Rep. Phil Krinkie continued fund their own campaigns, with Sivarajah giving her campaign $170,000 while Krinkie spent $50,000 of his own money.

Donors contributed $12,000 to Krinkie and just $2,740 to Sivarajah during the fundraising period.

Including the personal contributions to his campaign, Krinkie has the most cash-on-hand with $291,000 banked. The total is nearly $40,000 more than Emmer’s $253,000. Sivarajah has $192,500 in reserves.

Emmer won the party endorsement at the Sixth District Republican convention over the weekend and Bachmann publicly backed his campaign Tuesday.

Sivarajah and Krinkie said they will remain in the race until the mid-August primary.

The GOP primary winner will be a heavy favorite come November, because the Sixth Congressional District is the state’s most conservative.

So far, political science professor Jim Read is the only Democratic candidate to file a first quarter campaign finance report. Read raised $26,771 and has $34,171 cash on hand.

U.S. House and Senate fundraising figures

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 16, 2014 - 10:56 AM

Here’s a look at what U.S. House and Senate candidates raised during the first fundraising quarter of 2014 and how much cash on hand their campaigns had at the end of March.

Candidate name



 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller





Tim Walz, incumbent





John Kline, incumbent





Thomas Craft



 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller





Paula Overby




Erik Paulsen, incumbent





Sharon Sund





Betty McCollum, incumbent





Keith Ellison, incumbent





Thomas Emmer





Philip Krinke



 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah



 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske




James Read



 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom



 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent





Stewart Mills III





Rick Nolan, incumbent





Jim Abeler




Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden







Julianne Ortman




Al Franken, incumbent





U.S. Supreme Court decision strikes down aggregate limits on giving; may not have immediate impact on Minnesota law

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: April 2, 2014 - 6:16 PM

On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal limits on how much an individual can give to campaigns in aggregate, which could allow high dollar donors to spread their largess to a wider swath of political hopefuls and parties.

Unlike the federal system, which essentially limited how many donations in total a donor could give, Minnesota law does not place restrictions on the number of campaigns to which a high-dollar donor can contribute.

Current state law allows donors to give massive amounts to parties or PACs and allows donors to spread their donations to as many candidates  or party committees as they wish.

"We’ve never limited the amount that an individual donor can give to a whole group of candidates," said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota campaign finance board. "We don’t limit at all the amount of money that an individual can give to a party."

Minnesota does place limits on how much candidates can accept from certain types of donors but Goldsmith said those restrictions were not considered by the court.

Other states, including Wisconsin, do have laws to limit the aggregate donations a contributor can spend in an election cycle, according to the National Institute of Money in State Politics. Those nine states' laws may be directly impacted by the federal decision.

The Supreme Court did not overturn the concept of limiting what a campaign can accept from a donor. Currently, donors are limited to giving $5,200 per candidate per election cycle to federal candidates. Minnesota law puts similar restrictions on what an individual can give to a single candidate.

The court's decision will have a much more far reaching impact on federal campaigns and parties, including those from Minnesota.

DFL chair Ken Martin said the ruling allows parties to tap donors for funds, even if those donors had already given to multiple other parties or candidates.

"It has a big impact on state parties," said Martin.

Currently, donors are limited to giving $123,200 for 2013 and 2014 in total to all federal campaigns. That limit made federal cash difficult to raise, Martin said. The Minnesota parties were not limited to what they could raise from individuals in their state committees.

After the decision, Minnesota parties will be able to raise more federal money -- up to $10,000 per individual -- from donors whether or not those individuals had already given to many other federal committees.

"That is hugely helpful to state parties," Martin said. He said the lifting of the overall cap will mean that parties can be more involved in helping federal candidates "up and down the ballot here in Minnesota."

Minnesota Republican Party chair Keith Downey said the decision may mean candidates and parties will be able to raise more.

"It will serve to direct campaign spending toward those who are closest to the public and most publicly accountable for their campaign activities. It also underscores the importance of both transparency and the protection of political speech, which are so important in our political process," Downey said.

Several donors with Minnesota ties have contributed enough in 2013 that they could have bumped up against the limit the court struck down.

According to a Star Tribune analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, John Grundhofer, former chairman of U.S. Bancorps, donated $142,200 through the end of last year and Patricia Grundhofer, whose is listed on federal documents as the director of the John F. Grundhofer Charitable Foundation, donated $125,600. They gave primarily to non-Minnesota Republican committees.

Stanley Hubbard, head of Hubbard Broadcasting and a a frequent donor to state as well as federal causes, gave nearly $100,000 to federal committees last year alone. He said that every election cycle he gets many calls soliciting donations and he has to refuse them because he is maxed out.

Hubbard has a simple prediction for what will happen now that the court rejected the overall limits: "They are going to start calling."


Star Tribune data editor Glenn Howatt contributed to this report.

12-536_e1pf by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger


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