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D.C. Memo: Betting the farm

This week from Washington, the agriculture industry wants to keep Collin Peterson right where he is; a House resolution on discrimination; and what Amy Klobuchar is up to.

Rep. Collin Peterson
MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein
Rep. Collin Peterson enjoys broad support from the agricultural industry in Minnesota and nationwide.
Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, the agriculture industry wants to keep Collin Peterson right where he is; a House resolution on discrimination; and what Amy Klobuchar is up to.

But first, we’re less than 50 days out from the election and MinnPost has a goal of hearing from 200 new or renewing members. If you like what you’re reading, support our work and become a member. 

Alright, let’s get on with this.

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You reap what you sow

Rep. Collin Peterson, a Democrat in a district Trump won by 30+ points, has a well-funded challenger in 2020: former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach. 

But the race isn’t just cut on party lines: The agriculture sector, which has worked with Peterson for decades, is set to spend millions keeping him in office. Peterson’s long tenure on the agriculture committee and experience working on the Farm Bill is not lost on farmers and producers. Neither is the fact that if he were to lose, the chairmanship of the committee would go to a representative of another ag-heavy state like Texas.

What do Republicans think? At least one state leg candidate agrees with the consensus from Minnesota’s ag sector.

“If you would look at Michelle Fischbach and Collin Peterson, hands down Collin Peterson is more qualified to write a Farm Bill. And I would assume, and nothing against Michelle Fischbach, I would hope she would look at Collin Peterson and say ‘He can write a better Farm Bill than I can,’” Mark Larson, an endorsed Republican running in Senate District 4 against incumbent Sen. Kent Eken of Twin Valley, told MinnPost’s Walker Orenstein.

But he demurred: “Michelle Fischbach … I guarantee you has got her places where she’s going to be better than Collin Peterson.”

House votes on anti-Asian discrimination resolution

The U.S. House voted Thursday to condemn anti-Asian discrimination during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly the rhetoric President Donald Trump has adopted in order to charectarize the pandemic.

The resolution, “Condemning all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19,” passed 243-164, with fourteen Republicans voting along with Democrats. More specifically, the resolution condemns the use of anti-Asian terminology and rhetoric related to COVID-19 like the “‘Chinese Virus,’ ‘Wuhan Virus,’ and ‘Kung-flu.’” and notes “a dramatic increase in reports of hate crimes and incidents against those of Asian descent.”

Minnesotans in the House voted along party lines, with all Democrats voting for the resolution and all Republicans against.

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By the numbers

  • 57%: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 615 likely voters puts Joe Biden ahead of President Donald Trump 57% to 41% (with a margin of error of +/- 4%).
  • 81: According to MediaMatters, the number of current and former candidates for Congress who have indicated support for or associated with Qanon, a conspiracy theory that originated on far-right message boards, that has repeatedly involved misplaced predictions and violence, as well as kidnappings.
  • 909: The number of positive COVID-19 tests in Minnesota on 9/16, more than any day in the month of May. MinnPost tracks the numbers here. 

What’s Amy Klobuchar up to?

After a very public run for president, what has Sen. Amy Klobuchar been up to? Several DFL Party leaders see her as a key asset in motivating voters to turnout and vote for Democratic candidates this election year.

Read more at MinnPost. 

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“There is no doubt that she is the number one asset for any Democrat running in Minnesota,” said Ken Martin, chairman of the state’s DFL Party. “She is unique in many ways, she overperforms Democratic performance in almost every precinct in the state and every county, whether it’s in Greater Minnesota, suburbs.”

Klobuchar has been showing up, helping with candidate events around the state. But her perceived (and actual) focus on white voters, as well as seemingly haphazard focus on Minnesotans of color, is the other side of the coin. Asma Nizami, a former field organizer for Sen. Al Franken in the Twin Cities, said Klobuchar has long been out of touch with communities of color, something highlighted by her presidential campaign that focused on winning rural white voters back from Trump. Nizami said it’s actually Sen. Tina Smith who is building a coalition that includes people of color in the Twin Cities, rather than Klobuchar. “I think that Amy doesn’t have support in communities of color,” said Nizami.

The mail scandal continues

Who knew Minnesota’s big scandal of 2020 would be about franked mail?

Daniel Newhauser, with the Minnesota Reformer, reports that the first known ethics complaint has been filed against Rep. Jim Hagedorn, all but assuring he will get an ethics investigation in the House for the way his office spent money on materials for constituent mail. 

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In other news

Quote of the week

“Last night I heard about it for the first time, and it’s a small number of cases,” President Donald Trump said about the unknown number of COVID cases recently reported among the White House staff. 

What I’m reading

Tina Vasquez for Prism: Georgia doctor who forcibly sterilized detained women has been identified

Women detained at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Georgia have allegedly been sterilized without their consent. Tina Vasquez has the story on the doctor that facilitated it.

Jesse Barron for NYT Mag: What Happened Inside Ed Buck’s Apartment?

For the last two years, every few months I’ve wondered about this question. Several Black men died after visiting the house of Ed Buck, a political activist from West Hollywood and donor to a few Democratic politicians. Jesse Barron’s long story on what exactly happened in Buck’s apartment is a hard-to-read account of how addiction, power, and race can come together in one horrifying mixture.

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.