Updated 4 p.m.

Several liberal groups are calling on U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, to leave the governor’s race after reports of sexual harassment allegations about an ex-staffer in his office.

The allegations, reported in MinnPost on Thursday, center around former staffer Jim Swiderski, who several women said grabbed and harassed them in Nolan’s office and was allowed to leave in 2015 instead of face disciplinary actions. In 2016, Swiderski was briefly hired back as a contractor on Nolan’s re-election bid.

Earlier this year, Nolan announced his retirement from Congress, but in June he joined the last-minute DFL governor ticket with Attorney General Lori Swanson. Swanson is in a three-way primary against state Rep. Erin Murphy and U.S. Rep. Tim Walz on Aug. 14.

TakeAction Minnesota, which is actively supporting Murphy’s campaign for governor, held a press conference Friday calling on Nolan to leave the race.

“He is choosing to do nothing, he chose to do nothing when women came to him in his office. Congressman Nolan is making the wrong choice and he’s the wrong choice for Minnesota,” Elianne Farhat, program director with TakeAction, said. “It’s time for him to step down. State law doesn’t allow Nolan to be removed from the ballot at this point in the race, Farhat said, but Swanson can “clearly communicate” the path forward for her ticket.

But Swanson’s campaign showed no indications they planned to make changes to their ticket Friday. Responding to the allegations, Swanson defended her running mate and promised her administration would have a “zero tolerance” sexual harassment policy.

“Congressman Nolan has a long, effective, and distinguished track record representing Minnesota and has fought for gender equality throughout his entire career.  As the first female attorney general in Minnesota history who is running to be our state’s first female governor, the Swanson-Nolan Administration will work hard to promote opportunities and equality for women,” Swanson said in a statement. “Sexual harassment will have no place in the Swanson-Nolan Administration.”

In hindsight, Nolan said his campaign committee “should not have retained the individual” as an independent contractor and he apologized to the women who experienced harassment in his office. “In the 1970s, I was an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, to ensure equality for women in all spheres of society,” Nolan wrote in his statement. “As a 74 year old male, I am excited to be on the ticket with Lori Swanson, a trailblazer who is a generation younger than me and who will serve Minnesota proud as the first female governor of Minnesota.”

Ruth Stanoch, Swanson’s campaign spokesperson, went further, suggesting the women came forward for political reasons.

“MinnPost has stated that central players in its anonymously-sourced story now work for Tim Walz/Erin Murphy.  Two weeks ago, a poll was published showing Swanson-Nolan with a commanding double-digit lead over Walz and Murphy,” Stanoch said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that candidates who are behind in the polls seek to exploit this matter for their political advantage.”

Swanson’s opponents, Murphy and Walz, also criticized Nolan for his response to the allegations. “Congressman Rick Nolan enabled and protected a predator while engaging in truly reprehensible behavior himself,” Murphy said in a statement. 

Walz said the behavior was an “inexcusable failure of leadership.”

“Everyone deserves safety and respect in their workplace,” he said. “The leaders within the workplace must ensure that happens.” 

Attorney General Lori Swanson is out with her second television ad in the DFL primary race for governor, so far dominating the airwaves in the sprint toward primary election day.

The ad, which began airing Thursday on cable, broadcast and digital platforms, focuses on Swanson’s role as the state’s attorney general, landing settlements in consumer protection cases.

“As attorney general, I’ve worked hard to give everyone a fair shot, from taking on Wall Street and holding drug companies accountable, and getting a corporate polluter to clean up our drinking water,” Swanson says in the 30-second ad.

She is seen talking to Minnesotans on the street, accompanied by her golden retriever, Taffy, a frequent companion on her campaign materials.

Swanson is in a competitive, three-way primary against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and state Rep. Erin Murphy. Walz released his first campaign ad on Thursday. The primary election is Aug. 14.

Good morning. Somehow it’s Thursday already. Let’s take a look at the Digest.

