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 -- Politics aside, Tom Emmer, Tom Horner and Mark Dayton say they are ready to run the state. In what was termed a "job interview" Wednesday before 150 people, each of the three major governor candidates told about their faults and their strengths as they campaign to be the state's chief executive officer. Horner, the Independence Party candidate, admitted to making a mistake as U.S. Sen. David Durenberger's chief of staff when he did not believe a staff member. The staffer was right. "It was a good lesson in ...
ST. PAUL - Agonizing pain overwhelmed Tom Emmer's 38-year-old sister as she lie in bed, but she was too weak to get up. So Emmer moved her legs over the side of the bed, lifted her up and moved her around the room to keep her as comfortable as the woman dying of cancer could be.
ST. PAUL -- Dreams of 1994 dance in Republicans' heads while Democrats dream of getting one of their own in the governor's office for the first time since Jan. 7, 1991. The Independence Party dreams of returning to the glory of when Jesse Ventura shocked the world. Millions of dollars and months of campaigning later, however, only one dream can come true. When Minnesotans head to the polls Nov. 2, they will face as stark a contrast as they ever have in a governor's race.
ST. PAUL -- It is not often that when a legislator walks into the room, his colleague stand and applaud. But when David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, walked into the House chambers during the recent special session, that is just what happened. A couple of legislators in the back of the chamber noticed him slip in a side door, and started clapping. Soon, all 130 other lawmakers, not to mention staff, in the chamber joined in the applause. Dill had received a kidney transplant less than a week earlier.
LITTLE FALLS -- They call it an RV, for recreational vehicle, but in this case it should be known as a CV, campaign vehicle. Wrapped in Emmer for governor signs, the 10-year-old rented motor home is a story of its own. Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer credits his wife, Jacquie, for finding the rental unit, which he called a great value to the campaign.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson puts consumer protection at or near the top of her priority list. Her main challenger, Chris Barden, talks first about suing the federal government over health care reform, followed by election law changes and says that after 40 years of Democrats in the office it is time for a Republican. To say the two have differences certainly is an understatement. Even though he says he is not parroting the party line, Barden's main themes mirror those of other conservative Republican candidates.
ST. PAUL -- State disaster relief is on its way to weather-damaged communities, but officials said they may be back for more help next year. Legislators unanimously ap-proved $80 million in disaster relief during a special session Monday, with most heading to southern Minnesota communities hit by floods fed by record September rains. Wadena and other communities affected by a June 17 tornado outbreak will get $6.6 million from the bill. The House quickly approved the measure 131-0 and the Senate 66-0.
Update 10 a.m.
OWATONNA -- Sweat covered the former U.S. senator's face. A lot of sweat. Mark Dayton, now running for governor, spent time in Owatonna cleaning up a home basement after recent flooding. His well-worn gloves and jeans showed that the man born into one of Minnesota's best-known and wealthy families is no stranger to manual labor. "You learn a lot about the real world," Dayton, a Democrat, said about helping others. Homeowner Dorene Kruger and her family had moved out much of what was damaged when the sewer flooded her basement.
BUFFALO -- Mark Dayton raised a shotgun up to his shoulder, squeezed the trigger and, well, missed. But he hit the clay "birds" more often than not during a traditional Democratic-Farmer-Laborite event in Buffalo, a trap shoot that takes candidates off the political firing line and puts them on an actual firing line. The event was a morale booster for Dayton, even if he did not hit as many targets as he wanted. "I love you, Mark," one woman told Dayton as he entered the Buffalo Gun Club. An older man talked about Dayton's grandfather, and Dayton responded with a story about his first hunti