Good morning, and welcome to Friday. Here’s the Digest.
1. Riveting hearing features two people ‘100 percent’ sure of two different things. In an extraordinary and highly emotional day of Senate testimony, California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford quietly recounted her “100 percent” certainty Thursday that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. He angrily declared he was “100 percent certain” he did no such thing. They both said the event and the public controversy that has erupted 36 years later had altered their lives forever and for the worse — perhaps the only thing they agreed on during a long day of testimony that was a study in contrasts of tone as well as substance. The hearing was a stunning public airing of a partisan fight — charged with explosive gender politics. The future of a high court, and potentially control of Congress, hangs the balance. Senators were left to decide whether the long day tipped their confirmation votes for or against President Donald Trump’s nominee, and a committee vote is scheduled for today. (AP)
2. Kavanaugh says he respects Klobuchar. When Sen. Amy Klobuchar had her turn to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Thursday, it started calmly. Then the Minnesota Democrat brought up Kavanaugh’s written testimony where he said he sometimes would have too many drinks. She asked whether Kavanaugh ever drank so much that he couldn’t remember what happened or part of what happened the night before. Kavanaugh answered “no.” Amid a back-and-forth exchange, he asked “Have you?” and repeated the question. “I have no drinking problem, judge,” Klobuchar answered. Kavanaugh responded: “Yeah, nor do I.” After a break, Kavanaugh took a moment to apologize to Klobuchar for the questions. “Sorry I did that, this is a tough process,” he said. “I appreciate that,” Klobuchar responded. “When you have a parent that’s an alcoholic, you’re pretty careful about drinking.” (MPR News)
3. Early voting spikes. Early voting in Minnesota only started six days ago, but requests for ballots are already way up compared to the last midterm election. Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon reported Thursday that Minnesotans have requested at least 106,061 no-excuse absentee ballots, nearly three times the number requested during the same time period in 2014. Already, 11,353 ballots have been accepted by county election officials. It’s just the latest sign of energized voters this cycle, after turnout in August was the highest for a primary election since 1994. More than 36,000 of the early ballots for the November election were requested from residents in Hennepin County, the state’s most populous, urban county. (MPR News)
4. Senate candidate says ‘independent’ is different from ‘unaffiliated.’ Developer Jerry Trooien asked the Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday to order a change in how he’s listed on the U.S. Senate ballot. Trooien filed a lawsuit requesting that he be listed as an “independent” rather than an “unaffiliated” candidate as he is now. He’s running for the Senate seat now held by Democrat Tina Smith. State Sen. Karin Housley is the Republican nominee. Trooien is a St. Paul businessman who has put his own money into television commercials and other means of publicizing his long-shot bid. Spokesman Eric Woolson said the ballot identification matters. “Voters certainly weigh their words and their candidates choices very carefully. And they make a distinction between independent and unaffiliated,” Woolson said. He said Trooien wants the change quickly because it could change how he’s perceived in polling, too. And his showing in polls could determine if he shares a debate stage with Smith and Housley. (MPR News)
5. Lawmaker questions state funds used to make Omar film. A state lawmaker is questioning a Minnesota film rebate program that benefited a new documentary about state Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minneapolis, a Democratic candidate for Congress. Rep. Marion O’Neill, R-Maple Lake, said Thursday that she submitted a data request to the Minnesota Film and Television board seeking information about a 20 percent “Snowbate” incentive received by the producers of the documentary “Time For Ilhan.” O’Neill said the rebate is expected to offset $11,852 of expenses associated with the film, which has played at multiple film festivals and is now playing at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She said she filed a state Data Practices Act request Thursday after recently seeing receipts associated with the rebate. The film’s producers successfully applied for the rebate in March 2017 and were awarded the maximum reimbursement afforded to documentaries filmed in the state. (Star Tribune)