Judge’s ruling puts competitive Minnesota House race back on track for November

A federal judge set up a competitive Minnesota House race to take place next month after the sudden death of a candidate in the contest appeared to set up a February special election instead. 

Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota granted an injunction requested by Rep. Angie Craig (D), the district’s representative, against enforcing the state law that would have delayed the election until February.

The ruling comes after Adam Weeks, the Legal Marijuana Now Party’s candidate running against Craig, died suddenly in late September. The timing of his death just 40 days before an election triggered the state law delaying the contest. The law was first passed in 2013 and postpones a contest if a major party candidate dies within 79 days of Election Day. 

Under the law, the race would remain on the ballot this year, but votes tallied for the district would not be counted.

Wright said the law would “unconstitutionally burden the rights of voters who have, or otherwise would, cast their ballots in the general election” and that “Representative Craig will suffer irreparable harm absent this Court issuing a preliminary injunction.”

The judge also noted that if no election is held in November, the constituents of the district will be without a representative between the time the next Congress is inaugurated and when the victor of the February special election is sworn in.

“If a preliminary injunction is not granted, two public-interest consequences will undisputedly occur. First, all votes cast for Minnesota’s Second Congressional District in November will be discarded. Second, every constituent in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District will have no representation in the United States House of Representatives for more than a month,” wrote Wright.

The ruling puts the race in the St. Paul area district back on track for November, setting up a contested battle between Craig and Republican Tyler Kistner. Craig flipped the seat in 2018 by about 5 points, but President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE beat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump between rock and hard place on debates Pence-Harris debate draws more than 50M viewers, up 26 percent from 2016 Not treason, not a crime — but definitely a gross abuse of power MORE in the suburban district by just 1 percentage point in 2016.

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White House is not contact tracing Rose Garden event and rejected CDC offer to track down those exposed to Trump: Reports

As President Trump battles COVID-19, some said the White House is not doing enough to trace those who might have come in contact with him or been otherwise exposed to the virus at the White House.

Donald Trump in a suit standing in front of a building

© Provided by Washington Examiner

At least eight people might have been infected at a Sept. 26 Rose Garden event to celebrate the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Despite this, the president’s team decided not to trace the contacts of the staff members and guests who attended the event, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing the account of a senior White House official.


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Instead, reports indicated the White House has chosen only to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which specify that contact tracing efforts should be pursued for those who had “close contact” to someone with COVID-19 within two days of their diagnosis. The president announced his diagnosis early on Friday morning.

When the Washington Examiner specifically asked the White House if it was pursuing contact tracing efforts for those who attended the Rose Garden event, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said it was following CDC guidelines.

The White House Medical Unit rebuffed an offer from the CDC to assist in tracing the contacts of those who might have been exposed, according to multiple officials within the agency, USA Today reported Monday.

“You cannot argue against the fact that five or six people who attended that event all got infected, unless you argue that that was all random chance,” Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, an epidemiologist and contact tracing expert, told the New York Times. “There were a lot of people working at that event, and so they need to be contact tracing that whole event.”

The White House has sent out emails notifying people who attended Trump’s New Jersey fundraiser on Thursday before his positive test result came back that they might have been exposed to the virus. Some have said that’s not enough.

“I guess an email is notification of exposure,” Erin Sanders, a nurse practitioner and certified contact tracer, told the New York Times. “But that is not contact tracing.”

Deere said in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Monday evening: “The White House has plans and procedures in place that incorporate current CDC guidelines and best practices for limiting COVID-19 exposure and has established a robust contact tracing program led by the White House Medical Unit with CDC integration. Contact tracing has been conducted by the White House Medical Unit consistent with CDC guidelines and appropriate notifications and recommendations have been made.”

“The White House is following CDC guidelines and has a full-time detailed CDC epidemiologist on staff who has been here since March,” Deere said in a statement to USA Today.

The White House would not name this scientist when the New York Times asked about it.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told CBS’s Face the Nation

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House on track to vote on $2.2 trillion stimulus plan from Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight

The House of Representatives is on track to vote Thursday evening on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus proposal put forward by House Democrats with no bipartisan deal in sight even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued talks in an effort to reach an agreement.

a person wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

© Win McNamee/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 23: U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 23, 2020 in Washington, DC. The House of Representatives is expected to vote later today on the latest economic stimulus package passed earlier in the week by the U.S. Senate. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Time is quickly running out to clinch a bipartisan agreement that could be signed into law as Democrats move forward to advance a plan that Republicans have rejected as too costly and is not expected to be taken up by the GOP-held Senate.

Pelosi and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Thursday afternoon, marking the latest discussion between the top stimulus negotiators, but after the call there was no deal at hand.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff, tweeted later that during the call “the two discussed further clarifications on amounts and language but distance on key areas remain. Their conversation will continue this afternoon.”

In an indication of how challenging it may be to reach a bipartisan agreement at this point, Pelosi, on a private call with the House Democratic whip team Thursday morning, sounded very down about the prospects of a deal for a new stimulus package to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, according to two people on the call.

