The Daily Digest: 9-5-06

The middle of the road voter leads the digest today. The MN State Fair is over and candidates across the state are gearing up for next week’s primary and the November election. The Wall Street Journal says politicians will be looking to court the squishy middle (subscription required).

The GOP and the Bush Administration try to convince voters that national security is the big issue of the campaign and they’ll make a big issue of it this week. The administration is out with a report saying American is safer but not safe.

The national defense defense theme will also be a major issue in Congress.

The dems will try to also claim a stake on national defense. They’ll probably try to highlight the vast amounts spent on contractors like Halliburton. A documentary is also out on the military contractor’s actions in Iraq.

Dems may also focus on the economy, which some experts say is slowing down.

Candidates in two races will be extremely busy this week. DFlers running for Minnesota Attorney General and for Congress in Minnesota’s Fifth Congressional District are worried about next week’s primary.

The candidates for attorney general appeared on MPR’s Midday today. You can listen here. Don’t have time to listen to the whole hour? Check out the profiles done by MPR and AP.

The Star Tribune ponders if Keith Ellison’s campaign for Congress is hitting on all cylinders after a rough summer.

Bill Salisbury, with the Pi Press, profiles the three women challenging the major party endorsed candidates for governor (they’re all men by the way).

Brian McClung, Governor Pawlenty’s spokesman, is moving over to the campaign.

His first job was to unveil Pawlenty’s second ad. It focuses on education and they say the statewide buy could cost them up to $200,000 for the week. I’m sure some education folks (and Democrats) will question the entire 70% in the classroom position.

The big question is when will DFLer Mike Hatch go on the air?

Hatch’s primary opponent, Becky Lourey, got a write up in NBC’s First Read. It says she is the only candidate running this year who has lost a child in Iraq:

Iraq may be the central issue in many contests across the country, from Connecticut to Ohio to New Mexico, but nowhere on the map does the war hit closer to home than in Minnesota, where state Sen. Becky Lourey is the underdog in the September 12 Democratic gubernatorial primary against favorite Mike Hatch. Lourey’s son Matt, an Army helicopter pilot, died last year in Iraq — a war she’s always opposed. According to veterans groups First Read spoke with, she appears to be the only candidate running for major office this year who has lost a child in Iraq; in fact, her campaign believes that Lourey might be the highest-ranking elected official in the country who has suffered such a tragedy.

The St. Cloud Times profiles a group called “Envision Minnesota.”

The Washington Post’s “The Fix” doesn’t have Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race in its top ten of possible opposite party takeovers.

The blog, Bachmann vs. Wetterling, says The Free Enterprise Fund endorses Michele Bachmann in Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District.

NPR’s David Welna examines the race between Republican incumbent Gil Gutknecht and DFLer Tim Walz in Minnesota’s First District.

The Bemidji Pioneer and the St. Cloud Times takes a look at the fundraising figures from their local legislative candidates.

Finally, the gorilla will make an appearance in Minnesota. The group, Americans United, will use an inflatable gorilla to highlight GOP Congressman Mark Kennedy’s vote on social security. I wrote earlier that the group’s Pennsylvania chapter used the gorilla to dog Republican Senator Rick Santorum over social security. The group will unveil its own gorilla on Wednesday.

For all your campaign needs, check out MPR’s Campaign 2006 site.