Posted at 6:30 AM on December 22, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where...well...there's a lot going on.
Let's start with the latest on Sen. Amy Koch.
MPR reports that Sen. Geoff Michel knew in September that Koch was having an inappropriate relationship with a staffer. That contradicts his statement last week that complaints about the relationship came up a few weeks ago.
We've also learned that Koch's former chief of staff, Cullen Sheehan, was the first person to confront Koch and the staffer about the relationship, as well as bring it to Michel's attention.
After being contacted by MPR for comment on the story, Koch issued a statement acknowledging the relationship and apologizing for it.
MPR also looks at the challenges facing the new Republican party leader and the new Senate Majority Leader.
Sen. Dave Thompson won't run for Majority Leader.
In Other Minnesota News
Though the St. Croix bridge may be on the backburner in Washington, it's still an important topic in Minnesota.
Duluth's new public schools superintendent does not have a state license.
MPR reports that an anti-abortion group wants legislators to get involved in planning a Minnesota health insurance exchange.
The farming economy is doing well, MPR reports.
Republican Party 2nd District Chair Terry McCall will run for Minnesota Republican Party chair.
MPR profiles Rep. Betty McCollum and her role in the St. Croix bridge debate.
A bipartisan group of House members from Minnesota and Wisconsin are asking the House leadership to vote on authorization the new St. Croix bridge.
The debate over the payroll tax cut could hurt Republicans, writes the Washington Post.
Despite criticism from within their party, Republican freshman lawmakers are pushing back hard on the payroll tax cut extension.
The NRCC is blaming Rep. Collin Peterson and other Democrats for creating the payroll tax cut gridlock.
The Star Tribune takes a look at the payroll tax debate as well.
On the Campaign Trail
Weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Ron Paul is doing well in polls. His Real Clear Politics average is 23.8 percent, which puts him first in Iowa. There's a lot of buzz about what a Paul win there would mean for the relevancy of Iowa's first-in-the-nation status.
Rep. Michele Bachmann is confident about beating Mitt Romney, Politico reports.
She and Rick Santorum have similar platforms, but different styles, reports ABC News.
In the Huffington Post, Tom Wilson with the Centre for Transatlantic Affairs writes that Bachmann's critics aren't giving her enough credit.
Bachmann's supporters think she's great, but worry she can't win the general election, Politico reports.
While Washington is mired in a debate over the payroll tax, the GOP presidential candidates are are treading carefully on the topic.
Super PACs are the "bad cops" of the 2012 election, Politico writes.
Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers is scheduled to speak at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs on Jan. 19. Zellers will preview the 2012 legislative session which begins on Jan. 24. The event takes place from Noon - 1:15 p.m. at the Cowles Auditorium on the University of Minnesota's campus.
Posted at 5:03 PM on December 22, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012
Political consultant Pat Shortridge sent an e-mail to GOP delegates today saying he intends to only serve through 2012 if he's elected chair of the Minnesota Republican Party. He also said he doesn't intend to take a salary if he's elected, a question many delegates are pondering since the party is more than $500,000 in debt.
"I am not running to build any kind of personal empire," Shortridge wrote. "I'm not running to help any particular candidate, faction, or group within the party. In fact, one of my greatest strengths, I believe, is my ability to be an honest broker and unify us in our mission to move this state in the right direction, so we don't become a basket case like New York, Illinois or California."
Shortridge says he's going to emphasize fundraising to help get the party out of debt. He said his goal, if elected, would be to keep and expand the Republican majority in the in the Minnesota House and Senate, re-elect the state's four Republican members of Congress and "take advantages of any opportunities that present themselves" (race for President, U.S. Senate and the remaining Congressional races).
Shortridge also said he intends to focus on identifying and contacting GOP voters, focusing on Republican messaging and improving researching and tracking.
"If Chip Cravaack needs to know the 5 worst tax votes Tarryl Clark ever cast, we should have it for him in minutes," Shortridge wrote. "If Tom Bakk gives a speech on the budget, we should be there recording it."
Shortridge most recently served as an advisor to Marco Rubio in Florida's 2010 U.S. Senate race. He also ran Republican Mark Kennedy's failed U.S. Senate race in 2006 and served as an aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey from 1991 through 2002.
Tom Crann, host of MPR's All Things Considered program, interviewed Gov. Dayton about the controversy surrounding Sen. Amy Koch, the prospects for a new Minnesota Vikings stadium and his track record during his first year in office.
Dayton declined to discuss how he thinks the Senate should handle the Koch matter.
"I don't know if that's something I can be commenting on," Dayton said. "It's up to the Senate to resolve this and the Republican caucus to resolve. Their choice of a new leader will say a lot about how they view what's occurred and how they intend to proceed in the future."
Koch issued a statement last night that apologized for having an inappropriate relationship with a male staffer. Senate Republicans are scheduled to meet on Tuesday to elect a new majority leader.
Dayton declined to say whether the next majority leader will have an impact on his push to get a new Vikings stadium built.
"It depends on who the next majority leader is," Dayton said. "Obviously the Senate majority Leader and the Speaker of the House have almost complete control of the agenda of their respective bodies, if one or both of them want to duck the issue and avoid dealing with it until after the next election then they owe that explanation to the people of Minnesota."
Dayton said some of his accomplishments in his first year in office were enacting legislation that spent money on public works projects, saved $500 million in taxpayer money from requiring HMOs to big competitively for people on subsidized health insurance and praised the state's Education Commissioner for winning federal money through a Race to the Top grant.
Dayton says one of his biggest regrets was not getting his income tax hike on top earners enacted into law.
Dayton also told MPR News that his son, Eric, is getting married next week to Cornelia Oehler in San Francisco.
You can listen to the entire interview here: Listen(1 Comments)
WASHINGTON - Minnesota's congressional delegation is slowly responding to news of an agreement between House Republicans and Senate on extending the payroll tax cut for another two months.
Here are the responses we've received so far:
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) - Bachmann's office said she didn't have a statement about the agreement.
Rep. Chip Cravaack (R) - "A year-long extension of these provisions is truly what is best for all Americans. However, because the Senate refused to come back to Washington to negotiate, I had no other option than to accept this most recent deal, which is similar to Senate's proposal submitted before they left Washington. Therefore, I would rather accept the Senate's ultimatum than allow my constituents to receive a tax increase in January, allow a lapse in unemployment insurance, and jeopardize health care for our seniors.
"I look forward to continuing to work towards a long-term solution next year which focuses on the needs of all Americans by creating jobs and certainty in our fragile economy."
Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL) - "Ending this needless political drama means 160 million working Americans will not see their taxes increase and that is good news for families and the economy. I hope this compromise sets the tone for addressing our nation's most serious problems in the coming year."
Rep. Tim Walz (DFL) - "I am pleased that compromise was allowed to prevail to prevent a tax increase on 160 million hardworking Americans."(1 Comments)