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 Secretary of State Steve Simon may have said it best: "What a day to be in the democracy business." Simon, whose office runs state elections, was in the center of Minnesota's political world Tuesday, June 5, as the first Muslim in Congress decided to run for attorney general in what turned into a crowded Democratic primary election contest. Six Democrats are running in the Aug. 14 primary election. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis attracted nationwide attention with his decision.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Democratic governor candidate Erin Murphy picked as her running mate a first-term state legislator who gained wide attention for a 24-hour sit-in protest about gun violence. Erin Maye Quade will be the lieutenant governor candidate, Murphy announced to the Democratic state convention Sunday, June 3. The convention endorsed Maye Quade, finalizing the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party ballot for the Aug. 14 primary election.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Erin Murphy left the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention its endorsed candidate, only to face a familiar opponent in the Aug. 14 primary election. Delegates gave her unanimous support, but only after U.S. Rep. Tim Walz withdrew from the endorsement. He plans to challenge her in the primary election. Murphy, a St. Paul state representative, made no mention of Walz when she spoke to delegates after she won the endorsement. "Together, we are unstoppable," Murphy said.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Minnesota's two U.S. senators faced little trouble getting their party's endorsement to stay in office, but Sen. Tina Smith first needed to fend off three challengers, including one well known to cable television news viewers. Smith, appointed early this year to replace Al Franken, easily beat Republican-turned-Democrat Richard Painter and two little-known candidates at the Minnesota Democratic Convention Friday night, June 1, in Rochester. Smith collected 74.5 percent of the vote, with Painter following at 17.6 percent.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every election year comes the same rote statement: "It is the most important election in a generation." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton admits that is a cliche. But, this time at least, he said it is true. "I'm not running for office, but I think this is the most important election in my time," said Dayton, who early in January will leave public life after more than 40 years in politics. That is what he plans to tell fellow Democrats when he speaks to their state convention in Rochester on Saturday, June 2.
ST. PAUL -- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have an experienced lieutenant governor as his running mate in this year's governor election. He named Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to that role Thursday, May 31. Fischbach has been No. 2 in the executive branch since early this year, while still holding onto her Senate seat. She resigned from the Senate last week, after Pawlenty asked her to join his ticket.
ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign or veto a public works funding bill for projects around Minnesota on Wednesday, May 30. If he signs the bill, he could eliminate some of the projects lawmakers approved. Also, his office says he will sign a pension-protection bill Thursday in a public ceremony. A number of other bills await his signature or veto, but he indicated they were not controversial.
ST. PAUL — Super Bowl visitors left $400 million in the Twin Cities. The Feb. 4 event, preceded by 10 days of organized partying was a success, organizers and the governor declared Tuesday, May 29, when they released an economic impact report. "The success of the enterprise was just phenomenal," Gov. Mark Dayton said. And, perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Super Bowl visitors on their first Minnesota visit said they will be back.
ST. PAUL -- Michelle Fischbach is resigning her Minnesota Senate seat to become lieutenant governor. Gov. Mark Dayton's office announced Friday morning, May 25, that the Paynesville Republican would take the oath Friday morning.