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Rachel E. Stassen-Berger

Reporter | State politics
Recent content from Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey, who has led the state party since 2013, says the party is in a far better position than it had been in recent

Minnesota GOP, still in debt, using credit line for cash crunch

The party owes almost $1.5 million; the chairman says the move is business as usual.
Minnesota Gov, Mark Dayton, shown last week in St. Paul reacting to the latest budget forecast.

Minnesota Gov. Dayton shuffles two posts at top of his cabinet

Myron Frans and Cynthia Bauerly will have new roles in cabinet as Jim Schowalter exits.
Kurt Daudt emerged from an all-day meeting of GOP legislators as the new House speaker-designate. He and his party are promising to be cooperative.

Minnesota House Republicans promise compromise

Republicans, fresh off election victory, promise a more conciliatory approach

Initial tally shows TV, radio political ads cost $40 million in Minnesota

Franken campaign was the state's top spender, new numbers show.
In this May 12, 2009 file photo, Jonathan Gruber, professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, participated in a Capitol Hill

Affordable Care Act architect consulted for Minnesota

Onetime MNsure hire said voter "stupidity" passed health law.
Speaker Paul Thissen ] GLEN STUBBE * gstubbe@startribune.com Tuesday, November 4, 2014 DFL Victory Party at the Minneapolis, Minnesota Hilton.

Let us count the ways House races were interesting

Here's a look at which House member got the most votes and other tidbits of the recent elections.
Speaker-designate Kurt Daudt is flanked by Rep. Joyce Peppin, right, who will become the Minnesota House majority leader.

Rep. Kurt Daudt beats back challengers for House speaker job

Two-term legislator has record of collaboration
Rudy and Anna Rodriguez, of Maple Grove, grabbed “Ready for Hillary” pins Tuesday night at the DFL election party at the Minneapolis Hilton.

Minnesota House flips to GOP control

GOP ends two years of one-party rule. DFL loses key rural and suburban contests.
Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, center, and fellow Republicans celebrated Wednesday after regaining the Republican majority in the Minnesota House on Tues

Three-way GOP fight to be Minnesota House speaker

House minority leader, who campaigned hard for others, isn't a shoo-in.
House GOP Leader Kurt Daudt received applause from Republican House members when he said "I'm proud to say tht Democrats' total control of state gover

Party-hopping voters drove Minnesota's results

Nearly 450,000 voters — about a quarter of the electorate — chose one party's candidate for a state House seat, but then switched to pick a different party's candidate for U.S. Senate or governor.
Ko Vang of St. Paul filled out his ballot in St. Paul last week. Minneapolis and St. Paul have already exceeded their 2010 numbers.

Minnesotans are voting at rate of 10,000 ballots a day

In record numbers for a midterm election, Minnesotans are using absentee ballot and mail voting to cement their choices well before most polls open.
Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP challenger Jeff Johnson

Cash pouring into Minnesota races as election draw close

Johnson equals Dayton's $2M haul this year; totals mount for House races.

Both parties make last push for control of Minnesota House

The battle for the state's lower chamber has cost more than $13 million and wearied voters.
This undated combo of 2014 file photos shows Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, left, and Republican challenger Jeff Johnson.

Wayzata is top source of Dayton, Johnson donations

One ZIP code — 55391 — is the most generous to candidates Dayton and Johnson.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets the crowd at a get-out-the-vote rally in support for Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Minne

What's with all the political visits to Minnesota? Turnout

In an election that has attracted little national heat, it sure has attracted national political stars.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, left, and Republican challenger Stewart Mills

By the numbers: The $12-million-plus Eighth District race

Outside groups, not candidates, spend most.
Simon

Race is on to decide who will handle Minnesota's elections

Partisans view the secretary of state's race as the latest front in the ongoing "voting wars" across the country.
Jeff Johnson is the Republican candidate for governor.

Jeff Johnson: A measured path to governor's office

Republican candidate for governor preaches frugality and caution while calling for a more austere government that hews to free-market values.

