The Daily Digest (MNsure’s failed predecessor, Peterson’s political future)

Good morning! All it takes is a long weekend to turn up plenty of news.

In Minnesota

Before MNsure, the state’s new online health insurance marketplace, there was HealthMatch, an expensive, problem-plagued software project that foreshadowed MNsure’s trouble a decade later. The project dragged on for five years, and consumed more than $20 million of taxpayer money to develop software that was never usable. (MPR News)

Less than three weeks before Minnesota’s precinct caucuses, five leading Republican candidates for governor have settled on similar messages for the race. Next, GOP activists must settle on a messenger. (Pioneer Press)

Democrats are likely to push again for an increase in the state’s minimum wage this year but are running into resistance from some in their own party. (Star Tribune)

The Minneapolis-St. Paul  International Airport is eyeing a major expansion of gambling with a plan to sell Minnesota Lottery tickets on about 2,500 electronic tablets that are already installed in the main terminal. (MPR News)

One group that could use a winning lottery ticket: the Minnesota Republican Party, which says it still has a debt of more than $1 million, although that’s a $500,000 improvement from last year. (MPR News)

State Sen. Sean Nienow has been accused of failing to repay a Small Business Administration loan. Nienow said Monday the case is not related to his legislative duties. (Star Tribune)

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is taking issue with media stories that proclaimed he “broke the law” when a campaign aide flew with him on the state airplane. (MPR News)

Some African-American community leaders are rallying behind a legislative effort to put more muscle into the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which they says is underfunded and overstretched. (MPR News)

In Congress/National Politics

As Republicans look at the Minnesota election map this year, many believe their best chance of picking up a congressional seat is the 7th District, which covers the western half of the state and runs from the Canadian border almost all the way to Iowa. But could they topple long-serving DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson if he decides to run again? (MPR News)

A strong sign that Peterson is likely to run again: He reported a strong fundraising quarter and has more than $357,000 on hand for a potential re-election bid, according to a campaign filing with the Federal Election Commission. (MinnPost)

David Gerson, who’s challenging 2nd District U.S. Rep. John Kline for the Republican endorsement, fired a staffer after violent, expletive-filled tweets from the staffer were revealed. (Star Tribune)

Federal regulators, law enforcement agencies and insurance companies say the data generated by crash recorders in cars is an indispensable tool for investigations and, ultimately, the development of safer cars. But privacy advocates say the data can be used in criminal probes, to find fault in crashes or even to build profiles that savvy marketers could exploit. Now, both of Minnesota’s U.S. senators are interested in putting limits on what sort of data can be collected and how it can be shared. (Star Tribune)

The Republican field for this year’s U.S. Senate race is crowded, but it may turn into a race between state Sen. Julianne Ortman and businessman Mike McFadden that stretches all the way to the August primary. The two are taking very different routes to the prize. Since joining the race in early August, Ortman has focused on small gatherings with party activists while McFadden has focused on building an enormous campaign war chest. (AP via Pioneer Press)

Speaking of elections, the incumbent in that race, DFL Sen. Al Franken, spent Saturday with farmers to show his disappointment with proposed rules that would lower the amount of ethanol that could be added to gasoline. (Rochester Post-Bulletin)

Abortion is becoming an unexpectedly animating issue in the 2014 midterm elections. (New York Times)

President Obama’s speech on Friday outlining new limits on intelligence gathering activities by the National Security Agency has members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation agreeing with him that more congressional debate of data collection practices is needed.  But there’s little consensus on what future policies should look like. (MPR News)

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