BRAINERD -- GOP Congressional candidate Stewart Mills believes in health care reform, sensible environmental regulation and would even seek out federal cash for appropriate district projects.
He just doesn't like the way the Democrats on Capitol Hill have been going about any of this work.
In a sit-down with the Star Tribune between campaign events here at his headquarters, Mills answered a few questions:
--What did you think of recent comments made by GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden about his preference for using Chinese steel to build the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, as long as it was cheaper?
"I'm not going to distance from myself from anybody's comments .. but I will tell you what I believe: Any pipeline that's going to be built, especially the Keystone, is going to be built with U.S. steel. We know the competing steel from countries are violating trade agreements by manipulating their currencies ... I don' t think we should be rewarding them for cheating."
--Rep. Rick Nolan openly seeks out federal money for local projects in the district. How would you approach seeking out federal cash to bring back home?
"I think that people in this part of Minnesota understand that that's gotta be paid for somewhere. If there's a project that's worthwhile, that makes sense for this district, I would advocate for it too. However, I would not try to use that as a leverage point to get reelected."
--How is the campaign going so far?
"There's no part of the 8th district we don't think we're going to do well. We think our message cuts across all geographic areas and people that have traditionally been pegged as Democrats I think will be looking at our campaign with open eyes."
--You have said you don't support the Paul Ryan Budget plan, supported by the majority of House Republicans and approved in the spring of 2014. (Though not taken up by the Senate.) Tell me why.
"I agree with repealing Obamacare but I don't agree with the cuts to Medicare Advantage. I believe that money should be returned to Medicare and then we have to reform the system ... That's how it becomes sustainable."
UPDATE: The McFadden campaign has reposted the ad online without the USA Hockey logo visible. View it here.
A campaign advertisement in which Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden discusses removing his son's stitches with a pair of scissors has been scrubbed from the internet following concerns from USA Hockey about the appearance of their logo.
The advertisement, which has already finished its broadcast run, featured McFadden’s eldest son, Conor, telling the story about his father removing the stitches from a childhood hockey injury with a pair of scissors to save the $100 cost. McFadden said he intends to “take out Obamacare.”
“Send me to Washington and give me some scissors. I'll put 'em to work,” McFadden says at the ad’s close. McFadden, who is challening Democratic Sen. Al Franken, is known for his irreverent ads. The campaign has also used hockey imagery before.
In the advertisement, Conor McFadden sits next to a hockey table with a USA Hockey logo emblazoned on the side. However, the ad appeared to have vanished from the internet.
McFadden spokesman Tom Erickson said they removed the advertisements after they were contacted by USA Hockey.
“They had gotten some calls from people who had seen the ad online and thought the organization was supporting Mike. This happened after the ad already ran its course on broadcast.” Erickson said.
After the confusion, Erickson said the videos were removed “out of an abundance of caution.”
Mike Bertsch, assistant executive director of marketing and communications for USA Hockey, confirmed the organization's request for the campaign to remove the ads from the internet.
"We just don't allow our mark to be utilized in any capacity in any political activity; obviously we're neutral on the topic," he said. "Nothing against anybody, but we just can't allow the use of our marks like that."
Here's a still from the ad:
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.
WASHINGTON -- The same day GOP House Speaker John Boehner is in Minnesota throwing a fundraiser for himself at the Minneapolis Club, he will traverse up to the Eighth Congressional District for a fundraiser for GOP challenger Stewart Mills.
Boehner will host a fundraiser for Mills, who is challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan, at the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa Aug. 14.
Gold sponsors of the fundraiser include Stanley and Karen Hubbard, executives of Hubbard Broadcasting.
The company, which owns two television stations, was under fire from Democrats earlier this month for pulling negative ads against Mills from their television stations in northern Minnesota. Mills says the independent ads were inaccurate, though they kept running in other parts of the state.
General admission tickets for the Boehner-Mills shindig run $250, but for $10,400 you can get four seats at the "VIP roundtable" and eight spots at the "VIP photo opportunity" and "eight spots to the general reception."
On Tuesday, Minnesotans will go to the polls to cast their primary ballots.
On Wednesday, will the recount plan begin?
In Minnesota, which has seen three statewide recounts since 2008, including a little remembered Supreme Court justice race, might be headed down the path of another one. With four Republican candidates for governor vying for victory on Tuesday in a race that is expected to be low turnout, some are getting ready for the possibility.
"We have considered it, yeah," said Andy Post, campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. Post said he has had talks with legal counsel to be on hand the night of the election and is prepared to make sure their county-level supporters are ready in case the race moves to recount.
The Republican Party, which would be prepared to defend endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson in a recount, has also has plans in place.
"It is not impossible and with any election. We have prepared ourselves and have a team at the ready," said Republican Party chair Keith Downey. He has held meetings about the issue and has plotted out possible recount steps.
Other campaigns have given it less structured thought.
"You have to plan for every eventuality but of all the things I’m planning for right now that’s pretty far down the list," said Pat Shortridge, consultant to Scott Honour's Republican campaign for governor.
"We have made no preparation for that. We are focused on Aug. 12," said Chas Anderson, with Republican Kurt Zellers campaign for governor.
But the possibility of recount is there.
"I think there is a very high likelihood that they are all going to be clustered," said Kent Kaiser, who directed communications in the Secretary of State's office for eight years. Kaiser is now a professor of communications at University of Northwestern.
Minnesota law allows state-paid for a recount for major offices if the top candidates are less than one-quarter of one percent apart in vote tallies. If the difference is great, candidates can ask for a recount with the possibility that they would have to pay the costs.
On Friday, the secretary of state's office announced the canvassing board that would deal with a recount and certify votes for all primary contests.
The members are:
The board plans to meet at 10 a.m. on Aug. 19.
Photo: How 2008 canvassing board member and then-Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson sorted out valid votes in the U.S. Senate recount.