The head of a key conservative group in Iowa says Rep. Michele Bachmann is poised for a comeback in Iowa.
Bob Vander Plaats, who directs the group the Family Leader, told MPR News Iowa conservatives who are disappointed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry are reconsidering Bachmann.
"A lot of conservative were ready to go and launch on to Rick Perry's campaign but, because of Rick Perry's debate performances and some of the issues that people didn't realize at the time, it's given these conservatives a cause for pause and a chance to take a look at other people again like Michele Bachmann," Vander Plaats said. "So I think she's starting to resurge."
Vander Plaats said he thinks Bachmann is returning to the type of campaign style that helped her win the Ames Straw Poll in mid-August. For a while Bachmann appeared to be a bit unsure of which path to take, Vander Plaats said.
"I thought I saw her in some debates almost shrink back from opportunities that presented themselves -- kind of like--I'm not so sure how I want to play this. Well, now I think she's feeling a little more comfortable on that stage, and I think she will not let an opportunity slip by," said Vander Plaats. "I think she's going to be bold. She is going to be courageous, and if she shows that titanium spine, she's going to do really well."
Vander Plaats helped orchestrate Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's 2008 Iowa caucus victory. He also led last fall's successful recall election of three Iowa Supreme Court justices for their part in a unanimous decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Vander Plaats has not endorsed any of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates. He said his organization will consider an endorsement in late November, following an event it's holding called a "Thanksgiving Family Forum." Vander Plaats said all of the candidates with the exception of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with be at the November 19 forum in Des Moines.
On Thursday Bachmann kicked off a three day campaign swing through northwestern Iowa.
A Real Clear Politics complication of the last three polls of likely Iowa GOP caucus goers had Bachmann with a little more than 12 percent support behind Mitt Romney (22 percent), Herman Cain (18 percent) and Rick Perry (16 percent).
Still Vander Plaats said there's no clear front-runner in Iowa. He said that is seldom the case at this point in the process.
"This field is extremely wide open. You could make an argument for every candidate in the race who's competing, the seven that are competing here, that they could win the state of Iowa. And so it will be interesting to see how this plays out," said Vander Plaats.(2 Comments)
MPR reports that businesses across rural Minnesota are concerned about the changes to the Market Value Homestead Credit. The change could result in dramatic tax increases for some business owners.
You can read more about the business tax shift here.
Tidbit: An awful lot of GOP lawmakers are sending out e-mail to constituents explaining the change - a clear sign that they're hearing criticism about it.
MPR takes a look at Reform 2.0 - an effort by GOP legislators to get ideas for the next legislation. Critics say it's their way of getting affirmation for a partisan agenda instead of addressing the needs of the state.
Gov. Dayton was in Washington D.C. on Thursday. He spoke to SuperCommittee members in Washington D.C. on Thursday. He and other Democratic governors urged the committee to not pass Medicaid cuts on to the states.
The U of M will honor Gov. Dayton as an "Advocate of the year."
MnSCU's enrollment slips.
Dayton will attend the Governor's Pheasant Opener tomorrow in Montevideo.
KSTP says the Vikings face bigger obstacles than the stadium report.
The Star Tribune says the prospects of a special session are an "uphill push."
ProFootball Talk says more than two other communities have contacted the Vikings about moving the team to another state.
President Obama says Iran has to be held accountable for what he characterized as a "reckless plot."
Speaker Boehner challenged Obama on the jobs bill during a recent telephone conversation.
Senate Republicans released their own jobs plan.
NPR says the Super Committees silence may be a sign of progress.
The CEO of Solyndra resigned.
Republicans are pushing back against the EPA. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and DFL Rep. Betty McCollum are mentioned.
The House passed a bill that would reduce access to abortions.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar rolls out a medical device bill. MPR reports that Klobuchar and Paulsen are pushing bills that would allow medical device companies to get their products to market. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is also mentioned.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz returned from a trip to Aghanistan. He was on a fact-finding trip on how concussions are being treated.
Walz will campaign in Austin next week.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is calling for a probe on bank fees.
