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Boozy talk, abiding, 'Watergate babies' and more inside dish

Posted by: Corey Mitchell under Morning Hot Dish newsletter, Minnesota U.S. senators, Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota congressional, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Democrats, Republicans Updated: January 31, 2014 - 9:26 AM

The inside dish from the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter.

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Boozy talk

Every year, the Minnesota Legislature debates, then rejects, the idea of lifting the state’s ban on Sunday alcohol sales. This year’s debate could be different, says House Speaker Paul Thissen. “I don’t know if it’s going to be the year, (but) I think there’s going to be a better discussion than there ever has before,” Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, said. Thissen said his members are seeing more organized support for the idea of Sunday sales – visit sundaysalesmn.org for one example – than there has been in the past. Still, the House last year rejected legalization by a vote of 106-21 and “that’s a lot of votes to turn,” Thissen said. “I don’t know how that’s going to play.” -- Jennifer Brooks

Abiding

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris Dahlberg said over the weekend that if he doesn’t get his party’s endorsement, he would drop out of the race. On Thursday, fellow Republican U.S. Senate candidate Julianne Ortman said she would follow suit. “I will trust and abide by the Republican endorsement decision,” she said. Candidates Mike McFadden and Jim Abeler have left open the possibility they will run in a primary even if they don’t get the GOP nod at the party’s convention the last week in May. All four, and some more, are vying to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in November.

‘Watergate babies’ fade away

 With California Congressman Henry Waxman planning to retire, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan (at left) could be one of the last "Watergate babies” still in Congress. The so-called babies are the Democrats elected to Congress in 1974 in the wake of President Nixon's resignation over the Watergate scandal. Four of the six still in office will retire at the end of 2014. If Nolan wins re-election in November, only he and U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont will remain come 2015. But unlike Leahy, Nolan hasn’t been around Capitol Hill since the mid-1970s; he was out of office between 1981 and 2013. -– Corey Mitchell

Direct access means no access

Gary Carlson, longtime lobbyist for the League of Minnesota Cities, tweeted the news from an event Thursday in which a panel of legislative leaders appeared before lobbyists. Carlson reported:  “(House Minority Leader Kurt) Daudt tells crowd that the Capitol remodel has direct access from chamber to caucus rooms. Room of lobbyists moan.”

Klobuchar urges vote on Luger nomination

Noting that Minnesota has gone 883 days without a full-time U.S. attorney, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is pressing for a full Senate vote on nominee Andrew Luger’s confirmation. With support from Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared Luger’s nomination nearly three week ago. “We need to move ahead on this,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor Thursday. Luger would succeed B. Todd Jones, who served as both Minnesota’s U.S. attorney and acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for two years until the Senate confirmed him as ATF director in July. -– Corey Mitchell

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