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Pence campaigns on the Iron Range; event defies state health guidelines

Plus: Kirstner wants U.S. Supreme Court to postpone 2nd Congressional District election; Amy Coney Barrett confirmed; no extended deadline for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin; and more.

Vice President Mike Pence speaking to supporters at a pre-election rally in Hibbing on Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence speaking to supporters at a pre-election rally in Hibbing on Monday.
Steve Kuchera/Duluth News Tribune via REUTERS

Brady Slater writes for the Duluth News Tribune: “After an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred among his top aides, Vice President Mike Pence appeared at Range Regional Airport to a gathering of more than 650 supporters Monday. The vice president arrived to a 25-degree temperature and light snow. Hibbing police confirmed the crowd size. Pence has joined President Donald Trump in a campaign sprint with events around the country as Election Day looms a week away. Over the weekend, five aides or advisers to Pence were reported to have COVID-19. Pence wasn’t deterred, making his second trip to Northeastern Minnesota in 59 days as the GOP ticket pressed to inspire a strong turnout in the region. …While the crowd was smaller than one of Trump’s rallies, which have drawn thousands, it marked another breach of Minnesota’s health guidelines. The state has continued to urge gatherings remain at no more than 250 people.”

The Star Tribune’s Jeremy Olson reports: “[Gov. Tim] Walz and state health officials struck perhaps their most concerning tone in weeks regarding the pandemic — with several meaningful metrics of the spread of the novel coronavirus going in the wrong direction. The state’s COVID-19 dashboard shows a hospitalization rate that is near the first surge of the pandemic in May and a positivity rate of diagnostic testing that has risen above the warning threshold of 5% to nearly 7% over the past two weeks. … The latest White House report on Minnesota listed 12 mostly rural counties as being in the ‘red zone’ because their new infection rates had risen above 100 per 100,000 people a week.”

The New York Times says: “A divided Senate voted on Monday night to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, capping a lightning-fast Senate approval that handed President Trump a victory days before the election and promised to tip the court to the right for years to come. In a 52-to-48 vote, all but one Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who is battling for re-election, supported Judge Barrett, a 48-year-old appeals court judge and protégée of Justice Antonin Scalia. Wasting no time, Mr. Trump held an unusual nighttime swearing-in ceremony for Judge Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House, a month to the day after a mostly maskless Rose Garden event attended by multiple people who later tested positive for the coronavirus, including Mr. Trump and the first lady.”

The Forum News Service reports: “The Republican Party candidate in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District is seeking U.S. Supreme Court action to proceed with a February 2021 special election following the death of a third-party candidate that put the date of the battleground district vote into question. Tyler Kistner asked the high court for a preliminary injunction blocking a lower court order reinstating the Nov. 3 election for the district. The request was submitted Monday. A federal appeals panel on Friday rejected Kistner’s request to delay voting.”

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For MPR, Brian Bakst says, “Tuesday marks a week until all votes must be cast in the 2020 election, but that doesn’t mean the outcome of every Minnesota race will be known right away or even the following days. New dynamics around voting and vote counting in this pandemic-era election have introduced more uncertainty than normal. Because of a court decree, properly cast ballots that are in the mail by Election Day will count if they’re received by Nov. 10. That grace period is being contested, with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals expected to weigh in this week.”

Says Tucker Higgins for CNBC, “The Supreme Court on Monday evening voted 5-3 against Democrats who were pushing to extend the deadline for counting absentee ballots in Wisconsin by six days in order to provide the state more time to deal with the surge in mail-in voting caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision, announced in an order, came eight days before Election Day. Wisconsin is a key battleground state in the battle between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. As a result of the Supreme Court’s move, ballots will have to be delivered by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3 to be counted.”

The Star Tribune’s Paul Walsh writes, “A Minneapolis man has been charged with hurling baseball-size rocks at police officers in Portland, Ore., starting a fire and striking a police station with a hammer during civil unrest that has gripped the city since the death of George Floyd five months ago. Adrian De Los Rios, 32, appeared in U.S. District Court in Portland last week, charged by a grand jury with civil disorder.”

At MPR, Paul Huttner says, “ … we watch as the jet stream lifts northward into Canada again later this week. That opens the door for milder air to return to Minnesota once again. Get ready to slowly, gently climb the next hill on our October temperature roller coaster ride. Nice and easy folks. … Next week looks even milder. Highs will probably hit the 60s across southern Minnesota, with some 50s up north. The early read for election day looks mild.”

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