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 -- U.S. Sen.-elect Amy Klobuchar got to know Tim Johnson well while she campaigned for office. The South Dakota Democrat, who underwent brain surgery late Wednesday and early Thursday, appeared on the Klobuchar campaign trail now and then before she was elected last month. Johnson is a senator who "cares about his state first. ... He stands up for rural America," said Klobuchar, who takes office early next month. Klobuchar and Minnesota's two senators would not talk on Thursday about political ramifications of Johnson's medical condition.
ST. PAUL -- Businesses in Gov.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Americans who buy meat and those who raise livestock may pay for the current ethanol boom. "Consumers will pay most of the bill," said Vernon Eidman, a University of Minnesota professor widely known for his work on ethanol economic issues. Ethanol plants are sprouting up like the corn they use to produce the motor vehicle fuel.
ST. PAUL -- Twin Cities metropolitan senators hold 16 of 25 Minnesota Senate chairmanships, but rural senators say they won key committees for their constituents. For instance, rural lawmakers will lead committees dealing with public works projects, taxes, transportation, agriculture, education finance and natural resources. "Traffic congestion and road safety is a top concern for many Minnesotans," said Sen. Steve Murphy of Red Wing. He led the Senate's Transportation Committee last session, too.
: ST. PAUL -- Explaining why elections turn out the way they do is easy for long-time Minnesota political analyst Wy Spano. "I learned everything I needed to know about elections from a cartoon 44 years ago," the Democrat said.
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 -- The Minnesota governor's race was as close as predicted Tuesday, with Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Attorney General Mike Hatch practically deadlocked just before midnight. Republican Pawlenty edged ahead of Democratic Attorney General Hatch 703,503 to 693,350 (46.38 to 45.71 percent) with 65 percent of the precincts reporting. It was the first time Pawlenty had led in the returns; he also trailed in all pre-election polls. However, many of the areas where votes had not been counted were in Republican territory. Hatch talked to Democrats gathered in a St.
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.
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.