Minnesota absentee ballots largely from regular voters, Democratic areas

Analysis also shows more early votes from Democratic areas.
First Lady Michelle Obama is coming to town to campaign for Democrats.

First lady to rally Democrats in Minnesota on Tuesday

Michelle Obama will stump for Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken on Tuesday.
Secretary of state candidate Severson: Minnesota military voters should vote online

Secretary of state candidate Severson: Minnesota military voters should vote online

But the secretary of state's office says the proposal makes inaccurate claims.

Minnesota absentee voters so far tend to be older and from Democratic areas

So far, only about one-third of absentee ballots have come from areas that lean heavily Republican.
Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP challenger Jeff Johnson

Political outside spending down in Minnesota so far this year

Gubernatorial and House races so far haven't been affected by national financiers like in the past.
DFL state chair Ken Martin, shown in January, in front of GOP state chairman Keith Downey

Minnesota Democrats have cash advantage

GOP leader acknowledges underfunding, but says it will energize his party.
Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP challenger Jeff Johnson

Dayton leads in governor's race cash; Johnson raised more recently

Dayton has nearly twice as much in the bank, but Johnson is quickening his pace.
Jeff Johnson greeted supporters at a fundraiser at the Day Block Brewing Co in Minneapolis in July.

Minnesota Poll: Majority has given to political causes

Women and Democrats more likely to give to candidates and campaigns.
From politics to health care to the economy, even on political giving and race relations, Minnesota men and women hold vastly different opinions, acco

Minnesota men, women sharply divided on nearly everything

Although political party affiliation is the single most determinative factor in how Minnesotans answered pollsters' questions, gender is a very close second. The gender chasm is most immediately evident in candidate choices.
Gov. Mark Dayton and Jeff Johnson

DFL plans to spend $1 million-plus on ads in governor's race

DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin said ads would air starting next week. Republicans might not have the money to match.
Speaker Paul Thissen and Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, on the floor last May during debate, are both campaigning hard for control of the House.

Minnesota House control will hinge on a few close contests

The race between Democrat Will Morgan of Burnsville and Republican Roz Peterson of Lakeville is one of a cluster of seats that will bear the brunt of an epic multimillion-dollar fight to determine control of the House.
GOP primary candidates unified Wednesday behind Jeff Johnson. From the left: Kurt Zellers, Marty Seifert and Scott Honour.

Success around state propelled Jeff Johnson to GOP primary win

The Hennepin County commissioner successfully broadened his campaign for governor well beyond his home district, placing first or second in 63 of 87 counties.
Top: GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden laughed with Larry and Evy Walters of Brooklyn Park in the State Fair Cattle Barn. At bottom, Sen. Al Franken

With ads and fair fuss, Minnesota's Senate race heats up

This time, the GOP challenger is turning on the heat as Franken stays cool.
Who will control the Minnesota House of Representatives?

Who will control the Minnesota House of Representatives?

Control of the Minnesota House has changed parties three times in the past five elections and could alter again this year.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

Half-million-dollar subsidy headed to DFL's Dayton campaign; GOP's Johnson to get $389K

Gubernatorial hopefuls Dayton, Johnson are among 238 candidates to share more than $2M in public funds.
Minneapolis resident Kym Spotts completed her absentee ballot Friday at Minneapolis City Hall. Spotts, who will be out of town Tuesday, said she reque

More absentee balloting coming from DFL areas, analysis shows

Lack of early votes from GOP bastions could presage a low turnout for Tuesday's Minnesota gubernatorial primary.

Minnesota House races cause intraparty spats

One contest in each party has drawn attention from beyond Minnesota.
Stewart Mills III

Eighth District ad not completely 'yanked'

GOP candidate Stewart Mills complains that the ad is misleading.
Jane Mauer of Minneapolis, who will be out of town on voting day, placed her ballot in an envelope after completing her first absentee ballot at the M

First comes the primary, then the recount?

Minnesotans will go to the polls Tuesday to cast their primary ballots. On Wednesday, will the recount plan begin? With four Republican gubernatorial candidates facing…
Jeff Johnson, at a July 8 fundraiser at Day Block Brewing in Minneapolis, is looking at high stakes in the Aug. 12 primary.

