GOP legislative leaders have scheduled a joint House-Senate hearing to focus on flood relief for northeastern Minnesota. Tuesday's hearing will focus on the infrastructure and individual damage caused by the summer flooding that affected Duluth and surrounding communities. Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders say they hope to call a one-day special session later this month to appropriate funding for affected communities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has already declared the area a disaster area which will allow federal money to pay for 75 percent of the recovery. Dayton says he'd like to see the state pay for the rest of the clean-up costs.
Dayton has also appealed a decision by FEMA to reject flood recovery funds for individuals. The agency said the damage was not widespread enough to merit those funds.
The legislative hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 11:30 at the State Capitol.
Gov. Mark Dayton has endorsed Rick Nolan, a former DFL congressman who wants to challenge 8th Congressional District Rep. Chip Cravaack this fall.
Nolan, who has won the DFL Party endorsement, still faces a primary challenge from Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson.
"We need more than a "good vote" in a Congress. We need a proven leader who can get past the partisan gridlock and get things done," Dayton said in a press release. "We need someone that will fight to rebuild the middle class, protect Medicare and Social Security and invest in America's infrastructure. Rick Nolan is clearly the person we need representing us in Washington."
Though Nolan has the endorsement, he is so far trailing Clark in fundraising, who has raised more than $232,128. Nolan has raised $127,721.
Here's the rest of the press release:
"I am proud to endorse and I enthusiastically support Rick Nolan for Congress," said Governor Dayton. "Rick is a true common sense champion for the middle class. As a former business owner, Rick has proven he knows how to create jobs and will always fight for working families.
"We need more than a "good vote" in a Congress. We need a proven leader who can get past the partisan gridlock and get things done. We need someone that will fight to rebuild the middle class, protect Medicare and Social Security and invest in America's infrastructure. Rick Nolan is clearly the person we need representing us in Washington."
Governor Dayton's endorsement of Nolan - joining Duluth-native Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon - is significant as they carried the 8th District by wide margins in the 2010 Primary and General election victories. Governor Dayton continues to have very high approval ratings in the 8th Congressional District.
"I am extremely honored and humbled to receive the endorsement of Governor Dayton," said Nolan. "Mark Dayton has courageously stood up for working families in this state and saved us from the full on assault being waged against women, labor, and the middle class in states across the country. Governor Dayton is a true champion for middle class families, seniors and children and I am honored to have his support."
Rick Nolan is the DFL-endorsed candidate for Congress in the 8th Congressional District campaign against Chip Cravaack.
In endorsing Nolan, Governor Dayton joins the entire Senator Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken along with the rest of the Minnesota DFL Congressional delegation, numerous state legislators and local elected officials, labor leaders, and unions from the 8th District who clearly see Rick Nolan as the best candidate to beat Chip Cravaack.
Well, that didn't take long.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is already going after 8th District Minnesota Republican Chip Cravaak -- not even a month after he was sworn in. The Democrats say they're going to run radio and web ads against the first-termer.
It's part of their "Drive to 25" campaign that's going to run radio ads, web ads, automated phone calls, live phone calls, and e-mails in 19 districts this week, starting today.
The Cravaack ad specifically calls on him to reject the budget proposal unveiled last week by a Republican study committee, according to the DCCC's Jesse Ferguson.
Here's the Facebook version of the campaign:
The other targets include Lou Barletta (PA-11), Charlie Bass (NH-02), Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25), Steve Chabot (OH-01), Robert Dold (IL-10), Sean Duffy (WI-07), Blake Farenhold (TX-27), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Nan Hayworth (NY-19), Joe Heck (NV-03), Robert Hurt (VA-05), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Patrick Meehan (PA-07), Dave Reichert (WA-08), David Rivera (FL-25), Jon Runyan (NJ-03), Joe Walsh (IL-08), Allen West (FL-22)
There's still no firm word, though, of anybody stepping up to challenge the insurgent Republican.
Cravaack's office didn't immediately respond to an inquiry about the ads or the budget plan(1 Comments)
Posted at 2:51 PM on November 3, 2010
by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD8
Jim Oberstar's defeat in Tuesday night's election was a political earthquake. We wanted to know more from Minnesota citizens about what happened to unseat Oberstar and the origins of support for Republican Chip Cravaack.
My colleague Molly Bloom reached out to Minnesotans in MPR's Public Insight Network to try and found out why.
"Mr. Oberstar misread the threat posed by a candidate like Cravaack," said Bob Feiro, a Cravaack supporter from Duluth. He told us:
The demographics have changed significantly since either Blatnik or Oberstar took office. traditional northeastern Minnesota values are becoming less and less of the decider, as the urban sprawl from the Metro area becomes a larger and larger voice. (i.e. Chip Cravaack and his supporters waited out the election in Hinckley). With the redistricting power won by the Republicans in the State races, this will become even more pronounced in what were traditional DFL strongholds.
