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 -- Minnesota House candidate Kyle Green, who lists himself on official paperwork as "independent-judicial reform," shook things up in his west-central Minnesota race. Green ends a 33-second campaign video with: "I want to be your state representative. I want to be your public servant. And I want to be your n -----." The candidate says he is American Indian, African-American and white. His video appears on a Facebook page "Kyle Greene for State Representative District 18A."
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—Minnesota's governor race got real at the State Fair, the location where the public begins to notice election campaigns. Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson laid out their differences—such as on spending, taxes, health care and guns—sharper than ever Friday, Aug. 31, during a Minnesota Public Radio-sponsored debate. Johnson was especially tough during the nearly hour-long event.
ST. PAUL — The 219,000 Minnesotans paid minimum wage will get a raise Jan. 1. State officials announced Thursday, Aug. 23, that employees of large businesses will be paid at least $9.86 an hour, up from $9.65 that is required today. Those who work for smaller businesses will be paid a minimum of $8.04, compared to the current $7.87.
ST. PAUL — A governor's housing task force says 300,000 homes should be built by 2030 in Minnesota, but provides few specific suggestions about how to reach the goal. The task force released its report Tuesday, Aug. 21, with 30 broad recommendations of what the state needs to provide adequate affordable housing. Gov. Mark Dayton said a half million Minnesotans "are struggling to afford quality housing." But he said that in the slightly more than four months he has left in office there is "not much" he can do to promote the recommendations.
ST. PAUL — The White House is leaving no doubt that Minnesota is important in its 2018 political strategy. The Minnesota Republican Party announced Monday, Aug. 20, that Vice President Mike Pence will be in Bloomington on Aug. 30, with a fundraiser the only thing on his agenda so far. When Pence and President Donald Trump have been here this year, they also have fit in rallies and other events to help GOP candidates.
ST. PAUL -- President Donald Trump wants to influence Minnesota's governor race. The winner of the Tuesday, Aug. 14, Republican primary received the president's endorsement and the loser said he failed because he is not on Trump's wavelink. Trump endorsed Republican governor candidate Jeff Johnson Wednesday, tweeting: "Jeff Johnson of Minnesota had a big night in winning the Republican nomination for Governor against a very strong and well known opponent! Thanks for all of the support you showed me. You have my complete and total Endorsement.
ST. PAUL -- Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz will be Minnesotans' choices for governor this fall. "I think we sent a message, people want something different," Republican Jeff Johnson said shortly after 10 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 14, as vote counting wound down in the state primary election. Johnson said he was not for the status quo, and campaigned as the most conservative governor candidate.
ST. PAUL — The 2018 primary election is as different as it gets, with more contests than usual, late surprises and a ton of votes already cast. Republicans are attacking each other in the governor race. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the No. 2 official in the national Democratic Party, opted against re-election, instead running for attorney general in a crowded field. Ellison's withdrawal from the U.S. House race led to a six-person race to replace him. Last-minute allegations surfaced against Ellison and Attorney General Lori Swanson, a Democratic governor candidate.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Minnesota's five major governor candidates bent over backwards to show they are on farmers' side during the first forum with them all. Each told farmers at Farmfest near Redwood Falls about their connections to greater Minnesota, hoping to win votes in the Tuesday, Aug. 14, primary election and the Nov. 6 general election. For Republicans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he was was the farmers' champion when he served before and Jeff Johnson said he grew up in greater Minnesota, so understands the issues.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Immigration may be one of the biggest partisan divides in Washington, but there appears to be general support among candidates for rural U.S. House seats in Minnesota for a program providing workers to farmers. Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need for the visa program during a Farmfest candidate forum Tuesday, Aug. 7. But they disagreed on many other issues.