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D.C. Memo: Flight time isn’t the right time

The CD1 race heats up, Stauber and Biden agree for once and Dean Phillips wants younger leaders in the House.

Members of the U.S. Army demonstration parachute team the Golden Knights descending into Nationals Park before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Members of the U.S. Army demonstration parachute team the Golden Knights descending into Nationals Park before the game between the Washington Nationals and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello and welcome back to the D.C. Memo. This week you can find me shaking my head at our local (D.C.) MLB team. On Wednesday, the U.S. Capitol was on high alert as everyone inside was ordered to evacuate after an Army plane soared over the building. (Most of D.C. is a no-fly-zone, and any unauthorized aircraft flying over major buildings like the White House or the Capitol is a major problem.) As it turned out, the Washington Nationals were hosting Military Appreciation Night at Wednesday night’s game and the team failed to alert the Capitol Police that the parachuting flight squad, the Golden Knights, would be making a run over the D.C. skies. I’m not sure how that mix-up happened, but nonetheless I am excited to go to my first Nats game of the season this weekend. Here’s what else happened in Washington this week: the CD1 race heats up, Stauber and Biden agree for once and Dean Phillips wants younger leaders in the House.

All eyes on CD1

We’ve been saying for weeks that the First Congressional District special election is one to watch, and we’ll say it again. Since the late Rep. Jim Hagedorn’s death in mid-February, candidates have been lining up to represent CD1. As MinnPost’s Walker Orenstein and Greta Kaul reported this week, a few signs have emerged that show who may be the top contenders for the May 24 primary and the Aug. 9 special election. Fundraising is one of them — four of the 10 Republican candidates have significant cash, and only one DFLer has much money.

Agricultural attorney and GOP activist Matt Benda of Albert Lea has reported raising $168,651, which is the most among all of the 1st District candidates so far. Former state lawmaker and USDA director of rural development for Minnesota under President Trump Brad Finstad has raised just over $156,000 and former state Republican Party chairwoman and Hagedorn’s widow Jennifer Carnahan reported raising $151,000.

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State Rep. Jeremy Munson, a Lake Crystal candidate who is part of a small breakaway Republican caucus in the Minnesota House, has raised less: $102,234. But he has by far the most cash on hand to use for campaigning of any candidate — thanks to a $200,000 loan from himself, Orenstein and Kaul reported.

Carnahan, on the other hand, has decided that she is the frontrunner in the race. In a press release this week, Carnahan released an internal poll that showed among 287 likely Republican primary voters in the First District. According to this poll, Carnahan has support from 37 percent of likely primary voters, with the nearest contender 17 points behind Carnahan.

“Establishment Republicans thought their vicious smear campaign would be enough to take me down,” Carnahan said. “This poll makes clear that Minnesota Republicans have seen through their lies and continue to stand with me. My husband always told me to reach for my dreams. I will keep working hard and fighting for southern Minnesota, just as I did for four years when I served as Chairwoman for our party.”

A strong challenger in CD5

Speaking of fundraising, Fifth District Rep. Ilhan Omar has some tough competition in her Democratic primary race. Former Minneapolis City Council Member Don Samuels announced Thursday that his campaign had raised $350,000 in the month since its launch, with 75 percent in contributions under $100 and $320,000 cash on hand. Omar’s fundraising has lagged behind this measure — she raised $275,000 in the first quarter with an average donation of $13, with a total of $500,000 on hand.

Samuels is running as a Democrat, but takes a more conservative approach than Omar does to issues like policing, which will be a big focus for the 5th District during this year’s midterm election. In August 2020 Samuels and his wife Sondra sued the city of Minneapolis to hire more than 100 additional police officers, but the lawsuit didn’t stop Samuels from hiring Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s campaign manager, Joe Radinovich, to run the campaign.

Stauber and Biden agree, for once

Eighth District Rep. Pete Stauber (R)  voted against the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill last year, with one of his reasons being that he feared the bill would outsource manufacturing to different countries. To Stauber’s delight, President Joe Biden announced new regulations Monday that would keep infrastructure money inside the U.S.

Under the new rules, any project built with money from the bipartisan infrastructure legislation will be required to use American-made products. As reported by NBC’s Duluth affiliate, local lawmakers like Stauber said the rule will boost industries in the arrowhead of Minnesota.

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I support made in America, manufactured in America, mined in America. Today’s announcement was the enforcement mechanism of that,” Stauber told KBJR. “‘Buy American’ provisions are extremely important for the legislation because that puts our friends and neighbors – it employs them in the Iron Range.”

How long is too long?

That is the question Third District Rep. Dean Phillips is asking … about committee term limits. According to The Hill, Democratic leaders are “hammering” the GOP for considering term limits on committee leaders of both parties if Republicans take over the House next year (which is likely). Some moderate Democrats, including Phillips, think it’s actually not such a bad idea.

GOP leaders are bullishly confident in their ability to win back the House this year, and are already considering a number of changes they’d make if they’re back in charge. A prominent change being discussed is changing the chamber rules that would cap committee leadership at three terms, or six years. This would not change much for the Republican party — the GOP already maintains that same six-year limit for its own members — but they want to apply the cap to House Democrats as well, even though they haven’t adopted the same rules.

If the rule were to be adopted, a number of long-serving Democratic committee leaders — including Reps. Bennie Thompson (Miss.) of the Homeland Security panel; Adam Smith (Wash.) of Armed Services, Maxine Waters (Calif.) of Financial Services, Frank Pallone (N.J.) of Energy and Commerce, and Bobby Scott (Va.) of Education and Labor — would lose their top spots next year.

“High functioning organizations become so by building strong benches and limiting the tenure of leaders, usually ~10 years,” Phillips tweeted on Monday. “No matter which party controls Congress in ‘23, we should adopt term limits for committee chairs & get serious about developing a new generation of leaders.”

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What I’m reading

  • “Internet ‘algospeak’ is changing our language in real time, from ‘nip nops’ to ‘le dollar bean,’” The Washington Post. As someone who (somewhat ashamedly) uses TikTok a lot, “algospeak” is something I’ve seen quite a lot but hadn’t put much thought into before reading this piece by tech reporter Taylor Lorenz. A new online language is being formed as you read this newsletter, with content creators literally getting creative around the words they use so that moderators don’t take posts down for including words like “lesbian” and “suicide” in posts that are often frank conversation instead of inappropriate videos.
  • “I lived the #VanLife. It wasn’t pretty,” New York Times Magazine. Caity Weaver has been one of my all-time favorite writers since I read her 2018 profile of Cardi B in GQ. This woman has a way with words like none other, and she used many of them to illustrate a hilarious account of her week trying out the highly popularized #VanLife in California earlier this year. If you need some funny, creative, lighthearted prose, please give this one a read.

That’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading. As always, please feel free to send any questions, comments or times you had to evacuate a building for an idiotic reason to ahackett@minnpost.com.