Daily Digest: No cash shortage in key races

1. Outside groups pouring cash into House, Senate races. Minnesota Democrats running for federal office are vastly outraising their Republican opponents, but both sides are being dwarfed by spending from outside groups battling for control of the U.S. House and Senate. Across the board, Democrats in four competitive congressional races and a Senate special election raised more than their Republican opponents between the end of July and the end of September. The latest campaign filings with the Federal Elections Commission show where the candidates stand in fundraising with less than a month go to before the Nov. 6 general election. In Minnesota’s battleground House races, Democrats including Dean Phillips, who is challenging Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, pulled in major donations in August and September. Phillips raised $1.5 million to Paulsen’s $1.3 million in the suburban 3rd District race, but their fundraising hauls are a drop in the bucket compared to the more than $15 million already spent to influence that race. (MPR News)

2. Chief justice addresses “the contentious events.” Chief Justice John Roberts defended the independence of the federal judiciary in the wake of a tense confirmation battle for Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court. Roberts was at the University of Minnesota Tuesday as part of a lecture series with the law school, an appearance scheduled long before the hearings. Senators confirmed the new justice narrowly this month after Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were in high school, which Kavanaugh denied. Roberts did not discuss details of the confirmation hearings, and he declined to criticize lawmakers or President Trump. But ahead of an interview with University of Minnesota law professor Robert Stein, the chief justice addressed what he called “the contentious events in Washington of recent weeks.” (MPR News)

3. Klobuchar seeking third term with a buzz in the air. Already frequently mentioned as a presidential prospect for Democrats in 2020, Klobuchar can expect that speculation to intensify if she wins in November. Even as she buffs up her national image — the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings earned Klobuchar a “Saturday Night Live” portrayal, which led to a People Magazine article — Klobuchar has continued to emphasize a work-across-the-aisle, pragmatic style of politics. Legislation like the opioid measures are an example of the kind of broadly supported, consumer-style issues that she has made a brand, even in the face of historic rancor between Republicans and Democrats in Congress. It’s an approach that has set Klobuchar apart from a handful of other Democratic senators who have also drawn buzz as 2020 contenders. (Star Tribune)

4. Data agency says Stauber emails should be public. A state data practices opinion on Tuesday said campaign correspondence found in Pete Stauber’s county email account ought to be publicly reviewable data. “Correspondence between elected officials and organizations is not meant to be classified as private,” the Minnesota Department of Administration said in a three-page memo leading up to its opinion. During a public records request last spring, the Star Tribune had sought emails between Stauber, the Republican candidate in the 8th Congressional District race, and the National Republican Congressional Committee. The county turned up 15 emails, but has refused to share the contents by citing state law and the privacy between an elected official and an individual. (Duluth News Tribune)

5. On eve of release, a plea to keep Ellison divorce docs sealed. Kim Ellison, the ex-wife of Minnesota DFL U.S. House Rep. Keith Ellison, made a public plea Tuesday that the couple’s divorce records should remain private. The file is scheduled to be unsealed Wednesday under an order issued last week by Hennepin County family court referee Jason Hutchison. Kim Ellison said the file contains personal details of medical and mental health issues. Ellison, who is a member of the Minneapolis school board, said during a news conference that prior to the 2011 divorce she battled severe depression after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “Keith is fighting to keep the files sealed because I don’t want them unsealed,” Ellison said. “I am the one who wants the files to remain sealed.” (MPR News)


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