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.

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Pew poll: Primary voters tend toward extremes, partisans more partisan

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: June 12, 2014 - 10:15 AM

A new nationwide poll from the Pew Center on People and the Press finds that consistent conservatives and liberal make the decisions in primaries at the same time Democrats and Republicans' contrasts grow.

The poll, which surveyed 10,000 adults, found that those who are consistently conservative are more likely to turn out to vote. The same was true for consistent liberals, although to a slightly lessor extend.

The results are instructive for campaigns facing heated primaries, as Minnesota will experience this August, and for voters who may be unhappy with the election outcomes.

Ideological Consistency and Primary Voting

Adults on the more conservative and liberal ends of the spectrum are also more likely to vote in all elections and more likely to give money to political causes.

Notably for Democrats hoping to boost this year's midterm election turnout, conservative adults are significantly more likely to say they always vote than liberal adults.

The findings come as people are less likely to hold much in common with people of the opposite party.

Perhaps because of those differences, Republicans and Democrats over the past two decades have a growing dislike of each other.

Read the complete report here.

Former President Clinton set to speak on civil rights at U

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: June 9, 2014 - 11:16 AM

Former President Bill Clinton is set to speak on the long struggle for equality in the United States at the University of Minnesota, as its Humphrey School of Public Affairs commemorates 50 years since the signing of the federal Civil Rights Act. 

Clinton is scheduled to accept the Dean's Award for Public Leadership at the Monday night event at Northrop Auditorium. The Humphrey School has planned a year's worth of activities in conjunction with the commemoration of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The school's namesake, Hubert Humphrey, made civil rights legislation a major emphasis of his career as mayor of Minneapolis, U.S. senator and vice president of the United States. 

Eric Schwartz, dean of the Humphrey School, noted that Clinton has often spoke of how the civil rights era forged his own political identity. 

Clinton's speech comes as his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is again in the national political spotlight while she mulls a 2016 White House run. This Tuesday brings the publication of "Hard Choices," her memoir of four years as U.S. secretary of state.  

Tickets to the Bill Clinton event cost $50 for the general public. 

Dayton signs $1.7 billion in new construction, millions in tax breaks

Posted by: Updated: May 20, 2014 - 12:43 PM

Minnesotans will see millions in tax relief and $1.17 billion in new construction projects as part of measures DFL Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law Tuesday.

The measures are a significant accomplishment for Dayton and DFL legislators who now head into the campaign season in an attempt to hold control at the Capitol.

“Progress,” Dayton said at a Capitol news conference, flanked by House and Senate DFL leaders said. “That is what we have achieved.”

Dayton said he had some regrets about the session and a couple measures left unfinished.

A new measure requiring toxic chemicals to be disclosed on products for children died in the closing hours of session, as did tougher campaign finance and public disclosure requirements for nonprofit groups, which drew strong opposition from anti-abortion groups and the National Rifle Association.

“It’s very telling and very troubling that a couple of interest groups could bludgeon their way to deny people to know where all this money is coming from,” Dayton said.

Dayton said he is still weighing whether to veto a ban on online lottery tickets sales, which emerged as a hotly debated issue in the closing days of the legislative session. He said he would make a final determination on that measure in coming days.

Legislators adjourned late Friday night, ending a legislative session where Democratic majorities in the House and Senate raised the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, approved more than $550 million in tax breaks, poured more money into the state’s rainy-day fund and legalized medical marijuana.

Republican legislators are flying around the state to persuade Minnesotans against one-party control at the Capitol. With Dayton and the House up for election this fall, Republicans are scrambling to win back the governor’s office or control of the House.

Democrats brought “unhealthy taxing and spending, hurting Minnesota’s economy and hurting Minnesota families,” said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown.

Republicans need just seven more seats to gain control, and Daudt expects they will win back nearly 20 additional seats on Election Day.

The GOP urged Minnesotans to embrace their “balanced Republican approach.”

Republicans criticized Democrats for a new $77 million office building and for last year's tax hikes, particularly as some early indications show that Minnesota’s employment and budget picture might be dimming a bit.

“Democrats have really let Minnesotans down,” said Senate Majority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie.


Mike Obermueller: A Democrat running on Obamacare

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: May 16, 2014 - 4:34 PM

WASHINGTON -- Mike Obermueller's latest ad is certainly not the Democratic cookie cutter approach to winning an election this fall.

Taking pot shots at his GOP incumbent opponent Rep. John Kline in the 2nd Congressional District, Obermueller is actually running on the Affordable Care Act.

In a goofy one-minute ad that shows a bunch of men and women dancing around an office, Obermueller says his opponent's repeated criticism, including his multiple defunding votes, of the new health care law is "music" to the ears of insurance executives.

"If Congress repeals Obamacare, insurance companies will go back to charging whatever they want, charging women more for health coverage, denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and even dropping coverage when you get sick," a man's voice intones, while supposed insurance executives party down between file cabinets and conference tables. "If John Kline got his way, 11 million Americans would lose their coverage."

The ad will have limited viewers because it's a very small buy on cable only. A Republican source said the one-minute ad will run three times on MSNBC, costing the campaign $400. 

Obermueller said Friday he would like to raise more money to keep the ad up for as long as possible and buy some time on network television. None of Minnesota's network stations, KMSP, KSTP, WCCO or KARE report any Obermueller buys, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

"Republicans have had the microphone for too long alone on this issue," Obermueller said. "We need to work to improve and fix this law ... not repeal it."

Obermueller's unique approach embracing Obamacare could prove risky in a state where it still isn't polling well. In a Suffolk University Political Research Center poll out April 29, 45 percent of Minnesotans called the law "generally bad" for the state and 41 percent said the Affordable Care Act is "generally good."

Kline's spokesman said Friday that Obermueller was desperate to revive a failed campaign. Obermueller lost to Kline two years ago by 8 points.

"Mr. Obermueller is grasping at straws to do anything he can to resuscitate his failed campaign based on a track record of supporting billion-dollar tax increases on working families and voting to specifically tax our veterans and our seniors," said Troy Young, in a statement.


The Human Rights Campaign endorses Dayton for re-election

Posted by: Updated: May 14, 2014 - 10:16 AM

The nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization announced Wednesday it is endorsing Gov. Mark Dayton for re-election.

The Human Rights Campaign said Dayton has “a stellar record” on LGBT equality. The group made the endorsement on the one-year anniversary of Dayton singing a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

“Governor Dayton led Minnesota into its full embrace of LGBT equality,” said Marty Rouse, an HRC spokesman. “He took pro-equality stances before they were politically safe and has been a champion of all people, working families and LGBT Minnesotans alike.”

“I am honored to receive the Human Rights Campaign's endorsement,” Dayton said in a statement. “HRC’s good work in Minnesota was vital in defeating the attempt to put discrimination into Minnesota’s Constitution by banning marriage equality in 2012, and equally important in our great victory last year, when we ensured that every Minnesotan has the right to marry the person he or she loves.”

The Human Rights Campaign has emerged as a powerful and well-financed organization working to legalize same-sex marriage across the country. It is also using its vast fundraising resources to defend elected officials who have backed their cause.

The group noted that Dayton supported same-sex marriage before he was elected. When he served in the U.S. Senate, he voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment. He also co-sponsored a measure that would have extended benefits eligibility to the domestic partners of civilian federal employees.


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