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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota congressional

By the numbers: U.S. House candidates' hauls

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 17, 2014 - 4:30 PM

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.

GOP poll: Westrom and Peterson neck and neck

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: October 16, 2014 - 3:18 PM

WASHINGTON -- A new internal GOP poll puts Seventh Congressional District Republican candidate Torrey Westrom within striking distance of veteran Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson.

The poll, released Thursday by Westrom's campaign, shows Westrom at 44 and Peterson at 43 percent approval, with 13 percent of people still undecided. This is a four-point gain for Westrom in six weeks.

Peterson was elected to Congress in 1990. Westrom is a state lawmaker.

The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 5.8 points and was based on a telephone survey of 300 "likely" voters Oct. 12 - 14.

Rep. Michele Bachmann: Border Patrol not stopping anyone on southern frontier

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: October 15, 2014 - 4:12 PM

WASHINGTON -- In one of her last speeches as a member of Congress, Rep. Michele Bachmann alleged border patrol agents aren't stopping "anyone" from entering the United States.

"I drove from the mouth of the Rio Grande to Boca Chica. It was shocking," she said, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation Wednesday. "The border control doesn't stop anyone from coming into the United States. And it's not their fault. It's the politicians' fault. Any foreign national who wants to come across the southern border comes in, they don't always get to stay necessarily, but they definitely get to come in."

The fact-checking website Politifact said that border patrol manpower along the nation's southern frontier is at an all-time modern high. There were 17,659 agents stationed along the southwest border of Mexico in 2011, Politifact said. The Department of Homeland Security shows a 412 percent increase in southwest border apprehensions from last year to this year, including family units and unaccompanied minors.

Bachmann alleged that if President Barack Obama granted amnesty to people living in the United States illegally, there would "presumably" be terrorists in that mix. 

“When the president of the United States announced publicly that yes he was going to, by himself, unilaterally, grant amnesty to potentially millions of people illegally here in the United States. Presumably some of them could be terrorists that are in the United States who illegally have come across our southern border. That's one of our greatest fears. We don't know, but that's one of our greatest fears today.”

The two Americans who were killed fighting with ISIS were both naturalized citizens. 

Bachmann also said the United States is the most generous country in the world in letting in legal immigrants. She said that by admitting more than one million legal immigrants as permanent residents annually, it topped all other countries' legal immigration numbers combined.

"If you took every other country in the world and you took the number of people they allow in for immigration and you added it up … every country in the world together doesn’t equal what the United States allows in immigration in one year.”

The Migration Policy Institute says this is only partially true. While the U.S. does allow in the most immigrants of any other country in the world, it's not more than all other countries combined.

"You will see that if you add up just a handful of the top countries (Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany and Canada) you top one million and that is before you add other ... countries," a spokeswoman wrote in an email.

Bachmann touted her proposed legislation that would give federal officials the right to revoke passport privileges of Americans who fight for terrorist organizations. She said Minnesota has a “tragic nexus to terrorism” given the two Americans who have died abroad fighting with the terrorist group had Minnesota ties.
“We need to take this threat from the Islamic State extremely seriously,” she said.

N.J. Gov. Christie tours Columbia Heights charter school with Johnson, McFadden

Posted by: Ricardo Lopez Updated: October 13, 2014 - 3:41 PM

After a tour of a Columbia Heights charter school Monday with Republican candidates for governor and U.S. Senate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he believes Jeff Johnson can unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Dayton.

Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said he supported Johnson's plan for education reform, which includes giving schools more local control over the hiring and firing of educators and also giving parents the option to pull their children from underperforming schools.  

"I'm here because I think Jeff can win this race," Christie told reporters and eighth graders from Global Academy who attended the news conference.

Christie touted charter schools as an example of reform that serves the needs of parents who want more choices when looking at education options for their children.

Christie toured Global Academy, a public charter school that resides in a Columbia Heights strip mall, along with GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden and Johnson. 

The state's DFL Party criticized the visit by Christie, saying that the New Jersey governor cut more than $1 billion in state aid to education. "Next month voters will reject Johnson's backward policies and re-elect Mark Dayton," said Ellen Perrault, a DFL spokeswoman. 

Global Academy opened in 2008 and currently has 430 students enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grade. When it opened, nearly 90% of students, many of whom are immigrants, were classified as English-language learners, according to school officials. That figure is now down to 46%. 

The Republicans toured three classrooms -- a first-grade class, third grade and took questions from eighth graders. Asked whether he's considering running for president, Christie told an eighth-grader he was mulling a run and would make a decision early next year. 

Photo: N.J. Gov. Chris Christie and Republicans for Minnesota governor and U.S. Senate visit a Columbia Heights charter school Monday. Ricardo Lopez/Star Tribune

Today in the governor's race: Bill Clinton's in town

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: October 10, 2014 - 9:17 AM

Former President Bill Clinton is used to being the center of political attention, and his visit to Minneapolis on Friday to campaign for Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken is likely to dominate Minnesota election news for the day.

The gregarious and usually quotable Clinton is perhaps the most sought-after campaigner for Democrats nationwide. He'll stump for Franken and Dayton at an early afternoon get-out-the-vote rally at Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus. 

Dayton's Republican challenger, is taking a day off the campaign trail Friday in order to raise campaign funds. Johnson is planning to leverage some national political firepower of his own next week, with an event planned for Monday with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Johnson campaign has not yet released details of Christie's visit. 

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