Daily Digest: Trump to visit Duluth

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here’s the Digest:

1. President Trump to hold rally in Duluth next week. Donald Trump will make his first visit to Minnesota as president next week for a rally in Duluth, the battleground for the open and highly competitive 8th Congressional District seat. Trump will come to Duluth June 20, his campaign announced Monday. Trump won the Minnesota 8th in the 2016 presidential race, although DFL U.S. House Rep. Rick Nolan held onto the seat in a close election and Minnesota chose Hillary Clinton for president. Nolan earlier this year announced he would not seek re-election to the district, giving Republicans a key opportunity to flip the seat. Four Democrats are headed for an August primary at this point.St. Louis County Commissioner Pete Stauber is the endorsed Republican in the 8th District race. “We look forward to the momentum and positive energy his visit will bring to Minnesota Republicans and our opportunities this election cycle,” said Minnesota GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan. (MPR News)

2. Walz tries to adjust to new campaign reality. DFL Congressman Tim Walz, for months considered the favorite for the party nomination for governor, saw his campaign stumble some in recent weeks. He was beaten for the DFL Party’s convention endorsement by state Rep. Erin Murphy and then learned a new powerhouse candidate, three-term Attorney General Lori Swanson, would jump into the August primary race, too.  In the days since the convention loss, Walz has replaced his campaign manager and retooled other parts of his operation. He’s made calls to reassure allies that the campaign is on track. “We’re right where we thought we would be,” he said. “There was a chance and we made a good effort at the endorsement but we always knew the primary was where it would be won.” (MPR News)

3. What does the state attorney general do? The suddenly-intense race for Minnesota attorney general has brought new attention to the work of the state’s top lawyer and an office whose role could shift dramatically under a new leader. While Lori Swanson and her political mentor and predecessor Mike Hatch made consumer fraud a priority, the role of attorney general as spelled out in state laws and the Constitution is fairly open-ended, giving wide latitude to the person elected to the job. While consumer protection is a big part of the job — the most famous example is the landmark tobacco settlement in the 1990s that brought $6 billion into the state — Minnesota attorneys general have also pushed to change state laws and helped county prosecutors in high-profile murder trials. They’ve also stepped in to check federal government action, a role that’s increased the profile of the office for both parties during the Obama and Trump administrations. Republican attorneys general sued to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act, for example, and Democratic attorneys general, including Swanson, have acted to block the federal travel ban and policies on net neutrality. (MPR News)

4. Champion ends run for Congress. State Sen. Bobby Joe Champion on Monday suspended his campaign to succeed U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison in Congress, pleading with fellow DFLers “to come together and not do damage to the great purpose our party represents.” Ellison’s surprise bid to become Minnesota attorney general has prompted a scramble of DFLers to compete for his 5th District seat — including former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Rep. Ilhan Omar and state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, all of Minneapolis —in an exceptionally busy political year for the state. Minnesota has a governor’s race, two U.S. Senate races, and four other highly competitive congressional elections in November that are expected to attract substantial investment from national Democrats and Republicans. “I fear that an ugly primary fight could leave an unpleasant residue that will get in the way of the victory we need in November,” said Champion, who represents Minneapolis’ North Side, in a statement. (Star Tribune)

5. Legislature moves to delay fertilizer rule. A new state rule aimed at reducing groundwater contamination by farm fertilizers could be delayed by a legislative move made formal on Monday. The state House and Senate both passed resolutions during this year’s legislative session delaying the rule in response to the possibility that Gov. Mark Dayton would veto an omnibus ag policy bill. The governor did just that, and legislative leaders have now moved forward with that delay, publishing the resolutions in the State Register. “There are a number of concerns over this rule that still need to be addressed,” Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said in a written statement. Anderson, who chairs the House Agriculture Policy Committee, said the agriculture community “still has questions regarding how fertilizer application would be impacted.” “Farmers are good stewards of our land and water and deserve to be treated as such,” he said. Dayton responded in a written statement. “We will not abide Republican legislators’ politically-motivated attempts to intrude upon the work of the executive branch,” adding that delaying the rule would be “detrimental to the public’s health.” (MPR News)

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