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

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. 

Senate candidate McFadden plans paid time to re-air Franken debate

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: October 9, 2014 - 7:06 PM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden really wants Minnesotans to see him debate Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

So much so that McFadden is paying to re-air his first -- and so far only -- debate with Franken on Twin Cities television in its completion on Saturday. The debate took place on Oct. 1 in Duluth at 8 a.m.

"We are going to paying to air this debate so that we make sure that Minnesotans have a chance to see it," said spokesman Tom Erickson told the Star Tribune.

McFadden, a Sunfish Lake businessman making his first run for office, had long hammered on Franken for a series of debates. He even aired two television ads focusing on debates.

In the end, Franken and McFadden agreed to three debates. The first one was in Duluth last week. They will not debate again until Oct. 26, just days before the Nov. 4 election. Public polls show McFadden trailing Franken. Some show the Republican behind by double digits.

Erickson said the campaign plans to air as much as the one-hour debate as they can fit into their 58 minute time slot.

"We were so confident in Mike's performance we decided to just air the debate," he said.

In reaction, the Franken campaign was equally confident.

"We're happy that more Minnesotans will learn about investment banker Mike McFadden's support for tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, that he would undermine Minnesota jobs by building the Keystone Pipeline with Chinese steel and that last year when it came time to answer tough questions about Syria Mike McFadden blinked," said Ryan Furlong, Franken campaign spokesman.

The station's time slot -- it will run from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m on Saturday on WFTC -- can be bought fairly inexpensively. It will cost the campaign about $5,000, according to Federal Communications Commission files.

"It's a bargain," Erickson said.

Still, it is unusual for a campaign to buy up so much time to air anything, much less a debate.

In a clip prepared as a trailer for the airing shows McFadden in his best light and Franken in his worst. See that below.


Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken, left, and Republican challenger Mike McFadden enjoy a laugh before their debate, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in Duluth, Minn./ source: Jim Mone, Associated Press



Updated, corrected the call letters for the station

The NRA's mixed bedfellows: Stewart Mills, Collin Peterson

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: October 9, 2014 - 10:43 AM

WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association threw support behind two Minnesotans on Wednesday hoping to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives: an incumbent Democrat and a Republican challenger.

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson, who was earlier named best marksman in the U.S. Congress, garnered the endorsement of the NRA Wednesday. Peterson is running to keep his Seventh Congressional District seat against GOP challenger Torrey Westrom.

"Throughout his career, Collin Peterson has consistently opposed all attempts to ban lawfully owned firearms and magazines and has stood strong against the Obama-Bloomberg agenda, said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA's Political Victory Fund.

This is an unusual move for the NRA, which almost always endorses Republicans, though the organization seems to like Peterson since this is the fourth time they've backed him. The only other known Democrat endorsed this week by the group is a Georgia congressman.

The organization also endorsed Republican Stewart Mills, who is running to unseat Democrat Rep. Rick Nolan in the Eighth Congressional District.

"Over five million active NRA members, many of them in our part of Minnesota, know that the Second Amendment is about so much more than just hunting -- and they know we need a representative who will stand up for those rights," Mills' camp said in a statement. 

A few hours after saying he is not a Tea Partyer, Tea Party Express endorses Stewart Mills

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: October 7, 2014 - 6:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- In a debate early Tuesday in Duluth, GOP House candidate Stewart Mills said it wasn't accurate to portray him as aligned with the Tea Party.

"I keep getting accused (of) being a Tea Partyer and I'm not sure that's entirely accurate," Mills said, when answering a question about the virtues of the Keystone oil sands pipeline in a debate with Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and Green Party candidate Ray "Skip" Sandman.

A few hours later, the Tea Party Express threw its support behind Mills, saying he "isn't your typical politican. He is someone that understands hard work and will stop at nothing in order to fix a problem -- traits he picked up from his family's hunting-camp doctrine."

