Good morning, and believe it or not, it’s Thursday already. Here’s the Digest.
1. The new chairwoman of Minnesota’s Republican Party is seeking a 10 percent commission from large donations to the party, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. Campaign finance experts said they’ve never heard of such an arrangement. And it risks upsetting major GOP donors and activists by diverting critical resources from a party that has struggled with debt for much of the last decade — even as it prepares for two U.S. Senate elections, a wide-open race for governor and four or more competitive congressional elections. In the Dec. 14 memo, Jennifer Carnahan seeks party approval to take the commission on large contributions from October 2017 through at least April. The memo doesn’t define “large,” but an accompanying chart said it would result in an immediate payout of $24,500 in addition to her current base salary, which hasn’t been publicized. (AP)
2. MNsure said the latest annual open enrollment period ended with a record breaking number of Minnesotans signing up for health plans through the exchange. MNsure reports 116,358 commercial health plan sign-ups for 2018, up a little more than 1 percent from the previous year’s record of 114,810. Six of every ten enrollees qualified for tax subsidies that average almost $7,000 a year. Although MNsure enrollment is up, the size of Minnesota’s individual-market health insurance pool is down sharply over the past few years, fueling concerns about its future stability. (MPR News)
3. A second Republican is running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by DFLer Tina Smith. Bob Anderson, a dental technician from Hastings, said Wednesday he will seek the GOP endorsement but hasn’t ruled out running in the primary. Republican state Sen. Karin Housley is also running in the contest to face Smith. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty said this week that he will not run. Anderson was an Independence Party congressional candidate in Minnesota’s 6th District in 2008 and 2010. He said he’s running for the U.S. Senate as a political outsider and an enthusiastic supporter of President Trump. (MPR News)
4. But another well-known Republican declined to enter the Senate race. Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer said Wednesday he’ll seek re-election in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District and made it clear he will not be a candidate this year for governor or a Minnesota U.S. Senate seat. “I appreciate the support and encouragement I’ve received over the past few months to run for governor or senator,” Emmer, a Republican and former Minnesota gubernatorial candidate, said in a statement. “However, I look forward to continue representing Minnesota common sense and the Midwest values of the people of my district in Congress.” (MPR News)
5. Attorney and former state Supreme Court candidate Michelle MacDonald has had her license to practice law in Minnesota suspended for 60 days. The Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, which oversees attorney licensing in the state, had sought to have the 56-year-old MacDonald, of Rosemount, undergo a mandatory mental health evaluation, but the Minnesota Supreme Court denied that request. The Supreme Court’s suspension pointed to many instances of professional misconduct by MacDonald, including in 2013 when she interrupted a Dakota County judge in open court dozens of times, questioned the judge’s ability to be objective, failed to properly prepare for a court appearance, took photographs in court and carried out other disruptive behavior that led to her arrest. (Star Tribune)