Daily Digest: Lewis blames McCain for House losses

Welcome to Tuesday. Time to catch up on political news, so here's your Digest:

1. Lewis catches heat for WSJ column. Republican U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis on Sunday blamed former Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain for the GOP's loss of the U.S. House of Representatives — an opinion that drew a swift and angry rebuke from McCain's family and supporters. McCain's July 2017 vote against a Republican-led effort to scrap the Affordable Care Act put fellow Republicans in an electoral bind last week, Lewis, who was also defeated, wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "McCain's last-minute decision prompted a 'green wave' of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan 'gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. That line was the Democrats' most potent attack in the midterms," Lewis wrote in a commentary piece under the headline "Who Lost the House? John McCain." (MPR News)

2. Divisions persist over refugee resettlement in St. Cloud. Two City Council candidates who vocally supported pausing the resettlement of refugees in St. Cloud lost their elections last week, but they still received considerable voter support — a strong signal that the issue remains unsettled. John Palmer and Liz Baklaich lost to incumbents Dave Masters and Steve Laraway. Palmer, though, received 1,650 votes, about 43 percent , while Baklaich got 2,167 votes, 46 percent. Their relative strength in the election comes more than a year after the city voted in support of being a welcoming community. St. Cloud is home to a large Somali-American population that includes people who came as refugees and were settled by Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and other nonprofits. Others moved here or were born here. Most are Muslim. (MPR News)

3. Turnover brings new look to Minnesota congressional delegation. Minnesota’s congressional delegation is undergoing a dramatic shift in influence and experience as half the state’s members will be new when Congress convenes in January. Minnesota’s five new representatives are replacing members with 42 years of accumulated seniority and several influential committee assignments. But with Democrats winning control of the U.S. House in last week’s election, new opportunities are emerging. U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a veteran western Minnesota Democrat, is poised to become chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, a powerful voice as Congress looks to pass a sweeping farm bill overhaul in coming weeks. (Star Tribune)

4. Johnson says gubernatorial run was his last race. Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, twice defeated for governor, said he is retiring from elected politics and the County Board at the end of his term in 2020. “I don’t see myself running for anything else,” he said Monday. “I just think it’s time to give someone else an opportunity to change things.” Johnson, the Republican-endorsed candidate, lost to governor-elect Tim Walz, a DFLer from Mankato, in last week’s election. In a campaign e-mail sent late last week with the subject line “My last campaign e-mail to you — I promise,” Johnson expressed his thanks, the feeling of defeat (“Losing stinks,” he wrote) and apologized for yet another loss at the job he coveted the most. He previously ran in 2014, losing to Gov. Mark Dayton. (Star Tribune)

5. Bostrom draws challengers in St. Paul's Ward 6. Election season may be over for statewide races, but for the St. Paul City Council, it’s only just begun.St. Paul Council Member Dan Bostrom has picked up two challengers for the Ward 6 seat he’s held since winning office in 1995. On Monday, former Planning Commission Member Terri Thao declared her candidacy for the Ward 6 office, which represents the Payne-Phalen area and surrounding neighborhoods of the East Side. Both Terri Thao and Bostrom have their work cut out for them. DFL political organizer Nelsie Yang declared her candidacy for the same seat last July. Bostrom said he will seek re-election. (Pioneer Press)

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