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.

Dayton earned $352K last year, gave $10K to charity

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Gov. Mark Dayton, Democrats, Republicans Updated: July 23, 2014 - 6:12 PM

Last year, Gov. Mark Dayton earned $352,601, a little less than half of which came from capital gains, according to tax returns he released on Wednesday.

The DFL governor, who has released his tax returns every year since 2010, gave $10,000 to charity and paid $76,008 in federal taxes and $29,932 in state taxes, for an effective tax rate of 30 percent.

The heir to the Dayton's department store fortune earned $116,092 from his state salary and $73,062 from dividends.

In 2012,  Dayton earned a similar amount from similar sources but only gave $1,000 to charity. He said at the time that he was" disappointed in myself," because of his lack of charitable contributions. He gave ten times more in 2013 than he gave in 2012. His total giving equaled about 3 percent of his 2013 income.

Releasing tax returns is not a requirement of Minnesota politicians. State law mandates only minimal release of economic interests.

In 2013, when Dayton released his tax information, Republican candidates for governor Kurt Zellers, Jeff Johnson and Scott Honour largely followed suit. They are expected to do so again this year.

Zellers’ spokeswoman Caitlyn Stenerson said he will not release his until post-primary because getting them ready would take too much precious time during the heated run-up to the August 12 election.

GOP candidate Marty Seifert declined to release his tax information last year and did so again this year.

"I don't think our income tax return is anyone's business, but can assure you our household income is less than the other GOP candidates and much less than Governor Dayton," Seifert said in a statement.

The four Republicans will vie in an August primary. The winner of that contest will face Dayton in the fall.

 

2013 Tax Returns by Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Updated

Zellers renews pledge not to raise taxes, touts first television ad

Posted by: Abby Simons under Minnesota governor Updated: July 23, 2014 - 12:46 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers renewed his pledge Wednesday that he will never increase taxes if elected.

“I think Minnesotans need to know going in before they elect a governor that they won’t raise taxes,” the former Minnseota House Speaker told reporters. “I made that commitment in the past, whether on paper or in person, but I think now more than ever after the confusion we’ve seen in the last two years, that it’s critically important that voters know going in.”

Zellers’ pledge to Americans for Tax Reform coincides with the launch of his first broadcast advertisement with weeks go to until the Aug. 12 primary, where he faces off with three other GOP contenders for the nomination to take on Gov. Mark Dayton. In the advertisement, Zellers says he took on Dayton and won, preventing him from raising taxes in a showdown between Dayton and the GOP-controlled Legislature that led to the 2011 government shutdown.

“I’ve never raised taxes, and I’ll never do it as your governor either,” Zellers  said in the ad, with a Wright County farm as a backdrop. “I’m the only candidate in the race who has the guts to put it in writing.”

Zellers said the no-tax-increase pledge ranges from individuals to business owners, even cigarettes.

Zellers said that of his three fellow GOP contenders—Former GOP House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson and businessman Scott Honour— “to date, there’s been no one” who has taken a similar pledge.

Though his stance on refusing to raise taxes hasn't changed, Zellers said it's important to take the pledge to reiterate where he stands.

"If you are going to run against three other very well-qualified candidates but also a governor, you have to let the voters know," Zellers said. "I would rather err on the side of making sure they know than have someone think 'Well, all those politicians said they were gonna tax rich people and now I'm paying a dollar more on a pack of smokes.'"

If elected, Zellers said any proposed tax increase sent to his desk from the Legislature would be vetoed.

Zellers wouldn't say if he intends to run more television ads before the primary. The current ad airs on cable statewide in the Rochester, Fargo-Moorhead and Minneapolis and St. Paul markets.

Legislators pick sides in Republican governor's race

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota governor, Minnesota legislature, Minnesota state senators, Republicans Updated: July 23, 2014 - 5:08 PM

Legislators are picking sides in the Republican governor's race.

On Wednesday both Republicans Marty Seifert, a former House minority leader from Marshall, and Jeff Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner released lists of lawmakers who have their backs.

Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, who currently represents Maple Grove in the House, announced a list of current and former lawmakers in his corner two weeks ago. The three will face off against each other and businessman Scott Honour, the only one of the quartet who has not served in the Legislature, in an August primary.

Johnson's list of lawmaker-supporters is the longest, which stands to reason because he is the Republican Party's endorsed candidate for governor. Partisans are encouraged to back the candidate the party backs.

Supporters released by the Johnson campaign on Wednesday:

  • "Senator Michelle Benson (Ham Lake), Co-Chair, Jeff Johnson for Governor 
  • Senator Roger Chamberlain (Lino Lakes)
  • Senator Paul Gazelka (Nisswa)
  • Senator Dan Hall (Burnsville)
  • Senator David Hann (Eden Prairie), Senate Republican Leader
  • Senator Mary Kiffmeyer (Big Lake)
  • Senator Scott Newman (Hutchinson)
  • Senator Sean Nienow (Cambridge)
  • Senator David Osmek (Mound)
  • Senator Branden Petersen (Andover)
  • Senator David Senjem (Rochester)
  • Senator Dave Thompson (Lakeville)
  • Representative Sarah Anderson (Plymouth)
  • Representative Mike Benson (Rochester)
  • Representative Kurt Daudt (Crown), House Republican Leader
  • Representative Steve Drazkowski (Mazeppa)
  • Representative Sondra Erickson (Princeton)
  • Representative David FitzSimmons (Albertville)
  • Representative Glenn Gruenhagen (Glencoe)
  • Representative Jerry Hertaus (Greenfield)
  • Representative Ron Kresha (Little Falls)
  • Representative Jim Newberger (Becker)
  • Representative Joyce Peppin (Rogers)
  • Representative Cindy Pugh (Chanhassen)
  • Representative Duane Quam (Byron)
  • Representative Linda Runbeck (Circle Pines)
  • Representative Mark Uglem (Champlin)
  • Representative Anna Wills (Apple Valley)

