Posted at 6:30 AM on October 23, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where political groups are influencing state races, but don't have to say where their money is coming from, Cravaack and Nolan spar over debate timing, and the presidential candidates debated foreign policy.
Special interest groups are influencing races, but don't always have to disclose their donors.
If you've missed our On Message gallery, here's a link. We're collecting and writing about the most interesting campaign literature and ads that land in your mailboxes and inboxres, so send us what you've got!
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie wants the state's news papers to help inform voters about the voter ID amendment.
The Race for Congress
The 8th Congressional District candidates are battling over how long their last debate should be.
Here's a first look at the latest American Action Network ad running in the 8th Congressional District, where it's helping boost Rep. Chip Cravaack's campaign.
Last week, the group pledged to spend even more on the race bringing its total to $1.7 million through Election Day.
Cravaack's opponent, Rick Nolan, is getting a boost from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in the form of phonebanking. The group has placed 11,108 phone calls to voters on behalf of Nolan, according to a press release.
Rep. Kurt Bills raising questions about an old case that Sen. Amy Klobuchar worked on while Hennepin County prosecutor.
Klobuchar says the story Bills is referring to is inaccurate.
The Presidential Race
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney debated foreign policy issues last night.
The AP says that the two flunked geography and history during the debate. Read the fact-check here.
The two aren't all that far apart on foreign policy issues, the Washington Post writes.
The Washington Post also does their post-debate Winners and Losers list.
Obama said that cuts to military funding would not happen, which came as a surprise to Washington.
Obama also mentioned a Minnesota veteran at one point during the debate. He was talking about this visit to Minnesota in 2011.
FiveThirtyEight blog writes that the latest round of polling shows President Barack Obama with an edge in the Electoral College.
Romney and Obama are not so far apart on China, the Washington Post reports.
Politico looks at six things that will decided the election. One is whether Romney can pick up a historically Democratic state, and lists Minnesota as one of the few on the GOP's wish list.
Of course, Romney doesn't have a ground game here.
A poll conducted by Rasmussen reports says President Obama is leading Mitt Romney by 5 percentage points in Minnesota.
The poll, which relies on an automated, robo-dial methodology, surveyed 500 likely voters on Oct. 21. It found that 51 percent of those polled support Obama and 46 percent of those polled support Romney. One percent supports another candidate and 1 percent is undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
Rasmussen, which Democrats have long argued favors GOP candidates, is the first poll that shows the presidential race in Minnesota that close. Two other pollsters, Survey USA and Public Policy Polling (which is aligned with Democrats) showed Obama leading by 10 points in recent polls.
Republicans in Minnesota have said they believe Minnesota is competitive this year but the Romney campaign has spent little money or time campaigning in the state. President Obama's campaign has 11 field offices and more than 40 staffers working in the state.
Minnesota has not backed a Republican for president since 1972.(13 Comments)
The Republican candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 5th District says DFL Congressman Keith Ellison is ducking a debate with him.
Chris Fields held a news conference to say Ellison's campaign canceled a debate scheduled to be held in north Minneapolis later today. Fields says Ellison made the move after the two engaged in a heated debate last week in which Ellison called Fields a "low-life scumbag." Ellison later apologized.
"Instead of giving the citizens of the north side and the 5th Congressional District a chance to participate in a substantive debate with a credible opponent, he is ducking the debate," Fields said. "This reflects the fact that Congressman Ellison cannot answer for his record of neglect and is sorely challenged when trying to control his temper."
Ellison, who attended an earlier news conference that focused on Medicare, declined to say whether he canceled the debate.
"It was canceled," Ellison said. "Debates are for illuminating the issues and this one wasn't going to do that. I can't speak for anybody but myself but I didn't think it was helpful to the process."
Ellison said he prefers to focus on the issues heading into the campaign. Minnesota's 5th Congressional District includes Minneapolis and some suburbs.
Both Ellison and Fields will take questions separately today from representatives of the Coalition of Black Churches, Insight News and African American Leadership Forum. The event will be held at the offices of Insight News and will be broadcast on KFAI-FM at a later date.
