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Competitive race against Mills leads to fundraising haul for Nolan

Plus: Franken widens lead over McFadden; Minnesota brewers win gold at Great American Beer Festival; Mayo to be accessible through MNsure plans; and more.

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If money equals votes: MPR’s Brett Neely says, “A hotly contested race for the 8th District congressional seat has been a fundraising boon for DFL Rep. Rick Nolan. His campaign is set to announce that Nolan raised at least $641,000 in the three months ending Sept. 30, far exceeding past fundraising quarters. … Federal Election Commission records show that outside groups not affiliated with either campaign have spent nearly $5 million to influence the outcome.” Which is as the founding fathers would want it.

Speaking of campaign cash: Minnesota Daily columnist Camille Gallas turns up on The Huffington Post with her op-ed about Bill Maher and John Kline. “By targeting John Kline, a Republican Representative from Minnesota’s Second District, Bill Maher’s ‘Flip A District’ Challenge sheds light on why this ‘empty suit’ has stayed in office for so long, and why we should all care. … In the case of John Kline, for-profit education corporations are footing his campaign bill. The Apollo Education Group, which owns several for-profit educational institutions, is his top contributor for the 2013-2014 legislative cycle. Kline, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, has supported laws that would increase student loans through market-based interest rates.”

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Over at KSTP, Tom Hauser recaps a SurveyUSA/KSTP poll showing that Sen. Al Franken has widened his lead over Mike McFadden, with the DFL incumbent leading his Republican challenger 55 to 37 percent: “‘That is a huge gap, a gap that surely will not persist through Election Day,’ University of Minnesota political science professor Kathryn Pearson said. She was surprised by the margin, but not the fact Franken remains the clear front runner. This all along has been a race that has been rated as competitive, but not necessarily a toss-up,’ Pearson said.”

There were some winners, yes. Clare Kennedy at The Business Journal tells us, “Minnesota brewers took gold at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival in Denver for the first time in three years. Minnetonka’s Badger Hill Brewing received a gold medal in the American-Belgo-style ale category for its White IPA. St. Louis Park-based Steel Toe Brewing won a gold medal for its Wee Heavy brew, a Scotch ale it released in December. … The festival gave out 268 medals this year.” That might even be more than the ad industry.

MNsure will offer access to the Mayo Clinic … if you live in southeast Minnesota. Elizabeth Baier of MPR reports, “Southeast Minnesota residents will now have Medica plans that include Mayo Clinic as an in-network option on MNSure, the state’s online health insurance marketplace. Medica on Monday said it will begin offering a new health plan for individuals and families in 18 southern Minnesota counties. It will include access to Rochester’s Mayo Clinic as well as Mayo Clinic Health System, Northfield Hospitals and Clinics, and Winona Health.”

The GleanIn a race that’s been floating under the radar: Brandt Williams of MPR writes, “When Hennepin County voters go to the polls next month, they’ll have to choose to either return a high-profile sheriff to office or side with his experienced challenger. … Earlier this year, 88 percent of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Deputies Association’s 270 members agreed to make an endorsement. Of those that did, three-fourths decided to endorse Frizell, 16 percent chose to make no endorsement and 9 percent endorsed Stanek. As of 2013, there were 340 deputies in the county.”

Deception in subscriptions you say? John Ewoldt of the Strib says, “Subscribers to the Star Tribune and other newspapers and magazines should be aware of fraudulent renewal notices being sent in the mail nationwide. Companies operating under names like Associated Publishers Network and United Publishers Network have been mailing new orders and renewal notices to subscribers from publications such as the Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Omaha World Herald. … The BBB has had nearly 900 complaints against United Publishers Network.” Who knew there was still money in newspaper subscriptions?

Don’t bother with the Drano. Marino Eccher of the PiPress writes, “A St. Paul man wrecked the plumbing at a handful of Eagan restaurants by flushing pounds of three-inch nails down the toilet, according to criminal charges filed last week. Nicholas Leo Mullenmaster, 38, was charged Sept. 30 … . On Sept. 3, Eagan police were called to a transit station about a block from the [Subway] restaurant on a report of a similar incident. The facilities manager there said security footage showed a man entering the restroom at 12:37 a.m. on Sept. 1 and remaining inside for nearly six hours. Two to three pounds of nails had been stuffed down the toilet, causing $800 in damage. One of the plumbers who worked on the repair recovered a piece of mail from the clog, addressed to Mullenmaster, the charges said.”

Finally, support for the solution to rampant voter fraud. At The New Republic, Claire Groden writes about why Wisconsin’s gubernatorial election may hinge on a court decision: “On September 12, Wisconsin voting-rights groups began to scramble when the Seventh Circuit Court upheld the state’s voter ID law, one of the strictest in the country. … In April, when District court judge Lynn Adelman issued an injunction against the law, he estimated that 300,000 registered voters across the state lack the IDs they need to vote. The judge arrived at that estimate by comparing the testimony of two witnesses, a statistical marketing consultant, Leland Beatty, and a professor at the University of Georgia, M.V. Hood III. … Using different methodologies, the two men produced different estimates. Hood said between 4.9 percent (167,351) and 10.9 percent (368,824) of registered voters lacked ID, while Beatty estimated 9.4 percent (317,735).   Even Hood’s low-end estimate of 167,351 disenfranchised voters is enough voters to swing a tight election. Walker won in 2010 by only 124,638 votes. According to the Huffington Post Pollster, Walker is currently leading Burke 48.3 to 46.3.”