The Republican National Convention in New York is in the spotlight this week -- but it's certainly not the only political game in town. The Minnesota State Fair is a traditional hotbed for retail politics, and it's an important venue for smaller parties that can't afford the high production values of the Democrats' and Republicans' campaigns.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty Friday announced the appointment of G. Barry Anderson to fill a vacancy on the Minnesota Supreme Court. Anderson currently serves on the state Court of Appeals and will replace outgoing Supreme Court Associate Justice James Gilbert.
President George W. Bush is in Crawford, Texas, resting after a bus tour that took him through Wisconsin and Minnesota. The president made a campaign stop on Wednesday just across the St. Croix River in Hudson, Wis., followed by a rally at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul. He repeated many of the campaign's familiar themes on the economy and the war in Iraq. But he also opened the dialogue slightly by inviting audience members to pepper him with questions.
All eyes may be on the race for the White House, but Minnesota has a full slate of other races to watch this year. The state's eight congressional seats are up, as are all 134 spots in the state House of Representatives. Republicans currently enjoy a substantial 28 seat majority in that body. That's the biggest edge the GOP has ever held in the House, since partisan elections were introduced in 1972. But Democrats say that's no reason the advantage can't be flipped in November.
Minnesota Democrats are returning home after wrapping up the four-day Democratic National Convention in Boston. The convention ended Thursday evening, after Sen. John Kerry accepted the party's nomination for president. Minnesota delegates uniformly cheered Kerry's remarks -- but the event is only the first step in what's sure to be a tough three months.
Wednesday night's nomination for president of Sen. John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention comes as no surprise. But Kerry's chances in November may depend as much on what goes on outside the Fleet Center as what happens inside. Throughout the day and into the night, elected officials, interest groups, and activists are engaged in the time-honored arts of political life: networking, lobbying, and raising money.
Democrats in Boston have approved a new platform that more than doubles the space given to defense and foreign policy issues. It also touches on the controversial issues of abortion rights and gay and lesbian unions. But despite the tangle of thorny issues, Minnesota delegates say they are unified behind Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards in a way that they haven't been in recent years.
In 2000, the Minnesota delegation was seated in the risers as Democrats nominated Vice President Al Gore for the presidency in Los Angeles' Staples Center. This year, Minnesota Democrats have a front-row seat at Boston's Fleet Center. Many factors affect a delegation's seating, but one of them is likely the state's status as a newly-minted battleground state.
More than 5,000 Democrats are assembling in Boston for the Democratic National Convention. Among their number are 98 Minnesota delegates and alternates, who are counting down to the nomination of Sen. John Kerry for president. The road to Boston began, for Minnesotans, during the March precinct caucuses that drew a record number of attendees. Out of that surprise turnout has comes a new crop of activists. They're younger and perhaps less seasoned, but, as they tell it, every bit as determined as the old guard to take the White House in November.
A new poll suggests Minnesota voters are evenly divided between re-electing President George Bush or replacing him with Democratic rival John Kerry. The survey, commissioned by Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, shows 45 percent of likely voters favor Sen. Kerry and 44 percent support Bush. Ralph Nader attracted 2 percent support. Those results haven't changed much in the last few months.
Mayors from across Minnesota say time is running out for Gov. Tim Pawlenty and lawmakers to correct an error that's left most cities guessing about how much state aid they'll receive next year. A technical glitch has created confusion over how to interpret the aid law -- and city officials say that could lead to budget headaches and unnecessary property tax hikes. Lawmakers and the governor all agreed the law is defective -- but disagree over how and when to call a special session to fix the problem.
Consumer advocate and presidential candidate Ralph Nader debates former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean Friday afternoon, over the role and influence of third parties in politics. In 2000, Minnesota voters gave Nader one of his strongest showings, enough to propel the Greens to major party status here. His supporters say they'll continue that fight this year -- but other progressive voters say Nader's candidacy could undermine Democrat John Kerry, and ultimately benefit the Republican ticket.
Minnesota's new voter registration system has its first test Tuesday in a special primary election in Dakota County. The switchover is part of a nationwide overhaul inspired by the Florida debacle of 2000. But some local election officials say a broad rollout of the new system during a tight presidential election could lead to big headaches in Minnesota.
An attorney for sports entrepreneur and political consultant Pat Forciea says his client has acknowledged defrauding several banks and business partners of millions of dollars. Forciea served as a consultant on DFLer Paul Wellstone's 1990 campaign that launched the senator's political career. Forciea went on to develop numerous connections to professional and collegiate sports organizations in the following years. But now he seems likely to face time behind bars.
Signs of a possible compromise at the Capitol are quickly evaporating as Gov. Tim Pawlenty, House Republicans, and Senate Democrats returned to finger-pointing over the lack of accomplishment this year. The Legislature adjourned last month without resolving any of this year's major budget or policy questions. And the governor and House Republicans say Tuesday's Senate DFL proposal to reconvene is nothing more than a repackaged version of earlier, rejected options. Democrats in turn blame GOP leaders for holding the state's business hostage to the single issue of same-sex marriage.