1. Stillwater inmate kills guard. A corrections officer at the Minnesota Correctional Facility — Stillwater died Wednesday after being assaulted by an inmate serving time for homicide. Joseph Gomm, a Minnesota Department of Corrections veteran, was attacked around 1:30 p.m. in a prison industry building. Gomm was rushed to Regions Hospital in St. Paul where he was later pronounced dead. “The corrections family is reeling from this incident,” Minnesota Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy told reporters. “We are not accustomed to losing staff. Officer Gomm was a fine man doing honorable work.” Tuesday was Gomm’s 16-year anniversary as a corrections officer, he said, adding that he was survived by two family members. Roy declined to name the inmate. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating. Roy said a motive for the attack hadn’t been determined. He said the inmate used a weapon in the assault but did not describe the weapon. Gov. Mark Dayton in a statement offered his sympathies to Gomm’s family and said he was “appalled at the horrific murder” of the corrections officer. (MPR News)

2. What would happen in Minnesota if Roe v. Wade were overturned? President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court makes it possible that a conservative court majority could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which established a nationwide right to abortion. There are a plenty of steps that must happen before the case could even make it before the court, including the successful confirmation of Kavanaugh by the Senate. And even overturning the ruling — which some say is a longshot — wouldn’t automatically make abortion illegal in the United States. But the possibility has still fired up groups on both sides of the issue, in part because undoing Roe v. Wade would send the abortion issue back to the states, where a hodgepodge of laws already weigh on the availability of abortion. “There’s a lot of different moving components in this issue,” said Scott Fischbach, head of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, the state’s top pro-life group. “It’s not just a single justice, law or governor, it’s all of the above.” (MPR News)

3. State supreme court lets ‘necessity defense’ stand for pipeline protesters. Climate change protesters are claiming victory in their effort to present an unusual “necessity defense” against felony charges stemming from efforts to shut down oil pipelines. The Minnesota Supreme Court declined Wednesday to review a ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals that backed the protesters, who will still face an uphill legal battle when their case goes to trial this fall. Emily Johnston and Annette Klapstein acknowledge turning the emergency shut-off valves on two pipelines in 2016 in Clearwater County of northwestern Minnesota as part of a coordinated nationwide action. Eleven activists were charged in all. (AP)

4. More old tapes of Lewis radio shows surface.  Tapes of Jason Lewis’ talk radio programs from 2009 to 2014 include deeply misogynistic comments, including a lament that women can no longer be called “sluts.”The 15 months of audio was provided to CNN  by Michael Brodkorb, the former deputy chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Brodkorb, who is currently a columnist for the MinnPost and works in public affairs, initially revealed some of Lewis’ radio comments in a column in February 2016 and then gave CNN investigators the tapes when they asked for them. When radio host Rush Limbaugh called women’s rights activists and then-graduate student Sandra Fluke “a slut” in February 2012, Lewis repeatedly expressed disbelief that people could no longer refer to women as sluts. “Well, the thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Rush out of it for a moment,” Lewis said in a March 2012 episode. “Does a woman now have the right to behave — and I know there’s a double standard between the way men chase women and running and running around — you know, I’m not going to get there, but you know what I’m talking about. But it used to be that women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond those days where a woman can behave as a slut, but you can’t call her a slut?” Old news, said Lewis’ campaign. “This has all been litigated before, and as Congressman Lewis has said time and time again, it was his job to be provocative while on the radio,” Lewis’ campaign manager Becky Alery said in a statement. (CNN)

5.  Is it pandering if the people want it? Green Bay Packers fans across Wisconsin could soon be able to watch every game, even if they live near a border with a ‘purple’ state.  Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (who is running for reelection this year) introduced the Go Pack Go Act to make sure Packers fans across the state can watch their beloved team. Currently, 13 Wisconsin counties are assigned to an out-of-state team based on their broadcast media markets.  Burnett, Washburn, Polk, Barron, St. Croix, Dunn and Pierce counties are part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market. Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron and Sawyer counties are in the Duluth, Minnesota, media market. Florence County is in the Marquette, Michigan, market.  The people in these areas have no choice but to watch Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions games whenever those teams play at the same time as the Packers. The Go Pack Go Act would require cable, satellite and other TV providers to give customers in Wisconsin access to programming within their home state. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Note: No Digest tomorrow. I’ll be in Duluth to talk to the candidates seeking the DFL nomination in the 8th District. Listen in at 11 tomorrow.