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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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- Dean Barkley walked down the sidewalk, examining political booths at the Minnesota State Fair. With a stogy cigar sticking out of his mouth, Barkley proclaimed the fair "critical" for third-party political candidates' chances. Barkley should know. He was one of the masterminds behind Jesse Ventura's shocking election victory eight years ago.
Minnesota's top election races are for U.S. Senate and governor -- or at least that is the conventional wisdom. However, cumulative state and federal legislative races actually may have a greater impact on Minnesotans' lives. No one state legislator or member of Congress makes a huge difference in everyday life, but what party holds legislative power is as important as anything in government. And Democrats at both levels of government make the case they will take that control in the Nov.
ST. PAUL -- Gasoline prices and the Iraq war are the hottest issues in Minnesota's hottest campaign. "Nothing could threaten jobs quicker" than continually rising gasoline prices, said U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican Party-endorsed candidate. Democrat Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County attorney, said as she travels the state, she hears increasing concerns about the war. While rhetoric spewing from the campaigns already is as hot as it usually gets in the waning days of an election, the public is not tuned. "It's still August," said Klobuchar, who Democrats endorsed in June.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
All blogs are not created equal. Most are not news and not reliable. They are someone's opinion, often not an informed opinion. However, there are good blogs. In politics, those are the ones you want to find. Take a look at www.publicradio.org/columns/minnesota/polinaut for a good example of a political blog (short for "Web log). Recently, for instance, the Minnesota Public Radio blog reported some interesting information: "WCCO-TV's public file says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has purchased $403,425 in television ads during the last month of the election.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. - Minnesota politicians who can't agree on many issues agreed on one Tuesday - manure is not a hazardous waste. Well, unless you slip on it. In a serious exchange sprinkled with humor, U.S. House and Senate candidates speaking to a FarmFest audience said a Texas judge's ruling that manure is a toxic waste is wrong and Congress should pass a law overturning the decision. U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, the Republican-endorsed U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Eric Hoplin's arms whipped about as he spoke in his uber-enthusiastic manner. "I just love my job," the animated political wonk said. "There is something new every day." Hoplin, who turns 28 on July 31, added that he "springs out of bed every morning," eager to get to his job as the Minnesota Republican Party's deputy state chairman. No one would argue that he loves the work or that he loves politics.
Last week's headlines didn't look good for corn-based ethanol: "Food-crop biofuels given thumbs down." "Ethanol is sort of a drop in the bucket, scientists warn." "Study says ethanol not best alternative to oil." "Ethanol no 'silver bullet' for world's fuel problems.'" In many cases, ethanol supporters did not care for stories that went with the headlines around the world any better than they liked the headlines. firstname.lastname@example.org reported: "Producing biofuels such as ethanol from food crops isn't worth the effort." Grist Magazine's Web site added: "A new study casts serious doubt