National Republicans are homing in on Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s seat in northern Minnesota.
On Thursday, the National Republican Congressional Committee added Nolan’s challenger, Stewart Mills III, to the lowest level of its “Young Guns” program, which lends help to GOP candidates.
Mills was one of 36 House hopefuls named to the “On the Radar” list. If Mills reaches the next step, he would become a “Contender.” The most promising candidates are tagged as “Young Guns.”
As candidates ascend the ranks, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC and other members of Congress. Mills already outraised Nolan by nearly $100,000 during the last fundraising quarter.
The NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans, hopes to bolster GOP prospects in next year's mid-term elections by making the Affordable Care Act their primary campaign issue. In October, the group aired radio ads in Nolan’s Eighth Congressional District, criticizing him for refusing to defund the health care law.
“With ObamaCare’s bad policies and botched rollout affecting families across our nation, and our country diving deeper into debt each and every day, it’s time to bring real change backed by conservative principles and priorities to Washington,” NRCC chairman Greg Walden said in a statement Thursday.
“I am confident that these candidates will continue to work hard for their communities and their campaigns as we head into the 2014 election year.”
In a press briefing this week, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair Steve Israel said he is confident Nolan will defend his seat.
The NRCC has also targeted U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the First Congressional District, but none of his potential Republican challengers made the up-and-coming list.
Add another name to the list of legislative retirements.
State Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul, announced he would not run again on Wednesday.
See our list of retirements below -- it has
two three names so far but is sure to grow before the 2014 House elections are in full swing.
Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken picked up an early union endorsement.
The Minnesota AFL-CIO General Board voted to back the two Democrats for reelection, saying both were strong advocates for working Minnesotans.
“As governor, Mark Dayton is working to build a better Minnesota through successful job creation strategies, restoring fairness to our tax system, strengthening education, and supporting the rights of working people to bargain collectively,” said Minnesota AFL-CIO President Shar Knutson.
“Al Franken, with a 98 percent AFL-CIO voting record, has demonstrated time and time again that he can be counted on to be a champion for working families in the United States Senate,” she said.
Both candidates have relied heavily on union support in the past, both money and manpower. In past elections, Minnesota’s union members put in thousands of hours on the phone and at the door, volunteering to help elect endorsed candidates.
The AFL-CIO elected board represents more than 300,000 union members throughout the state of Minnesota.
Former Sen. Ray Vandeveer, who represented the Forest Lake area in the Legislature for more than a decade, is getting back into the election business.
Vandeveer, a Republican, has been a paid consultant to the Minnesota Senate Victory PAC, the state Senate Republicans' federal campaign arm, since early this year.
According to federal records, Vandeveer was paid $1,500 a month for consulting services through May. Sen. David Hann, Senate Republicans' leader, said the consulting is ongoing.
Hann said that as a former member of the state House and the state Senate Vandeveer, whom he considers a friend, has a good political sense of the Minnesota electorate. Hann said that he talks to Vandeveer, who did not run for re-election last year, "fairly often" and he has taken on various tasks to prepare Senate Republicans for the 2016 elections.
Hann said that he did not know if Vandeveer, whose occupation was last listed as real estate appraiser in state directories, had previously been paid for political work.
Hann, of Eden Prairie, said he talked over Vandeveer's hiring with others but the decision was ultimately his.
Jeff Johnson, a Republican candidate for governor, and his wife earned $227,000 last year and paid $55,000 in federal, state and other taxes, according to information he released to the Star Tribune.
Johnson is the third candidate in the 2014 governor's race to release his tax information. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican candidate Dave Thompson, a state senator, released their tax information at the Star Tribune's request last week.
Republican candidate for governor Scott Honour is expected to release his tax information this week, according to his campaign. Kurt Zellers, a fourth Republican candidate and a current state House member, has yet to fully respond to the Star Tribune's request for his tax records.
Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner, and wife donated $14,205 last year, according to his federal tax form.
Dayton, an heir to the Dayton's department store fortune, donated $1,000 in 2012 of his income of $343,234. Asked about his low dollar donations, the governor said, "I'm disappointed in myself."