Pelosi repeatedly spoke of the “different values” held by Democrats and Republicans, making clear that even the latest offer from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin fell far short of what was needed to deal with her view of the scale of the current economic issues.

Pelosi’s framing on the private call earlier Thursday tracks with the criticism she’s leveled at Republicans during stimulus negotiations for months — that the Trump administration simply isn’t willing to do what’s necessary on the fiscal side of things to address the depth of the economic problems created by the pandemic.

Republicans say it is now up to Pelosi to counter the roughly $1.6 trillion proposal Mnuchin put on the table Wednesday, which is hundreds of billions of dollars away from the roughly $2.2 trillion plan House Democrats could vote on as soon as later Thursday.

Video: Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly (CNN)

Pelosi: Dems will propose new covid relief plan shortly



Pelosi said during her weekly news conference that she is “hopeful that we can reach agreement” on a bipartisan deal, but nevertheless made clear that the two sides are not on the same page on key issues.

“We’re kind of in the ballpark on some things,” Pelosi said, but added, “still way off in terms of state and local

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RNC chair on election: We are on track to win the White House

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel expressed confidence that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Pelosi: Trump Supreme Court pick ‘threatens’ Affordable Care Act MORE will win reelection this year as a tight race brews in the final sprint to Election Day.

“We’re on track to reelect the president and keep the Senate and win back to the House. Everything has been turning in our direction. We have a ground game. The energy is there,” she said Sunday on John Catsimatidis’s radio show on WABC 770 AM.

“We’re not taking our foot off the gas.”

McDaniel also said she thinks Trump will be able to handle former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says voters should choose who nominates Supreme Court justice Trump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Joe Biden should enact critical government reforms if he wins MORE, the Democratic presidential nominee, in next week’s debate in Ohio.

“His team is trying to figure out how he’s going to handle the president, who is a tough debater. Of course, Joe Biden has had 47 years. He’s been in politics his whole life. He’s done well on one-on-one debates with Bernie SandersBernie SandersTrump, Biden will not shake hands at first debate due to COVID-19 Sanders tells Maher ‘there will be a number of plans’ to remove Trump if he loses Sirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters MORE and Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanKenosha will be a good bellwether in 2020 At indoor rally, Pence says election runs through Wisconsin Juan Williams: Breaking down the debates MORE and Sarah Palin,” she said, referring to the 2008 and 2012 GOP vice presidential nominees.

McDaniel pointed to Biden’s policies on energy, taxes and more, adding, “he’s going to have to answer for some of these stances that … have taken him so far left.”

The confidence from McDaniel comes as polls show Trump trailing Biden nationally and in crucial swing states, albeit by narrowing margins.

The first presidential debated is slated to take place on Tuesday. 

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In the Garden: Keeping track of the year’s ups and downs can improve next year’s harvest

I know it’s not the end of the garden season yet, but with fall fast approaching, I’ve been taking a critical look at how this year’s garden performed.

Gardeners in the Inland Northwest and across the country have seen the impact our changeable weather patterns have had on our plants. While there’s nothing we can do about the weather itself, it’s a good idea to think about what we might do differently next year.

Our very wet, cool spring impacted the production of many warm-season crops. My tomato plants are still being very stubborn about ripening all of their green tomatoes. I’ve been engaging in my annual three-step pruning routine in order to encourage them. This consists of severe pruning and cutting back the amount of water they get.

In the spring, I learned that wilting seedlings can mean they are too wet rather than too dry. All of our rainstorms really set back our melon and tomato plants.

One change I’m considering for next year is to reduce the amount of plastic sheet mulch I use on the beds where warm-season crops such as melons, winter squash, tomatoes and eggplants will be grown. The mulch increases the temperature of the soil and the amount of light reflected up into the plants, which in turn increases productivity, but I want to see if it makes enough of a difference to warrant using it every year.

This year, we grew our onions from small bulbs (sets) instead of plant starts. Many readers have told me their onion plant starts didn’t grow well and, in some cases, were infiltrated by onion maggots. I located an online source for onion sets this spring, and our plants grew better than they have in the past few years.

One of the fun things we tried was growing winter squash up and over an arbor made from cattle panels. At planting time, I envisioned needing a hard hat during the summer because there would be so many squash hanging from the top of the arch. Even though the plants grew well, the arbor got more morning shade than I’d like, which impacted the plants’ productivity. Next year, we’ll move the arbor to a much sunnier location.

Our best idea was growing potatoes and a few tomato plants in cloth grow bags and large pots. All of them did beautifully. This helped us expand the footprint of our garden without having to make more raised beds. You might consider this for 2021.

I was disappointed in a new broccoli cultivar called Millennium. After I harvested the primary heads, they didn’t form secondary heads, which is unusual. Next year, I’ll go back to Early Dividend, which is an excellent producer.

What’s my big goal for 2021? Do a better job of succession planting. This requires planning ahead to anticipate when a crop will be finished so you can quickly replace it with a new planting. As always, my goal is to get the maximum yield from our garden.

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