Daily Digest: Stauber jumps out to lead in 8th District

We’ve got polls, profiles and more in your Tuesday Digest.

1. Poll shows big shift toward Stauber. Right? Minnesota’s Eighth District is one of a handful of Democratic-held House seats where Republicans have a realistic shot to win in the midterms in three weeks. The incumbent, Rick Nolan, is retiring, and he won by only one percentage point in 2016 in a district President Trump carried by 15. When the New York Times/Sienna College polled this district in September, they found the Democratic candidate, Joe Radinovich, up by one point. Now, they have the Republican, Pete Stauber, up by 15. The underlying numbers have changed a lot, too. Last time, voters disapproved of Mr. Trump by one point. Now they approve by 18. Last time, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by two percentage points; now Republicans outnumber by Democrats by 10. Is the shift real? Probably not entirely. But there’s probably more truth to it than a lot of Democrats criticizing the poll want to admit. (New York Times)

2. Looking at the Walz record in Congress. Tim Walz is attempting to be the first sitting member of Congress to win Minnesota’s governor’s mansion in 40 years. In his race against Republican Jeff Johnson, a county commissioner, the 12-year congressional record of Walz and the thousands of votes he’s taken are open to scrutiny. Walz has a handful of laws to his name and played a significant role in shaping others. He has spent considerably more time in the minority in Congress — the past eight years — than in the majority — the first four. He’s the lead Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, where cooperation is more common than partisan bickering. “In the minority, I found myself being very effective because the Republicans needed someone at times,” Walz said. “There isn’t still a piece of veterans legislation that is not sent back to me, even by the majority.” (MPR News)

3. Underdog, but not a placeholder. Jim Newberger, a three-term state representative from Becker and a retired paramedic, is voluntarily leaving a comfortably Republican district to mount what even he calls an underdog bid against Klobuchar. Recent polls, including the Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll, have shown the two-term Democrat leading by double digits. “I refuse to be another name on the ballot, to just be a placeholder,” said Newberger, who’s acting as his own campaign manager. Still, in the Minnesota Poll, two-thirds of voters didn’t recognize Newberger’s name, vs. 1 percent who didn’t recognize Klobuchar. And In the most recent fundraising reports, Klobuchar had raised $8.5 million through the end of July and still had $5 million on hand, while Newberger had raised $107,000 and spent almost all of it. (Star Tribune)

4. Mistreatment allegations undercut Ellison’s advantages.When Keith Ellison started his bid to become Minnesota’s next attorney general, he had formidable advantages. An outspoken progressive who had served in Congress for more than a decade, Mr. Ellison was one of the most recognizable politicians in the state. As deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he had a national profile that has helped him raise nearly twice as much money as his Republican challenger, Doug Wardlow, a lawyer. On top of that, there was history: Minnesota has not elected a Republican attorney general since 1966. But in recent weeks, Mr. Ellison’s edge appears to be evaporating, amid claims by his ex-girlfriend, Karen Monahan, that he mistreated her during their long-term relationship. Ms. Monahan has accused him of causing emotional pain through infidelity and dishonesty when they were a couple and said he had once tried to drag her off a bed after an argument while screaming obscenities at her. Recent polls show that Mr. Wardlow, a little-known conservative, is now in a tight race with Mr. Ellison. (New York Times)

5. AG candidate supports his opponent Ellison. Noah Johnson, the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis candidate for Minnesota attorney general, said Monday he is endorsing DFL candidate Keith Ellison in the statewide race. Johnson said he doesn’t want to draw votes away from Ellison to the benefit of Republican candidate Doug Wardlow. (MPR News)


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