Erik Paulsen and Tarryl Clark are leading … in the money race for next year’s Minnesota congressional races. Briana Bierschbach of Politics in Minnesota says: “Paulsen, who represents the 3rd District, topped the current congressional delegation with about $340,000 raised in the third quarter, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week. He is also the only Minnesota member of Congress — other than presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann — to report nearly $1 million on hand. Clark, a former state senator from St. Cloud, wasn’t far behind as she works to unseat GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack in the 8th District. Clark reported an eyebrow-raising $228,000 in the third quarter, coming in higher than Cravaack and leagues ahead of two other DFLers hoping to run in the district.” The story has a rundown of all state 3Q fund-raising.
But … those darn straw polls keep sending different messages. Andy Birkey at the Minnesota Independent writes: “The DFL held a fundraiser on Saturday evening that included a straw poll. In it, former Rep. Rick Nolan garnered 21 of the 38 votes cast, besting former staffer for Sen. Al Franken, Daniel Fanning who got 8 votes, and Duluth city council member Jeff Anderson and former state Sen. Tarryl Clark who got one vote each.”
Phil Krinkie, president of The Taxpayers League offers up his thinking on the Vikings bolting for … somewhere … if they don’t get taxpayer help on their stadium. Says Krinkie in the ECM papers: “Last week the Ramsey County Charter Commission voted not to require a referendum on a proposed ½ cent sales tax to fund a new Vikings stadium. But their decision doesn’t rule out a vote on the local option sales tax. The legislature could still require a vote on the $350 million in local Ramsey County taxes. If citizens in Ramsey County are allowed to vote will the Vikings run back to Minneapolis in order to strike yet one more stadium deal? The answer is yes without a doubt. … But with no details of their wedding plans, only a $1.1 billion estimated cost, it’s to early to tell if Zygi is really ready to walk down the isle with Ramsey County. Beside the issue of full financial disclosure, there is always the needed parental approval; i.e. the state Legislature. Hopefully Legislators won’t forget about approval from the taxpayers in this sweetheart deal. The message in this tale of ‘the team that wouldn’t commit’ is that millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent in an attempt to find a stadium plan the Vikings would invest in. Now it’s time for the Vikings to commit to the citizens of Minnesota to stay in Minnesota and remodel their current home.”
The Rochester Post-Bulletin chimes in on the topic, saying: “At some point between now and Thanksgiving, it’s likely that Gov. Mark Dayton will call a special session of the Legislature. The main item on the agenda will be approval of a plan to fund and build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. We want a deal to get done. Granted, not everyone in Minnesota lives and dies with the Purple, but the Vikings are an economic asset to the state and contribute much to the quality of life for millions of fans, not only in Minnesota but across the Midwest. … if the Wilf family and the Vikings remain committed to the Arden Hills site, we’d suggest the following proviso: The Vikings must assume the risk of all cost overruns. Any deal should specify a fixed contribution from the state and Ramsey County — the current figures are $300 million and $350 million, respectively — with the Vikings paying everything else. This can cut both ways, of course. If the cost of the stadium comes in under budget, the Vikings can reap the benefits.” Has anyone ever quantified that “quality of life” business?
Sorry, Tubby. Gophers basketball coach Tubby Smith got no help from the Appeals Court. Andrew Krammer at the Minnesota Daily says: “The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Monday a judgment that University of Minnesota head basketball coach Tubby Smith must pay Jimmy Williams $1 million in his lawsuit that Smith wrongly promised him an assistant coaching job in 2007. The court dismissed the University’s appeal of a Hennepin County jury’s decision from May 2010 that Smith misrepresented his authority to offer Williams a job on his coaching staff when Smith came to the University in 2007. … A jury originally awarded Williams $1.25 million, but that was dropped to $1 million because Smith was acting on behalf of the University — state law mandates that the liability of its employees can’t exceed the amount of its liability insurance. The University of Minnesota maintains a $1 million liability insurance policy.”
Today in Bachmannia: If today were April 1, my antennae would be twitching. As Mike Mullen at City Pages writes: “Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump are finally ready to make your nightmares come true. If you have some free time tonight, and are trying to get rid of those last shards of dignity, you can listen to Michele and the Donald have a conversation on the phone tonight. City Pages cannot promise that Trump will take this opportunity to tell Bachmann, ‘You’re fired.’ But, given their equally self-destructive records of talking off the cuff, there’s really no predicting where this thing will go. Bachmann announced hers and Trump’s ‘tele-townhall’ in an e-mail that went out last night, promising that the two of them will discuss ‘the state of the race,’ by which we assume they mean white people. UPDATE: Trump didn’t even know about the tele-townhall until … someone told him about it on national television. Bachmann’s e-mail explains that tonight’s phone event is an ‘incredible opportunity’ to ‘hear from a businessman who knows firsthand that Barack Obama’s failed policies are crippling our nation’s job creators.’ ” Can I just say that I get a special, personal thrill when Our Favorite Congresswoman starts talking “job creators”?
Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is closing a bunch of “underperforming stores,” including one in Rogers. The AP says: “Lowe’s Cos. says it will close 20 underperforming stores in 15 states and cut 1,950 jobs in a move that it says will allow it to focus on more profitable locations. Ten locations were closed Sunday; the other 10 will close in a month. Stores in Rogers, Minn. and Brown Deer, Wis. are on the list.”
Tell your broker to check into hazelnut futures. Tom Webb of the PiPress reports: “The University of Minnesota on Friday was awarded a $904,000 USDA grant, for developing ‘a viable bush-type hazelnut industry in the Upper Midwest.’ Professor Don Wyse said hazelnuts are a long-standing subject of U research, and part of a group of plants viewed as ‘the next generation of crops for the Minnesota landscape.’ The U is scouting for perennials that can generate farm income, and help the environment with a ‘continuous living cover on the landscape.’ At a U research facility in Rosemount, scientists have long been working to cross Minnesota’s native wild hazelnuts with European hazelnut varieties. Wyse said the USDA money will nudge the work a slightly different direction, toward fostering a market for the native, wild hazelnut. … The hazelnut funding is among a series of USDA grants to help small, specialty crops, like cucumbers, raspberries and basil. They don’t get the research dollars lavished on commodity crops like corn and soybeans, but still have a niche.” I can just see it … high fructose hazelnut syrup.
A record bear, they say … Jim Adams of the Strib reports: “A 648-pound black bear killed last week by a hunter on his property just north of Hudson, Wis. — on the outer fringe of the Twin Cities metro area — may have set a state record, the hunter and authorities said Sunday. “He’s immense. I couldn’t believe bears are this big,” Lon Feia said of the 7-foot-2-inch bear, which he had been hunting for more than a month on his Hudson Township property. … The Wisconsin record for a bear’s weight is 727 pounds, but the official record is determined by a bear’s dried-skull measurements, [Wisconsin DNR spokesman Paul] Sickman said. To be listed among the state’s largest, the bear’s skull would have to have a combined length and width of more than 20 inches.”