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Hot Dish Politics

Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

Sens. Klobuchar, Franken will say no to AG nominee Sessions

WASHINGTON -- Both Democratic Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken said Friday they will not support their Republican colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general.

"His record and views on critical issues of justice including the Violence Against Women Act, immigration, voting rights and freedom of the press have led me to conclude that I cannot support his nomination," Klobuchar said in a statement to the Star Tribune today. "The 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was supported by the vast majority of senators as well as every Democratic and Republican woman senator ... Sen. Sessions voted against it."

In a statement, Franken said the AG must be committed to protecting "the rights of all Americans, especially those most vulnerable to discrimination."

"I do not think he is the best man for the job. I cannot vote for an attorney general who is not fully committed to equal justice for the LGBT community, minorities, immigrants and women and Sen. Sessions' answers failed to reassure me that he will be an attorney general for all Americans."

Both senators are members of the Judiciary Committee, which held two days of hearings on Sessions' nomination this week.

Because cabinet nominees only require a simple majority to get approval, Franken and Klobuchar's no votes are not likely to affect the outcome since Republicans hold a slight majority in the U.S. Senate. 

Rep. Rick Nolan considering run for governor

Rep. Rick Nolan is considering a 2018 run for governor, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. 

Nolan, 73, would be a high profile addition to the DFL field. He represents the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota, winning a tough re-election fight in 2016 despite a bad year for his party, especially in greater Minnesota.

This is Nolan's second go around in Congress, now in his third term after serving three terms in the 1970s. 

Having endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Nolan could unite DFL progressives with rural moderates that he represents in Congress. 

"Because several people who (Nolan) respects have urged him to run, he is giving it thought," said Samantha Bisogno, his spokeswoman. She added that he has not pursued the matter further and referred questions to his campaign operation. 

Joe Radinovich, who ran Nolan's 2016 reelection campaign but said he has not spoken to Nolan in several weeks and has no current affiliation with him, said the congressman would be a strong candidate. 

"He had a remarkable win in difficult circumstances," Radinovich said. 

As to Nolan's age, Radinovich said he would be a vigorous candidate: "(Nolan) gave me more hell on that campaign than just about anybody I’ve worked with. That’s the least of my concerns." 

Other DFL candidates include State Auditor Rebecca Otto, Rep. Erin Murphy, DFL-St. Paul, and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Late last year Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would seek another term in the U.S. Senate rather than run for governor

Republicans who have expressed interest include state GOP Chairman Keith Downey; House Speaker Kurt Daudt; Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek; Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who lost to Dayton in 2014; businessman Mike McFadden, who lost a U.S. Senate race that same year; state Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake; Sen. David Osmek of Mound; state Rep. Matt Dean of Dellwood; and Pete Hegseth, a Fox News contributor and Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.