Daily Digest: Recruiting veterans for a new mission

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

1. Groups looking for a few good candidates. This year’s midterm elections have seen a surge in the number of veterans running for office — and that trend is playing out in southern Minnesota. There, Iraq War vet Dan Feehan won the DFL endorsement to replace 1st District Congressman Tim Walz, who is seeking the party’s nomination for governor. That win was partly boosted by a national network of political groups that are working across the country to propel campaigns like Feehan’s. The support comes with a significant amount of money. Earlier this year, a group called With Honor, which supports veteran candidates in both major parties, spent at least $58,000 on television ads and mailers supporting Feehan’s campaign. They touted his two tours in Iraq and his teaching experience with Teach for America.The group said that it may spend up to $1 million on each candidate it’s supporting. (MPR News)

2. Dayton sometimes backs DFL endorsed candidates, sometimes not. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton steered clear for many months of expressing a preference in the race for his successor. Until last week. That’s when he threw his backing to state Rep. Erin Murphy. Then he went on an endorsing spree. Responding to questions from MPR News, Dayton said he didn’t plan much of a pattern with his picks in four closely watched races. Dayton wrote in an email that his choices “are all people, whom I like, respect, and think will be excellent in the positions they are seeking.” He added, “My decisions were difficult, because I very much like and respect other candidates in all three contests.  I will enthusiastically support whoever wins each of those, and other, DFL primaries.” (MPR News)

3. Trade war would make it harder to sell Minnesota products in Canada. Canadian Consul General Paul Connors says that his country does not want to apply new tariffs on roughly $264 million worth of Minnesota products that are shipped north of the U.S. border each year. Those levies will add $35 million annually to the cost of certain Canadian-bound Minnesota metals, food, wood and paper products. But Connors makes equally clear that the only way his government will stop the July 1 implementation of its new tariffs is if the United States withdraws just-imposed tariffs of 25 percent on Canadian steel and 10 percent on Canadian aluminum, which President Donald Trump applied in the name of national security. (Star Tribune)

4.  Smith wants PolyMet land swap. Sen. Tina Smith has proposed an amendment to force completion of a land swap needed for the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, a move that drew criticism from environmentalists Friday. The Minnesota Democrat plans to offer the amendment to a major defense policy bill that’s expected to come up in the Senate soon. The text was published in Thursday’s Congressional Record. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is listed as a co-sponsor. The language is similar to a stand-alone bill by Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., that passed the House last November. The legislation would circumvent four lawsuits pending in federal court that are aimed at blocking the land exchange. The Sierra Club’s national executive director, Michael Brune, urged top Senate leaders Friday to oppose Smith’s amendment. In a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Brune called the land exchange a “sweetheart deal” for PolyMet that should not be fast-tracked while the courts consider whether the trade is legal. (AP)

5. Army looking at cities for new HQ. The U.S. Army is scouting large cities — including Minneapolis — to find a home for a new command headquarters so it will be close to academia and industry, a first for the service. The Army typically likes to put its facilities away from population centers because there is space to train in rural areas and operations won’t disrupt the public. The new command will focus on what the Army of the future should look like. The Army wants to be near experts in technology and innovation who can help figure that out. Fifteen cities were in contention: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Minneapolis; New York; Philadelphia; Raleigh, N.C.; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle. Army officials asked mayors for input, and then chose finalists. They haven’t announced which cities made the cut but are now visiting the finalists to recommend a site to the Army secretary. They’ve been to Boston, Raleigh and Austin so far. (AP)

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