Democrats Jeff Hayden and Chris Eaton are leading their opponents in the money race. Special elections are held on Tuesday for the Minneapolis and Brooklyn Park/Brooklyn Center districts.
Race for Congress
Democrat Tarryl Clark raised $228k in the third quarter. She has $235k in the bank.
AFSCME targets GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in a new ad buy.
The DFL candidates in the 8th will participate in a forum in Hibbing on Saturday.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson has $609k heading into 2012.
Race for President
Bob Vander Plaats, with the Iowa Family Leader, told MPR News that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann could be poised to make a comeback. He said conservatives disappointed in Rick Perry are giving Bachmann a second look.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is campaigning in northwestern Iowa.
Tom Emmer will speak at Ron Paul's St. Cloud event. No word on whether he's endorsing Paul.
Norm Coleman will lead a new SuperPAC.
Tidbit: Mitt Romney's campaign sent out a fundraising e-mail last night that said Norm Coleman will co-host a Twin Cities fundraiser for Romney in November. Tim Pawlenty said earlier this week that he was the other co-host.
AP says Romney is quietly working for an Iowa Caucus surprise.
Romney targeted China in his speech on the economy.
The Washington Post says Rick Perry is losing steam.
The Fix says there is a path to victory for Herman Cain.
More people will pay more in Cain's 9-9-9 plan.
Ramsey County Charter Commissioner Peter Hendricks was one of the 10 "no" votes that sank a stadium referendum effort on Tuesday night in St. Paul.
(Clarification here: he cast a no vote on a proposed charter amendment that would have required a referendum on county funding for pro sports -- not against the stadium itself. It's complicated.)
But Hendricks told fellow commissioners that the charter commission wasn't charged with setting public policy for the county, and that they were treading to close to that line, by his estimate.
Others cited his argument during the debate this week, even suggesting that they might invite legislative action to curb Ramsey County's home-rule charter if opponents used it to throw up a roadblock to the Vikings proposed new home in Arden Hills.
That said, Hendricks doesn't think the Vikings or lawmakers have heard the last of Ramsey County citizens. He points out that voters can put any deal the county signs up for a post-facto vote.
Hendricks also suggests that there would be a "high probability" that there would be a court battle between the county's home rule rights and any legislative waiver of a referendum on a stadium tax.
He's not saying who he thinks might win that.
But court cases and legal surprises have proven key points in stadium development before, like the land acquisition for Target Field, and Harry Crump's order for the Twins to play ball -- literally, in 2002.
Here's the letter Hendricks sent today:2 Comments)
Cities and towns across the state are weighing whether to increase their property tax levies. Complicating the question is a new program included in the latest budget meant to reduce the property tax burden for some homeowners.
House Minority Leader Rep. Paul Thissen says the state's new approach to property taxes won't provide relief.
"The bottom line: Republicans eliminated a program that provides $538 million each biennium in property tax relief and replaced it with a program that provides $0 in property tax relief," Thissen wrote in a recent e-mail to constituents.
Thissen's claim is correct.
Previously, people who owned property valued at less than $413,800 got a tax break. The credit got bigger as property value declined. The state reimbursed communities for the property tax loss.
But in recent years, the state wasn't always coming through with the money, so the Legislature and Gov. Mark Dayton eliminated the credit program in the latest budget to save some cash. It was replaced with an alternative that is still meant to target those owning property valued at less than $413,800, but now the state won't be reimbursing taxing jurisdictions for the money they miss out on as the result.
So, the state is providing "$0 in property tax relief" to local governments. According to the Minnesota Department of Revenue, eliminating the credit will save $538 million in the next biennium - the equivalent that would have been "provided" to communities as Thissen said.
Many property owners will see higher taxes because Minnesota taxing jurisdictions are weighing property tax increases to make up for lost state aid.
As an aside, it's important to point out that, while Thissen and the other House Democrats voted against the tax portion of the final budget, he frames the elimination of the credit as a Republican effort. The GOP effectively endorsed the plan by voting for the bill, and Dayton did, too, by signing it.
Thissen claimed that the new property tax plan provides "$0 in property tax relief" and he's correct: The state will no longer reimburse localities for the lost aid. And while some properties will be taxed less under the new plan, most will be taxed more.
