Good morning and welcome to Thursday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Thousands attend Trump rally in Duluth. Hours after he signed an executive order reversing course on his policy of separating migrant families at the border, President Trump was in Duluth for a campaign rally in front of more than 8,000 supporters. While he touched on immigration, most of his wide ranging hour-long speech was spent urging Minnesotans to vote for Republicans and promising to win the state when he runs for reelection in 2020. Trump started the rally at the AMSOIL Arena by bringing up his defeat in Minnesota in the 2016 presidential race. “I thought I was going to do it, I needed one more visit, one more visit. One more speech.” In his first visit to the state as president, he made it clear he’s not going to lose narrowly again in 2020. (MPR News)
2. A closer look at some of the president’s claims. During his brief stint in the state, Trump covered a lot of ground, telling crowds he has created millions of jobs, lowered unemployment to its lowest levels in the nation’s history and brought the dying steel industry back to life with his recent tariffs. He also took a few digs at Democrats on immigration, accusing them of favoring open borders to Mexico. His comments were met with cheers from his supporters in the Amsoil Arena, but as is common with the first-term president, not all of his statements were completely accurate. Here are a handful of things Trump said during his visit to Minnesota — and how they hold up to the facts. (MPR News)
3. Did Trump drop a hint about who he wants to be governor? President Trump never mentioned Tim Pawlenty at the rally Wednesday. But with a shout-out to Pawlenty’s running mate, Michelle Fischbach, the president seemed to all but endorse Pawlenty’s bid for the Republican nomination for Minnesota governor this year. That’s good news for Pawlenty, who is hoping to revive his political career with a return to the Minnesota statehouse as governor, where he served two terms a decade ago. Like many Republican veterans, Pawlenty is struggling to navigate a party that Trump has transformed. He is trying to embrace Trump enough to placate him and his supporters, but not so much that he scares away voters who don’t like the president but whose votes he would need in the November election. (Washington Post)
4. Simon seeks federal money for election security. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon made a pitch to Congress Wednesday for more money to aid election security efforts across the country. Simon, part of a group of state election officials testifying on election security, told the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration that while he was pleased with the $6.6 million already on its way to Minnesota, ongoing federal money was needed to fight the ongoing threat of election-system hacking. “There is no end zone where you get to spike the ball. There is no tape that you get to cross,” Simon said. “You always have to stay one step ahead of the bad guys, and the bad guys get smarter every year. And by the way, some of them are funded by foreign governments with virtually unlimited resources.” Minnesota was among 21 states targeted by Russian hackers in 2016. (MPR News)
5. Margaret Anderson Kelliher attempts a comeback in CD5. Though she once held one of the most powerful positions in state government — she was speaker of the Minnesota House for four years — Margaret Anderson Kelliher dropped off the political map after falling short in her 2010 bid for governor. Eight years later, as she re-enters politics to run in the DFL primary for Minnesota’s 5th District congressional seat, Anderson Kelliher finds herself in an alien landscape: Moderate Democrats have been replaced with populist Bernie Sanders loyalists, and anger over Tim Pawlenty’s budget cuts has been replaced with the existential dread brought on by Donald Trump. Her task now is not only to remind CD5 Democrats of what she did in the Legislature a decade ago, but to convince them that any of that still matters in today’s politics. (MinnPost)