The Republican race for president got a little bit more interesting. It isn't so inevitable that Mitt Romney is the nominee. Rick Santorum made sure of it. Santorum won Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.
Enthusiasm won the day in Eagan.
Ron Paul, who got second in Minnesota, says the result "opens up the door."
ABC News says even though no delegates were awarded on Tuesday night, it was a rebuke of the Romney campaign's belief that he'll sail to the nomination.
Romney's campaign was left to explain away why Tuesday's results didn't matter.
The Washington Post says Minnesota dealt Romney his biggest blow.
Romney's setback comes at a time when news outlets are starting to examine Romney's jobs record in Massachusetts. The Washington Post called it "unremarkable."
Race for Congress
Rick Nolan won a DFL Straw poll in the 8th Congressional District over Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson. DFL insiders in the 8th say they're surprised at how strong Anderson did on the Iron Range.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann didn't attend the caucuses because of votes in Congress.
Under the Dome
Faith leaders rally to defeat efforts to require people to present photo identification to vote.
The Star Tribune says Legacy dollars are being used to cover cuts in conservation.
The State Integration Task Force adopts a plan.
Same-sex marriage debate
A federal appeals court declared California's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke tells a Senate Committee to focus on economic growth now and cutting the deficit later.
Greek parties delay bailout talks despite EU threats.
The talks to extend the payroll tax cut aren't going so well.
The Washington Post has a good series that examines the financial statements of Congress. The series found that some lawmakers have steered funds for public projects to areas that are close to their personal homes.
It also says members of Congress are guiding millions of dollars to groups with ties to their relatives.
A Komen executive steps down.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz says GOP leaders are working to weaken his insider trader bill.
DFL Sen. Al Franken introduced a courthouse security bill.
Politico says GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen broke with House Republicans on an amendment to the transportation bill.
NOTE: This story was updated with new vote totals.
Former DFL Congressman Rick Nolan won a straw poll of DFL caucus-goers in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
Districts are still reporting results, but Nolan has so far picked up 1531 votes. Duluth City Council member Jeff Anderson received 991 votes. Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark received 406 votes. At least 262 voters said they were uncommitted.
I'll update with final results when they come in
(Itasca County and five precincts in Chisago County are still out). (All but roughly six precincts have reported)
"If the straw poll is any indication, and I believe it is, we are on the road to the endorsement and to victory in November," Nolan said in a statement.
The three DFL candidates are vying to win the DFL nomination and challenge GOP incumbent Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Nolan is the only candidate who says he will abide by the endorsement. Anderson hasn't said whether he'll abide by the endorsement, and Clark, who lost her first bid for Congress to GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, said she'll abide by the endorsement but only if the process is "fair."
Though it appears she will take third place in the DFL's straw poll, Clark has raised more money than the other Democrats. In this cycle, she raised $530,000 and has $275,000 in the bank. Nolan raised $125,000 thousand, and has $35,000 in the bank. Anderson raised $74,000 for the cycle and has $13,000 thousand in the bank.
Redistricting is complicating the DFL endorsement process. A five-judge panel has been tasked with releasing a set of congressional and legislative boundaries as a result of the once-a-decade redistricting process, and the new map could change the makeup of the race.
Here's Nolan's statement:
Our campaign made a strong statement last night with a convincing win. Our message is obviously resonating because people want to matter again in Washington, and they know I will fight for them everyday. That's why people across northern Minnesota are embracing our campaign and giving us the clear momentum in this race.
As DFL'ers, we're uniting on the issues. We are determined to end wars of choice, establish universal single payer health care, protect Medicare and Social Security, re-invest in infrastructure and rebuild our economy to generate the good paying jobs we need in northern Minnesota and across the country.
For those things to happen, we now need to unite behind one Congressional candidate to defeat Chip Cravaack and take back the 8th for progressive values. If the straw poll is any indication, and I believe it is, we are on the road to the endorsement and to victory in November.
Moving forward, I am determined to unite our party and marshal the resources we're going to need to defeat Mr. Cravaack and make working families, seniors, students, small businesses and all of us in the 99 percent matter again in Washington.
Clark issued this statement after the results:
"Yesterday's caucuses marks the beginning of the election process, much like the coin flip at Sunday's Super Bowl. We have a long way to go, and I'm excited about all the volunteers and grassroots donors that are joining the campaign every day. The stakes are too high to let "politics as usual" determine the fate of Minnesota and our country. We need real leadership in Washington, leaders who will not rest until the priorities of Minnesota families are put before Wall Street and big corporations. We need someone with a track record of service to our community, and the energy and commitment to stand strong in these tough times."
Here's a statement from Anderson:
"We are very pleased with the results from last night's straw poll. With district lines still unclear, we concentrated our efforts on the heart of the current Eighth District, and our efforts were rewarded with overwhelming support in Duluth and on the Iron Range. We won St. Louis County, including Duluth, Cloquet, Chisholm, Virginia, and Aurora by two to one margins. Despite being heavily outspent, the results clearly show that the momentum is on our side. We remain confident that once we finally know what the district will look like, our message of progressive homegrown leadership will see us through to a November face off with Rep. Cravaack."(1 Comments)
Posted at 1:41 PM on February 8, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: U.S. House
WASHINGTON - A new Obama administration rule that would require all health insurance plans to provide birth control has been dubbed "an act of federal aggression" by first-term Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack.
Republicans have seized on the new requirement as a potent political issue in what's likely to be a closely-fought election. They're particularly incensed that the rule would apply to religious organizations that have previously not offered contraception as part of their health insurance policies.
Cravaack, who is Catholic, gave a brief floor speech in the U.S. House on Wednesday morning to protest the new policy.
"This is a direct attack against on religious liberty for all religions," said Cravaack. His remarks follow a similar speech by House Speaker John Boehner, who's also Catholic, who also gave a blistering speech opposing the policy.