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D.C. Memo: The Picture of Dorian’s Stray

Climate change forum; Collin Peterson gets a challenger; Vin Weber resigns from lobbying firm over Ukraine work; and more.

photo of president donald trump holding a chart of hurricane dorian's projected path
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the Congressional District in which Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach lives. She is a resident of the Seventh District.

 The D.C. Memo is a weekly recap of Washington political news, journalism, and opinion, delivered with an eye toward what matters for Minnesota. Sign up to get it in your inbox every Thursday.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week in Washington, presidential candidates talk for seven hours, Vin Weber resigns and a prayer from Vice President Walter Mondale. Let’s get on with this.

The President next door

On Wednesday night, Sen. Amy Klobuchar took to the stage at CNN’s seven-hour climate forum, speaking for an hour about how she would combat the climate crisis. Her strategy, when compared to the other candidates? Moderation. Read more at MinnPost.

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Klobuchar has earned enough support in the polls and from donors to qualify for the next debate, which will be held on Sept. 12 from 8 to 11PM on ABC and Univision, but her campaign is still struggling to make inroads with voters in the polls, maintaining close to the bare minimum to qualify for the debate.

Will she move forward?

“Right now it’s a prayer,” former Vice President Walter Mondale told The Star Tribune.

2020 Watch

MINNESOTA’S SEVENTH: Rep. Collin Peterson has a new challenger in former Lt. Governor and Tim Pawlenty running-mate Michelle Fischbach. Peterson’s strong lead at the ballot box has been slipping in recent years, and the race could very easily become the most expensive in the state. National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Rep. Tom Emmer said he was “hopeful” a specific candidate would run, but declined to identify them other than that they were a woman.

Outside of the fray, the sugar beet industry is watching closely and plans to spend heavily on the race. Read more at MinnPost.

MINNESOTA’S SECOND: Rick Olson, a former Michigan state House representative, is challenging Rep. Angie Craig for her seat in Congress. He’s the first Republican to put his name in the ring.

Vin Weber

Former Second District Rep. Vin Weber resigned from his position at a prominent consulting firm in Washington after questions about lobbying work he did for Ukranian interests. Tom Hamburger at the Washington Post has the story.

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A hitch in opioid funding

All members of the Minnesota delegation said they were concerned about a Trump administration requirement that might prevent Minnesota from receiving grants to assist with the opioid crisis. The delegation sent a letter asked the Centers for Disease Control to explain how the new requirement “will not create an undue burden for the states.” The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy is concerned as well. Read more at MinnPost.

A threat?

A top official at the U.S. Department of Interior seemed to threaten New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall for a letter he wrote with Rep. Betty McCollum last week. The letter for criticized a move by the Bureau of Land Management to relocate Federal employees out of D.C., without their consent, to other states.

“Given your apparent strong feelings about the Department’s actions and intentions, we pledge to review and reconsider the relocation of additional Departmental resources to your State,” Joseph Balash, assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management wrote to Udall.

In other news

  • Parliament rebuked Prime Minister Boris Johnson again on Tuesday, who lost control of the Brexit process in a 328 to 301 vote. 21 members of Johnson’s own party voted against him.
  • The Pentagon on Wednesday revealed 120 military construction projects, for initiatives like schools at military bases and roads, would be defunded in order to construct portions of the President’s wall along the U.S-Mexico border.
  • Conservative operative Jacob Wohl is wanted by California authorities on a felony charge.

Quote of the week

“I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know,” President Trump said after being asked if he was the one who had altered a map to show that Alabama would be impacted by Hurricane Dorian.

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What I’m reading

Graham Lee Brewer for NPR: Cherokee Nation Names First Delegate To Congress

The Cherokee Nation has appointed its first representative to Congress, following through on a provision of a long established treaty. The position will be nonvoting, similar to representatives from U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.

Ryan Grim, Aída Chávez for The Intercept: Here’s How Much The Democratic Party Charges To Be On Each House Committee

Have you ever been curious about the fundraising expectations placed on members of the Democratic Party? If you have, this is a good read getting at the (literal) cost to serving in a leadership role.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for sticking around. Until next week, feel free to send tips, suggestions, and sound advice to: gschneider@minnpost.com. Follow at @gabemschneider. And don’t forget to become a MinnPost member.