The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 12, 2013

Reporter's Notebook: 1st District: Nelson out, Quist endorses

By Josh Moniz
The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — State Sen. Carla Nelson has officially announced she will not run for Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

The Rochester Republican said she was seriously considering a run earlier this year when national and state Republicans were urging her to challenge Democrat incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz. Nelson said she felt she must defend Republican control of her seat, and that she felt she would be more effective as a state level politician. She said she still believes the seat is winnable in the 2014 election.

Three other Republicans have already announced their runs for the 1st District: Rochester state Rep. Mike Benson, Byron native Aaron Miller and former 1st District Republican endorsement candidate Jim Hagedorn.

Quist endorses Miller

Allen Quist, the Republican candidate in the 2012 race for the 1st District, has endorsed Miller in his 1st District bid for the 2014 elections.

Quist won a hard fought primary in 2012, but ultimately lost to Walz in the general election. Quist said Miller has effectively presented and stuck with conservative principals during his campaign speeches.

The Miller campaign said the endorsement was a big gain in the race.

“I am excited to hear that Allen Quist has endorsed my campaign for Congress. We need a united front from all Republicans across this district to send a common sense conservative to Washington D.C.,” said Miller in a statement.

Hagedorn presses the attack over health care

Hagedorn is pressing partisan criticism of Walz for supporting the Affordable Care Act in a press releases he has distributed in recent weeks. The releases focus on issues with the unveiling of the law’s federal website and revelation that select people will not be able to retain their old health care policies.

Hagedorn called the incident an “unmitigated disaster” that directly threatens the quality of Minnesota’s health care. He said it is “nonsense” to think the website can be made workable while the law is implemented.

“The Obama administration, liberal sympathizers like Tim Walz and even a few misguided Republicans will no doubt implore for Obamacare to be fixed on the fly,” said Hagedorn.

Hagedorn said he would seek to replace the law and drive down costs with “free market solutions,” including implementing tort reform, creating high-risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions and creating “portable” health insurance tax benefits for individuals that follow them from job to job. He said health care cost would be driven down by competition across state lines and that expanding Health Saving Accounts would empower people to control costs and shop for their health care.

Walz, Peterson and Klobuchar targeted over King Amendment

The Humane Society Legislative Fund, lobbying arm of the Humane Society, is targeting Walz, U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar as part of a $100,000 online advertising campaign intended to push lawmakers to vote against including the King Amendment in the federal Farm Bill. The campaign targets 11 lawmakers on the bill’s conference committee.

The amendment would prevent states from restricting sales of out-of-state agriculture products based on their method of production. The amendment has earned the ire of animal rights groups and raised concerns that states could undermine the laws of other states.

Walz and Peterson have voiced support for the amendment. Klobuchar said she has serious concerns about the amendment.