DFL congressional candidate Angie Craig is focusing on her working-class roots, the cost of college, and health care in her first ad.

“When we couldn’t afford health insurance, the bills piled up. I worked two jobs to put myself through state college,” Craig says in the ad. “For too many today, hard work just isn’t enough to get ahead. And Washington’s too broken to fix it. That’s got to change.”

The Craig campaign says the ad began running on cable, broadcast TV, and digital streaming services Tuesday.

Craig ran against Republican Jason Lewis two years ago and narrowly lost. The former health care executive is promoting a plan to allow anyone to buy into the federal Medicare health insurance program. Craig also favors making improvements to the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Lewis has long promoted scrapping the law.

The race for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District is seen as one of four competitive congressional contests in the state this year.

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Are we winning the fight against invasive species? Minnesota spends millions of dollars every year to fight invasive species — such as zebra mussels and starry stonewort — in the state’s lakes and waterways. But the damaging plants and animals continue to spread. In 2014, the Legislature took the unusual step of setting aside $10 million each year to distribute to the counties fighting invasives. The money came with very few strings: No detailed financial reporting is required. Counties must submit a spending plan, but it can be as simple as a county board’s resolution saying it will use the money for aquatic invasive species programs. The low overhead was intended to avoid bureaucracy and spur innovation. Four years into the program, many Minnesota counties have taken the funding and run with it. The money has prompted a raft of new local initiatives, but because the reporting is slim and invasives are tough to track, it’s unclear if all that funding — and activity — is protecting Minnesota’s lakes. (MPR News)

2. GOP-aligned group uses Ellison allegations in ads. A conservative fundraising group Monday released television ads attacking four Minnesota Democrats running for Congress, saying they “should be ashamed” of standing by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison after he was accused of domestic violence. The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC that is trying to elect Republican candidates, created the ads that target four Minnesota candidates for U.S. House, as well as Ellison, who is running for Minnesota attorney general. Ellison has repeatedly denied the abuse allegation. “The National Organization for Women is calling for Ellison to end his campaign. But Dean Phillips is standing by Keith Ellison. Backing Ellison instead of believing his victim? … Dean Phillips should be ashamed,” the commercials say. Other versions of the ad swap out Phillips, who is running in the Third Congressional District, and instead mention First District candidate Dan Feehan, Second District candidate Angie Craig and Eighth District candidate Joe Radinovich. A spokesman for the Congressional Leadership Fund said the ads are part of a six-figure advertising buy and will be airing on television in each of those congressional districts. Phillips and other Democrats said the allegation by Ellison’s former girlfriend is serious and he should withdraw if it is true. (Star Tribune)

3. DFLers take a leap of faith on Ellison. When someone comes up to you and they look you straight in the face, when they say, ‘Hey, I didn’t do it,’ you’ve got to take a person’s word,” said Joel Heller, an Iraq war veteran from Duluth. He was one of the members of the DFL central committee that endorsed Keith Ellison’s run for Minnesota attorney general over the weekend. But Heller said he knows the consequences if it turns out that he and the party put trust in Ellison that he didn’t deserve. “If he doesn’t tell the truth, not only is he going to be branded a liar now, he’s going to branded a liar for years and years to come,” Heller said. “We put faith in this person and that’s all we’ve got is faith. If he breaks our faith right now, it’s going to devastate the party. The Republicans are going to cream us in November if that happens.” (MinnPost)

4. Group spends to promote copper-nickel mining. As election season gets into full swing this fall, a Twin Cities conservative think tank will wade into the fierce economic debate about copper-nickel mining in northern Minnesota with a statewide advertising campaign that promotes the potential of the new industry. John Hinderaker, President of the Center of the American Experiment in Golden Valley, said the $270,000 campaign announced Monday will start after Labor Day. It will include highway billboards, TV and radio spots, YouTube videos and other social media ads that highlight the billions in economic benefits the state will reap from mining, according to a new report from the Center.“If voters understand the huge benefit of mining, they will want to see it happen,” Hinderaker said. “And an election is a good time to be talking about it.” Critics also argue that creating a new mining industry will permanently alter a region now cherished for its lakes, forests, hunting and fishing, and eclipse a thriving outdoor industry — a view that was supported earlier this month by a different economic study independently conducted by a Harvard economist. (Star Tribune)

