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 -- Gov.
ST. PAUL -- This week's election provided a series of Minnesota congressional firsts: The first woman the state elected to the Senate. The first Muslim elected to Congress from any state. The first Minnesota black elected to Congress. The first Democratic Senate candidate since 1976 to get more than 50 percent of the vote. Perhaps the first time two Minnesota representatives are committee chairmen. Amy Klobuchar, who gathered in 58 percent of the vote, will be the first Minnesota woman elected to the Senate and Keith Ellison is first in the Muslim and black categories.
Overall, the news was good for DFL candidates. They kept the attorney general's office, and also took auditor and secretary of state offices away from Republicans. State Solicitor General Lori Swanson, a top Hatch aide for years, beat Republican Jeff Johnson to keep the attorney general's office. Hatch has held eight years. With 96 percent of the precincts reporting, she led 1,083,689 to 839,931 (53 to 41 percent). The race was off the radar screen for most Minnesotans, overwhelmed by governor and U.S. Senate contests. Swanson entered the race on the final filing day after state Rep.
ST. PAUL -- A kinder, gentler Mike Hatch showed up at the final televised debate of the Minnesota governor's race Friday night, but his two main opponents were ready for a fight. Hatch, the state's Democratic attorney general, apologized for comments he made about two people in the Minnesota media. However, Republican Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Northern Minnesota legislators would return to power they enjoyed before 1999 if the state House falls under Democratic-Farmer-Labor control in the Nov. 7 election. "In the glory days, we had senior people on most committees," Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said. While she and other Northland lawmakers would like to see their party take over, they are hesitant to predict it. "Honestly, I try not to think about it," said Rep. Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, among the Democrats' key leaders.
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.