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 -- Rick Stafford remembers 1994, when Republicans kicked Democrats out of congressional control, and with Tuesday's Massachusetts GOP upset he sees some similarities this year. Bill Clinton was the new, and popular, president and Democrats thought they were flying high in 1994. Newt Gingrich and company spoiled that in taking control of the U.S. House. Republicans hope, and some predict, that is what will happen in this November's elections. Stafford does not predict a repeat of 1994, but he and other Minnesota Democratic leaders say there are lessons to be learned.
ST. PAUL--Norm Coleman joked that he is "free at last, free at last" Monday, hours after he opted out of the Minnesota governor's race. Other Republican candidates also may have been chanting that refrain on Martin Luther King Jr. Day after complaining that donations and support were harder to find as GOP activists waited to see what Coleman would do. Late Sunday, Coleman posted a statement to his Facebook page saying that the timing was not right for a candidacy, noting that it is just six months after a grueling U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman is one of the most-discussed Minnesota politicians these days. He added to the chatter by releasing a statement that sounded a lot like he plans to get into the governor's race; at least that is how some read it. In saying he supports Pat Anderson in her bid to resume her position as state auditor, he said: "In the near future, my decision about which path I intend to pursue to help Minnesota and its citizens address our state's challenges and opportunities will become clear.
ST. PAUL -- Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to spend $315 million less to build and repair facilities around Minnesota than legislative leaders want. Republican Pawlenty this morning said he hopes lawmakers approve $685 million in public works spending, to be repaid by general tax dollars, while Democratic-Farmer-Labor party legislative leaders prefer spending about $1 billion. "You have got to be willing to say, 'No,'" Pawlenty said. Public colleges and universities would get the biggest chunk of money, 30 percent, mostly for fixing existing facilities. That is $245 million.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota governor candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher was fined $9,000 and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party $15,000 for what the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board said was an illegal collaboration. The scheme board members said was improper involved the Kelliher campaign soliciting donations and then giving the money to the party to pay for the campaign's use of voter lists. That allowed Kelliher to circumvent campaign donation limits, the board ruled Wednesday. Kelliher, who lives in Minneapolis, is a DFL governor candidate and state House speaker.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota schools may be asked, again, to help balance the state budget. Pawlenty administration officials this morning said they may need to delay more school payments this spring when the state will not have enough money to pay its bills.
ST. PAUL -- Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota environmentalists are concentrating their political efforts this year on continuing state bans on nuclear and coal-fired power plants and seeking financial deposits from companies before starting a new type of mining. Executive Director Steve Morse of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, an umbrella organization for more than 80 outdoor and environmental groups, on Tuesday briefed legislators and reporters about his members' legislative priorities. The legislative session begins Feb. 4 and is expected to center on the state's financial woes.
ST. PAUL--The Minnesota and North Dakota governors waged a bit of a war in 2003 and 2004 over hunting laws, but now Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he is willing to help North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven hunt for votes as he runs for the U.S. Senate. "I'd do anything for him," Pawlenty said Monday when asked about Hoeven's run for Washington. "I really like him, respect him admire him. He is the kind of leader our country needs in Washington, D.C. Certainly, I would help him." Pawlenty gave Hoeven an "A-plus-plus" grade. The two Republican governors have not always agreed on everything.
ST. PAUL -- Veterans are homeless in larger numbers than other Minnesotans, and Durbin Keeney does not like that. "These are the ones who raise their right hands..." Durbin said Monday, when the state honored the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans. "They are willing to come home in a body bag, but not willing to come home homeless." Keeney directs the council's Duluth-based region that serves 38 counties across northern Minnesota. The council helps homeless veterans find shelter and jobs, as Keeney said, sometimes with quiet support and sometimes with a kick in the pants.