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The Capitol Note: Both parties expect bump from Obama visit

Mike Mullen//June 26, 2014

The Capitol Note: Both parties expect bump from Obama visit

Mike Mullen//June 26, 2014

1) Democrats and Republicans are preparing for President Barack Obama’s visit to Minnesota on Thursday, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Obama, who will arrive on Thursday, will convene a by-invitation-only “town hall meeting” later that day and then attend a fundraiser for congressional candidates. On Friday, the president will deliver remarks from the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Part of Obama’s agenda will be to highlight Minnesota’s recent minimum wage hike.

“There’s no one in this country that can excite Democrats more than President Barack Obama,” DFL party Chair Ken Martin said.

But Republicans argue that Obama’s taking poll numbers mean he’s a liability for Democrats, especially those in tight races like sitting U.S. Sen. Al Franken.

“I had the misfortune of being minority leader back in 2008 when he was first elected and I knew how wildly popular he was in the state of Minnesota back in 2008,” said former Rep. Marty Seifert, a gubernatorial challenger to Gov. Mark Dayton. “That is not the case anymore. The president is as much a liability as he is an asset in Minnesota this year.”

2) As officials continue to survey the damage that Minnesota’s extremely wet June as wrought on vast swaths of the state, Gov. Mark Dayton said a special legislative session to tap more money to combat the damages could be forthcoming, the Associated Press reports.

Officials are expected to tap the $3 million lawmakers set aside for disaster relief and quickly burn through it paying for damages to flooded roads and other ruined infrastructure. Federal disaster aid requires a 25 percent state match. There are states of emergency declared for nearly half of Minnesota’s counties, and the National Guard is out in force.

“The damage is really unprecedented and very widespread,” Dayton said.

3) The controversy continues in the case of a man who is fighting for unconditional release from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, the Star Tribune reports.

Eric Terhaar, 24, has been at the center of the latest firestorm that’s been hitting the program, which has been at the blunt end of a class-action lawsuit on behalf of clients at the program who say their indefinite detention is unconstitutional. So far in the Terhaar case, experts have disagreed on whether he is fit for release.

US Judge Donovan Frank has ordered an expedited evidentiary hearing in mid-July. So far the state Department of Human Services, which oversees the program, has opposed Terhaar’s release. That goes against an expert panel that said that he didn’t pose a threat upon release. There are roughly 690 clients in the embattled program.


Republican candidate for governor Marty Seifert has been endorsed by Al Quie, a former holder of that office, according to an announcement Seifert’s campaign released on Wednesday. Quie’s support is a break from the party itself, which endorsed Hennepin County Board member Jeff Johnson. Quie, also a former state legislator and U.S. Congressman, was elected governor in 1978 and served one term.

The state chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice is hiring for a new executive director. Experience in public policy, management and fundraising are required, as is working knowledge of nonprofit and political action committee law. The top spot at the 501(c)4 nonprofit comes with a salary of $48,000-$62,000; applications due July 31. Send resume, cover letter and three references to [email protected].

Darrell “Chip” Wadena, former leader of the White Earth Indian Reservation, died earlier this week at age 75, the Star Tribune reports. Wadena, a controversial figure who chaired the White Earth Chippewa from 1976 to 1996, had been ill for some time. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Journalist Kyle Potter tweeted that he has been hired for a political reporting position with the local Associated Press affiliate. Potter fulfilled a short-term engagement covering the Legislature for the AP in 2013, and previously worked at the Minnesota Daily; he had most recently been working at the Fargo Forum.

Olmsted County is seeking a communications coordinator. Requisite background includes a B.S. in marketing, communications or education plus one year professional experience or an associate’s degree with three years of experience. More information and application available here.

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