Good morning and welcome to Tuesday, which by my count is five weeks away from Election Day. The candidates for vice president debate tonight, and you can hear it live on the radio and the web on MPR News at 8 p.m. Until then there’s always the Digest.
1. The Republican candidate for state House in District 51A was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of domestic assault. Brad Gerten, of Burnsville, is expected to make his first court appearance today. A retired National Guard soldier with degrees in criminal justice, Gerten is running for the seat now held by Rep. Sandra Masin, DFL-Eagan. On Monday, House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Zimmerman, said in a statement addressing the arrest that no Republican caucus money has been or will be spent on the race. “Domestic violence is unacceptable to our party and our caucus,” he said. (MPR News)
2. Meanwhile a DFL candidate for House is in some hot water over some taxes. John Huot, a candidate for state House in the Rosemount area had tax liens worth thousands of dollars from at least 1994 through 2008 after failing to pay taxes on a timely basis. He said the tax problems stemmed from a small business his family owned years ago, and that he thought the taxes were paid until revenue officials told him otherwise. Republicans sent out a mailer over the weekend criticizing him on the tax issue. Huot says he takes responsibility and the debts are now paid. (Pioneer Press)
3. Did you know there’s a constitutional amendment on the ballot this year? A lot of people don’t because there aren’t campaigns for and against like there were on the same-sex marriage and voter ID questions a few years back. This year the amendment involves how pay increases should be set for legislators. If voters approve the amendment a panel appointed by the governor and the chief justice of the state Supreme Court would decide how much lawmakers should be paid. By law, the members of the council would need to equally represent Republicans and Democrats. None of the members could be current or former lawmakers, state elected officials, lobbyists or state or judicial employees. Right now legislators vote on proposed pay increases for the next Legislature. (Pioneer Press)
4. The New York Attorney General’s office on Monday ordered the Donald J. Trump Foundation to “immediately cease soliciting contributions” after a report that the charity lacked the proper authorization to seek public donations. “While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind AG [Eric] Schneiderman’s investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation,” Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement on Monday. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time.” (NBC News)
5. A federal appeals court panel on Monday blocked Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s plan to keep Syrian refugees out of his state. Pence, who is Donald Trump’s running mate, had argued that terrorists are posing as Syrian refugees to gain entry into the U.S., but the court said the state presented no evidence that any Syrian refugee had been involved in a terrorist act in the U.S. In a unanimous opinion, the appeals court said Pence acted illegally in accepting federal money for refugee resettlement and then refusing to use that money to aid Syrian refugees. (NPR)
6. Tonight’s vice presidential debate is likely to feature something we haven’t seen much on a debate stage this year, two traditional, experienced politicians talking calmly and seriously about the issues. Mike Pence and Tim Kaine will no doubt disagree on a lot of things, but it’s a little hard to imagine either one of them doing anything surprising. Pence will likely try to get the Trump campaign back on track, and Kaine will likely try to continue to keep up the attack Clinton started in the presidential candidates’ debate last week. (Politico)