Click on the map icons below to read more of what Feiro and other Minnesotans are telling us on the Oberstar vote. (Add your voice here.)
James Redfield, an Oberstar supporter from Rush City, said he didn't think his candidate " took the challenge to heart and started working for reelection too late."
The political shift coming "is big, and there is a great difference between the economy in the (district's) North and in the South. This makes a huge difference on the feelings of the people."
Oberstar today reflected on his 36 years in Congress, telling his staff and reporters during an emotional news conference that he had no regrets, MPR's Elizabeth Dunbar wrote.
He defended his votes supporting the federal stimulus money and health care reform but acknowledged that the people of his district had spoken, Dunbar wrote.
"People are fickle and impatient. He did not spend enough time in Minnesota. This upset many constituents," Diana Kuopus an Oberstar backer from Eveleth, told us.
"I have no idea what my fellow constituents were thinking in electing a congressman with no experience and no agenda that I have heard. I am frustrated with the naivety of voters who fall for the empty rhetoric of candidates calling for "change" and "a new direction" with no specifics."
But Dale Buisman, a Cravaack backer from North Branch, suggested Oberstar had lost touch with many Minnesotans.
Oberstar, "spends too much of our money, he always talks about how much money he spends in the district. Well that money has to come out of my pocket first, then he got his hands on it and spent it in ways I do not like," Buisman said.
"We will now be represented by some one who lives in the district and perhaps we will be listened to and have real representation."
Dan Ellis, an Oberstar supporter from Hibbing, put the changes in the 8th succinctly.
For decades we've lived blue (unionization, government intervention in economics and industry, etc), believed red (small government, "pull yerself up by the bootstraps"), and voted blue. Now, we're voting red, which may change how we live, which is to say the 8th district may become what it is... a Republican district.
Got an insight into the Oberstar - Cravaack race? Tell us.
Minnesota's northeastern Congressional district is back in Republican hands for the first time since the Truman administration. Challenger Chip Cravaack upset DFLer Jim Oberstar in the district that runs from Chisago City to the Canadian border.
Cravaak defeated Oberstar by about 4,000 votes.
"The votes have spoken," Cravaack said. "I hope they are paying attention in Washington. Because you have spoken loud and clear, not just from Minnesota, but from across this great nation. Let this serve as a warning to Congress. We don't work for you. You work for us."
All the rest of Minnesota's Congressional delegation won re-election, including a closely watched race in southern Minnesota's 1st district, represented by DFLer Tim Walz.
Listen to Cravaack's victory speech here: Listen
Posted at 8:35 PM on November 2, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2010, Campaign 2010: U.S. House, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD7, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD8
Several news organizations, including CBS, NPR and NBC, are projecting that Republicans will take control of the U.S. House. If that's the case, Minnesota will see a net loss in Chairs of House Committees.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and DFL Rep. Collin Peterson currently chair two key committees. Oberstar is the chair of the House Transportation Committee. Peterson is the chair of the House Agriculture Committee. They will both lose their chairmanships (if they win reelection).
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. John Kline will likely become chair of the House Education and Labor Committee. He's the ranking GOP member of that committee.
Another question is whether GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann makes a play for a leadership position. Bachmann has raised more money than any other candidate running for the U.S. House.
A KSTP-TV/Survey USA poll shows a close contest between DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republcan Chip Cravaack. The poll shows Oberstar with a one percentage point lead over Cravaack.
Minnesota's 8th District, which includes Duluth, the Iron Range and exurbs like North Branch and Cambridge, has been a solid DFL District in past years. But that could change this year. You can take a look at my story on the race here.
Republican Chip Cravaack is scheduled to visit 36 cities in the final 96 hours of the campaign. The Republican running for Congress in Minnesota's 8th District is scheduled to kick off the tour in Duluth on Friday at 10am. Gov. Pawlenty, GOP Rep. John Kline and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Tom Emmer will join Cravaack at several stops on the tour. The Cravaack campaign scheduled 36 stops - one for every year DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is in office.
Don't know who Cravaack is? Listen to the stump speech he gave to his supporters in Cambridge on Wednesday night: Listen
Roughly 800 people attended a DFL rally in Virginia, MN tonight. The group showed up to see Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mark Dayton, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, state legislators representing the Iron Range and DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar. The event was organized as a Get Out the Vote rally for DFL candidates.
Oberstar, who is engaged in a tough reelection fight with Republican Chip Cravaack, didn't back away from any of his votes. In fact, he praised the stimulus and said it was a major factor in why the taconite mines on the Iron Range are hiring again. He also repeated his support for Social Security and defended his vote for the health care bill.
