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Morning Hot Dish

Four weeks to go

By Torey Van Oot
 
Good morning!
 
President Trump is back at the White House after a three-day hospitalization at Walter Reed for coronavirus treatment. The Associated Press lede this morning:
 
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — and then he entered the White House without a protective mask.
 
Two more Minnesota Republicans — U.S. Senate candidate Jason Lewis and state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka have tested negative for COVID-19 after brief exposes to the president during his campaign swing through the state last week.
 
Lewis, who says he did not meet the high-risk exposure threshold of 15 minutes within 6 feet, is returning to the campaign trail. Gazelka will limit activities and get another test before next week's special session.
 
The disclosures mean all the prominent Republican electeds and candidates who interacted with the president have so far tested negative. But a word of caution from MDH's Kris Ehresmann during yesterday's daily briefing: "There is no get out of jail card like Monopoly with COVID. COVID-19 can take several days to develop and an initial negative test, while encouraging, is not an all clear."
 
What we still don't know is how many people who attended the fundraiser in Shorewood have been tested. MDH officials said Monday that they have not received a list of people present or  considered at high risk of exposure from the campaign, RNC or the local host for contact tracing purposes.
 
Murray's Restaurant, which catered the event, says 13 staff members are now quarantining and seeking a test. 
 
A man whose social media posts were presented as a smoking gun in the Project Veritas video alleging ballot harvesting and pay-to-vote schemes in Minneapolis says he was offered a $10,000 bribe to say he was collecting ballots for U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.
 
Liban Osman, brother of successful Ward 6 candidate Jamal Osman, told Fox 9 that the offer came from Omar Jamal, who is presented as a Somali insider and on-the-record whistleblower in the video. 
 
“He was setting me up,” Osman told the station. 
 
Osman also said that Snapchat videos that appeared to show him collecting "hundreds" of ballots were edited and presented out of context. He denies altering or filling them out and said he thinks it was taken later in July, when a cap on how many ballots an individual can turn in was temporarily lifted by the courts.  
 
An attorney for Project Veritas denied Osman's claims. 
 
ICYMI: Omar Jamal also backtracked on some of his claims in an interview with a local Somali American TV program. 
 
Four weeksuntil Election Day, everyone.
 
AD WARS: The NRCC is up with new ads hitting Rep. Collin Peterson in MN07 and Dan Feehan in MN01. The DNC is launching a new radio and print campaign targeting Black voters in the state. The buy targets the Minneapolis-St. Paul media market. 
 
MNLEG: The Minnesota House Select Committee on Racial Justice holds another hearing today. And for those keeping track, we're hearing the next special session is expected to be held on Monday, Oct. 12. 
 
WHERE'S WALZ: Gov. Tim Walz has closed-press calls with Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent and Secretary of State Steve Simon.

READING LIST: 
  •  Fairview Hospitals announced a dramatic downsizing Monday.

  •  MinnPost has been doing some great coverage of legislative races lately. Here's one from Walker Orenstein on six districts that show Republicans' growing strength in Greater Minnesota. 
  • And in news that would have been helpful for me personally months ago, the state will now allow drivers to take their written license test at home.

In TV news, my household is finally watching Schitt's Creek. I know some people say the first season wasn't as good as later ones, but I'm liking it so far! And I'm counting down the days until The Bachelorette is back. ONE WEEK, people. Per the promos, it will be the most dramatic season EVER. 

Thanks for reading! You know where to reach us: hotdish@startribune.com.

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