DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is in Saudi Arabia today. The second term Democrat says on his Twitter feed that he made the trip with business leaders:
I am in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) w/ 16 Minnesota businesses building bi-lateral business relationship. Had 11. Growing.
Ellison also said on his Twitter feed that he met with a Muslim leader on the trip.
Had an excellent meeting w/ the Custodian of the Two Holy Sites yesterday. Very wise and intelligent man.
Custodian of Two Holy Sites is King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz of of Saudi Arabia. 85 yrs. Focused on modernizing very traditional nation
I contacted Ellison's spokesman to find out how long he'll be in Saudi Arabia, who he's traveling with and who paid for the trip.
I'll post the information if/when it becomes available.
Update: Ellison's spokesman says Ellison's trip was authorized and paid for by the Foreign Affairs Committee on which he sits. You can find the full list of participants here. It includes members of the Minnesota Trade Council, Faegre & Benson LLP and Hormel.
Update: Ellison's Twitter feed on Thursday says he's in Israel:
In Israel, driving thru rolling hills into Jeruselam. Beautiful scenes juxtaposed w/ apparent bedoin poverty. Settlements visible from hwy.
State Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, has become the first DFL candidate for governor to select a running mate.
Marty announced today that state Sen. Patricia Torres Ray, DFL-Minneapolis, is joining his campaign. Torres Ray is a first-term legislator. She was the first Latina elected to the Minnesota Senate. During a news conference, Torres Ray said Marty has a clear, bold vision for the state that she wants to share with disengaged voters.
"John and I want to reach out to those who feel like they do not have a voice in government, and we want to bring them back to the table," Torres Ray said. "We want to get people excited about politics."
Marty has said he will abide by the DFL party endorsement, which will come next month at the party's state convention in Duluth. State Rep. Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, is the only Republican candidate for governor who has announced a running mate.
Gov. Pawlenty hosted a "Facebook Townhall" tonight that attracted roughly 1,000 viewers. At the start of the event, Pawlenty gave his standard stump speech that included concerns about the direction of the federal government and a call for folks to consider themselves "constitutional conservatives" first.
Pawlenty also announced that his federal political action committee will support seven candidates for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House:
Tim Burns, running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 12th District
Robert Dold, running for Congress in Illinois' 10th District
Sean Duffy, running for Congress in Wisconsin's 7th District
Charles Djou, running for Congress in Hawaii's 1st District
Pat Meehan, running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 7th District
Gov. John Hoeven, running for U.S. Senate in North Dakota
Pat Toomey, running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
One race Pawlenty hasn't endorsed in is Minnesota's race for governor. When asked, Pawlenty said he wasn't backing a candidate at this time and may wait until after the endorsing convention on April 30th.
The event should be considered a success since it received plenty of buzz from the national press (the Washington Post, MSNBC and Fox all wrote about it or interviewed Pawlenty) but it did have a few hiccups. The feed dropped out twice on my end and several others complained that the audio or video dropped out.
The event was also featured at the end of the 1st quarter of 2010. Pawlenty's PAC will have to report their fundraising totals on April 15th.