Governor: Race means high stakes for Jeff Johnson, GOP

A loss in the August primary could severely diminish the power of the party endorsement. A primary win without convincing moderate voters to leave DFL Gov. Mark Dayton in November could shut out Republicans from the state's top office for years to come.
Scott Honour, one of four serious contenders in the GOP primary for governor, greeted people along the parade route at the Granite City Days parade in

Honour leads GOP cash race

Hopeful for governor spending his own money has as much cash as three rivals combined.
Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature during his 2014 State of the State address.

Minnesota campaign donations shifting to big bucks

The state's suspension of refunds for small-dollar contributions is seen as one of the primary reasons.
Workers have closed off most of the wings of the State Capitol from the Rotunda with drywall and temporary steel supports as renovation on the top thr

Minnesota Capitol overhaul pulls the plug on television coverage

State broadcasting and interactive services are a casualty for now of multimillion dollar overhaul.
Gov. Mark Dayton, shown in April, released his tax returns from 2013 on Wednesday. The $10,000 he gave to charity was up from $1,000 in 2012.

Gov. Dayton earned $352,601 last year, gave $10K to charity

Some GOP rivals are expected to release their info soon.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Johnson hospitalized

Governor hopeful had surgery to fix a perforated stomach and is recovering.
MNDOT crews clear a mudslide and place huge rocks around a washed out culvert along Highway 66, June 18, 2014 in Mankato.

8 Minnesota counties will get federal aid after storms

President signed disaster declaration; governor submitting claims on rolling basis.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden stands with his family and addresses delegates after receiving the party's official nomination at the M

GOP Senate candidate McFadden's first ad sparks 'groin gate'

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden’s first broadcast TV ad blossomed into what some in social media circles dubbed “groin gate.” The ad, which debuted…
This mailbox business at 419 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis was used by more than 140 voters as their address.

July1: Vote probe aimed at 419 Cedar Avenue S.

The Hennepin County attorney's office is investigating whether a private mailbox center in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood has been improperly used as an address for more than 140 voters.
Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter

Minnesota boosts budget reserves to a high of $811M

Fund is increased automatically when there are surpluses.
June 28: A section of Hwy. 101 was under water from the Minnesota River.

$32M in Minnesota public property flood damage — for starters

The damage reimbursed by a presidential declaration more than likely will apply only to public property — roads, bridges, parks and schools — and not homes. So homeowners, check your insurance policies.

Mike McFadden seeking new campaign manager for Senate race

Mastermind in GOP bid for U.S. Senate is adviser.
The Stillwater Lift Bridge, which connects Hwy. 36 on the Minnesota side to Wisconsin’s Hwy. 64, is closed indefinitely due to rising waters on the

Rising rivers prolong state of emergency for 30 days

A state of emergency was extended for 35 counties as swollen rivers threaten to cause more flooding – and damage.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie

No excuse needed to vote absentee in Minnesota

A new law, approved overwhelmingly last year, will allow voters to request absentee ballots regardless of whether they can get to their polling places on Election Day.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Gov. Dayton leads GOP rivals in campaign cash dash

GOP campaigns are amassing millions of dollars to influence the gubernatorial election.
2012 photo of Jack Rogers

Tea Party in Minnesota: 'A tsunami is coming'

Rep. Cantor's loss buoys factions but means loss of big campaign bucks for Minnesota GOP.

Minnesota Republican convention done, race for cash is heating up

"We are probably going to need to raise a million bucks to win the primary," candidate for governor Jeff Johnson said.

Entenza seeks fellow DFLer's auditor seat

Former gubernatorial candidate's last-minute filing didn't sit well with some in the party.
Some of the GOP candidates for governor of Minnesota: (left to right) Dave Thompson, Jeff Johnson, Kurt Zellers, Marty Seifert and Scott Honour.

