Good morning, and welcome to Friday. The first presidential debate is coming up on Monday, and MPR News is holding a debate watching party at Nomad World Pub in Minneapolis. The doors open at 7:30, and the debate begins at 8. If you want to go just sign up here so we can get a head count. Here’s the Digest.
1. Minnesota Senate Minority Leader David Hann has high hopes of guiding Republicans to the six-seat gain they’d need to win control of the Senate in November’s election. But Democrats say Hann will have a hard enough time winning his own race against retired high school teacher Steve Cwodzinski. DFL leaders say are they targeting the powerful incumbent and attempting to portray Hann as out of sync with his suburban district’s voters on light-rail transit and other issues. Hann argues that other topics — health care and taxes among them – are of greater concern to area voters, and he says he isn’t convinced Democrats will actually invest in a drive to topple him. (MPR News)
2. Early voting begins today in Minnesota. Technically it’s using an absentee ballot without having to give a reason. It’s the first time it’s been allowed in a presidential election. Supporters hope it will cut down on lines on Election Day and make voting easier for everyone. (MPR News)
3. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman vetoed an 8.8 percent property tax increase limit the St. Paul City Council passed earlier this week. Coleman wanted a maximum increase of 7 percent. He said it wouldn’t have to be that high if the Legislature and governor could have agreed on sending out some local government aid. The city was expecting $3 million. (Pioneer Press)
4. A Minneapolis city council member who had an ethics complaint filed against her after she tweeted e-mails and contact information about some people who were upset with her is warning her fellow council members not to uphold the complaint. Alondra Cano threatened to release evidence about her colleagues’ political internet use if the council holds a public vote upholding the complaint. Back in December Cano responded on Twitter to some people who were angry she took part in a Black Lives Matter protest. (Star Tribune)
5. Two Democratic lawmakers with access to classified intelligence say Russia is “making a serious and concerted effort to influence the U.S. election.” Their statement says, “At the least, this effort is intended to sow doubt about the security of our election and may well be intended to influence the outcomes. We believe that orders for the Russian intelligence agencies to conduct such actions could come only from very senior levels of the Russian government.” (Washington Post)