WASHINGTON - With just over three weeks to go before Election Day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will get more involved in Jim Graves' attempt to unseat Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
The DCCC announced Monday that it has added Graves and Minnesota's 6th District to its "Red to Blue" list of competitive U.S. House races. That means the group will provide Graves with additional logistical and fundraising support while also airing ads against Bachmann.
Polling paid for by the Graves campaign suggests a tight race between the hotel entrepreneur and the tea party Republican incumbent. Still, Graves faces an uphill battle as the 6th District is the biggest stronghold for Minnesota Republicans and became more conservative after redistricting earlier this year.
Graves is also following a well-worn path that previous Bachmann competitors have trod. Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark and Elwyn Tinkelberg also joined the DCCC "Red to Blue" program for their unsuccessful tries against Bachmann.
Last week, Bachmann announced that she had raised $4.5 million for her re-election in the third quarter, a sum that has dwarfed every other Minnesota congressional candidate who's reported their fundraising so far. The Graves campaign has not yet announced how much it brought in. The deadline for reporting fundraising is midnight Monday.(1 Comments)
Two groups leading the charge against Rick Nolan's campaign to unseat 8th Congressional District Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack have launched new ads targeting the Democrat's voting record in the 1970's.
The first ad comes from the American Action Network, a group based in Washington, D.C. and co-founded by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman that has invested $780,000 in the Cravaack-Nolan race.
The American Action Network will spend about $100,000 on "Working Hard," which will air in the Duluth media market and be accompanied by a web campaign, too, the group said in a press release.
The second ad targets Nolan for voting to increase lawmaker pay and for voting to raise the debt ceiling during his first tenure in the U.S. House. It comes from the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has budgeted $1.2 million for ads in Minnesota through the election.
The Cravaack-Nolan race is one of the most competitive and expensive in the country. Recent polls show Nolan and Cravaack in a dead heat.
WASHINGTON - Incumbents and challengers in Minnesota are reporting fundraising numbers ahead of the final weeks of campaigning.
In the 3rd District, incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen raised more than $650,000 in the three months ending September 30th while 2nd District DFL challenger Mike Obermueller's campaign brought in more than $331,000.
Paulsen, who represents the wealthiest district in the state and sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, now has more than $1.6 million in his campaign's bank account for the general election. Challenger Brian Barnes has not yet reported his fundraising.
In a sign that Paulsen is not too concerned about his race, he transferred $62,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee which can be used to help vulnerable Republicans in other districts.
Paulsen also ramped up his campaign's spending with a $255,000 ad buy and $27,500 on producing commercials.
Obermueller, who's taking on Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline, has $370,000 cash on hand. Last week, Kline reported raising more than $386,000 in the third quarter and had $1.4 million in the bank.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee put Obermueller on its "Red to Blue" list of targeted races, suggesting that Kline was vulnerable in his newly-redrawn district. However, the DCCC has not yet spent any money airing ads against Kline even though the group has been very active in the highly-contested 8th District race.
So far, the "inappropriate relationship" between former GOP Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and former Senate GOP Caucus spokesman Michael Brodkorb has largely stayed out of this year's election chatter.
A mailer paid for by the Minnesota DFL party circulating in Senate District 22 near Luverne where Republican Bill Weber is running against Alan Oberloh reminds voters that taxpayers are footing the bill for the legal imbroglio that ensued after Brodkorb was fired late last year.
The mailer links Weber, who did not serve this past legislative session, to the Brodkorb-Koch affair.
"The same GOP Senators who are making you pay for their scandal want Bill Weber in the Senate," the mailer reads. "Don't let them get away with it."
Koch announced she was stepping down as Senate Majority Leader last December. A day later, it was revealed that she had been having an affair with an unnamed male staffer, and that she had been confronted by top Senate leadership about the relationship. Brodkorb was fired a day after Koch announced she was leaving her post, though the two were not linked romantically until much later.
Soon after, Brodkorb filed a wrongful termination suit against the Minnesota Senate, and settlement talks have foundered. Meanwhile, the Senate has paid at least $100,000 for legal representation in the matter.
Brodkorb is now speaking out about the affair and the lawsuit, saying that pressure for Koch to step down and that his termination were a "power play" by other members of the Senate.
The flier bears the Minnesota DFLs name, but the Senate and House Democratic caucuses typically funnel money intended for this type of campaign literature through the party, as it allows them to save money on postage.
Groups on both sides of the marriage amendment debate are getting a last minute infusion of cash from groups outside of Minnesota.
The Human Rights Campaign, a national group that represents lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, announced today that it has invested an additional $200,000 in Minnesota to defeat the amendment, which would change the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
So far, the Human Rights Campaign has invested $1 million in the state to help pay for things like door-knocking and phone-banking to rally opposition to the amendment, according to the group.
Simultaneously, Freedom to Marry, another national group that opposes the Minnesota marriage amendment, announced today that it has raised an additional $500,000 to invest in Minnesota and three other states that are facing their own amendment battles.
That brings the group's total direct investment to $4.5 million since 2011, according to the group. An additional $2.4 million has been spent by Freedom to Marry to persuade voters in states like Minnesota to oppose the amendment on Election Day.
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Marriage, a group that's been working with pro-amendment group Minnesota for Marriage, said earlier this month that a generous, undisclosed donor had agreed to match chip in $2 for every $1 the group raised for a total of $3 million.
The National Organization for Marriage has been helping Minnesota for Marriage by sending out emails and donating voter mailing lists to the group, according to finance reports.(7 Comments)
Democrats in the Legislature are working to make property taxes a key issue in this year's election. Today is the deadline for homeowners to pay their property taxes. DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and DFL Senator Ann Rest held a news conference at the State Capitol today to note the occasion. Thissen criticized Republicans for cutting a property tax credit in the past budget. He said Democrats would take a different approach to property taxes if they're elected to the majority.
"Our candidates are talking to Minnesota voters and what they're hearing from them is that we need to rebalance our tax system so that leg of the stool is not out of proportion with everything else," Thissen said. "DFL majorities are going to focus on delivering property tax relief to Minnesotans next year."
Thissen didn't offer specifics as to how Democrats would reduce property taxes. The cut was a part of a budget deal reached by Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.
Rep. Greg Davids, R-Preston, says Thissen's accusation is unfair because most homeowners in Minnesota didn't see large spikes in property taxes this year. Davids, who chairs the House Taxes Committee, also says the state wasn't fully funding the credit when it was in existence.
"We took away a corrupt, dishonest, fraudulant program that the former DFL tax chair had a bill to get rid of," Davids said. "The counties and cities came to us and said 'Get rid of this program."
Republicans currently control both chambers of the Minnesota Legislature. Every seat in the Legislature is on the ballot this year.