"We just passed the biggest health insurance reform in the history of this country in this Congress and we're not going to let the Republicans take it away from us," Oberstar shouted.
Dayton told the audience that he'll work to ensure that the state's schools are funded and will work to keep college tuition affordable. He said his plan to tax Minnesota's top earners is better than the sales tax expansion proposed by the Independence Party's Tom Horner or the cuts Republican Tom Emmer will need to do if he doesn't raise taxes.
"These are going to be hard times. There's no easy way to balance a $6 billion deficit. But there are right and wrong ways. There are better and worse ways," Dayton said.
Both Dayton and Oberstar are relying on heavy turnout in northern Minnesota and the Iron Range. DFL candidates who have not performed well in this part of the state rarely win statewide.
Here's Oberstar's speech: Listen
Here's Dayton's speech: Listen(3 Comments)
The Duluth News Tribune announced today that it was endorsing Republican Chip Cravaack over DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar. The reason, the paper says, is because of the stance the candidates have made on fiscal matters:
The brake pedal of fiscal responsibility is needed in Washington now as much as ever. Although Oberstar voted in 1993 for the biggest debt reduction in post-World War II history, the 17-term incumbent is hardly the embodiment of financial restraint and new direction.
His opponent, on the other hand, Republican Chip Cravaack, represents what Congress, including Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, needs at this critical crossroads in American history. A pro-business, fiscally conservative, former Navy captain, with a master's degree in education, Cravaack has smarts. He is articulate, reasoned and composed. More critically, he has specific and promising strategies to pull the nation out of its financial funk.
Oberstar told the AP that he's "disappointed but not surprised," given what he says is the News Tribune's conservative editorial trend since its purchase by Fargo. N.D.-based Forum Communications.(6 Comments)
I finally tracked down the audio from last night's 8th Distict debate between DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack. The two took part in the second and final debate of a campaign that has become pretty interesting.
You can listen to the audio here: Listen
Meanwhile, Oberstar released an ad criticizing Cravaack.
Two prominent groups opposed to legalized abortion are getting heavily involved in the congressional contest in Minnesota's 8th District.
The conservative Susan B. Anthony List, a Washington D.C. based Pro-life group, reported spending $32,432 on mailers in opposition to DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar.
Meanwhile, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life is spending $9417 on mailings on behalf of Oberstar's GOP opponent, Chip Cravaack. The MCCL endorsed Cravaack last week after backing Oberstar for decades.
The Susan B. Anthony List and the MCCL both say they're backing Cravaack because of Oberstar's support for the health care reform law. They say the law would allow federal taxpayers funds to be spent on abortion. At issue is the health exchanges and whether HMOs would be allowed to offer abortion coverage even to people who receive federal subsidies. Oberstar and his campaign staffers argue that there are protections in place to ensure federal funds aren't spent on abortion (Read more about it on Politfact).
Susan B. Anthony List, which was also a strong supporter of Oberstar in the past, hinted in a March news release that it would make Oberstar's vote an issue in the upcoming election:
"Congressman Oberstar can no longer call himself 'pro-life.' He has set himself with the likes of NARAL, NOW, and Planned Parenthood, and has betrayed his pro-life principles and his constituents. Seventy-four percent of voters in the eighth district oppose taxpayer funding of abortion as part of health care reform, according to a survey commissioned by the Susan B. Anthony List this week. Fifty-six percent of Rep. Oberstar's constituents surveyed also said that they would be less likely to vote for him next Election Day if he supported healthcare with abortion funding.
The key question is whether voters will continue their practice of routinely sending Oberstar back to Washington or choose to side with the Pro Life groups who now oppose him.(2 Comments)
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack took part in a feisty debate at the DECC in Duluth this morning. More than 1,000 people showed up to watch the debate. MPR's Bob Kelleher wrote a story about the debate. You can read that here.
We also uploaded the entire debate audio: Listen(1 Comments)
Posted at 10:57 AM on October 19, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Campaign 2010, Campaign 2010: Minnesota Governor, Campaign 2010: U.S. House, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD2, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD3, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD4, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD5, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD6, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD7, Campaign 2010: U.S. MN CD8, MN Legislature
There are two weeks left until Election Day and most of the candidates will be making their final push to win their respective races.
I put together a handy dandy cheat sheet so you know the schedule for debates, candidate appearances and other notable events.
This schedule is subject to change but it should give you a good idea of what's happening in the final two weeks. Please let me know if I missed anything.
MPR's Midday hosts a Secretary of State debate between DFL incumbent Mark Ritchie and Republican Dan Severson on Midday at 11
IP candidate Tom Horner has presser at 2pm to announce an endorsement.
Democrat Mark Dayton campaigns in Northwest Minnesota with DFL Rep. Collin Peterson
Dayton speech at 11AM at MEA
Republican Tom Emmer campaigns in Monticello and St. Cloud
League of Women Voters host a 4th Congressional District candidate debate at Wilder Foundation Auditorium.
