Posted at 6:49 AM on October 14, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
President Obama signed a disaster declaration for 21 counties in southern Minnesota. The move provides disaster assistance to the counties for road and bridge repair, loans for individuals and grants for small businesses.
The move now means Gov. Pawlenty can call a special session so the state can pick up its part of the projected $64 million tab.
Two DFL lawmakers say they'll push to include anti-bullying legislation in the special session.
Prairie Island clears a hurdle to receive a 20-year extension.
Race for Congress
Politico says DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar collected just one contribution from an 8th District resident between June 22nd and September 30th.
RNC Chair Michael Steele says GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is the direction the GOP needs to go.
Bachmann's record fundraising is raising eyebrows.
The candidates in Minnesota's 1st are done debating. The final debate was held Wednesday in Rochester.
Walz says he's confident he'll win.
The PoliGraph says the dueling 1st District ads fail the truth test.
MPR takes a look at the race in the 7th Congressional District.
The Pi Press takes a look at the race in the 2nd District.
Norm Coleman's political group, American Action Network, intends to spend $19 million to help elect Republicans. One of the races will be Minnesota's 1st.
Race for Governor
Democrat Mark Dayton will campaign in northwestern Minnesota.
IP candidate Tom Horner will speak at an environmental debate and will attend the Minnesota Business Partnership reception.
Republican Tom Emmer has no public events.
Emmer sat down for a long ranging interview with AP. He said the public shouldn't think that he's a carbon copy of Tim Pawlenty.
MinnPost talks with some of the Republicans who have decided to back IP candidate Tom Horner this year.
Horner campaigned in Mankato and says Emmer's support has peaked.
DFL Sen. Al Franken asks President Obama not to appeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ruling.
An increased ethanol blend (E15) has been approved.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty is headed to New Hampshire on Sunday.
Pawlenty goes after the D.C. Teacher's union.
Pawlenty also endorsed in Michigan.
On Fox News, Pawlenty also said he has the chops to win.
Politico says Mitt Romney's strategy is to go big and go everywhere. Romney will be in Minnesota on Monday.
Governor Pawlenty's three political action committees report raising nearly $778,000 in the 3rd quarter of the year. A source with Pawlenty's PACs says the federal PAC raised $557k, the Iowa state PAC raised $135k and the New Hampshire PAC raised almost $86k. Pawlenty's federal PAC is aimed at helping state and federal candidates across the country. The New Hampshire and Iowa PACs are aimed at helping state and local candidates in those respective states.
Pawlenty also gave $113k to candidates and political party units in the 3rd Quarter. He gave $5,000 each to the New Hampshire Republican Party, the Florida state Senate GOP, gubernatorial candidates in Nevada, Oregon and Illinois and three New Hampshire candidtes who are running for the U.S. Senate and Congress (Kelly Ayotte, Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass).
The deadline to file the FEC reports on the federal level is tomorrow.
Gov. Pawlenty called a special session for October 18th at 1pm to provide disaster assistance to the 21 counties impacted by last month's flooding.
Here's some info sent by the governor's office regarding damages and what's in the bill:
The preliminary damage estimate was $64.1 million, though that figure will increase as more counties are added to the federal declaration and the damage assessment process continues.
During the Special Session, a bill will be presented that includes the state's share of assistance for the counties affected by flooding last month. The legislation will also include assistance for areas of the state that were designated a federal disaster area in July as a result of tornados and severe storms that caused more than $35 million in damage.
The bill is paid for with $32.5 million from the General Fund, $26.7 million in General Obligation Bonds, $10 million from the state transportation fund, and $5 million from the Trunk Highway fund.
The flood relief provisions of the bill include:
·$15 million for damaged state highway infrastructure and local roads and bridges.
·$14 million to the Department of Natural Resources for flood hazard mitigation grants, clean-up of public waterways, and repair of river gauges, and the repair or relocation of the Oronoco dam.
· $12 million for the non-federal cost share. Under the terms of a disaster declaration, the federal government covers 75 percent of eligible costs and the state covers the remaining non-federal share.
· $10 million for the Minnesota Investment Fund, administered by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, to provide locally administered grants or loan programs to eligible organizations, including businesses, directly affected by the disaster. To increase accountability, DEED is required to report to the legislature before making any grants.
·$10 million for the Reinvest in Minnesota program to acquire easements from landowners on marginal lands in the disaster area to protect soil and water quality and to support fish and wildlife habitat.
·$4 million for the Quick Start program administered by Minnesota Housing. Quick Start helps homeowners who are unable to repair or rebuild their homes due to flood damage expenses that exceed private insurance and federal assistance. The program provides forgivable, no-interest loans for home repair, new construction or a comparable replacement home, mobile homes, or single-family rental repair.