Former Republican legislators endorsing Johnson include:

  • Senator William Belanger (Bloomington)
  • Representative Fran Bradley (Rochester)
  • Representative Ray Cox (Northfield)
  • Representative Randy Demmer (Hayfield)
  • Senator Steve Dille (Dassel)
  • Senator David Gaither (Plymouth)
  • Representative & U.S. Congressman Gil Gutknecht (Rochester)
  • Senator John Howe (Red Wing)
  • Senator Gary Laidig (Stillwater)
  • Senator Lyle Mehrkens (Red Wing)
  • Representative Michelle Rifenberg (La Crescent)
  • Representative Connie Ruth (Owatonna)
  • Representative Char Samuelson (New Brighton)
  • Representative & MN Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren (Bloomington)
  • House Speaker Steve Sviggum (Kenyon), Co-Chair, Jeff Johnson for Governor
  • Representative John Tuma (Northfield)"

Supporters released by the Seifert campaign on Wednesday:

  • "Sen. Julie Rosen (R-Fairmont)
  • Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont)
  • Rep. Tony Cornish (R-Good Thunder)
  • Rep. Kelby Woodard (R-Belle Plaine)
  • Former Rep. Howard Swenson (R-Nicollet)
  • Former Rep. Julie Storm (R-St. Peter)
  • Former Sen. Mark Piepho (R-Mankato)

Previously Announced

  • Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen (R-Alexandria)
  • Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls)
  • Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake)
  • Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R-Ghent)
  • Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska)
  • Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls)
  • Former Rep. Dennis Poppenhagen (IR-Detroit Lakes)
  • Former Rep. George Cassell (R-Alexandria)
  • Former Rep. Bob Westfall (R-Rothsay)
  • Former Rep. Greg Blaine (R-Little Falls)
  • Former Rep. Mike LeMieur (R-Little Falls)
  • Former Rep. Judy Soderstrom (R-Mora)
  • Former Rep. Dale Walz (R-Baxter)
  • Former Sen. Dan Stevens (R-Mora)"

Seifert's campaign said more lawmaker support is coming.

"Marty Seifert’s campaign for governor has locally announced several legislative endorsements from current and former legislators over the last week and will continue to do so for the next 10 days," it said in a news release.

Honour, who has not released a list of his legislative supporters, took a whack at his rivals through his campaign's Twitter account.

Photo: Minnesota Capitol/Source: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Updates: The word "pressured" regarding the expectation that partisan support party-backed candidate has been changed to "encouraged."

The HonourHousley tweet has also been added.

Group started to help House deputy minority leader Loon

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: July 22, 2014 - 5:21 PM

Rep. Jenifer Loon has a new independent political committee on her side as she battles in a Republican primary next month.

"Freedom Minnesota PAC’s focus will be to ensure the voters of Minnesota House District 48B have all the information they need to make a good decision when they vote in the Republican primary election on August 12," said treasurer Brian McClung. Wheelock Whitney, a longtime GOP donor and advisor, is the group's chair.

Independent committees set up to help one particular candidate or another were once a rarity but have become increasingly common in Minnesota politics. At least two gubernatorial candidates are, or will be supported by single candidate PACs and other independent groups may spring up to support other statewide or legislative hopefuls.

In the August primary, Loon, a Republican deputy minority leader from Eden Prairie, will face Shelia Kihne.

Kihne, a Republican activist, has support from the conservative Minnesota Family Council.

"Sheila is running in the Republican primary against an incumbent who, despite her pledge to constituents to support traditional marriage, voted for same-sex marriage last year," the Family Council says on its website.

Photos: Jennifer Loon (on right); Shelia Kihne (on left)//from the candidates websites

GOP's Johnson expected to be 'back to normal health' in a few days

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under Minnesota campaigns, Minnesota governor, Republicans Updated: July 22, 2014 - 4:40 PM

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson is expected to be "back to normal health in a matter of days," according to information released by his campaign Tuesday.

On Monday, Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, went to urgent care with stomach pain and doctors quickly determined he needed surgery. He was taken to Maple Grove Hospital where surgeons repaired "a small perforation" in his stomach.

His campaign quoted Maple Grove Hospital's Megan Fasching as saying that the condition from which Johnson suffered, a peptic ulcer, was fairly common.

"He tolerated the surgery well and is on the road to recovery. He should be back to normal health in a matter of days with no long term effects," Fasching said.

His campaign said he would be back on the trail soon.

Johnson faces a four-way primary in August against former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, Rep. Kurt Zellers and Wayzata businessman Scott Honour.

Photo: Mayo Clinic for Medical Education and Research