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D.C. Memo: ‘We’re going to have to see what happens’

This week from Washington, Rep. Tom Emmer runs the show, the mayor of Bemidji talks about Trump’s visit, and why you may have to wait longer for election results.

President Donald Trump speaking to supporters at the Mankato Regional Airport on Monday.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner
President Donald Trump
Welcome to this week’s edition of the D.C. Memo. This week from Washington, Rep. Tom Emmer runs the show, the mayor of Bemidji talks about Trump’s visit, and why you may have to wait longer for election results. Now, let’s get on with this.

Extremely concerning

In an interview, President Donald Trump would not commit to a “peaceful transfer of power” if he loses.

“Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump said.

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Rep. Dean Phillips, who represents Minnesota’s Third District, responded via Twitter. “The question is no longer will he accept the results,” Phillips said. “The question is will his enablers finally draw the line when he doesn’t.”


Rep. Tom Emmer represents Minnesota’s Sixth District. But he has another job as well: He chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), tasked with taking back the House for Republicans.

Under his tenure, the NRCC has embraced a winning-by-any-means-necessary approach to House races: Press releases trash-talking candidates regularly flood reporters’ inboxes; even going so far as to call Jewish candidates antisemitic. 

And now, under Emmer, the Republican organization is latching onto QAnon-affiliated candidates, refusing to back away from candidates who have supported or associated with a conspiracy theory that has been designated a potential domestic terrorism threat by the FBI.

Read more at MinnPost.

It’s not in the story, but here’s what Attorney General Keith Ellison said about Emmer: “This is not just me and Tom sitting around swapping stories about our days in the Minnesota state Legislature, right? Everything he does and everything I do is going to affect a lot more people than just me and him. So I hope he does the right thing.”

The mayor of Bemidji

President Donald Trump traveled to Bemidji to tell Minnesotans how he felt. But how did Minnesotans in Bemidji feel about him? MinnPost’s Walker Orenstein profiled Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht, who found out about the president’s visit to her town of 15,000 from the Star Tribune.

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Before the event, Albrecht, who’s running to be a DFL state senator, said she wouldn’t be there. “I’m not going to go to the event,” she said. “I plan to be phone-banking and contacting voters to make sure they know about the campaign and about me.”

Read more here from MinnPost. 

By the numbers

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Waiting longer

MinnPost’s Greta Kaul explains why we’re going to have to wait longer for election results this year. Here’s a choice paragraph, but be sure to read the whole thing:

In Minnesota, coronavirus-driven changes to election law mean local election officials will have an extra week — two weeks before the election — to open and process ballots, though they won’t actually be counted until polls close. By-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day can arrive at elections offices up to seven days after the election and still be counted. (Some other states also have grace periods, varying in length, for ballots.)

Read more at MinnPost.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Sept. 18. President Donald Trump immediately vowed to replace her on the Supreme Court. Any new appointment on the court of a conservative will likely significantly shift the decisions of the court, which are often barely split one way.

Reps. Jim Hagedorn and Tom Emmer released a letter several weeks prior to Ginsburg’s death, requesting Minnesotan and Circuit Court Judge David Stras be appointed to the Supreme Court. It appears Trump isn’t listening to that request; he has committed to appointing a woman to the court. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said Republicans should wait until after the election to appoint a new Supreme Court judge, asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to follow the rule he established when he refused to allow a vote for Merrick Garland under President Barack Obama.

But Klobuchar, who used to work with Republicans often on judicial appointments, has presented no practical plan for stopping McConnell’s vote. And it looks less and less likely that enough Republicans will join Democrats to try and block the vote.

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In other news

Quote of the week

“No. There are really no dissenters,” Rep Ilhan Omar said about the number of House Republicans who have reached out to her about death threats she’s received. 

What I’m reading

Rachel Zhang for Teen Vogue: The 2020 Election Has to Be a Story About Climate Change

Zhang, one of Minnesota’s delegates to the DNC, says the Democratic Party must be pushed to take the climate crisis seriously.

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.