Update: Ellison's campaign issued this statement:
"After holding more debates than the Presidential race, I have concluded that an additional debate with my Republican opponent is not in the best interest of the 5th District. As I have talked about my record and vision for the future, Mr. Fields has shed little light on his own vision and has pursued personal insults culminating in an attack on my family. I reacted badly, but even after my sincere apology, my opponent has not reset. In fact, he is clearly milking this for political gain. Instead of engaging in another spectacle, I will be out working hard every day, as I have been, for the people."
Posted at 1:02 PM on October 23, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2012, Campaign 2012: U.S. House, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2012: U.S. MN CD5
From MPR's Mark Zdechlik...
Four Democrats running for Congress in Minnesota say Republicans are promoting proposals that would turn Medicare a voucher system.
DFL Representatives Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison say if Republicans are successful at repealing the Affordable Care Act, seniors would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in preventative care and prescription drug benefits.
McCollum says misleading campaign ads from outside groups are clouding the debate. Even so, she says she thinks seniors understand what GOP proposals would do to Medicare and Affordable Care Act benefits.
"Republicans for Congress are resorting to these false attacks because they don't want to be honest with seniors about what their plan really does for seniors and their families," McCollum said. "But we are not going to let them mislead the public and we are not going to let them run away from the facts."]]
Minnesota GOP Party Chairman Pat Shortridge says Democrats are trying to "scare" seniors. Shortridge say the GOP Medicare plan is the only plan that would ensure the program long-term solvency.
WASHINGTON - Michele Bachmann is wielding her mighty email list of donors on behalf of fellow Minnesota Republican Chip Cravaack, who's locked in a highly competitive race with former DFL U.S. Rep. RicK Nolan in the 8th Congressional District.
In a message sent to supporters Tuesday, Bachmann said she rarely sends fundraising emails on behalf of other candidates but she made an exception for Cravaack because "the stakes are so high" that Democrats could retake the U.S. House. Actually, many political forecasters, such as Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia, believe Democrats will gain fewer than 10 of the 25 total seats they'd need to take a majority in the House.
Still, the district is one of the Democrats' strongest opportunities to reclaim a seat lost in the 2010 election, when Cravaack defeated long-serving DFLer Jim Oberstar. Outside groups aligned with both parties are spending millions in the race and one recent analysis suggested the 8th District contest is among the five most expensive House races in the nation.
Bachmann's fundraising list could potentially generate a windfall for Cravaack. In the most recent quarter, Bachmann raised $4.5 million, mostly from small donations solicited through her list. While Cravaack has raised approximately $1.8 million since entering office in 2011, donors giving less than $200 count for a relatively small portion of his fundraising base, about 22 percent according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings.
In her message, Bachmann called Cravaack "a solid conservative" and "one of us." While Cravaack was elected with tea party support in 2010, he has generally eschewed the label and has not joined the House Tea Party Caucus that Bachmann chairs.
Students from public and private schools, along with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, shared said they were concerned the proposed requirement would make it harder for them to vote. Voter ID supporters contend the measure is needed to help prevent voter fraud. But Taylor Williams, student government president at the U of M, said he doesn't believe there is any voter fraud. Williams also doesn't want the cost of implementing a new voting system to divert funds from colleges and universities.
"We are a better investment than this law," Williams said. "As a state, we have to ask ourselves whether it is worth spending so much money at a time when we've never needed it more on higher education on a solution that solves a problem that doesn't exist."
The proposed amendment would require all voters to present a government-issued photo identification to receive a ballot. Alex Kopel, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, said she's concerned that she will no longer be able to use her private college student ID to prove her identity for voting.
"This amendment takes our simple and effective system and makes complicated and confusing changes for students all across Minnesota," Kopel said.
A key voter ID advocate said the students were making faulty claims. Dan McGrath, chairman of the pro-amendment campaign organization Protect My Vote, said there's no reason to believe the requirement will divert money from higher education. McGrath also said college students will still be able to prove their identity with a drivers license, and prove their residency with fee statements, housing lists or other documents listed in current law.
Specifics of what constitutes an acceptable government-issued ID would have to be spelled out by the next Legislature of voters approve the ID requirement.
"The objections from people that think that students will have more difficulty voting are completely false," McGrath said.