MPR's Ground Level blog, St. Paul property taxes go down (for a few) and up (for many), by Dave Peters, Oct. 6, 2011
Minnesota Public Radio News, Tax hike saddles business, property owners, by Tom Robertson, October 13, 2011
Minnesota House Legislative Research, Homestead Market Value Credit, accessed Oct. 11, 2011
Minnesota House Legislative Research, The Homestead Market Value Exclusion, accessed Oct. 11, 2011
Minnesota Department of Revenue, Understanding Recent Changes in Homestead Benefits
Minnesota House Legislative Research, Alternative: Pay 2011 under MVHC conversion with no levy change, Sept. 9, 2011
Minnesota House Legislative Research, Alternative: Pay 2011 under MVHC conversion with no levy change, Sept. 20, 2011
WASHINGTON - Today is the deadline for Congressional committees to offer their budget-cutting recommendations to the 'super committee' that was tasked after this summer's debt ceiling standoff with finding $1.2 trillion in savings by Thanksgiving.
As chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Minnesota Rep. John Kline sent a letter to the super committee outlining where he and his fellow Republicans think cuts could be made in the areas of education and labor spending.
The answer: Pell Grants, the federal government grants that help students with college tuition. Kline described the program as, "the foundation of our nation's commitment to assist low-income students in accessing higher education."
"Unfortunately," Kline continued, "legislation passed in recent years, combined with the economic downturn, has put the Pell Grants program on a path to bankruptcy."
While Kline's letter avoided specific recommendations, he endorsed the approach taken by House Republican appropriators in their recently-unveiled Labor, Health and Human Services spending bill.
The House Republicans' recommendations include limiting Pell Grant lifetime eligibility to six years, down from nine, and eliminating eligibility for students who are enrolled less than half time. The appropriations committee estimates the changes would save $3.6 billion just in the next fiscal year, with longer-term savings quickly reaching the tens of billions of dollars.(9 Comments)
WASHINGTON - DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar's re-election campaign hauled in just over $1 million for the three month period ending Sept. 30, bringing her stockpile of cash on hand to more than $4 million.
The amount is slightly less than her second quarter fundraising, when she brought in $1.1 million, but the state's senior U.S. Senator has a daunting financial advantage over her declared Republican opponents, former state representative Dan Severson and Joe Arwood.
In the second quarter, Severson raised just $3,700; more recent results aren't yet available. Arwood only recently declared his candidacy and has not yet filed any paperwork on his fundraising.
Posted at 4:34 PM on October 14, 2011
by Brett Neely
Filed under: Campaign 2012
WASHINGTON - Freshman Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack raised $206,000 for his re-election campaign last quarter and now has just over $382,000 cash on hand, Cravaack's campaign reported Friday.
That's less than Cravaack's $224,000 haul last quarter (although summer can be a quiet time for fundraising) and less than than one of the DFLers who hopes to replace him, Tarryl Clark. Her campaign reported raising $228,000 this week and now has $235,000 in the bank.
Cravaack's district has traditionally been a DFL stronghold until he knocked off longtime incumbent Jim Oberstar in a surprise upset last year. Four DFL candidates, including Clark, former Congressman Rick Nolan, Duluth city council member Jeff Anderson and former Al Franken staffer Daniel Fanning, are all vying for the opportunity to run against Cravaack in next year's general election.
Cravaack is seen as especially vulnerable after his family moved to New Hampshire over the summer while Cravaack maintains a house in the district and completes a three-legged commute between Washington, Minnesota and New Hampshire every week.
Echoing the likely themes of Cravaack's re-election campaign, a statement from the campaign said: "While the liberal special interest groups in Washington will continue to target Chip -- Chip's primary focus will continue to be working to improve the economy and returning jobs to the 8th Congressional District."
Cravaack's relatively modest fundraising total comes despite some heavy-duty help that's come his way. Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman held a fundraising event with Cravaack in September. Cravaack was also listed as a co-sponsor for a high-dollar fundraiser with House Speaker John Boehner over the summer.