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, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

Posts about 2012 Presidential election

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan returning to Minnesota

Posted by: Updated: August 26, 2013 - 11:09 AM

Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan will take a swing through Minnesota next month for the Center of the American Experiment.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan, of Wisconsin, will be the featured guest at a $100 luncheon and a $5,000 pre-lunch event for the right-of-center think tank.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan arriving in Minnesota for a November 2012 Romney campaign event

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan arriving in Minnesota for a November 2012 Romney campaign event


The events will be on Sept. 26 at the Hilton Minneapolis in downtown Minneapolis. 


Former WCCO anchor Shelby will not run for Congress

Posted by: Updated: August 9, 2013 - 11:15 AM


By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Kevin Diaz

Former WCCO anchor Don Shelby has ended Democrats' hopes he will run for Congress.

"The decision is made, after a lot of consultation...it became clear to me that this was the wrong time in life for the wrong guy, to make a run for congress," Shelby told the Star Tribune, confirming Thursday media reports.

National Democrats had pressed Shelby to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen. He is well known throughout the state and Democrats hoped he could have made inroads in the moderate suburban Third Congressional District, which has long been in Republican hands.

But  the long time television fixture he made clear that electoral politics is not for him.

Don Shelby in his Excelsior home in 2012

Don Shelby in his Excelsior home in 2012


In dashing Democrats' hopes, Shelby joins the long line of top potential recruits deciding to sit out 2014 runs for office.

Republicans had talked up potential U.S. Senate runs from U.S. Rep. John Kline and Paulsen but both sitting House members decided they would stick with the districts that brought them to Washington instead.

Democrats had been high on businessman Jim Graves, who had plotted a second run against Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann next year. But shortly after Bachmann announced she would not run, Graves followed suit.

DFLers had also been excited about CaringBridge website founder Sona Mehring's announced run against Kline. But, shortly after Kline said he would run for the House again next year, Mehring said she had decided to return to work at the nonprofit website for the families of ill people that she nursed into a multimillion dollar venture.

Across the country, many potential recruits have decided not to enter the fetid world of Washington politics, seeing more possibility for change outside its partisan walls.

"There were two frightening possibilities: One that I would be elected, and one that I would lose," Shelby said on Friday.

He told WCCO, his former home,  that : "When you see statements by John Boehner that says our job is not to pass laws but to repeal them, it makes you wonder who in his or her right mind would really want to get into that business, especially if they come from a background of trying to change things."

The former anchor, who would start the race as a political newcomer, considered but never fully embraced the idea of a political run. He told the Star Tribune that he probably would not have excelled in Washington, didn't really consider himself a Democrat and was uncomfortable leaving journalism behind.

"I really don’t think I’d be a very good representative for the Third District of Minnesota because as a freshman I would probably come in there pretty loud and opinionated, but opinionated based on facts," he said. "And I probably wouldn’t be the perfect Democrat candidate because my tendency as a reporter is to go where the facts are, and if the conservatives held the facts on one side, then I’d have a tendency to find some importance in supporting public policy based in the facts that they held.”

Paulsen won his third term last year with 58 percent of the vote, the same year Democratic President Obama won 49 percent of the vote in the district narrowly edging Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney by 3,000 votes.




Bachmann whistleblower says Iowa will suffer for 'pay to play'

Posted by: Updated: August 7, 2013 - 3:09 PM
The man behind the allegations of ethical and financial irregularities in U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign said Wednesday that the ongoing scandal has diminished the Iowa Caucuses and the economic benefits that go with them.
Amid fresh evidence that conservative Iowa State Sen. Kent Sorenson was paid first to support Bachmann and then former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, the term “pay for play” is being bandied about to describe the Hawkeye State, not Chicago.
Bachmann has never publicly acknowledged insider reports that her campaign paid Sorenson, but she did accuse him of taking money to defect to Paul.
Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s faith-based organizer, noted that the candidates who compete in Iowa’s influential straw poll and caucuses, and the media who cover them, contribute untold dollars to Iowa’s economy.
In a letter to Iowa’s Senate secretary, Waldron said that the citizens of Iowa “do not deserve to have their state legislature soiled by the behavior of one” individual, and urged a quick resolution to the Sorenson affair, which is being examined by a special investigator.
“Unless Iowa shows the nation it has taken decisive action to prevent sales of public office from happening again,” Waldron said in a statement, “the national political parties should let another state caucus or primary become the new ‘first in the nation.’”

