Daily Digest: Klobuchar’s opponent relishes long odds

Good morning and welcome to Monday, the start of another work week. Here's the Digest:

1. Why would someone with a safe political seat give it up to run against a popular incumbent? State Rep. Jim Newberger, R- Becker, says he wants to run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar because she and Sen. Al Franken are ignoring Minnesota conservatives. More than 1.8 million Minnesotans voted for Klobuchar in 2012. She won 65 percent of the vote in her quest for a second term and prevailed in 85 of 87 counties. But that isn't deterring Newberger. "The more people tell me it can't be done, the more fired up I get," he said. (MPR News)

2. After President Trump complained in tweets and a speech about NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, the Minnesota Vikings locked arms in a show of solidarity during the anthem at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday. None of the players took a knee, although at least two members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did kneel for the anthem. Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf released a statement before the game saying they appreciated the diverse perspectives of the team, and that they fully support the right of players, coaches and staff to "respectfully and peacefully express their beliefs." In other news, the Vikings won 34-17. (MPR News)

3. The Minnesota Supreme Court has to figure out what to do now that Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders say court-ordered mediation failed to resolve their differences. Republicans said it was Dayton who ended the mediation and walked out on the talks, an assessment the governor didn't directly dispute.  Dayton said Friday Republicans wouldn't move on two policy measures he put on the table dealing with teacher licensing and immigrant driver's licenses. And he said they barely touched the edges of three tax cuts he says needed a fresh look. But Dayton said he was most upset about new revelations that the Legislature had pools of money it could use to keep operating for longer than previously stated in the lawsuit and public statements. (MPR News)

4. Minnesota has federal approval for its plan to hold down health insurance premiums on the individual market next year by setting up a reinsurance program to send money to insurance companies that face big claims. It's still not clear though whether the Trump Administration will cut millions in federal funding for the MinnesotaCare program.  Dayton blasted federal officials last week for suggesting that as part of the reinsurance approval, the state would see a much larger hit in funding for MinnesotaCare. (Star Tribune)

5. In Washington top Republicans are adding money to their bill to replace the Obama health care law, but their path to succeeding in their last-gasp effort has grown narrower, perhaps impossible. GOP senators’ opposition to their party’s drive to scrap the Affordable Care Act swelled to lethal numbers Sunday. Moderate Sen. Susan Collins all but closed the door on supporting the teetering bill and conservative Sen. Ted Cruz said that “right now” he doesn’t back it. (AP)


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