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Franken pulls in cash from 50 states, McFadden from 44

Plus: possible stadium site for Minnesota United identified; more on Rep. Collin Peterson’s fight for his congressional seat; state Sen. Jeff Hayden facing further scrutiny; and more.

Sen. Al Franken
Office of the Governor

I’m not sure there’s any actual news here. But the numbers are impressive. Abby Simons and Glenn Howatt of the Strib say, “[Al] Franken managed to tap donors in all 50 states, with more than a third of his $18 million war chest coming from donors giving more than $200. [Mike] McFadden got donors giving more than that amount in 44 states, with those contributions making up a little more than half of $6.5 million total. … Among Franken’s top contributors were Garrison Keillor, author and host of ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ and ‘MacGyver’ star Richard Dean Anderson. McFadden’s top contributors were largely in business, including Slumberland CEO Ken Larson and Best Buy founder and chairman emeritus Richard Schulze.”

The GOP response to the DFL’s outrage over the GOP’s “drunk driving” mailer? Tim Pugmire at MPR says: “State GOP officials said the law ‘weakens penalties for people convicted of causing catastrophic damage to other people while driving drunk and lets them back on the road a whole year sooner.’ The [press] release also accused the DFL of using ‘sensational imagery’ and ‘disgusting content’ in mailings against Republican candidates. GOP leaders said the DFL mailings depict a candidate holding a weapon and breaking into a home, a clenched fist in front of a cowering child and a person sharpening a straight razor.” 

Another look at Collin Peterson’s predicament in the Seventh District. Says Steve Karnowski at the AP, “Farm Bureau has had a good working relationship with Westrom as a legislator, but there’s no guarantee he would get a seat on the Agriculture Committee, [president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Kevin] Paap said. But Peterson would be in a strong position to oversee how the farm bill is implemented, he said. [Torrey] Westrom discounted the significance of losing Peterson’s seniority. He said he’d fight for a seat on the committee and would wield influence as a member of as a member of the majority.”

For The Hill, Cristina Marcos writes, “Peterson is still in a better position than many other Democratic incumbents this cycle, and nonpartisan handicappers give him a slight edge. A KSTP survey from early October found that 50 percent of voters supported Peterson over 41 percent for Westrom. But a mid-October internal poll from Westrom’s campaign found Westrom ahead by 1 point, with 13 percent undecided. [Peterson campaign spokeswoman Allison] Myhre declined to provide internal polling numbers for Peterson’s campaign but said the Westrom survey was ‘certainly not reflective of our polling.’ Still, the margin this year could be much closer than the last election cycle. Even as Romney won 54 percent of the district’s vote, Peterson sailed to re-election with 60 percent.”

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When this campaign is all over maybe we can back to the serious task of talking stadiums. Tim Nelson at MPR says, “United Properties says pro soccer is an option for a site it may develop near the Minneapolis Farmers Market — a sign that the Minnesota Vikings may have a serious rival in their bid to bring Major League Soccer to their new home in Downtown East. ‘We are very early in the process,’ a United Properties spokeswoman said. The acknowledgement by the commercial real estate developer comes less than a week after Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber told the Chicago Tribune that his league hoped to expand to Minneapolis soon.” Well then the commissioner better get his tuckus up here and do some photo-opping with local legislators.

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So whos lying about those MNsure rate hikes? MPR’s Catharine Richert rules … inconclusive. “With advice from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-partisan health care think-tank based in Washington that is a leading voice on the nuances of the federal health care law, PoliGraph ran more than 50 scenarios to test the truth of the Dayton administration’s 4.5 percent claim. … The Dayton administration isn’t technically wrong when it says MNsure insurance rates will increase by an average of 4.5 percent between 2014 and 2015. But that’s an overly simplistic take on an extremely complicated set of facts.” Check out MinnPost’s analysis of the MNsure numbers here and here

And on the pro-pot watch: Tim Pugmire (again) says, “The group Minnesotans for Compassionate Care asked five candidates for a commitment to expand the state’s new medical marijuana law next year to include more patients. Republican candidate Jeff Johnson, Hannah Nicollet of the Independence Party, Libertarian Party candidate Chris Holbrook and Chris Wright of the Grassroots Party all signed the pledge. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton did not.”

Sen. Jeff Hayden’s troubles aren’t going away. Alejandra Matos of the Strib reports, “Scrutiny of Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, intensified Thursday after new revelations that he took a trip to New York in 2012 using money from a state-funded organization that serves the city’s low-income residents. Community Action of Minneapolis paid $749 for airfare to New York for Hayden and his wife, Terri, according to records obtained by the Star Tribune. The revelation appears to contradict Hayden’s earlier statements that he paid for all of his own expenses relating to the group. Hayden has a seat on the board, but appointed his wife to serve on his behalf.”

Congratulations Ms. Harvala. Stribber Kim McGuire says, “Most teachers don’t show up for work expecting to be handed $25,000. Neither did Angela Harvala, a fifth-grade teacher in Princeton, Minn. But that’s exactly what happened Thursday. In a surprise ceremony, Harvala was awarded the National Milken Educator Award, a prize often referred to as the ‘Oscars for Teachers.’ With it comes a $25,000 cash prize and acknowledgment that Harvala is one of the best teachers in the nation.”

One way to look at it is that it can only get better from here. Elizabeth Mohr of the PiPress says, “The emotional high of the new Four Firkins’ grand opening in Oakdale was quickly tempered by a calculated burglary. Surveillance video from earlier this month showed three people broke into the craft beer retail store, which had celebrated its grand opening the previous day. … [Owner Jason] Alvey said the three burglars made off with ‘a substantial amount of property,’ but he declined to say exactly what or what it was worth.”