Ethics panel extends Bachmann investigation

Posted by: Updated: July 26, 2013 - 12:39 PM
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s problems with the House Ethics Committee are not going away anytime soon.
On Friday, the chair and ranking member of the committee, a Democrat and a Republican, announced that a review of her case will be extended another 45 days, meaning that the earliest a decision can be expected is on Sept. 11.
The Ethics Committee extension is routine, but it also signifies the first public acknowledgement by any federal entity of the multiple allegations of campaign finance or ethical improprieties by her 2012 presidential campaign.
The Bachmann case was referred to the committee on June 13 by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which has interviewed former Bachmann staffers about allegations of improper payments and the use of campaign staffers to promote her book, Core of Conviction.
Bachmann’s attorneys have denied any wrongdoing on her part. She has announced she will not seek re-election.
The ethics panel faced a Sunday deadline to dismiss the case or extend it for further review. Under House rules, the committee now faces a September deadline to drop the case or pursue it further, possibly leading to sanctions.
The panel has yet to disclose publicly the nature of the allegations under review. The campaign also is being investigated by the FBI and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Meanwhile, officials in Iowa are investigating allegations of improper payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson, Bachmann’s Iowa chairman. Urbandale police also continue to probe theft allegations involving a database in the custody of ex-Bachmann staffer Barb Heki, who recently settled a lawsuit against the Bachmann campaign.
As the investigations continue, Bachmann's legal bills continue to mount. Bachmann has racked up nearly $200,000 in legal expenses so far this year, according to her presidential, congressional, and leadership PAC reports to the FEC. That spending comes on top of $260,000 in billings to her principal law firm, Patton Boggs, in 2011 and 2012.

Bachmann backs off claim that Obama gave voting rights to illegal immigrants

Posted by: Updated: July 22, 2013 - 3:28 PM
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s office has backed off a widely-mocked remark suggesting that President Obama gave illegal immigrants the right to vote last year.
The Minnesota Republican made the statement in an interview last month with WND TV of conservative WorldNetDaily fame.
Bachmann, explaining how immigration reform could hurt the Republican Party, mischaracterized Obama’s 2012 executive order ending deportations of illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children:
“I think the president, even by executive order, could again wave his magic wand before 2014 and he'd say now all of the new, legal Americans are going to have voting rights. Why do I say that? He did it in 2012! Do you remember? Anyone who was here as a Latina under, ah, age 30, he said, ‘You get to vote.’ What? He decides you get to vote? If he did it 2012, know — take it to the bank — he'll do in 2014.”
In fact, Obama’s executive order had nothing to do with voting, whether by Latinas or Latinos. Since the interview was posted a week ago, Bachmann's comments have generally been derided as the latest example of her reputation for disregarding facts.
But unlike in previous instances, Bachmann’s office took the trouble on Monday to re-state what she now says she meant.
“The point the Congresswoman was making was a hypothetical one given an ongoing theme of the Obama presidency—selective enforcement of laws,” said spokesman Dan Kotman. “President Obama magically creates or delays laws out of political convenience—as we saw with his unilateral decision to change deportation laws before the 2012 election and to delay the Obamacare employer mandate until after the 2014 elections. Given this track record of unilaterally declaring law, what is to keep President Obama from disregarding Congress and the law again by providing executive amnesty, which would mean automatic access to citizenship and voting status?”
Kotman’s clarification may or may not stop another Internet myth from being born. But it certainly won’t end the questions about whether the president could unilaterally bestow citizenship and voting rights on people he thinks might be inclined to vote Democrat.


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