Last week's strong DFL gains in the Minnesota House could imperil GOP plans to boost state revenues with gambling dollars. Gov. Tim Pawlenty and top Republican legislators have been pushing for a state share of Native American casino funds -- and they turned the matter into a last-minute campaign issue this year. But the post-election landscape now makes it seem less likely that gambling proposals will advance.
Republicans clung to the barest of Minnesota
House majorities after a Democratic rout in Tuesday's election,
with a recount in one race threatening to split the chamber down
After a lengthy vote count that didn't end until nearly 10 a.m.
Wednesday, GOP Rep. Judy Soderstrom had 50 percent, or 9,998 votes,
to DFLer Tim Faust's 49 percent, or 9,904 votes, in the race for
her seat north of the Twin Cities.
It was a rare day with no candidates from the presidential tickets in the state on Friday. Still, surrogates for President Bush and John Kerry showed up to rally supporters. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani campaigned in Minnesota for Bush, while former NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark stumped for Kerry. The two focused on national security at competing partisan rallies. Meanwhile, Bush and Kerry began wrapping up their campaigns on the last weekend of the campaign season.
Representatives from two of the state's largest Indian tribes say they're encouraged by preliminary discussions with Governor Tim Pawlenty over the future of gambling in Minnesota. Pawlenty has been eager to capture a portion of Native American casino revenues, and has recently suggested a 25 percent take of net gambling revenues for state government. That idea has received a chilly reception from most of the state's tribes, but White Earth and Leech Lake official say there's room for cooperation.
Thousands of new voters are expected at their local precincts next Tuesday -- but they won't be the only newcomers at the polls. Hundreds of lawyers, poll watchers, and activists will be on hand, alert for any irregularities or signs of mischief. Minnesota has a reputation for clean elections, but the legacy of the 2000 presidential election has put unprecedented scrutiny on this year's balloting.
All 134 seats in the House of Representatives are up for re-election this fall. Two years ago, virtually all of the close races broke in the GOP's favor, delivering a bonanza for Republican lawmakers: a commanding 28-seat majority. Republicans are confident they'll maintain their edge, but Democrats say they need only change a handful of voters in a few close districts to redefine the political landscape. And that's brought plenty of outside pressure on otherwise local races. A race in the Northfield area is one such contest.
When President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry visit Minnesota, they're likely to discuss the war in Iraq, jobs, the economy, and health care. But the two campaigns have given comparatively little time to environmental issues. That's despite what advocates on both sides say are clear and distinct differences between the two candidates.
Thirty-two days before Election Day, local
voting supervisors on Thursday detailed programming glitches in a
new state computer system that they say are slowing data entry,
eating up overtime budgets and stressing workers.
Two dozen Independence Party candidates for the U.S. Congress and the state House of Representatives have been cleared to appear on the ballot this November. The state Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a little-known election law could not be used to block the candidates from appearing in the general election even though they failed to meet a minimum threshold of voter support outlined in the law.
Clint Harris, who steered the South Dakota
lottery to rising profits in four years at the helm, was named
Thursday to take over Minnesota's lottery.
A new poll sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests that most Minnesotans have misgivings about certain aspects of the war or its aftermath, but a majority still says the president is better prepared to manage the situation.
The gloves were off for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader Thursday night during two Twin Cities appearances. Nader spoke to hundreds of supporters, first at Macalester College in St. Paul and then at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. He took direct aim at Democrats, Republicans, and corporate interests. Recent polls show Nader struggling to find support in Minnesota -- but he and his supporters say the campaign is about more than winning the race.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty Tuesday warned high school students to show up for class or risk being denied a driver's license. Pawlenty has asked the departments of Education and Public Safety to draft new rules linking school attendance with driving privileges. The move has received mostly positive reviews from educators and law enforcement officials. But some critics say it obscures the root causes of poor attendance and dropouts.
One day after President Bush formally accepted his party's nomination for re-election, the president and his surrogates have fanned across the country to launch the general campaign season. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was part of the team, landing in Minnesota to rally Republicans at the State Fair. Of course, Democratic candidate John Kerry was at the fair on opening day. And Vice-President Dick Cheney is expected there on Labor Day, while Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards will be across town at a Labor Day picnic on Harriet Island. MPR's Michael Khoo reports on the uptick in campaigning.
Republican and DFL legislative leaders held the first in a series of statewide debates Wednesday in an effort to influence the make-up of the state House next year. Currently, the GOP holds a comfortable 81-53 seat majority in the House. But Democrats say they're eager to trim that lead or even recapture the majority. The election outcome will be a key factor in how the state addresses a potential budget shortfall of up to $1 billion.