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Again, Klobuchar enters presidential campaign chatter

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, poses for a photo in May of 2017 with Clay Webster, a junior at Drake University, as she visits Des Moines, Iowa, a must-stop for presidential candidates. Rachel Mummey / The Washington Post.

ST. PAUL — Maybe something will come of all the talk this time.

We are hearing more about U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar visiting Iowa, which always brings up talk of presidential ambitions.

But it is more than just Iowa trips. The Minnesota Democrat is being mentioned more and more by national media, many Americans see her frequent national television appearances and about 900 people like an "Amy Klobuchar for President in 2020" Facebook page.

The latest is that she plans to attend a Hollywood fundraiser this weekend.

Not everything is rosy if she actually wants to be president. There was a story that called her "Rep. Klobuchar" (she, of course, is a senator) and the Politico news organization listed her in a story headlined "Democratic 2020 contenders? Voters haven't heard of them."

Minnesota's other U.S. senator, Al Franken, is far better known thanks to his show business background, but he says he has taken himself out of presidential consideration. Still, no matter how many times he says that, the Internet remains full of hope from some corners that he will replace President Donald Trump.

Franken may show no signs of wanting to run, but people say Klobuchar has, the same thing many have said in years past.

As "proof," some offer up a visit Klobuchar plans to Iowa State University in Ames on Aug. 21, where she will receive an award and deliver a speech. And receive a lot of attention from Iowa reporters who can tell a potential presidential candidate when they see one.

"Following the 2016 election, we've seen a dramatic increase in Iowa and across the United States of women interested in running for local, state and federal political office," said Dianne Bystrom of ISU's Catt Center. "We thought this would be a great time to host a woman political leader with a record of bipartisan leadership to encourage and inspire others to consider public service."

A May Washington Post story chronicled an earlier Klobuchar Iowa visit.

Klobuchar strongly criticized "Trump for his late-night tweets, and his attacks on immigrants, Muslim refugees, federal judges and the news media," the Post reported.

In Des Moines, she "name-checked a former congressman, mentioned stops at a Waterloo popcorn shop and an ethanol plant in Mason City and reminded the crowd that she has visited their state several times," the Post story said.

The Los Angeles Times said Klobuchar planned a visit this weekend to a fundraiser in which those attending were being asked to contribute up to $5,400. Top White House aides to Bill Clinton were billed as special guests, and hosts include some top Hollywood names.

"She is frequently mentioned on lists of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020," the Times reported "She has stoked such speculation by courting Democratic activists and visiting states that are critical in the nominating process, such as Iowa."

Otto goes rural

Democratic governor candidate Rebecca Otto picked a long-time 7th Congressional District party leader to head her effort to gain precinct caucus support next March.

Jake Sanders is a former staffer for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

"With the addition of Jake Sanders to our team, we are signaling to every voter out there that we want you as a part of our movement," Otto said.

An Otto news release claims that he "will bring Otto considerable organizing power in greater Minnesota."

Republicans traditionally do well in greater Minnesota, which has become the battleground for many statewide races in recent years.

Jake Sanders lives in Glenwood, just south of Alexandria.

High court next for suit

The Minnesota Supreme Court plans an Aug. 28 hearing on the Legislature's lawsuit against Gov. Mark Dayton.

The Democratic governor vetoed funding for the Republican-controlled Legislature, lawmakers sued and a district court said Dayton violated the state Constitution. The judge said that eliminating legislative funding essentially eliminated the Legislature.

Dayton wasted little time after receiving the lower court ruling to say he would appeal it.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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