Gov. Pawlenty has finally called a closed-door negotiation session, which means they may actually make some progress. The Star Tribune had a nice story Sunday:
The public budget negotiating production of the past few weeks appears to be coming to a swift and merciful close, following lackluster reviews.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced at the end of last week that he had invited all four House and Senate caucus leaders to gather in private in his office Monday.
This ritual has become a session-ending tradition.
One side demands that the talks be out in the open, the other calls their bluff, public talks begin, bluster ensues, two or three meetings occur, both sides look a little foolish, and the doors close and deals are made.
Parleying in public almost never produces an agreement, according to veterans of the process, while private high-level meetings between the governor and Senate and House leaders commonly do.
In the Fargo Forum, Don Davis has a look at the negotiators:
In some ways, it is amazing anything gets done, given the behind-the-scenes tension among Gov. Tim Pawlenty, House Speaker Steve Sviggum and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson.
Pawlenty, a Republican from suburban Eagan, called legislative leaders into his office to discuss budget matters on the first day of the current special session. Those early talks went nowhere.
Just to tally up: two weeks, no deals made, no bills passed.
The main political story today is the official launch of Kelly Doran's campaign for U.S. Senate. William Wilcoxen covered it for MPR:
Doran says he is a lifelong Democrat. He made it clear, though, that he is in the moderate wing of the party. His campaign staff includes John Wodele, the former spokesman for Independence Party Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Doran says the practice of promoting junior politicians to senior politicians has not served the country well. He spoke of the need to send citizens to Washington to put the nation's interests ahead of partisanship.
"Someone must put a stop to this red and blue adversarial insanity that goes on in Washington D.C.," said Doran. "We are not red and blue. We are Americans. The children who suffer from this fiscal insanity and irresponsibility don't know if they live in a red state or a blue state. They only know that when they're hungry it's hard to concentrate in the classroom. And when they're sick they should be able to go to the doctor."
Doran declined to be specific about the size of his personal fortune or how much of it he's prepared to spend on his Senate bid. He joins Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar in campaigning to be the Democrat on the November 2006 Senate ballot. Doran hasn't decided whether to seek the party endorsement, while Klobuchar says she won't run in the primary if she's not endorsed.
So a primary is a sure thing on the DFL side, while Mark Kennedy is the only candidate on the GOP side.