The Daily Digest (Gauthier’s out after saying he’s in, Dayton calls Friday Special Session, Pawlenty snags RNC speaking spot)

The State Fair starts today so the political elbows will get a little sharper as more and more people start paying attention. It’s been relatively tame so far, right?

We lead the Digest today with DFL Rep. Kerry Gauthier’s hokey pokey with his legislative seat.

Early in the day, Gauthier announced he was running. The DFL then released the hounds on him prompting an announcement that he wasn’t running for reelection.

The events had the press corps chasing Gauthier’s initial decision, the reaction to it and then Gauthier’s later decision.

Gauthier initially broke his week of silence by announcing that he was running for reelection but backtracked when Gov. Dayton, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen publicly rebuked him. He also told AP that he was admitted to the hospital because he tried to commit suicide.

Democrats are now saying Gauthier made the right decision. Republicans continue to call for his immediate resignation.

Democrats now have to decide whether they want to go to court with the hopes of removing Gauthier’s name from the ballot or rally around a candidate that they could write-in on Election Day.

The DFL Chair in Senate District 7 tells MPR News that they’ll hold an endorsing convention “in the next couple of weeks.”

Under the Dome

Gov. Dayton is calling a special session for flood aid for Duluth for Friday at 2pm. The total cost is $167 million. That’s $25 million less than what Dayton was initially seeking. The special session won’t focus on any efforts to bolster the shuttered Verso Paper Mill.

The Subcommittee on Employee Relations will meet on August 30 to take up the state contracts. The chair initially said he would hold a hearing today on the issue.

The Senate Rules Committee will meet on Friday to authorize another round of legal bills regarding a lawsuit from former Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb.

Congress

The CBO warns a recession is looming if Congress doesn’t act on the “fiscal cliff.”

The U.S. is testing surveillance balloons on the border with Mexico.

The AFL-CIO warns Congress on the American Crystal Sugar lockout.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg met privately with DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL Sen. Al Franken and medical technology officials in Minneapolis on Wednesday to discuss the approval time for medical devices.

Economy

Discussion within the Federal Reserve hints the board may take new action soon to bolster the economy.

Same-Sex Marriage Amendment

Augsburg College is publicly opposing the amendment.

Race for Congress

The Hill says GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is staying silent on Todd Akin even though she backed him during the Missouri Republican Primary.

Race for U.S. Senate

Republican Kurt Bills will hold a Thursday newser to call on all Republicans to unite behind Mitt Romney in advance of the RNC Convention. Bills was elected as a delegate to the RNC because he backed Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaign for president.

Race for President

Republican Mitt Romney will attend a private fundraiser in Minnetonka Beach tonight. He has no public events on his schedule.

Romney will lay out his energy proposals during a speech in New Mexico. He says he wants to make the country energy independent by 2020.

Romney and Republicans face an upheaval over rape and abortion on the eve of the RNC.

Hurricane Isaac is headed towards Tampa and could derail the convention.

President Obama will campaign in three battleground states during the RNC.

First Lady Michelle Obama will also appear on David Letterman’s show during the RNC.

Bill Clinton stars in a new ad for Obama.

Polls say Medicare is a key issue in three key swing states.

AP says a Wall St. executive who performed an independent audit of Obama administration’s program of loans to energy companies “contributed $52,500 to re-elect President Barack Obama in the months since completing his work.”

A new poll says Wisconsin is a swing state.

Gov. Pawlenty snagged a speaking slot at the RNC.

The Obama campaign continues to tie the Romney/Ryan ticket to Todd Akin.

Ryan criticized Akin for his comments but didn’t say whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest.

The PoliGraph says Biden’s Medicaid claim is defensible but comes with uncertainty.

The networks may snub Ann Romney’s RNC speech.

Finally

MPR News has a new election season project called On Message, a collection of campaign ads, literature and robocalls. We’ll fact-check them and tell you who’s paying for them. But first, we need your help. Click on this link to find out how to send MPR the mailers that land in your mailbox, the e-mails that land in your inbox, the campaign ads that show up in your local paper, and the spots that run on your air and radio waves.

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