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The Capitol Note: Republicans criticize DFL priorities in state flyaround

Mike Mullen//May 20, 2014//

The Capitol Note: Republicans criticize DFL priorities in state flyaround

Mike Mullen//May 20, 2014//

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1) Republican lawmakers flew around the state on Monday to denounce the DFL’s control of state government, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

Marking the beginning of serious campaign season, the GOP legislative leaders trashed Democrats for spending and tax increases, the Senate office building and MNsure. Senate Minority Leader David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said the fall elections, when the House and governor’s office are up for grabs, represent an opportunity to bring some balance back to Minnesota government.

2)  Usually, candidates are only able to receive 20 percent of their contributions from lobbyists and political funds, but a federal judge has suspended that limit in Minnesota as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the McCutcheon case, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

As an example, the suspension would remove the $12,500 overall  limit that state House candidates could take from those contributors before they would have a lower cap for all future donations. Supporters celebrated the move as a victory for free speech, but the state Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board had favored current state law.

“We knew pretty clearly that the ruling could go either way. We were hoping that it would go in favor of the statute,” Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said. “The board and the staff and the attorneys knew that the McCutcheon case on which the decision is based provided a strong incentive for the court to issue the injunction.”

3) U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan’s challenger, businessman Stewart Mills, started running a 30-second biographical TV ad spot on Monday, according to CQ Roll Call. It’s unclear how much Mills, who has at least $356,000 in the bank, spent on his first ad buy. It’s set to run in Duluth and the Twin Cities.

The ad says Mills, whose family owns Mills Fleet Farm, knows how to revamp the health care system. “Every day I see how Obamacare is hurting small businesses and the middle class. As your congressman, I’ll replace it,” he says as part of the spot.

Nolan beat incumbent Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack by 9 percent of the vote in 2012.


  • Randy Jessup has signed-up to run as a GOP candidate in House District 42A, now represented by freshman Rep. Barb Yarusso, DFL-Shoreview. Jessup became the endorsed Republican in that district following the local party convention last week, according to a tweet from area activist April King. Jessup owns a pair of UPS stores, and formerly worked in marketing at Quaker Oats and Ecolab.
  • The Humphrey School of Public Affairs announced yesterday that former President Bill Clinton would be on hand Monday, June 9, to accept the dean’s award for public leadership. Clinton is scheduled to speak at Northrop Auditorium on the topic of civil rights progress that evening, with the event beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale today at noon; more information here.
  • The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is hosting a post-session webinar to discuss action in the 2014 legislative session. The event features the chamber’s lineup of lobbyists on a variety of topics, from taxes to education, and begins at noon. The event is free for members and $89 for non-members. More information and register here.
  • Effective Monday, Winthrop & Weinstine lobbyist Tom Hanson is registered to lobby on behalf of ecoATM, a California-based company that specializes in publicly available machines that pay cash for used cell phones, which are then recycled on the consumer’s behalf. Hanson becomes the company’s second lobbyist on record in this state.
  • Republican Chuck Sutphen has registered a candidacy to challenge Rep. Michael Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park, in House District 40A. Sutphen is seeking a rematch with the sixth-term Democrat, whom he also ran against in 2010; Nelson won that contest with more than 58 percent of the vote.

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