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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ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Political unknown Matt Pelikan shocked Minnesota's political world Saturday, June 2, by becoming the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party attorney general endorsee. Current Attorney General Lori Swanson pulled out of the race after she received 52 percent to Pelikan's 47 percent on the first ballot at the party's state convention in Rochester. Sixty percent was needed for endorsement.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Minnesota's two U.S. senators faced little trouble getting their party's endorsement to stay in office, but Sen. Tina Smith first needed to fend off three challengers, including one well known to cable television news viewers. Smith, appointed early this year to replace Al Franken, easily beat Republican-turned-Democrat Richard Painter and two little-known candidates at the Minnesota Democratic Convention Friday night, June 1, in Rochester. Smith collected 74.5 percent of the vote, with Painter following at 17.6 percent.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—The governor race is far and away the top political suspense at Minnesota party conventions this weekend, and at the Democratic event they were on the ground by midday Friday, June 1. Governor candidate and State Auditor Rebecca Otto released figures that she said shows she has enough support to compete with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and state Rep. Erin Murphy. Otto wore her best smile while talking to delegates and others at the convention, which started at 4:06 p.m. Friday and was expected to draw 3,500 people before it ends Sunday.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every election year comes the same rote statement: "It is the most important election in a generation." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton admits that is a cliche. But, this time at least, he said it is true. "I'm not running for office, but I think this is the most important election in my time," said Dayton, who early in January will leave public life after more than 40 years in politics. That is what he plans to tell fellow Democrats when he speaks to their state convention in Rochester on Saturday, June 2.
ST. PAUL -- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have an experienced lieutenant governor as his running mate in this year's governor election. He named Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to that role Thursday, May 31. Fischbach has been No. 2 in the executive branch since early this year, while still holding onto her Senate seat. She resigned from the Senate last week, after Pawlenty asked her to join his ticket.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign or veto a public works funding bill for projects around Minnesota on Wednesday, May 30. If he signs the bill, he could eliminate some of the projects lawmakers approved. Also, his office says he will sign a pension-protection bill Thursday in a public ceremony. A number of other bills await his signature or veto, but he indicated they were not controversial.
ST. PAUL — Super Bowl visitors left $400 million in the Twin Cities. The Feb. 4 event, preceded by 10 days of organized partying was a success, organizers and the governor declared Tuesday, May 29, when they released an economic impact report. "The success of the enterprise was just phenomenal," Gov. Mark Dayton said. And, perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Super Bowl visitors on their first Minnesota visit said they will be back.
ST. PAUL -- Michelle Fischbach is resigning her Minnesota Senate seat to become lieutenant governor. Gov. Mark Dayton's office announced Friday morning, May 25, that the Paynesville Republican would take the oath Friday morning.
ST. PAUL -- The veto pen found found most legislation Minnesota lawmakers passed this year. Gov. Mark Dayton announced Wednesday, May 23, that he vetoed the session's major legislation, citing numerous problems with the Republican-written bills. He said he hopes to decide by Friday on the final major bill of the session, funding public works projects. "Very irresponsible" was how Dayton described the legislative session.