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 National campaigns

Franken, McFadden agree to three debates

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: September 15, 2014 - 5:02 PM

 Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and his Republican challenger Mike McFadden have agreed to three debates leading up to the election.

The first of the debates will take place in Duluth, followed by two in the metro just before the Nov. 4 election. They are as follows:

•         Duluth News Tribune/Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce:  8-9 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1
•         WCCO TV: 10-11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 26
•         Minnesota Public Radio: 7-8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2

Franken spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff said that, including a FarmFest candidate forum that took place in July, the Senator will have participated in four debates—the same amount that took place in the 2012 Senate race between Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Republican challenger Kurt Bills.

The McFadden campaign maintainst three isn't enough. McFadden challenged Franken last month to six debates throughout the state, including in Rochester and Moorhead as well as a Twin Cities Public Television debate in the metro. McFadden spokeswoman Becky Alery said the campaign will continue to push for more debates with Franken, particularly in greater Minnesota.

“We've been seeing throughout this campaign that Sen. Franken has continued to hide from Minnesotans, while Mike has traveled the state and talked to Minnesotans from top to bottom.”

Alery added that, with early voting, it’s important Minnesotans have the opportunity to hear from the candidates more than a week before election day.

The newly-finalized schedule coincides with a newly-released ad by the McFadden campaign that calls out Franken as “the invisible senator” and features McFadden facing off with an empty podium adorned with a Franken campaign sign. View it here.

UPDATE: The Franken campaign shot back in response to the ad.

"This ad is absurd," Fetissoff said in a statement. "Minnesotans know that Al Franken is working hard for us here in our state and has delivered concrete results for us in the Senate. Investment banker Mike McFadden is more interested in playing political games than solving the real problems that Minnesota families face."

Comedian Maher targets Kline for 'Flip a District' campaign

Posted by: Corey Mitchell Updated: September 15, 2014 - 4:15 AM

HBO host Bill Maher is targeting U.S. Rep. John Kline as the Republican lawmaker he wants to oust from Congress in his "Flip a District" challenge.

The comedian and political satirist announced the "winning loser” during a live broadcast of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

“John Kline doesn’t say kooky things, but he votes just like the people who do,” Maher said.

Calling him the “champion of for-profit colleges,” Maher said he targeted Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, for voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act more than times and siding against gay marriage and a minimum wage increase.

In 2012, Maher donated $1 million to a political action committee devoted to President Obama’s re-election campaign. But the comedian could have a tough time unseating Kline, who's not a top Democratic target

Kline faces a rematch this year with former Democratic state Rep. Mike Obermueller.

“This news confirms what we’ve been hearing more and more of each day: folks in the [Second District] are tired of John Kline, and they’re ready to kick him out office,” Obermueller said in a statement. “People are fired up and are organizing across the district to remove him from a seat he’s become too comfortable in.”

Obermueller lost to Kline by eight points in 2012, but faces a much less favorable environment in a midterm election year when Kline is expected to coast to re-election.

Like Obermueller, Kline hopes to seize on the announcement as a rallying point. He’s aiming to raise $100,000 for television ads to counteract Maher’s campaign.

“As promised, Maher is turning his liberal guns on our districts and using his TV megaphone and million-dollar war chest to defeat me in November,” Kline wrote in an email to supporters.

“My opponent … is walking hand-in-hand with Maher and has practically named him his campaign manager, focusing on the #FlipADistrict campaign against me and doing whatever he can to pander to Maher and his extreme liberal friends.”

Viewers picked Kline as Maher's target, selecting him over three other House Republicans: Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, Blake Farenthold of Texas and Mike Coffman of Colorado.

Maryland Gov. O'Malley to fundraise for the DFL

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: September 10, 2014 - 12:01 PM

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will travel to Minnesota next month to fundraise for the DFL Party.

O'Malley, who is talked about as a possible 2016 presidential candidate, will be the keynote speaker at the party's Founder's Day dinner in October. The dinner is one of the party's major annual fundraising events.

"Like Gov. Dayton, Gov. O’Malley signed marriage equality and the DREAM Act into law and expanded renewable energy," DFL Party chair Ken Martin said in a statement. "Thanks to these two leaders, both states have a more progressive income tax, increased minimum wage and focus on growing the economy from the middle out."

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is up for re-election this year.

The fundraiser, which has ticket prices ranging from $75 to $10,000, is closed to the press.

McFadden backs Rep. Bachmann proposal to rescind passports of ISIS fighters

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: September 9, 2014 - 11:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden said Tuesday he favored a proposal introduced this week in the House that revokes passport and re-entry privileges for American citizens who fight overseas for Islamic militants.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Michele Bachmann Monday.

Bachmann's bill, dubbed the Terrorist Denaturalization and Passport Revocation Act, amends existing laws and rescinds re-entry privileges for people who join terrorist armies overseas. A companion measure was introduced by Texas Republican Sen. Cruz that goes a step further and allows the U.S. government to strip citizenship of any person joining military forces with countries at war with the United States. 

McFadden's spokesman said he thinks Cruz's bill could be unconstitutional based on previous Supreme Court rulings on citizenship revocation.

Bachmann, who was on Fox News last night talking about her bill, endorsed McFadden at the May GOP convention in Rochester.

McFadden said in a statement Tuesday: "It is necessary that we have policies and procedures in place to prevent this from occurring and to ensure that trained terrorists do not come back to the United States with the ability to launch terror attacks here at home."

McFadden is hoping to unseat Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November. Expecting a Franken response to the legislation in the next couple hours.

As Congress reconvenes, McFadden urges action on terror recruiting

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: September 8, 2014 - 3:15 PM

On the day Congress reconvenes, U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s campaign has reprised its criticism of inaction in Washington, particularly his Democratic oppnent Al Franken.

McFadden’s latest charge comes on the wake of a Star Tribune report that proceedings are underway to determine who is behind efforts to convince Minnesotans to fight in the Middle East. Federal authorities say upward of a dozen Somali men and three women from Minnesota have fled the country to fight alongside or aid extremists in the Middle East.  The Republican investment banker hopes to unseat Franken.l

Last week, following the second beheading of an American journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Franken called the Obama Administration’s lack of a strategy to take on ISIS “troubling” and asked Attorney General Eric Holder to focus Department of Justice resources on recruiting at home. McFadden said the efforts were too little, too late.

“As Senator, Al Franken has prioritized issues such as ‘net neutrality’ rather than concerns that extremists groups are recruiting from out of our own back yard. Our leaders need to have their priorities straight,” McFadden said in a statement. “This recruitment has been occurring for years, yet Sen. Franken has kept his head down and has only recently begun to address the situation.”

On the day Congress returns to session from its summer break, McFadden urged a bipartisan effort “to combat attempts by terror-related organizations to recruit young Americans to fight against freedom.”
In a statement, Franken spokeswoman Alexandra Fetissoff deflected McFadden’s criticism, saying Franken has spent years focusing on battling terrorism at home and abroad.

"We're delighted with Mr. McFadden's newfound concern with terrorism. We note that last year, he was the only candidate who hid from the press rather than state his position on Syria, and just a few months ago, actually fled from a voter who asked him his position on the PATRIOT Act.” She said. “Senator Franken has been working on these issues since his first FBI briefing on terrorist recruitment in our communities soon after joining the Senate in 2009."
 

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