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.
- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators head back to St. Paul Monday to approve spending disaster-relief funds in what is supposed a neat, clean afternoon affair where lawmakers hear the proposal, vote for it and go home. At least that is what Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he and legislative leaders want and expect. Some legislators promise to bring up other bills, but they may have little chance since any item other than disaster funds would need massive support even to be debated. Pawlenty on Thursday said he would call a special session to begin at 1 p.m. Monday.
ST. PAUL -- Legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty tentatively agreed to spend $80 million on disaster relief, mostly for southern Minnesota communities hit by extensive flooding last month. Wadena's efforts to recover from a June 17 tornado could get a piece of the appropriations, $750,000 to plan a new community center. Wadena leaders had sought $20.5 million. Negotiators Tuesday approved the bill, but must wait to make the numbers final for an Obama administration decision whether to declare most of southern Minnesota a flood disaster area.
ST. PAUL -- The big issue in Minnesota's secretary of state race is clear as a picture: whether voters should present photo identification cards before casting ballots. Republican challenger Dan Severson says that is a must to ensure fair elections and he is making it the cornerstone of his campaign. Incumbent Democrat Mark Ritchie does not see voter fraud as a problem, points to national praise he received for handling the hotly contested 2008 U.S. Senate race and says there is more to his office, and the race, than voter photo ID.
DULUTH -- Tom Horner is not one of those candidates who always dreamed about being governor. In fact, he gave the prospect little or no thought until 14 months ago. That was when he was at a social gathering, common for the then-public relations executive, and came upon Independence Party Chairman Jack Uldrich. In that August 2009 chance meeting, Horner made small talk by asking Uldrich how the party's search was going for a 2010 governor candidate. The chairman said it was not going so well, and asked if Horner would be interested.
ST. PAUL -- Tom Horner's campaign has rolled out big-name supporters for the Independence Party governor candidate. The campaign brought out a baker's dozen former Republican lawmakers to announce they support Horner, saying Republican candidate Tom Emmer is too far right politically.
ST. PAUL -- Wadena-area leaders scrambled to get their request for tornado relief funding included in a special legislative session being called to help flooded southern Minnesotans, but they will have to wait along with their water-logged cousins. A special session is planned to deal with flooding, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty late Friday afternoon announced it will not happen Monday, as he wanted, because the federal government has yet to approve a disaster declaration.
ST. PAUL -- A coalition of conservative political groups is organizing a program to prevent voter fraud in the Nov. 2 election Election Integrity Watch is recruiting volunteers to join what it calls "surveillance teams" to observe polling places, organizers from the Tea Party, Minnesota Majority and Minnesota Voters Alliance announced Thursday.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota legislators are on call to vote on flood-relief funding Monday, but it remains unclear whether communities affected by a June 17 tornado outbreak also can expect help. Even the flood action is tentative, depending on whether the federal government declares southern Minnesota a disaster area yet this week. Flooding brought on by record and near-record rainfalls began on Sept. 22 across southern Minnesota, especially the southeast.
ST. PAUL -- The names Tom Horner, Mark Dayton and Tom Emmer are becoming well known across Minnesota, but four other names are on the state's governor ballot, too, and they are almost unknown. Ken Pentel of the Ecology Democracy Party, Farheen Hakeem of the Green Party, Linda Eno of the Resource Party and Chris Wright of the Grassroots Party also will be on the Nov. 2 general election ballot, but are not waging campaigns at the levels of the three major parties.
ST. PAUL -- Questions about political poll accuracy are increasing this campaign season, but a couple of recent polls were good news for Minnesota Democratic governor candidate Mark Dayton. Still, Dayton said: "We always thought it would be close." The University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute-Minnesota Public Radio poll released at mid week showed Dayton leading Republican Tom Emmer 38 percent to 27 percent, with Tom Horner of the Independence Party trailing with 16 percent. The rest have yet to decide. A month ago, the same poll showed Emmer and Dayton tied.