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 8th District

Mills, Westrom named GOP 'Young Guns'

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: May 13, 2014 - 5:10 AM

The National Republican Congressional Committee announced today that Stewart Mills III and Torrey Westrom have reached the top tier of the GOP's “Young Guns" program for promising congressional candidates.

Mills, vice president of Mills Fleet Farm, is challenging Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan in Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota.

Westrom, a state senator, is trying to unseat 12-ternm incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson in the state’s Seventh Congressional District, which covers most of western Minnesota.

As challengers ascend the ranks of the “Young Guns” program, they’re more likely to receive financial and campaign aid from the NRCC, the campaign arm of House Republicans. Promotion to the top level is a signal that the NRCC is keeping close watch on the candidates’ congressional race.

In a statement released today, NRCC chairman Greg Walden, said:  “Our job as a committee is to help elect Republicans to office that will serve as a check and balance on the Obama administration.”

Mills and Westrom are among the first 10 candidates to reach the top tier this election cycle. Walden said they have “outlined conservative principles that will grow jobs, stop the harmful effects of ObamaCare, and get Washington’s spending under control.”

In a statement, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Josh Schwerin said: “Luckily for the people of Minnesota, Republicans in Washington don’t get to pick their representative – the voters do, and they will make clear this fall that they don’t want to send [Mills or Westrom] to Washington to be another rubber stamp for this reviled Republican Congress.”

The 2014 election begins its assault on the airwaves

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: May 7, 2014 - 5:54 PM

Television and radio ads already airing to influence Minnesota voters in races for U.S. House, U.S. Senate and the governor's race and are unlikely to let up until Election Day.

Although the ads are coming late -- during the competitive U.S. Senate race in 2008 the air war was already months old by this point -- their appearance presages a barrage through November.

With potentially heated races for governor and U.S. Senate as Republicans work to wrest both offices from Democrats who won their first races by narrow margins, candidates and their allies will battle across the state's airwaves. National interests see the 8th Congressional District, which has flopped between Democratic and Republican control in recent years, as ripe for a turn over and therefore overdue for more ads.

In the governor's race, Republican Marty Seifert plans to launch his first ad this week, his campaign said on Wednesday. It is the first TV spot in the race that will determine whether DFL Gov. Mark Dayton keeps his job. Andy Post, Seifert's campaign manager, said the ad will run during the Minnesota Wild's Friday night game.

Seifert is in a pitched battle to woo Republicans at the party's endorsing convention this month and the GOP will likely also have a crowded primary in August. Businessman Scott Honour, another contender for Republican votes, has also been running radio ads.

Dayton, who has amassed larger campaign coffers than any of the Republicans running against him, has not yet started television ads. He is focused on the legislative session and unlike in his first election, does not face a primary. His campaign manager Katharine Tinucci said he has the resources to run ads when the time comes but, "that time is not now."

Minnesota viewers may see and hear more ads in the other statewide contest -- the race for the U.S. Senate.

In that race, the most significant candidate media spending has come from Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken. This week started a six figure television ad campaign. He has raised more than all but a few sitting senators so likely has the resources to keep it up.

Republican Senate candidate Mike McFadden started running cable ads a few weeks ago and Republican rival Julianne Ortman began radio ads late last month.

That's only a taste. When Franken first ran, he and then-Sen. Norm Coleman, spent millions on dozens of television ads blasting Minnesotans right until their recount began.

Outside groups are also gearing up. A conservative group launched an anti-Franken ad way back in March.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce included Republican U.S. House candidate Stewart Mills in its $3 million television ad campaign to jump-start Republican campaigns "and unite the business community around their efforts,” Scott Reed, the chamber’s senior political strategist, told the New York Times. 

Interactive: Meet your 2014 Minnesota congressional candidates

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: May 7, 2014 - 11:54 AM

Minnesota’s Democrats and Republicans have selected their candidates to do congressional battle this year.

Over the last several months, activists have gathered in small meetings across the state to pick their favorites. Now their slates are complete. 

In most districts, those picks are expected to have clear sailing to the general election. In at least one, the party-endorsed candidate will still face a primary.

In the map below, find out about this year's congressional combatants.

Graphic: Jamie Hutt, Star Tribune

Star Tribune staff reporter Allison Sherry contributed to this post.

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

District

Party

 Q1 Fundraising

 Cash on Hand

Aaron Miller

First

Republican

 $47,500

 $43,164

Tim Walz, incumbent

First

Democrat

 $195,000

 $411,216

John Kline, incumbent

Second

Republican

 $270,817

 $1,660,000

Thomas Craft

Second

Democrat

 $5,506  $2,966

Mike Obermueller

Second

Democrat

 $81,148

 $238,211

Paula Overby

Second

Democrat

   

Erik Paulsen, incumbent

Third

Republican

 $431,763

 $1,979,136

Sharon Sund

Third

Democrat

 $33,578

 $28,835

Betty McCollum, incumbent

Fourth

Democrat

 $144,652

 $214,079

Keith Ellison, incumbent

Fifth

Democrat

 $288,043

 $229,460

Thomas Emmer

Sixth

Republican

 $206,094

 $252,738

Philip Krinke

Sixth

Republican

 $62,057  $315,744

Rhonda Sivarajah

Sixth

Republican

 $172,759  $214,808

Joe Perske

Sixth

Democrat

   

James Read

Sixth

Democrat

 $26,711  $34,171

Torrey Westrom

Seventh

Republican

 $136,924  $170,729

Collin Peterson, incumbent

Seventh

Democrat

 $218,000

 $522,650

Stewart Mills III

Eighth

Republican

 $203,000

 $355,738

Rick Nolan, incumbent

Eighth

Democrat

 $265,772

 $478,000

Jim Abeler

Senate

Republican

   

Chris Dahlberg

Mike McFadden

Senate

Senate

Republican

Republican

 $600,000

 $1,800,000

Julianne Ortman

Senate

Republican

   

Al Franken, incumbent

Senate

Democrat

 $2,722,189

 $5,933,851

Nolan has $120K cash lead over Mills in Eighth District race

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: April 15, 2014 - 11:20 AM

With national Republicans honing in on his northeastern Minnesota congressional seat, Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s campaign ramped up its fundraising in the first quarter of 2014.

Through the end of March, Nolan held a roughly $119,000 cash advantage over his Republican opponent, Stewart Mills III. Nolan had $478,000 banked for his reelection run while Mills had almost $356,000 cash on hand, according to their respective campaigns.

In a rare feat for a congressional challenger, Mills had outraised Nolan in the final two fundraising quarters of 2013. But Nolan raked in nearly $266,000 in donations during the first quarter of 2014, outraising Mills by $62,000 during the period. It marked Nolan's most successful fundraising quarter.

Outside money from political action committees and issue advocacy groups will likely factor in the race. Such groups spent millions of dollars in the district in 2012 when Nolan ousted first-term congressman Chip Cravaack.

American Action Network, a conservative advocacy group led by former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, spent $50,000 on television ads this spring targeting Nolan.

Dating back to last summer, the National Republican Congressional Committee has run several campaign anti-Nolan ads in the Eighth Congressional District. The NRCC, the campaign apparatus of House Republicans, has named Mills as one of its most promising recruits for the 2014 election cycle.

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