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 Recount

Sen. Al Franken celebrates five-year swearing-in ceremony

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 9, 2014 - 9:55 AM

WASHINGTON -- It's been five years and one day since Sen. Al Franken was sworn in to represent Minnesota.

Franken and former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman tangled by mere hundreds of Minnesota votes in the 2008 election in what was one of the closest Senate races in the history of the union. It took seven months of legal battles before a three-judge panel concluded Franken narrowly won the election by 312 votes.

Coleman appealed that decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which ultimately rejected the appeal June 30, 2009. The junior senator was sworn in July 7, 2009.

Franken joked at the DFL convention in May that he was going to win again in November, "by more than last time."

On Tuesday he said his bid for re-election is really just "building on the work I've been doing day in and day out."

"There's a cliche in the Senate, which is kind of true, which is there are showhorses and workhorses," he said. "I knew I wanted to be a workhorse and get things done."

Dayton agrees to limit self-funding, campaign spending

Posted by: Updated: May 30, 2014 - 11:34 AM
Mark Dayton, center, and Tina Smith talk with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

Mark Dayton, center, and Tina Smith talk with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

Gov. Mark Dayton signed an agreement Friday that will sharply limit his ability to personally bankroll his re-election campaign.

Dayton agreed not to spend more than $20,000 of his own money in exchange for about $447,000 in public subsidy. The agreement also limits Dayton’s campaign to about $3.6 million.

That's a sharp contrast to 2010, when Dayton poured $3.7 million of his own money into the campaign and narrowly beat GOP rival Tom Emmer.

Now an incumbent with a list of accomplishments, the governor said the agreement will allow him to spend less time raising money and more time traveling the state meeting with Minnesotans.

The agreement has no bearing on what outside groups can spend defending Dayton or attacking his rivals.

Dayton, a department store heir, has already embarked on an active fundraising schedule, taking in more than $1.1 million.

Dayton and his running mate, Tina Smith, came to the Secretary of State’s office Friday to file the paperwork to make their campaign official.

The governor said the theme of his first campaign was to make Minnesota better.

“I think we’ve indisputably made Minnesota a better state,” said Dayton, noting new education investments, a balanced budget and progressive legislation, such as legalization of same-sex marriage. “That’s why I am running, not only to make Minnesota better, but to make it the best.”

Dayton and Smith will travel to Duluth this weekend to accept the DFL’s endorsement for governor and lieutenant governor.

Ample signs are already emerging that Dayton will have a heated and divisive race.

A GOP group that has criticized Dayton and Democrats for months parked a rented truck in front of the Secretary of State’s office displaying a huge banner criticizing the governor for the troubled rollout of MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange.

The group, Minnesota Jobs Coalition, plans to park the truck outside the DFL State Convention in Duluth.

Truck greeting Gov. Mark Dayton outside Secretary of State's office.

Truck greeting Gov. Mark Dayton outside Secretary of State's office.

Minnesota turkeys win White House pardons

Posted by: Updated: November 27, 2013 - 1:40 PM

The people have spoken, and Popcorn is America's turkey.

President Obama officially pardoned the Minnesota-born bird Wednesday afternoon. Popcorn edged out flockmate Caramel in a popularity contest, after the White House turned the job of choosing the official National Thanksgiving Turkey over to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"The office of the presidency -- the most powerful position in the world -- brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities. This is not one of them," joked the president, who was joined by daughters Sasha and Malia for the annual rite. "Generally speaking, Thanksgiving is a bad day to be a turkey. Especially at a house with two dogs. So I salute our two guests of honor -- Caramel and Popcorn -- for their bravery."

The people had spoken -- for #TeamCaramel or #TeamPopcorn -- and Popcorn, a splendid white puffball, carried the day.

"The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics," Obama said. "As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign."

Caramel may have lost the popularity contest, but he won a pardon anyway. The big birds will spend the rest of the holidays at George Washington's home, on display as part of the annual Christmas at Mount Vernon celebration. Then they'll retire to Morven Park’s Turkey Hill Farm in Leesburg, Va.