·$4 million to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for livestock investment grants, organic certification assistance, forage production loss offsets for livestock producers, and no-interest disaster recovery loans.
·$3 million to help communities with erosion and sediment control.
·$523,000 for school districts that lost per-pupil funding or incurred increased transportation costs.
·$500,000 for the Public Finance Authority. The PFA makes low-interest loans and grants available to finance infrastructure that might otherwise be unaffordable to communities if they had to borrow money for the projects at market rates.
·$250,000 for clean-up of historical buildings.
Provisions of the bill pertaining to areas declared a federal disaster (FEMA-1921-DR) in July include:
·$5.2 million for the non-federal cost share for eligible expenses from the July storms. Counties named in that federal declaration are Blue Earth, Brown, Houston, Kittson, Nicollet, Sibley, Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele and Wadena.
·$750,000 to update Wadena's existing pre-design and design plans for public facilities.
·$693,000 for school districts that incurred uninsured losses to buildings and equipment.
The coalition of conservative groups planning to dispatch "voter surveillance teams" to polling places on Election Day is now also offering $500 rewards for information leading to voter fraud convictions.
Election Integrity Watch -- a joint effort of Minnesota Majority, Minnesota Voters Alliance and the North Star Tea Party Patriots -- issued a news release today announcing the bounties.
We are putting a price on the heads of anyone who would attempt to organize people with the intent of cheating in our election," said Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority. "We've received reports of organizers enticing people to vote fraudulently with small financial incentives such as gift cards. We've also seen evidence of this illegal practice in the official incident logs from the 2008 election. We will now offer individuals a more lucrative incentive for turning-in these organizers of voter fraud."
Davis and other members of the group launched their surveillance effort last week.
The Minnesota Hospitals Political Action Committee announced today that it's backing the Independence Party's Tom Horner in the race for governor. The PAC rarely backs a candidate in the governor's race but MN Hospital Association President Lawrence Massa said the state's deep budget problems and the health care changes that lie ahead prompted them to take a side in the race.
It's not a huge surprise that Horner received the backing of the hospital PAC. Horner did public relations work for several hospitals when he owned the PR firm Himle Horner. He also kept the hospitals as his client when he sold his ownership in the firm because the hospitals were dealing with a nurse's strike over the summer.
For his part, Horner praised the endorsement.
"For more than two decades I helped local hospitals have meaningful conversations about strengthening the state's health care system and the important role that hospitals play in delivering that care," said Horner. "We need a governor who understands the challenges facing health care. My professional work and my volunteer work have provided me with a unique understanding of those challenges."
This is the second health care related endorsement for Horner. He also received the backing of the Minnesota Medical Association.
Governor Pawlenty said today that he intends to appear alongside potential 2012 rival Mitt Romney on Monday. Romney is scheduled to be in Bloomington, MN on Monday to raise money for Emmer and also hold a rally for the Republican candidate for governor. Pawlenty said he will also attend the event provided the special session wraps up in a timely manner.
"Mitt and I are friends I like him," Pawlenty said. "Last time he was here, he and I spent some social time together. I spent some time with him backstage. We appeared together on the state so there's no tension or problem with me or Mitt."
When asked why there would be a problem, Pawlenty said "I have a lot of respect for Gov. Romney."
Pawlenty said he also intends to do some campaigning of his own for Emmer near the end of the month. Pawlenty told reporters this afternoon that he's scheduled to campaign for Emmer, has raised money for him and he also hinted at doing more.
"There are some things that I'm doing independently that will reveal themselves in due course," Pawlenty said.
When asked if he will appear in an ad touting Emmer's campaign, Pawlenty said "stay tuned on that."
Pawlenty, who reported this morning that his three political action committees has $667,000 on hand through September 30th. When asked if he intends to spend that money, Pawlenty responded "It's not to sit on money."
Pawlenty will ramp up his campaigning over the weekend. He's scheduled to be in New York City tomorrow morning for a fundraiser for the Republican Governors Association. On Saturday, he'll be campaigning in New Hampshire. He suggested that it won't be the only out of state campaigning he'll do between now and Election Day.
"I'm doing everything I need to do to make sure my job and responsibilities are met here but I will be campaigning pretty hard in the next few weeks..."
The latest KSTP-TV/Survey USA poll shows Democrat Mark Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer by five percentage points. Dayton received 42 percent support from those polled. Emmer received 37 percent support. IP candidate Tom Horner received 14 percent support. Seven percent of those polled say they're undecided. The margin of error is +/-3.7%.
Dayton slightly increased his lead from the Survey USA poll taken in September showed Dayton leading Emmer by two percentage points.
Here's the link to the latest poll.