Coupled with the national endorsement, were statements of support by local liberty movement leaders, including Douglas Mickelson, a Tea Party activist in Walker, who said:

"As a hunter and gun owner I know Stewart will protect our Second Amendment rights and that excites me."

Mills' camp responded Tuesday, noting, "We welcome the endorsements of all political persuasions, from the National Rifle Association to the Farm Bureau, from the National Federation of Independent Businesses to the Fraternal Order of Police."

Nolan, Mills duke it out over health care, guns, tax reform

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: October 7, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan and his GOP challenger Stewart Mills sparred over guns, Obamacare, tax reform and even engaged in a little class warfare at an early morning debate in Duluth.

The Eighth Congressional District fight is Minnesota's hottest race. Nolan is defending the seat he's had for just one current term against Stewart Mills, a 42-year-old political nascent and scion to Mills Fleet Farm.

Before it started, the debate had the trappings of being a little sleepy. It started at 8 a.m., the candidates sat down in a coffee table format, and the third-party candidate Ray "Skip" Sandman also participated, slowing down the fiery dialogue between Mills and Nolan.

In spite of all that, Mills and Nolan drew sharp contrasts, lashing out at each other's differences on reforming the Affordable Care Act, copper-nickel mining and tax reform.

Nolan took multiple swipes at Mills' net worth, which is between $47 million and $153 million, according to personal financial disclosures.

"I know what it's like to build a business from the bottom up and create jobs ... but if we want to rebuild this middle class we need to get away from this trickle down theory," Nolan said, when asked about tax reform. "Stewart, you made more money ... sitting here in an hour and a half ... than the minimum wage earner will make in a week ... The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer."

Mills defended his company and his family, saying they work hard and play hard and building the business meant it "may get a little bit bloody sometimes." After noting the IRS has been "weaponized against the American people," Mills said he wanted to flatten the tax code to be friendlier to Main Street.

Throughout the debate, Mills referred to Nolan as "Representative Nolan' while Nolan called the third-party candidate "Mr. Sandman" and Mills "Stew" or "Stewart."

On guns, Mills touted his endorsement by the National Rifle Association and said Nolan's positions on banning semi-automatic weapons and limiting magazine capacity were not in line with the District's values.

"We need to enforce the laws we currently have rather than making up new ones," Mills said.

Nolan flared, "I don't need a semi-automatic rifle to shoot a duck," he said. "Maybe you do, maybe you should spend more time on your shooting range."

Polls show the Mills/Nolan race within a couple points of each other and national political forecasters call it a "toss-up." The Eighth Congressional District is politically whimsical, electing Republican Chip Cravaak in the 2010 Tea Party sweep and then elected Nolan two years later.

Nolan has consistently out-fundraised Mills, even though Mills has donated more than $150,000 of his own money to his campaign. Nolan's camp said yesterday the incumbent brought in $641,000 since July -- his best quarter to date. Mills' campaign declined to say how much the candidate raised in the third-quarter Tuesday.

Mills said he supported both the construction of the Keystone oil sands pipeline and the Sandpiper line, which will deliver crude from North Dakota to an existing terminal in Wisconsin. He said Nolan has been inconsistent in his support for the new lines.

"We're not quite sure where Rep. Nolan is," he said. "He can say he's for it right now, but where's he going to be tomorrow?"

Nolan said he also favored both projects as long as they followed environmental rules. Nolan said he grew up at a time when "condoms" and "turds" polluted rivers and acid rain was wreaking havoc on forests. 

"I submit that we must be compliant with good, sound, environmental rules and regulations and we have the technology to move forward with mining," he said. "We need to protect our environment as well."

On Obamacare, Mills said he favored a health care plan that protects people with pre-existing conditions but supports reforming it, allowing people to buy and sell plans across state lines and tort reform.

Nolan, who favors a single-payer system, snapped, "Now Mills is saying he supports many of the things in the ACA and then he is saying he wants to repeal it. Talk about double-speak ... It's starting to smell like a barn on a warm Sunday afternoon."


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