John Burkel of Badger, Minn., chairman of thee National Turkey Federation, raised Caramel, Popcorn and Minnesota's official Thanksgiving turkey (who ended up in a St. Paul Salvation Army kitchen.) The birds' names were chose by Roseau County schoolchildren and a group of Badger High School students joined Burkel at the White House Wednesday.

As Obama pardoned the birds, he announced that two replacement turkeys, already dressed, would be donated to a nearby Washington, D.C., food shelf.

"Popcorn, you have a full reprieve from cranberry sauce and stuffing. We wish you well," he said.  "And we’re going to give Carmel a break as well."

Franken looking strong in 2014 re-election bid

Posted by: Updated: January 22, 2013 - 3:09 PM
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, widely seen as a top GOP target in 2014, starts the next political cycle with no clear opponent and a 6 to 14 point lead over four potential challengers, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.
The poll finds Franken with a 52 percent approval rating among Minnesota voters, with 41 percent registering disapproval. (The numbers generally break down along party lines, with 89 percent of Democrats approving, 83 percent of Republicans disapproving).
More significant to Franken’s fortunes may be what the pollsters called a “weak Republican bench” in Minnesota.
In a study of hypothetical match-ups, Franken leads former Sen. Norm Coleman (who has said he’s not running) by 6 points (50 to 44), Rep. John Kline by 8 points (49 to 41), Rep. Erik Paulsen by 11 points (50 to 39), and Rep. Michele Bachmann by 14 points (54 to 40).
Even more significant, Bachmann, who did the worst of anyone the pollsters tested against Franken, emerges as the top choice of GOP voters in Minnesota to take him on next year.
Among Republicans, 45 percent – far and away the most – say they would like her to be their candidate. That compares to 19 percent for Kline, 11 percent for Paulsen, 4 percent for U. of M. regent and former state Rep. Laura Brod, and 2 percent for Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
(Recently defeated U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack was the favorite of 13 percent of Republicans, but he has signaled that he is moving to be with his family in New Hampshire).
A Franken-Bachmann match-up might be the most interesting from a spectator’s point of view, and both have shown themselves to be prodigious fundraisers. Franken, however, would start with a distinct advantage. Only 35 percent of voters in the state have a positive opinion of Bachmann, compared to 59 percent who see her in a negative light.
“The desire of Minnesota Republicans to nominate Bachmann suggests they didn't learn much from their failures last year,” the pollsters said.
Of course it’s still early. At this time in 2007, Franken had yet to announce his 2008 candidacy. And when he won after a long recount, it was scarcely by 312 votes. But given his current standing versus Coleman, he’s basically 6 points stronger than he was in 2008.
However the pundits slice it, Public Policy Polling concluded: “Al Franken does not appear to be among the more vulnerable incumbent Senators next year.”

Recounts over, state certifies House, Senate winners

Posted by: Updated: December 4, 2012 - 4:53 PM

The recounts are over the state has certified the winners in the last two disputed Legislative races in Minnesota.

Democrat Kevin L. Dahle won the state Senate District 20 election, the state canvassing board concluded Tuesday.  The board also certified that incumbent state Rep. Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, won reelection in state House District 8B.

Both races were decided by mere handfuls of votes. Dahle edged out Republican candidate Mike Dudley by 71 votes out of more than 41,000 cast. During the recount, Dudley picked up six more votes and Dahle lost one.

The final vote tally in Senate District 20 was 20,627 votes for Dahle and  20,556 for Dudley.

On election night, Franson led Democratic challenger Bob Cunniff by just one vote. She picked up 10 more after a judge ordered election officials to discard 35 ballots as a result of a polling place error. During the recount, Franson picked up two more votes and Cunniff picked up one.

The final vote in House District 8B was 10,642 votes for Franson and 10,630 for Cunniff.

Under Minnesota law, any election decided by a margin of less than one-half of one percent triggers a recount at taxpayer expense. Neither race affects the balance of power in the state Legislature. Democrats have won majorities in both houses.



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