Mega-donors in Minn.'s gubernatorial race mostly from metro area

Gubernatorial candidates are drawing on the rich near the urban and suburban areas of the Twin Cities for campaign cash.
Alida Rockefeller Messinger

Minnesota mega-donors pour money into 2014 elections

Courts shredded restrictions on giving, and now big-dollar donors are free to give as much as they want to Minnesota's parties and political action committees ahead of this year's elections.
Judge Donovan Frank

May 20: Federal court: Minnesota must lift limit on political donations

Supreme Court set the tone for looser rules on big donors.
Medical marijuana: MaryAnn Nelson of Mankato kissed her daughter Rachel, who suffers from Rett syndrome.

Here's how the Legislature grappled with issues facing Minn.

For more than 80 days and over many late nights, Minnesota legislators hashed out major issues confronting the state: wages, taxes, bullying, medical marijuana. Here's a quick look at what happened.
Medical marijuana bill authors Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Carly Melin were congratulated after the bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote.

Legislators wrap up session early in a flurry of deal-making

In its closing hours, it voted to legalize medical marijuana and to deliver a second round of tax cuts.
Rick Nolan, left, and Stewart Mills III

Minnesota, meet your 2014 U.S. House candidates

Minnesota Republican and Democratic activists have selected their combatants for this year’s U.S. House battles. Republicans are hoping to wrest the First Congressional District…
Lobbyists watched debate of the liquor bill Tuesday, gathering around television monitors outside the Senate chamber. Sen. Jim Metzen tabled his bill

Minnesota Senate bottles up Sunday liquor sales debate

The ban on sales looked solid until an amendment made sponsor pull his bill.

Who's funding your mayor's campaign? Minnesota may make it easier to know

Legislative plan would make state one of the first, if not the first, to place such local financing data online.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Legislators keep online voter registration going

Monday, a judge ordered the system to be shut down. Tuesday, Gov. Dayton signed a revival bill.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not have the authority to start an online voter registration program, a judge has ruled.

Judge kills Minnesota's online voter registration

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not have power to create system, so Legislature appears set to authorize it.
March 4: These demonstrators showed what they think should be a top priority for legislators.

Minimum-wage bill heads to Dayton

Passed by the House, the measure to increase the state's pay floor to $9.50 an hour by 2016 will be signed Monday.

Legislative immunity debate gets House vote

The House supports a bill making it clear lawmakers can be arrested on suspicion of DWI during their session.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and House Speaker Paul Thissen, right, in back, announced agreement on raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour by 2

Minnesota's minimum wage is going to $9.50 an hour by 2016

Minnesota's minimum wage is set to jump from one of the lowest in the nation to one of the highest, promising a better standard of living for more than 350,000 workers but raising bottom-line concerns for some business owners.
Jake Ross, left, an 11-year-old Boy Scout from Forest Lake, watched asGov. Mark Dayton signed the antibullying bill on the steps of the Capitol on Wed

Dayton signs anti-bullying bill

The law requires school districts to track and investigate cases of bullying and to better train staffers and teachers on how to prevent it.

Minnesota's limits on campaign donations to be challenged

Lawsuit contends "first come, first served" law violates free speech.
March 4: These demonstrators showed what they think should be a top priority for legislators.

Minnesota legislators cut deal to boost minimum wage to $9.50

Details of the agreement are expected to be released by House and Senate leaders Monday morning, but two sources with the knowledge of the deal said Sunday that the minimum wage would rise to $9.50 an hour and future increases would be linked to increases in inflation.
Gary Goldsmith, executive director, Campaign finance and Public Disclosure Board

Minn. mega-donors expect more calls after court alters campaign laws

An individual can now give millions to candidates for federal office.

GOP hopefuls stake out claims to challenge Franken

Few differences distinguished the seven candidates represented in the St. Louis Park forum.
The exterior of the Minnesota State Capitol prior to exterior renovation project.

Minnesota budget plans firmed up in the House and Senate

The House will likely pass a budget measure on Thursday; the Senate will follow with its own soon afterward.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Gov. Dayton adds his voice to push for campaign cash disclosure

The governor's backing makes it more likely that starting with this year's elections, Minnesotans would be able to track the sources of all politically tinged mailings and ads that come out before Election Day.
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