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 Republicans

ABC News lists Mills, Westrom among 'most interesting' Republican House candidates

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 20, 2014 - 4:01 PM

The congressional campaigns of Republicans Stewart Mills III and Torrey Westrom are picking up more national attention.

An ABC News piece on the five “most interesting” 2014 GOP U.S. House candidates features Mills, labeled the “Republican Brad Pitt,” and Westrom, whom the piece dubbed “the sightless [state] senator who’s never lost an election.”

Mills is challenging Democrat Rick Nolan in the Eighth District and Westrom faces Democrat Collin Peterson in the Seventh District.

Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call ran a story on the Westrom-Peterson race Tuesday suggesting this could be the toughest re-election race yet for Peterson, who’s seeking a 13th term in Congress.

This item originally appeared in the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

McFadden teams with national, Minnesota Republicans on fundraising

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: August 20, 2014 - 1:03 PM

U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden has partnered with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Republican Party of Minnesota to create McFadden Minnesota Victory Committee, a joint fundraising committee for his campaign against Democratic incumbent Al Franken.

Joint fundraising committees have become more popular since the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission found that donors were no longer bound by overall limits on how much they could donate to candidates, political parties and political action committees.

Federal law still limits how much donors can give to each individual candidate and party, but donors can give to as many candidates and parties as they like. So teaming up to raise money with like-minded groups and candidates has become more lucrative.

Franken has several joint fundraising committees, including Franken MVPs -- a collaboration between his campaign and his Midwest Values PAC -- and Franken Senate Victory 2014 -- a partnership with the Minnesota DFL Party.

This item originally appeared in the Star Tribune's daily political newsletter. To sign up, go to StarTribune.com/membercenter, check the Politics newsletter box and save the change.

Thousands of state legislators from around U.S. in Minneapolis

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 19, 2014 - 3:32 PM

Somewhere around 5,000 state legislators and legislative staffers from around the United States have gathered in Minneapolis this week to talk policy and politics. 

The National Conference of State Legislatures kicked off its 40th annual "Legislative Summit" on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It's by far the largest nationwide organization representing state lawmakers from all 50 states. 

A number of prominent Minnesota legislators from both parties are hosting events and participating in discussions at the four-day meeting, including state Senate president Sandy Pappas, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk. Gov. Mark Dayton is scheduled to offer welcoming remarks at a general assembly meeting on Wednesday morning. 

Hundreds of sessions will cover a wide range of policy concerns and political issues. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is scheduled to join Cindy McCain, wife of U.S. Sen. John McCain, to discuss an initiative they're leading to reduce human trafficking in the U.S.

Other speakers include retired Gen. Wesley Clark, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and national political journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the bestselling books "Game Change" and "Double Down."

Primary over, candidates for governor move to fundraising for November

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: August 13, 2014 - 5:47 PM

Just a dozen hours after Jeff Johnson won the Republican primary for governor, both he and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton turned their sights to fundraising for the election ahead.

"Will you give $5 or more now to stop the GOP and keep building a Better Minnesota?" Dayton's campaign pleaded in an email fundraiser.

"The message really isn't’ going to change," Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, told reporters Wednesday. "We’ll probably focus more heavily than ever on fundraising because we gotta raise a lot of money in the next 12 weeks.”

Both men will need that focus. Although Dayton has raised and spent more money so far than Johnson, neither has huge cash banked for the November battle.

But will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in state subsidies for their campaigns for agreeing to abide by spending limits that allow them to raise around $4 million.

Here are the cash they had as of their last reports. Both have raised and spent more money since then but the exact amounts are not available.

And here are more details:

Ricardo Lopez contributed to this report.

As fall campaign shapes up, Dayton has busy week of travel, appearances

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 13, 2014 - 4:33 PM

His Republican opponent now set, Gov. Mark Dayton has a busy schedule of appearances around Minnesota this week as he celebrates local building projects made possible with state dollars. 

Dayton spoke Wednesday at a ceremony marking the start of a $32 million expansion project at the Mankato Civic Center. The state is covering $14.5 million of the project's cost in the bonding bill Dayton signed earlier this year, with local taxpayers paying the rest. 

Mankato-area politicians sought state money for the expansion over the last six years, and several Republican lawmakers joined Dayton at the event including Rep. Tony Cornish and Sen. Julie Rosen. 

Dayton said the project "will add hundreds of new jobs, and bring thousands more visitors to Mankato every year." Jeff Johnson, Dayton's newly chosen Republican opponent, has said he believes bonding bills should focus spending on projects with statewide economic benefits. 

Jobs and the economy will be a central theme in the election debate between Dayton and his newly chosen Republican opponent, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. Republicans have acknowledged the recent healthy performance of Minnesota's economy, but Johnson said in his Tuesday night victory speech that he would try to convince voters that less government spending and regulation would benefit private employers. 

Dayton also planned a Wednesday stop at MTU Onsite Energy in Mankato. On Thursday, he's scheduled to attend another groundbreaking, this one in Marshall. The southwestern Minnesota city got $4.3 million in the bonding bill to build a regional sports center, and will provide a 50 percent local match. 

These appearances are under the auspices of Dayton's day job. But he's also making time for politics. The governor planned to attend a Tuesday afternoon meet-and-greet event with state House candidate Jack Considine, the DFL-endorsed candidate in the Mankato-area seat being vacated by Rep. Kathy Brynaert. 

Dayton's campaign aides have said political stops will remain light on Dayton's schedule until after Sept. 1. 

"I'm focused right now on being governor of Minnesota," Dayton said Wednesday at the Mankato groundbreaking. "I have five months left in my term, so that's my focus for now." 

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