Posted at 6:45 AM on October 18, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where MPR hits the road on the marriage amendment, Minnesotans are split on the amendment, and women are at the center of the race for president.
The Marriage Amendment
MPR and KARE11 teamed up to cover the marriage amendment.
The first installment of our work was broadcast last night. Here's a look at how the amendment is playing in Red Wing.
Rep. Tim Kelly, who represents Red Wing, broke from his party to oppose the amendment.
Sasha Aslanian went to Granite Falls to find out how voters there feel about the amendment, too. There, former state Rep. Lyle Koenen broke with fellow Democratics to put the amendment on the ballot.
And MPR talked to students at Concordia College about how the marriage amendment is dividing the campus.
Watch and listen for more stories on KARE11 and on MPR the rest of this week.
A new KSTP/Survey USA poll shows the marriage amendment in a dead heat. Forty-seven percent support it and 46 percent oppose it. With a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points, that's a statistical dead heat.
Seven percent are undecided.
Last month, KSTP found 50 percent of Minnesotans supported the amendment and 43 percent did not.
Marriage amendment supporters release new ads.
PoliGraph says a DFL flier falsely links state lawmakers and candidates to Medicare.
After a meeting with Gov. Mark Dayton, St. Paul has decided to put a big chunk of the $54 million Lowertown ballpark project out for bid
Minnesota remembers Paul Wellstone.
The Race for Congress
Rep. Chip Cravaack has a new ad accusing his DFL opponent Rick Nolan of supporting "job killing" regulations.
The Presidential Campaign
Tuesday night's debate puts woman at the fore of the presidential race, the New York Times reports.
After the debate, President Barack Obama has an edge.
But the latest Gallup poll shows Mitt Romney has a 6 point lead over Obama, nationally.
A look at five nightmare scenarios on Election Day.
Rising college costs pose problems for Obama on education policy.
During her visit to Minnesota, Jill Biden will deliver remarks at a canvass kick-off event in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a canvass thank-you event in Duluth, Minnesota on Saturday, October 20.
Posted at 10:00 AM on October 18, 2012
by Brett Neely
Filed under: Campaign 2012: U.S. Senate
WASHINGTON - Republican Kurt Bills goes into the final weeks of the U.S. Senate campaign at a huge financial disadvantage compared to incumbent Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The Bills campaign raised $349,268 in the period between July 26 and Sept. 30 and $454,381 over the entire third quarter. The campaign has $68,262 in the bank for the final stretch of campaigning.
Klobuchar, raised about $800,000 and has $4.8 million on hand. Klobuchar's campaign is airing commercials while Bills has not yet gone on the air.
This latest report actually represents an improved financial situation for Bills. His pre-primary filing showed the campaign holding less than $6,000 in cash. In the second quarter, the Bills campaign raised $243,300.
Bills campaign manager Mike Osskopp issued this statement:
"Our fundraising numbers reflect what we have been saying all along. Our donors are thousands of middle-class Minnesotans who have been crushed by the dismal economy Amy Klobuchar helped create. Amy Klobuchar's crony capitalism gets the support of millionaires and PACs whose bidding she does in the Senate. Is it any surprise that Klobuchar has raised millions from those she uses her power to help in the Senate?"
Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he has appointed Katie Clark to serve as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
According to a news release, Clark will replace Mark Phillips, who is resigning Friday to "pursue opportunities in the private sector." Clark is currently executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office.
"I thank Mark Phillips for his dedicated service to DEED and the people of Minnesota," Dayton said in the release. "I know that he will continue to be successful in his future endeavors. I have the utmost confidence in DEED's new Commissioner, Katie Clark. Commissioner Clark's leadership skills were well-developed by her work at Target Corporation and National Wind. As Director of Minnesota's International Trade Office, she has proven that she knows how to turn her ideas into action."
The leadership change comes the same day that DEED announced the addition 5,900 jobs in September, and a new seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and his Republican opponent Chris Fields traded some heated verbal blows during a debate on radio station KFAI today, resulting in Ellison calling Fields a "low-life scumbag."
During the debate, the conversation meandered from a conversation about equal pay for women to a restraining order Fields' ex-wife filed against him in 2006.
Fields accused Ellison and the Minnesota DFL of using campaign contributions to dig up and make public the 2006 order, which Fields says he never received.
"They took that money and gave it to this Washington, D.C. firm and started looking through my divorce. And what they found was a statement that my ex-wife had never given me and she issued a statement saying 'hey, it was a deeply troubling period," Fields said.
"You're really stupid for bringing up your domestic violence allegations," Ellison interjected. "I wasn't going to say a thing about it."