Rochester Chamber of Commerce hosts a gubernatorial debate at 11:30 am
Horner campaigns in Red Wing and Rochester
Emmer campaigns in southern MN
Debate Minnesota hosts an 8th District Congressional candidate debate between DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack in Grand Rapids.
Dayton goes pheasant hunting with DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in Montevideo
President Obama holds a rally at U of M for Dayton
KSTP-TV/League of Women Voters host a Gubernatorial debates at Metro State University in St. Paul at 6pm.
MPR's Midday hosts a 4th Congressional debate between DFL Rep. Betty McCollum and Republican Teresa Collett
MPR's Midday hosts a 5th Congressional debate between DFL Rep. Keith Ellison, Republican Joel Demos, and the IP's Tom Schrunk
MN Campaign Finance Board releases finance reports for state candidates and state PACs
Debate Minnesota hosts a Gubernatorial debate in Mankato at 7pm.
St. Cloud Chamber hosts a 6th District candidate debate.
Midday hosts a 2nd District Congressional debate between GOP Rep. John Kline and Democrat Shelley Madore. candidates debate on Midday.
Midday hosts a 3rd District Congressional debate that features GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen, Democrat Jim Meffert and the IP's Jon Oleson.
KARE and MPR conducts a "job interview" with gubernatorial candidates at Macalaster College at 6:30pm.
Edina Chamber hosts a 3rd District candidate debate at Interlachen Country Club at 11:30.
Midday hosts a 7th Congressional District debate between DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and Republican Lee Byberg.
Midday hosts a 6th Congressional District debate featuring GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, Democrat Tarryl Clark and the IP's Bob Anderson.
Midday hosts a State Auditor debate featuring DFL incumbent Rebecca Otto and Republican Pat Anderson.
MN Chamber's Manufacturing Summit will feature a Lt. Gov. candidate debate featuring Republican Annette Meeks, the IP's Jim Mulder and Democrat Yvonne Prettner-Solon.
TPT's Almanac features the candidates for governor.
Midday will feature the four Legislative leaders, DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich and Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers to discuss the race for Legislature.
MPR hosts the final gubernatorial debate at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life. a group opposed to legalized abortion, is backing Republican Chip Cravaack over DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District.
MCCL has backed Oberstar in past elections. Here's the release from MCCL:
"Chip Cravaack exemplifies everything the people of Minnesota's 8th District look for in a candidate for Congress," said MCCL Executive Director Scott Fischbach. "Cravaack has a passionate dedication to uphold the constitutional right to life and to protect our country's most vulnerable citizens - the unborn."
Cravaack has made the protection of lives threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia central to his campaign. He strongly believes in the inalienable right to life from conception to natural death. Cravaack opposes the destruction of human embryos for experimentation and supports ethical adult stem cell research, which "has shown great possibilities and does not trade one life to save another," he has stated.
Cravaack and Jim Oberstar, the current 8th District congressman, differ sharply on these issues and on the Obama health care overhaul, which instituted health care rationing and taxpayer funding of abortion. Less than a month before voting for the Obama health care bill, Oberstar stated, "I will not vote for a health care bill that doesn't have the [pro-life] House abortion language in it." The House language, which would have prohibited taxpayer funded abortion, was removed from the final bill, but Oberstar abandoned his pledge and voted in favor of it. He also led an effort to lobby pro-life Democrats in the U.S. House to vote for final passage of the Obama health care bill, even though it included rationing and abortion funding.
"Jim Oberstar has turned away from the pro-life principles he used to hold in common with the citizens of the 8th District," Fischbach said. "He has walked away from the pro-life movement. For years Jim Oberstar has had a 100 percent pro-life voting record and now he has a zero percent pro-life voting record. Just as Jim Oberstar has abandoned the babies, it is time for the voters to retire Jim Oberstar."
Fortunately, voters have a strong pro-life candidate in Chip Cravaack. MCCL Federal PAC urges the people of Minnesota's 8th District to vote for Chip Cravaack. He is the candidate with the courage and conviction to protect unborn babies, senior citizens, disabled persons and everyone else who life is threatened by abortion, health care rationing and other dangers.
Update: Here's a fact-check on whether the federal health care law allows federal funding to cover abortions.
Oberstar's campaign spokesman John Schadl says voters know Oberstar opposes abortion.
"It's regrettable I think that this decision has been made but people know who Jim is and what his values are. I don't know that this is going to be a game changer. I think we'll work a little harder to just restate Jim's values."
Schadl says Oberstar worked to ensure that federal funds wouldn't be spent on abortions when Congress debated the federal health care overhaul bill earlier this year.