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 -- Robert Fitzgerald likes to promote his red bus, converted to run on waste French fry oil. He likes to crack jokes at debates among U.S. Senate candidates. And he chides the two leading candidates about their partisan bickering. But Fitzgerald's candidacy is not exactly taking off. In most recent polls, he received support of 1 percent to 3 percent of those contacted.
ST. PAUL -- There is precious little agreement between the two main candidates for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat. And even when Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar agree, it is hard to tell from their rhetoric. Take, for instance, their agreement on the need for conservation funding.
Many Minnesota politicos theorized that U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman pushed hard to land the 2008 Republican National Convention to give him a better chance at becoming a vice presidential -- or even presidential -- candidate. Forget that, Coleman said last week. "I am not going to be a running mate -- definitely not," the first-term Republican senator said in response to a Forum Communications question. As if to punctuate the comment, he later added: "It's not in the realm of possibility." The 57-year-old former Democratic mayor of St.
ST. PAUL -- Peter Hutchinson brought two supporters dressed as ducks to the Capitol Wednesday as he accused his major opponents of ducking debates. "The people of Minnesota are being cheated out of the opportunity to interview their candidates," Independence Party governor candidate Hutchinson said of GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mike Hatch, state attorney general and DFL candidate for governor. Shortly after Hutchinson's comments, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign released a list of five more debate invitations he has accepted.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's primary election is history; now campaigns turn historic as spending soars. It appears the state's big races for the Nov. 7 general election will set spending records, with other races following right along. "We have so much outside money coming into the state, I hope Minnesota is not for sale to the highest bidder," state Republican Chairman Ron Carey said the day after Tuesday's primary vote produced few surprises. There is little doubt the U.S. Senate race featuring Republican U.S. Rep.
Scientific polls and unscientific surveys make democracy seem so simple. All politicians have to do, it seems, is follow the results. For instance, look at the unscientific surveys House and Senate public information offices conducted at the Minnesota State Fair. The questions produced answers, but the questions were so simple that some answers may have little meaning. One Senate question was: "Would you support state funding to offer full-day/every-day kindergarten?" That's a no-brainer, 60 percent of the respondents decided when they said they liked the concept.
ST. PAUL -- Two Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party races highlight Tuesday's primary election after a mostly quiet campaign season. Major candidates in most races have ignored the primary, instead looking ahead to the Nov. 7 general election. While most statewide races are on the ballot, many names are unknown to voters because candidates did little to campaign. One exception is the DFL governor's race, where well-liked Sen. Becky Lourey is challenging well-financed Attorney General Mike Hatch. The other major race is for the DFL's attorney general nomination, where Rep. Matt Entenza of St.
ST. PAUL -- Fifty-one Minnesota counties are agriculture disaster areas and farmers affected by the summer drought are eligible for low-interest loans. "This declaration will help ensure the future of crop and animal agriculture," Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Wednesday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the disaster declaration. The declaration follows a Tuesday plea by Pawlenty and other Midwestern governors for Congress to provide more disaster assistance for farmers and ranchers.
Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar are rushing toward the political center on Minnesota's geographic fringes. In the U.S. Senate race, Klobuchar accuses Kennedy of running away from President Bush, after the congressman appeared with Bush in commercials his last two elections. If Kennedy is trying to look like a political moderate, Klobuchar is doing the same. Both know they cannot win the Nov.