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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Minnesota campaigns

Poll finds tightening race for governor; Franken leads by double digits

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: November 3, 2014 - 8:28 AM

Both Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken are holding onto leads in a new KSTP-TV/SurveyUSA poll, but Dayton's race in particular has tightened.

The poll, taken Oct. 27-30, found Dayton leading Republican Jeff Johnson, 47 to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. Hannah Nicollet of the Independence Party had the support of 2 percent, as did Libertarian Party candidate Chris Holbrook. Six percent were undecided or supporting other minor candidates. 

The poll found Dayton's support slipping among independents, with Johnson leading by 12 points. Dayton still holds a notable advantage with women voters, though that support has also slipped from previous polls. 

Dayton has led Johnson in every independent poll of the race, though what was once a healthy lead has shrunk. A Star Tribune poll published a week ago found Dayton leading Johnson, 45 percent to 38 percent. 

The KSTP poll found Franken with a larger lead over challenger Mike McFadden, 51 to 40 percent, though that lead too is smaller than Franken's lead in the last SurveyUSA poll. The IP's Steve Carlson is at 4 percent and Libertarian Heather Johnson is at 2 percent. Four percent are undecided or back other candidates. 

Franken, too, has never trailed McFadden in any poll of their race. The recent Star Tribune poll found Franken up over McFadden, 48 to 39 percent, although past SurveyUSA polls showed Franken with a much wider lead than he holds in the new one. 

All four of the statewide candidates planned full days of campaigning Monday, ahead of the start of voting on Tuesday morning. Dayton is joining the DFL's  bus tour for several events throughout Minneapolis: at Urban League headquarters in the early afternoon, at the University of Minnesota in the evening and then later stops at organized labor offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

Johnson is holding meet-and-greet stops with Twin Cities voters throughout the day: at a suburban park and ride, in grocery stores and other spots. He's also makinig get-out-the-vote calls and visiting Republican volunteers at several sites. 

Franken is also participating in multiple stops on the DFL bus tour. McFadden is flying around the state with Sixth Congressional District GOP candidate Tom Emmer to campaign at greater Minnesota locations. 

McFadden campaign launches final TV ad blitz

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: November 2, 2014 - 11:34 AM

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden's campaign will launch its final advertisement during prime time Sunday night.

The 30-second advertisement, entitled "It's Time," opens with gravity: "Everything is at stake," a narrator reads. "Our hopes, our dreams, our future."

McFadden campaign spokesman Tom Erickson said the broadcast will air at around 6:30 p.m. on CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX and is the final television advertisement of the campaign. It will run just before McFadden squares off with Sen. Al Franken in their last of three debates at 7 p.m. on Minnesota Public Radio, two days before the election.

View the ad here:

By the numbers: Minnesota House races to watch

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: November 4, 2014 - 3:55 PM

To assess which Minnesota House races are competitive follow the money.

Democratic and Republican groups have spent more than $100,000 on at least 20 seats, almost all held by Democrats.

The DFL is on defense, desperately holding on to its majority in the 134-member House. Republicans are just as anxious to snatch that control away in this off-year election.

Explore the spending on the key races to decide the majority below.

All told, as of Oct. 20, the House candidates and outside groups, including parties and political action committees, have spent more than $13 million on the contest for the lower chamber.

Click on each bar to see the exact amount of money spent.

These figures only include spending by groups registered with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, as of Oct. 20. They do not include the significant cash spent by political nonprofits, whose spending largely is unreported before elections. Republican-supporting groups have spent considerable sums through political nonprofit organizations.

Here are the candidates competing in those 20 races:

UPDATE: Most of the money spent on 48B was spent during the contested August primary.

Glenn Howatt contributed to this post.

Late money still coming in

Posted by: J. Patrick Coolican Updated: October 31, 2014 - 3:18 PM

Still more money is flowing into campaigns during the final days, with a special emphasis on the battle for control of the Minnesota House. 

The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, a Republican-aligned group playing in legislative races across the state, received $30,000 today from the Washington-based Republican State Leadership Committee, as well as $5,000 from the Minnesota Food Coalition. 

WIN Minnesota, a funding arm of the Democratic Alliance for a Better Minnesota, received $20,000 Wednesday from Education Minn PAC, the political action committee of the teachers union. 

See this earlier post for details on other large donations since last week. 

For a complete list of late, large donations, see this page from the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board and click on the date to see the donations. 

In U forum, Johnson talks education policy, tax reform

Posted by: Ricardo Lopez Updated: October 30, 2014 - 1:41 PM

Jeff Johnson, the GOP nominee for governor, said during a forum Thursday hosted at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs that he would focus on comprehensive tax reform, the state's transportation infrastructure and education policy if he is elected governor. 

The forum, moderated by political science professor Larry Jacobs, touched on a wide range of topics -- including the state's business climate and the creation of well-paying jobs -- but Johnson did not deviate from well-established positions on taxes and education.

Johnson told a small crowd of two dozen students that he would be an "engaged governor" and would work to reduce tax rates in Minnesota, including the corporate tax rate which he said discourages businesses from coming to the state. 

The state's tax climate, Johnson said, needs a major overhaul. "We have a tax system that is decades old," he said. "It's about being competitive with other states." 

On transportation, Johnson said he would oppose new forms of revenue, including a gas tax, and instead would pay for infrastructure maintenance through the issuing of state bonds. He said the focus would be on roads and bridges, not light-rail construction. 

"I'm not an anti-train guy," he said. "I'm a cost-benefit analysis guy."

On education, Johnson favors more local control for schools and said schools should be able to follow best practices to work in narrowing the state's achievement gap. 

With five days left until the election, Johnson will be busy meeting with voters. His schedule Thursday also included stops in Red Wing.  

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