Posted at 6:18 AM on July 9, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, back from vacation.
The Pioneer Press looks at what to expect if the voter ID amendment passes.
No one has used the state's new alternative teacher licensing option, the Star Tribune reports.
Gov. Mark Dayton will interview candidates for Minnesota's Fifth judicial District today.
Dayton is hinting at aid for the Verso Paper mill, the St. Cloud Times reports.
What You May Have Missed Last Week
Union policy is a tough issue for life-long union member and U.S. Senate hopeful Kurt Bills.
Here's a link to a union questionnaire Bills filled out in 2010 while seeking the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation's endorsement. It shows Bills has remained firm on some issues and changes his views on others.
Dayton won an award from the National Education Association.
Once again, House DFLers blamed the GOP for the shutdown.
Rep. Michele Bachmann asked governors to reject health care exchanges.
President Barack Obama is poised for another fight with Republicans over an extension of the Bush tax cuts. Expect an announcement from the Rose Garden today, the New York Times reports.
In the lead-up to the election, House Republicans have planned difficult votes over the next month to underscore the conservative agenda and put Democrats in a bind, Politico reports.
The House will consider the farm bill this week.
Money and Politics
The second quarter's fundraising deadline is still days away, but Rep. John Kline is already reporting raising $428,000 over the last three months.
Rep. Michele Bachmann will help 1st Congressional District hopeful Allen Quist raise money.
Businesses aren't giving much to super PACs. Instead, they're putting their dollars behind non-profits that are involved in this year's presidential race, but don't have to disclose their donors, the New York Times reports. Minnesota's redistricting process is mentioned.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spent $16 million on television ads during the state's recall election.
The Presidential Race
Tougher voter identification laws could block many votes this Election Day.
Wealthy donors were in the Hamptons Sunday for three Mitt Romney fundraisers.
The Washington Post reports that President Barack Obama - and his campaign tactics - have evolved since 2008.
The Post's Fact Checker writes that Obama's claim about Romney's taxes is misleading.
The center-right American Action Network is pouring $10 million into multiple states, including Minnesota, that are facing competitive Republican House races but have struggling local parties.
AAN is an issue advocacy group co-founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman. Spokesman Dan Conston said that the so-called "orphan state" effort is part of the group's long-term plan to build a national grassroots network that focuses on encouraging lawmakers to support or oppose specific legislative issues.
"Minnesota is one of the key states we were interested in from the outset," Conston said.
The Republican Party of Minnesota announced late last year that it was $2 million in debt, and it is still paying off what it owes.
Conston would not confirm which Minnesota districts AAN is focusing on, but said the group already has staff on the ground in Minnesota.
That said, Minnesota has two competitive races this year. The 8th Congressional District race featuring Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack and a yet-to-be-determined DFL opponent has been rated as a "pure toss-up" by the Rothenberg Political report. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pledged to help Mike Obermueller defeat 2nd Congressional District Republican Rep. John Kline.
AAN will invest in office space and phone banks, and help organize volunteers and events. In each state, AAN plans to work with local organizations.
Meanwhile, in a separate but overlapping effort, AAN announced this morning that it will spend money on direct mail, print advertising and robocalls in Cravaack's district, encouraging him to continue supporting efforts to repeal the health care law. The buy is part of a $1.2 million national initiative in 35 House districts.
Founded in 2010, Coleman's group has become a powerful force in politics, spending and raising millions in part to defeat lawmakers who voted for the health care law and to promote right-of-center policies. AAN's tax status doesn't require it to disclose its donors, so individuals and corporations can give freely to the group without having their gifts made public.
UPDATE: The Taxpayers League of Minnesota is among the organizations that AAN has been coordinating with in the state.
The relationship started last winter when AAN connected the League with the Northern Liberty Alliance, a tea party organization in Duluth, said Taxpayers League of Minnesota director Torin Kelly.
Together, the three groups hosted a State of the Union watch party in January. The relationship worked so well that the League and the Liberty Alliance hosted more Tax Day events across the state in April.
Though Kelly stressed that the League and AAN have no formal strategic plan going forward, she said that she expects similar coordination in the future: AAN will provide the infrastructure and connect disparate groups across the state, and organizations like the League and the Liberty Alliance will organize events and rally voters.
Kelly said AAN has provided much needed networking and message coordination among disparate organizations across the state.
"Their efforts are greatly focused on carrying message, and getting that message together and streamlined, because it's already in place," Kelly said. "We have those conservative messages, conservative voices throughout the state, but because they are siloed we are kind of viewed sometimes as a fly-over state. We don't get as much national attention as conservatives here."
WASHINGTON - Mike Obermueller, the DFL candidate vying to unseat Republican John Kline in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, raised $252,976 in the first two months of his campaign. As of June 30, the Obermueller campaign reports having $214,404 in the bank.
While the 2nd District has been a Republican stronghold since Kline first won his seat in 2002, Democrats believe that the district's new boundaries will be friendlier to them this election cycle. The district has been added to the national Democrats' list of potential swing seats and Obermueller's campaign is getting fundraising support and logistical help from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Still, Kline, who also serves as the chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has a significant financial advantage over Obermueller. Last Friday, Kline's campaign reported raising $428,000 and has about $1.3 million in its campaign war chest.
Outside groups are also signalling that they will also get involved in the 2nd District contest. The Service Employees International Union and House Majority PAC, which both back Democratic candidates, announced plans last week to reserve $900,000 in airtime in the Twin Cities media market which could be spent on the Kline-Obermueller race, as well as the 8th District and contests in Wisconsin.
Posted at 11:44 AM on July 9, 2012
by Tim Nelson
Supporters of the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in Minnesota are crying foul over Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's proposal to rename the measure on the ballot.
Minnesotans for Marriage and a handful of Republican legislators said they want the Supreme Court to overturn the change. They spoke at the State Office Building this morning, and said they hope the court will take up their lawsuit in a matter of weeks, and decide the matter before November ballots are printed.
The measure was titled "Recognition of marriage solely between one man and one woman" when the Legislature passed the ballot question last year. Ritchie wants to title it "Limiting the status of marriage to opposite sex couples."
Lawmakers voiced several objections. State Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, said that Ritchie had no authority to act on a measure passed by the legislature, even though Gov. Mark Dayton had vetoed the underlying legislation.
"We swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, and there has been a constitutionally designated question on the ballot," Ortman said. "The interference of the secretary of state and the attorney general are out of bounds."
But others said it wasn't just a matter of principle.
"Those words are definitely considered negative and misleading, and I believe they're created to sway the voters," said state Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove. (That's him at the podium above.)
The Secretary of State's office declined to elaborate on the change, citing the pending litigation. Ritchie said two weeks ago, when he announced the change, that Dayton's veto nullified the original title of the measure and that state law required him, not the legislature, to title constitutional amendment questions. A gubernatorial veto can't block a ballot question, but its now unclear what effect it might ultimately have on the legislation that enables it.
The title was a matter of some controversy when the measure passed in the Senate in 2011. The title that passed was actually proposed by Minneapolis DFLer Scott Dibble, in a floor amendment. He's one of the few openly gay legislators at the Capitol. Republicans acceded to his suggestion and adopted Dibble's title.
Limmer said the original title of the ballot question was "Recognition of marriage" when it was first proposed.
Photo: Tim Nelson
UPDATE: Here's the relevant paperwork, filed with the Supreme Court.2 Comments)