Capitol Chatter: Minnesotans have more than 2 presidential candidates available

ST. PAUL--Voters will face more than two choices for president on Nov. 8, even though just two are well-funded enough to have a chance. Minnesota voters see candidates from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Independence,...

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Don Davis / Capitol Chatter

ST. PAUL-Voters will face more than two choices for president on Nov. 8, even though just two are well-funded enough to have a chance.

Minnesota voters see candidates from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Independence, Legal Marijuana Now, the Socialist Workers and the American Delta parties.

Other than Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the candidates lack enough money to make much of an impression.

Libertarian Gary Johnson has signs sprinkled around the state and the Green Party's Jill Stein has campaigned in Minnesota.

Johnson and Stein ran two years ago, getting a few votes. However, supporters claim that with Clinton and Trump being a couple of the most disliked candidates in recent years, their third-party hopefuls have a better chance in 2016.


Johnson, a North Dakota native, received his most publicity this campaign season when he could not name a foreign leader he admired and for not knowing about Aleppo (a Syrian city under siege in a war that is ravaging the region).

A Florida survey showed Johnson with 5 percent of the vote, Ken Bone with 4 percent and Stein 1 percent.

Ken Bone? He is the guy in the red sweater who became an Internet sensation during the second presidential debate. And he is not running for president.

A KSTP-SurveyUSA poll about a month ago gave Stein and Johnson about 2 percent support each.

One third-party candidate, Evan McMullin, is running a competitive race in Utah, and has some politically connected Minnesota supporters. But not much has been seen of him. He is the state's Independence Party candidate.

Not just to win...

Seven minor-party presidential candidates have a goal besides winning the White House: For any who garners at least 5 percent of the Minnesota vote, his or her party will be declared a "major party."

State law says any party that receives that level of support in a major race will be known as a major party. The party must have a presence in the state and have received at least one vote in each of the 87 counties.


A major party faces fewer hoops to get ballot access.

Time to window shop for policy

Minnesotans cannot buy individual health insurance policies for 2017 until Nov. 1, but the MNsure Website now lets them compare policies.

The Web tool allows people to compare policies, learn about costs and see if financial assistance is available.

"This comparison shopping tool allows Minnesotans to identify coverage options and financial assistance in just a few minutes," MNsure CEO Allison O'Toole said.

Financial aid is only available for policies bought at Those who will not receive assistance may buy from MNsure or private insurance sales organizations.

About 5 percent of Minnesotans buy individual policies. Most get insurance through their employers or are on a government plan.

"With health insurance companies capping the number of enrollees they will serve this year, we're urging consumers to shop and enroll early," O'Toole said.


GOP ups security

Minnesota Republicans say they will increase security in light of an arson attack on a North Carolina GOP office.

North Carolina authorities said the fire was deliberately set at a local Republican headquarters and a graffiti message warned the political party to "leave town or else."

Minnesota GOP Chairman Keith Downey, who already blamed Democrats for violence at a Minneapolis Donald Trump event earlier this year, says the party will undergo "a security review of its victory office facilities and local district offices as a precaution against potential future violence."

Lots of broadband requests

High-speed broadband Internet is in demand.

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith says that $70 million in requests have been made to expand broadband, mostly in rural Minnesota. That is twice as much as state lawmakers approved earlier this year. The $70 million in requests is from 60 grant applications.

The available $35 million in state funding could add broadband to 12,000 more homes.

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