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Bachmann’s controversy-filled month nets $1 million in contributions

DFL outraising state GOP; Surly’s “destination brewery”; yup — it’s been hot; area home prices outpace nation’s; and more.

As predicted … Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s month of controversial statements has paid off handsomely. Says Jennifer Brooks at the Strib: “Rep. Michele Bachmann racked up $1 million in campaign donations in the first 25 days of July, her campaign reports. ‘I’m grateful for the support I’ve received so far and I know if we can sustain this grassroots movement, we will be victorious in the fall,’ Bachmann said in a statement Tuesday. ‘Minnesotans are tired of the same empty rhetoric out of Washington, and they know my time is genuinely focused on keeping America strong and growing.’ The donations poured in during a month when the Minnesota Republican was making national headlines and drawing criticism from members of her own party for her remarks about possible ties between American political figures and Islamic fundamentalist groups. But controversy doesn’t appear to have dampened Bachmann’s fundraising draw.” “Dampened”? She could double that if she demands Keith Ellison be forcibly deported.

Similarly … MPR’s Catharine Richert says the DFL has built a considerable lead in fundraising thus far this cycle: “The numbers are stark: since the start of the year, the DFL Party has raised $2.2 million from individuals and groups, while the Republican Party has raised only $99,240 during the same period from individuals and groups. At this time in 2010, the last election year, the Minnesota GOP had raised nearly $600,000 from individual contributors. All told, the DFL’s fundraising totaled nearly $2.3 million, which includes miscellaneous income, while the Minnesota GOP brought in nearly $400,000, with some of that cash coming from party convention registration fees and some coming in the form of in-kind contributions and unitemized income.” Really? “In-kind” and “unitemized”?

At the Strib, Rachel Stassen-Berger takes a bit more of the glass half-empty view. She says: “In their first campaign finance reports of the year, both the Minnesota Republican Party and  the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party list mountains of debt. The Republican party, which has struggled with deep debt, campaign finance and intra-party turmoil,  report lists $24,421 in cash on hand and $848,708 in unpaid bills; the DFL, which has also carried unpaid bills, had $46,183 in cash, $310,456 in debt. … DFL Party chair Ken Martin said the party is actually in better shape than the report reflects. This weekend it will hold a massive fundraising [event], featuring former President Bill Clinton. Martin said that event alone could raise close to $750,000.” Now is obviously the time for the state GOP to invite George W. or Dick Cheney up for a big fund-raiser. Or maybe Tom DeLay.

Your tax dollars at work … Tom Scheck of MPR reports: “The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that accuses Secretary of State Mark Ritchie of overstepping his authority by rewording the titles of two proposed constitutional amendments. Attorneys for the Republican-controlled Legislature are asking the court to remove Ritchie’s language and replace it with the titles written by the Legislature. … The state Solicitor General argued that state law gives the Secretary of State the authority to name amendments, saying that’s the way Minnesota has been doing it for 90 years. That prompted Justice G. Barry Anderson to wonder whether the Supreme Court will be forced to hear similar arguments every time a proposed amendment goes on the ballot.” That’d be a good bet, your honor.

The GleanSo now it’s a “destination brewery”? Eric Roper of the Strib says: “Surly Brewing Co. hasn’t selected a location yet for their highly anticipated ‘Destination Brewery,, but they now know who will design it. The company announced Tuesday that it had enlisted HGA, which designed General Mills’s headquarters and the Lakewood Cemetery Garden Mausoleum, to be their architect. The company is based in Minneapolis, but has offices around the country. The ‘Destination Brewery’ was made possible after a state law change known as the ‘Surly Bill’ that allowed breweries to serve pints of their own beer on the premises. Surly is planning a $20 million facility that includes a bar, restaurant, event center and beer garden.”

Yes, it was remarkably hot. Craig Edwards at MPR writes: “Once we reach 80 degrees [today] we can officially proclaim that this will be the first July in recorded weather history that the maximum temperature reached 80 degrees or [higher] each day of the month. The average maximum temperature, as recorded at the Twin Cities International Airport for July stands at 90 degrees. Including today’s projected maximum temperature we will likely finish just shy of 90.0 degrees. Historically, there have been two Julys where the average maximum temperature averaged 90 degrees or higher: 92.5 degrees in 1936 and 90.2 degrees in 1988 according to Pete Boulay at the State Climate Office. It looks like the Twin Cities should finish with a maximum average temperature of about 90 for the month.”

According to the Case-Shiller index, Twin Cities home price increases beat the national average last month. Says Jim Buchta at the Strib: “Price gains in the Twin Cities outpaced the nation during May, according to the latest Case-Shiller house price index (click here for the full report), which posted a 4.7 percent gain compared with last year and 3.1 percent gain compared with April. Those were among the biggest increases among cities on the Case-Shiller 20-city composite, which showed a decline of .7 percent from last year and a 2.2 percent increase from the previous month.”

The guy who plowed into the car killing the infant son of the Southwest Minnesota State basketball coach? As close to blind drunk as you can get. Says Paul Walsh in the Strib: “The driver of a pickup truck was extremely drunk when he hit an SUV head-on in western Minnesota, seriously injuring the men’s head basketball coach at Southwest Minnesota State University and killing his infant son, according to charges filed Tuesday. A preliminary breath test taken by Dana A. Schoen, 38, of Starbuck, Minn., showed he had a blood-alcohol content of 0.351 percent soon after the crash Saturday night on Hwy. 29 near County Road 41 in Pope County, the criminal complaint said. That is more than four times the legal limit for driving in Minnesota. … An online calculator run by the University of Notre Dame’s office of alcohol and drug education finds that a man of Schoen’s approximate weight, 155 pounds, would have to drink at least 17 light beers in three hours to reach the 0.351 percent that the State Patrol measured the night of the crash.”

Sally Jo Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie offers her explanations for Mankato Free Press polling that shows GOP congresssional candidate Allen Quist  leading “neither” and Mike Parry, respectively, in the race against Tim Walz. Says Sally: “[F]riends have suggested that the commanding lead  that Quist enjoys may reflect the Nicollet County farmer and retired Bethany College professor’s proximity to Mankato, as well as the strength of the Ron Paul and Tea Party movements in the greater metropolitan Mankato area. An unscientific online readers’ poll in a newspaper in Parry’s senate district stomping grounds of Rice, Steele and Waseca Counties, they argue, might reveal a similar skewing toward Parry. Regardless, those of us writing about the primary feel rather frustrated by the absence of hard polling data by media outlets, campaigns, or anybody. While Bluestem can understand the reluctance of various Republican entities from releasing data about a race in which there’s no endorsement, one would think that other players might share.”