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D.C. Memo: Nothing Ventura’d, nothing gained

This week from Washington, MNGOP congressional district conventions pick their candidates; Jesse Ventura is not not not running for president; and Gov. Tim Walz is a popular guy.

Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, MNGOP congressional district conventions pick their candidates; Jesse Ventura is not not not running for president; and Gov. Tim Walz is a popular guy. Let’s get on with this.

A tale of two CD’s

Two of Minnesota’s most competitive congressional districts have endorsed Republican challengers now. 

After a bitter week, Minnesota’s 2nd District Republicans endorsed Tyler Kistner to take on incumbent Rep. Angie Craig and Minnesota’s 7th District Republicans endorsed former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to try to unseat Rep. Collin Peterson.

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But don’t expect everyone to bow out just yet.

Dave Hughes, who was the District Seven Republican-endorsed candidate  in 2016 and 2018, has not dropped out of the race yet. Hughes is holding a listening session on Sunday with delegates and voters in the district, to ask them what they thought of the convention. He has not indicated he will run in the primary.

But Noel Collis, another candidate from the district, has. Collis has $427,000 in the bank, much of it loaned from his own personal funds. “Our campaign will spend whatever it takes to win the primary and give voters the opportunity to send someone to Washington who is not a career politician like former State Sen. Michelle Fischbach and Congressman Peterson,” Collis said in a statement.

In District 2, Erika Cashin, who faced off against Kistner, also has  yet to declare that she is dropping out. But she has deactivated her Facebook page and campaign website.

As candidates bicker in the district, two groups have waded into the Democratic side of the primary. Brady PAC, which spends money to campaign against gun violence, endorsed the Second District’s Craig this week. And the Committee for Stronger Rural Communities announced it’s spending $47,000 on a two-week ad buy in support of Peterson

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura

Jesse-in’ is believin’

For a moment, it seemed as if former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (one of two future governors in the 1987 movie “Running Man”), might run for president as a member of the Green Party. While Ventura has yet to officially say he’s not running, Bill Cimbrelo, a former Green Party congressional candidate, said in a now deleted tweet that he spoke with Ventura’s would-be campaign manager and announced Ventura would not be running for the nomination.

Ventura’s last work on the topic was April 27. “I’ve decided I’m going to test the waters,” he said on Twitter. “IF I were going to run for president, the GREEN party would be my first choice. I’ve endorsed the party and I’m testing the waters.”

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Ventura officially joined the Green Party this week, encouraging supporters who want him to jump into the race, and spent the week uplifting Green Party candidates from around the country on Twitter.

All of this said, Ventura has yet to say anything himself on whether or not he’s still running. (After this newsletter was published, Ventura confirmed to WCCO his intention not to run).

Walz going up

While MinnPost’s Peter Callaghan has noted that Gov. Tim Walz still has no commemorative bobblehead, his response to COVID-19 is popular. According to a poll from KSTP/SurveyUSA:

  • 82% approve of Gov. Walz’s COVID response
  • 14% disapprove

That same poll asked how Minnesotans feel about the President’s COVID-19 response and the numbers do not bode well for trying to win the state in November:

  • 34% approve of Trump’s COVID response
  • 59% disapprove

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Dean Phillips proposes six-fold increase in AmeriCorps volunteers

Rep. Dean Phillips is proposing legislation to increase the number of AmeriCorps volunteers six-fold. There are already 275 volunteers slated to be placed around Minnesota this summer, with the intent of tackling COVID-19.

Audrey Suker, the CEO of ServeMinnesota, the group that manages Minnesota’s AmeriCorps, said that a funding increase would do wonders for the nonprofit. “The kind of funding that Rep. Phillips is proposing would be an amazing resource to help us do more,” Suker told MinnPost. “Our job really is to make sure we’re there to help Minnesota respond to big problems like this. And it couldn’t be a larger one.”

Phillips’ bill would also increase AmeriCorps volunteer pay, close to doubling it. “Just think about all the individuals now that are coming out of college and they don’t have jobs, but they can’t afford to [do the AmeriCorps fellowship],” Suker said. “They just need to be paid more consistent with the value of what they’re contributing to the community.”

By the numbers

Klobuchar looks to put stamp on voting policy

Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s bill to expand vote by mail to every state generated more buzz this week, with endorsements from VotoLatino, an organization that encourages young Hispanic and Latinx voters to register to vote; and more than 800 medical professionals, who called on Congress to pass the bill.

“More than 800 public health experts are saying enough is enough, in their letter. And I think that’s a really important point to make, that this transcends political partisanship,” Klobuchar said in a press call this week.

“We know voters in Wisconsin were Republicans and Democrats and independents. We have voting by mail in states like Utah, which is a pretty red state. We have Republican secretaries of state, like the secretary of state in Washington, that are big proponents of this and Republican governors like in New Hampshire, and in Ohio, and in Maryland, that are very supportive of our efforts to be able to get the funding to help states.”

In other news

Quote of the week

“They want to do that so they pick up two automatic Democrat[s] — you know it’s a 100 percent Democrat, basically — so why would the Republicans ever do that? That’ll never happen unless we have some very, very stupid Republicans around that I don’t think you do. You understand that, right?” President Donald Trump said about the possibility of D.C. statehood, saying the quiet part out loud.

What I’m reading

Lee Fang for the Intercept: Lobbyists Request Bailout for Corporate Lobbyists

While states and county governments await more money to respond to COVID-19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in favor of bailouts for lobbyists? Yes, that is apparently something that is true.

Lauren Kaori Gurley for Motherboard: Amazon Warehouse Workers Send Thousands of Petitions to Jeff Bezos and Jay Carney’s Homes

Amazon workers continued efforts to push back against Amazon’s harsh treatment of workers during the coronavirus pandemic, this week sending letters directly to several of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ homes.

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