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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ST. PAUL - The Democratic-Farmer-Laborite governor primary election is tough to handicap. Polls ranking the three major DFL candidates often have put Mark Dayton ahead, but there are so many unknowns this year. Candidates Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Matt Entenza and Dayton each say they are targeting likely voters; the problem is knowing who is likely to vote. Most political observers say the only sure thing is that senior citizens will dominate the election. They always are most likely to vote, but this year it could be even more so.
ST. PAUL -- A half-dozen civil war buffs sat around a table at the Minnesota History Center listening to Matt Entenza. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor governor candidate took the first quarter of the hour-long gathering down the history path, talking about his ancestors settling on the edge of Minnesota, almost in South Dakota. He talked about his great-great-grandfather, a Civil War-era soldier.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Improving education demands more money, Minnesota's top three Democratic governor candidates say, a tough challenge when the next state budget could face a $6 billion deficit. The three promote different ideas about school funding. Margaret Anderson Kelliher backs a plan that would simplify the school funding formula and rely less on ever-increasing local property taxes by increasing state support. The "miracle" proposal she likes, named after a 1970s plan that dramatically reformed school funding, cannot be launched all at once because of budget problems, she said. Once it
ST. PAUL -- Conditions in Iraq are improving, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday during an unannounced visit. "There is a hopeful sense here, a more stable sense here than some of my recent previous trips," the governor said. Military leaders invited Pawlenty, in Iraq for the fifth time, and four other governors to visit Iraq. Their trip is to continue, but Pawlenty said he was not allowed to reveal future stops. South Dakota Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is in Iraq visiting American troops, after touring Walter Reed Army Hospital before he left the United States. In his fifth trip to Iraq, Pawlenty said via telephone this afternoon that conditions are improving in the war-torn country. He attributed some of that to the nearing of a new civilian government forming. "As that is happening, the violence level has been fairly stable ...
ST. PAUL -- Republicans most fear Mark Dayton in the governor's race. Dayton brings the best name recognition of any candidate of any party, thanks in a good share to his family's department store roots. He has been running for more than a year and he has put in years in highly visible U.S. Senate and state offices. Worst of all, from the Republican view, is Dayton has money, and plenty of it (although Dayton says he is spending down his department store fortune and sold some paintings to help his finances). For years, the department store that bore his family name was a Minnesota staple.
ST. PAUL -- If they are Democrats, they must be talking about jobs. Creating jobs traditionally is a key Democratic-Farmer-Laborite campaign issue, and the 2010 governors' primary race is no exception.
ROSEVILLE -- Ol' Mexico Restaurante and Cantina likely never has been as rowdy as Wednesday when governor candidate Tom Emmer met with food and beverage servers upset with him. Emmer supporters and detractors exchanged jeers and cheers for an hour, before an opponent to Arizona's new immigration law slid in behind Emmer and dumped a bag of pennies on the Republican state representative and a public address system failure ended the meeting prematurely. The Republican-endorsed candidate admitted the penny protester surprised him -- "I almost jumped out of my shoes" -- but promised he would wal
ST. PAUL -- Lorie Skjerven Gildea learned at an early age how to tackle difficult situations. Gildea, who on Monday was sworn in as the Minnesota Supreme Court's 22nd chief justice, was a young 4-H member when she took her Shetland pony, Carmel, to the Red Lake County Fair.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's finance leaders are ready to take out a $600 million loan if needed to fill gaps left by a state budget deficit. Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget chief, Tom Hanson, told a legislative committee Monday that the state shuffled more than $1 billion from one account to another during the past fiscal year in order to pay bills.