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Campaign chatter: More ads, a MNsure apology, and an election practices complaint

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Nolan, Mills race attracts national Money

Nearly $1 million of GOP dough is rolling into Minnesota for political advertising this month.

The Associated Press reports the National Republican Congressional Committee's purchase of air time will focus on Minnesota's 8th Congressional District, where first-term Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan is being challenged by Republican candidate Stewart Mills.

The NRCC's $1 million buy in Minnesota can be seen via Political Ad Sleuth, a watchdog website that pulls in legally required political ad filings from the largest stations in the biggest metro areas. The purchase is split into four time periods, each lasting a week and running from Sept. 9 through Oct. 6.

The KARE 11 filings are the ones listed, but on each document the purchase cost for KSTP, FOX 9 and WCCO are also visible.

Here's the full collection for political ads in Minnesota, which is updated frequently. (Note this isn't necessarily every single ad filing; some have to be physically gathered at the local station.)

In June, The Hill reported the NRCC had reserved $30 million worth of TV advertising for this fall in states it believes will be competitive this November. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had slotted $44 million in TV ads, The Hill noted.

Dayton: 'I want to apologize' for MNsure rollout

Gov. Mark Dayton, on the campaign trail in Alexandria, Minnesota, Wednesday, apologized to a collection of local county officials for the troubled MNsure rollout, calling it his "biggest disappointment" in his gubernatorial term, the Star Tribune reports. He also apologized for the "burden" it placed on local officials.

It's not the first time the 67-year-old expressed his disappointment with MNSure. In February, Dayton told MinnPost his biggest regret at that point was MNsure.

"I would certainly like to go back to the drawing boards with the benefit of this experience and go back and get a different group of consultants that could come up with a better and more successful package," Dayton told the site.

Still, Dayton defended the program while at the annual Association of Minnesota Counties meeting this week – which his opponent Jeff Johnson also appeared at – saying it's improved since its inception and will continue to do so, the Star Tribune reports.

An August poll showed Dayton holding a solid lead over Johnson, with 49 percent of respondents saying they would vote for Dayton, and 40 percent saying they would vote for the former Hennepin County Commissioner Johnson.

Republican-endorsed candidate files complaint against GOP

A Minnesota Supreme Court candidate, endorsed by the Republican Party, has filed a complaint against the state GOP and its party leaders for what she claims are campaign practice violations, KSTP reports.

Michelle MacDonald, a metro attorney, was endorsed for a state Supreme Court seat by the state's Republican Party in June. At the time, the delegates who voted for her were unaware of a misdemeanor drunken driving charge against her, stemming from a 2013 traffic stop in Rosemount. She reportedly refused to take a sobriety test at the time; MacDonald has denied she was drinking that night. She's due in court this month.

According to MPR, MacDonald says Republican leaders threatened her and pressured her to drop out of the race. She says attorney Patrick Burns texted her party leaders were going to “come gunnin [sic]" after her, adding "it’s just gonna get worse" going forward, MPR reports.

MacDonald says the party also put out false campaign materials about her. In the complaint, she lists the state GOP Party, along with its executive committee, Chair Keith Downey, Burns and others the Pioneer Press reports.

The party has since tried to distance itself from MacDonald, going so far as to ban her from its State Fair booth this year, KSTP reports.

The website The Uptake uploaded a video of MacDonald's press conference to Vimeo. In it, she reiterates she is innocent, and says that's why she is going to trial.

See Minnesota's Fair Campaign Practices Act here.

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