From there, Fields launched into accusations about Ellison's child support payments.
"You are a low-life scumbag," Ellison responded repeatedly. "You are a gutter dweller."
At that point, the debate host tried to steer the conversation to the state's unemployment rate, but to no avail.
Fields returned to the restraining order and Ellison's child support.
Ellison, who recently divorced his wife, responded that his daughter was sitting in the next room.
"I'm using a lot of self-control right now, sir," Ellison said. "I had nothing to do with [finding the restraining order], and you know it," Ellison went on his voice raising.
Even a 30-second radio break did little to calm Ellison and Fields. When the debate went live again, the two could still be heard arguing in the background.
At that point, KFAI cut the mic and went to music.
The debate wrapped up on a more civil note, with Ellison and Fields talking about public education and the two constitutional amendments on this year's ballot.
But even then, the two went head-to-head again when Fields implied that Ellison had declined to debate him in front of the Urban League, which Ellison said is a scheduled debate.
"Would you please stop lying to the people!" Ellison said. "This is ridiculous."
UPDATE: Ellison sent us this statement -
"Today during a radio broadcast debate, my opponent made false statements about an intensely personal family matter. My teenage daughter was present in the next room listening to the debate.
In response to my opponent's false statement, I made an uncivil reference to him. I should not have done so. I acted beneath my personal standard as a public official, and I apologize.
In the course of this campaign, we have been focused on creating economic prosperity for working families, protecting our constitutional right to vote, and making sure that everybody counts and everybody matters--and yet, my opponent has repeatedly and personally attacked me.
His untrue reference to the terms of my divorce was over the line, but my comment to him was over the line too. His tactics are no excuse for my departure from civility.
I will not allow this to happen again, and I regret my action."
UPDATE: Chris Fields issued this statement after the debate:
"At a time when we need civility and leadership from Washington politicians Congressman Ellison has proved that he cannot deliver and as a result we all suffer.
Since Ellison has been in office he has pursued a senseless foreign policy agenda, failed domestic policies and pointless legislation such as reparations for slavery. Our campaign has been centered on providing credible and workable solutions for the people of our district.
We have focused on two areas; closing the achievement gap and unemployment gap between blacks and whites. These gaps affect everyone in our district and pose a very real threat to Americans nationwide.
In addition, we are also focused on protecting the most vulnerable among us; our seniors, veterans, the middle class and single parents."
The Ellison campaign has been engaged in name-calling and various other political games designed to detract attention from Congressman Ellison's record of failure. This month alone Fields has been attacked as a "liar" dozens of times without provocation or factual justification.
"While I cannot apologize for Congressman Ellison's violent outbursts, I do believe the voters of the Fifth Congressional District are entitled to a Representative who more accurately reflects their values of people working together regardless of their background or political beliefs. If I elected I will work to continue to build bridges with all communities and provide the focused attention needed to move us forward.
The Fields campaign plans to continue to promote the idea that Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike can do great things when we Come Together."
You can listen to the entire debate at KFAI's website.
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will investigate four claims brought by the Republican Party of Minnesota contending the Minnesota DFL party coordinated campaign literature with several candidates.
"The board will conduct investigations of the complaints to determine whether any violations of Minnesota Statutes 10A have occurred," the board wrote the GOP in a letter. "The Board's undertaking of these investigations signifies only that the complaints have met the minimum threshold to require an investigation."
The GOP's complaint surrounds campaign literature sent by the DFL in favor of four Senate Democratic candidates including Jim Carlson, who is running against incumbent Ted Daley in SD 51 near Eagan, Melisa Franzen, who is running against Rep. Keith Downey for SD 49 near Edina, Vicki Jensen who is running against Vern Swedin in SD 24 encompassing part of Steele County, and Alice Johnson who is running against incumbent Pam Wolf in SD 37, which covers Blaine.
The Republicans allege that the DFL Party and the Senate DFL Caucus used photos of the candidates in mailings that are not publicly available on the internet. They argue that the party illegally coordinated with the candidates to take the pictures.
All four candidates are are considered strong candidates to win seats that are currently controlled by the GOP.
Additionally, the Minnesota GOP has added a fifth complaint to their roster concerning Alan Oberloh, also running for office in SD 22, which includes part of Pipestone, Noble, and Murray Counties among others.
Meanwhile, Julie Bunn, who is running for Senate District 39 near Lake Elmo and who was part of the Republican's initial complaint, has been cleared of charges.
"Board staff has verified that all of the photographs identified in the complaint are readily available to the public on the candidate's website... Consequently, the alleged facts are not supported by the website and cannot be the basis for an investigation," the Board determined according to a press release from Bunn's campaign.