5. Pence to visit again. Vice President Mike Pence is heading back to Minnesota. Minnesota Republican Party chairw Jennifer Carnahan announced Monday that Pence will return to Minnesota Aug. 30. It’s the latest evidence of the White House’s keen focus on Minnesota ahead of an election filled with competitive races in a state President Trump nearly won in 2016. Pence’s upcoming visit will be the third White House stop to Minnesota in just over a month. Trump hosted a rally on behalf of Republican congressional candidate Pete Stauber in late July. Pence followed up to support Stauber earlier this month. (AP)

Good morning, and welcome to Monday and the start of another work week. Here’s the Digest:

1. Ellison wins DFL endorsement. Members of the Minnesota DFL Party central committee endorsed U.S. Rep.  Keith Ellison for attorney general on Saturday amid allegations of domestic abuse. In a vote Saturday conducted using paper ballots, 82 percent of delegates supported endorsing Ellison for the November general election. After the vote, state DFL Chairman Ken Martin issued a statement saying the party “stands with (Ellison) in his campaign and we look forward to working together to keep this seat.” Ellison was in attendance at the gathering but left after the vote. Last weekend allegations surfaced that Ellison yelled profanities at his former girlfriend, Karen Monahan, and dragged her off a bed. Ellison has denied those claims. In a speech to the packed auditorium of delegates Saturday, Ellison again denied abusing Monahan. “Despite everything, I still care about her as a person and I don’t want anybody to say anything insulting to her at all,” Ellison said. “I want you know that I am committed to listening to all of the voices of every victim of abuse. I recognize and hear those voices of so many women who were silenced when they needed to be heard.” (MPR News)

2. History will be made no matter which ticket wins in governor’s race. It’s a virtual certainty that Minnesota will make history this year by electing the state’s first American Indian woman as lieutenant governor. Republican Jeff Johnson’s running mate Donna Bergstrom is a member of the Red Lake Band, while White Earth tribal member Peggy Flanagan is running with Democrat Tim Walz. And they are part of a trend. Native American women are showing up on ballots across the country this year in unprecedented numbers, according to Mark Trahant. “This year has just been extraordinary,” said Trahant, editor of the national native news website, Indian Country Today, and a member of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of Idaho. (MPR News)

3. ‘Pink wave’ hitting Minnesota. Voters in last Tuesday’s primary election put Minnesota’s first all-female U.S. Senate contest on the Nov. 6 ballot and increased the odds that the state will for the first time send a woman of color to the U.S. House, two signs of a national “pink wave” of women candidates running this year. The trend is shaping up as historic. Across the country, record numbers of women are nominated for U.S. House and Senate seats. Women now hold 23 seats in the U.S. Senate and 84 in the House of Representatives. In Minnesota, many women are running for the Legislature after a recent dip in the number of female state lawmakers. (Star Tribune)

4. Girl whose struggle led to legal medical marijuana dies. Amelia Weaver, the Hibbing girl whose fight with a rare form of epilepsy led her parents to the center of the campaign for medical marijuana in Minnesota, died Thursday. She was 12. “Warrior Amelia, after a lifelong battle with Scn2a, passed away today,” parents Josh and Angie Weaver posted on their “Fighting for Amelia” Facebook page. “We did not take one single moment with our Amelia for granted. It was the greatest privilege of our (lives) to be Amelia’s parents. There are no seizures in Heaven sweet girl.” After suffering from seizures in early childhood, Amelia was diagnosed at age 4 with a condition caused by a gene mutation that produces a particularly devastating form of epilepsy. Learning of success stories in other states for epileptic children treated with medical marijuana, the Weavers embraced the campaign to legalize the drug for medical purposes in Minnesota. They found a willing ally in then-state Rep. Carly Melin, DFL-Hibbing, who authored a legalization bill in the 2014 session. (Forum News Service)

5. Trump administration moves away from oil conservation. Conserving oil is no longer an economic imperative for the U.S., the Trump administration declares in a major new policy statement that threatens to undermine decades of government campaigns for gas-thrifty cars and other conservation programs. The position was outlined in a memo released last month in support of the administration’s proposal to relax fuel mileage standards. The government released the memo online this month without fanfare. Growth of natural gas and other alternatives to petroleum has reduced the need for imported oil, which “in turn affects the need of the nation to conserve energy,” the Energy Department said. It also cites the now decade-old fracking revolution that has unlocked U.S. shale oil reserves, giving “the United States more flexibility than in the past to use our oil resources with less concern With the memo, the administration is formally challenging old justifications for conservation — even congressionally prescribed ones, as with the mileage standards. The memo made no mention of climate change. Transportation is the single largest source of climate-changing emissions. (AP)