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Election poll on governor's race irks Republicans

Tom Emmer was endorsed by Minnesota Republicans to run for governor.1 / 3
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ST. PAUL -- A governor's campaign argues a poll it lost is inaccurate, state auditor candidates squabble about being a bully and famed humorist Garrison Keillor tells Democrats that his congressional candidate is more honest than her opponent.

It must be nearly election day.

Indeed, the general election is Tuesday and emotions heated up Thursday as candidates worked to gain every vote possible and lose none in a typical last-minute scramble.

A Minnesota Public Radio-University of Minnesota poll showed Democrat Mark Dayton pulling away from Republican Tom Emmer, 41 percent to 29 percent, in the Minnesota governor's race. Tom Horner of the Independence Party fell further behind at 11 percent.

Deputy GOP Chairman Michael Brodkorb called the poll "complete garbage" and the Emmer campaign issued a news release saying its own internal polling shows the race to be a dead heat.

However, the campaign refused to release supporting documents so reporters could verify the poll.

Emmer Campaign Manager Cullen Sheehan said the MPR-university poll is not accurate.

"Four years ago this same poll predicted that Mike Hatch would beat Tim Pawlenty by 6 percentage points," Sheehan said. "Minnesota should be as confident in this poll's prediction as Gov. Hatch was during the last gubernatorial campaign."

Republicans say the poll typically contacts a smaller percentage of Republicans than the political divide would suggest is fair.

The poll continued showing the trend of a growing Dayton lead since it found Emmer and Dayton tied in late August. Other public polls also show Dayton leading, and Horner dropping deeper into third place, but the MPR survey released Thursday was the biggest margin between the leaders.

An analysis from the university's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance indicated that Dayton has expanded his coalition of supporters more than has Emmer. He also has capitalized on the unpopularity of incumbent GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who chose not to seek a third term.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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.