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 -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ended his White House dream Sunday after a third-place finish in an Iowa straw poll. Pawlenty said he would not continue his campaign, telling ABC's "This Week" that "I wish it would have been different, but the pathway forward doesn't exist for me." He probably can blame a fellow Minnesotan for leaving the race. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the poll, far ahead of Pawlenty.
ST. PAUL -- President Barack Obama has new ammunition to tell Midwesterners that he is working for rural America when he visits Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois in the next few days. His administration Friday released a report claiming it has "made significant investments" in programs ranging from jobs to health care.
ST. PAUL -- President Obama plans a southern Minnesota visit next week to start a three-state rural Midwestern tour. The White House late Tuesday afternoon issued a statement with no details. "President Ob-ama will travel to the Midwest on a three-day economic bus tour, making stops in southern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa and western Illinois," the short White House statement said.
ST. PAUL -- Political activists in both major parties are divided over whether candidates should be pure or electable. Columnist George Will wrote about two Minnesota presidential candidates, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann: "He would be much easier to elect than to nominate; regarding her, reverse that." Those in the right wing of the Republican Party and left wing of the Democratic Party are more likely to attend caucuses, be elected to conventions and vote in primaries than those more toward to middle.
Minnesota's presidential candidates provide Iowans with a front-row seat to a heated political wrestling match. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty are engaged in a very public presidential campaign fight as Iowa Republicans prepare to vote in a straw poll that could make or break their campaigns. The Aug. 13 Ames event has shoved "Minnesota nice" into the background as the two scrap for votes in the poll and, more importantly, in the Feb.
ST. PAUL -- "Open" signs began to appear around Minnesota state government Thursday, with most functions expected to resume by early next week after a 20-day government shutdown. "The guys are out mowing the campground," Jay Cooke State Park manager Eunice Luedtke said. "We have to flush out the water lines. ... Then we have to get the hot-water heaters going." Activities at the park, south of Duluth, were echoed at parks, rest stops and other facilities across Minnesota as workers take them out of mothballs. In other cases, state services resumed immediately Thursday, a day after Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Looking back, it is hard to see much other than disputes between Minnesota's governor and legislative leaders. After all, they went 58 days beyond the Legislature's constitutional deadline before agreeing on a budget in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, including 20 days when government was partially shut down. But the future could be brighter. Minutes after Minnesota legislators passed that budget, Republican leaders were talking about making reforms throughout state government next year and saying that they think Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- It's Christmas in July for Minnesota colleges and other state-owned facilities. Minnesota legislators early Wednesday approved $498 million worth of public works projects such as college building renovations, flood-fighting projects and developing the state's newest park. "It is about 75 percent shovel ready," Rep. Larry Howes, R-Walker, said. "It will put a lot of Minnesotans to work." It is something of a surprise gift to many of the recipients, who have lobbied for the projects but saw the regular legislative session end on May 23 with no public works bill. When Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota state employees gradually head back to work beginning today, ending one of the longest state government shutdowns in American history. A record $35.7 billion, two-year budget that legislators passed Wednesday, and Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a few hours later, provides the funds for 22,000 workers to resume their jobs and services to come back on line after a budget impasse forced the shutdown July 1. "We got the job done," Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said.