Posted at 7:10 AM on August 10, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
It's now up to the voters. It's Primary Day in Minnesota and the voters will determine which candidates will be on the November ballot. The hottest race is the DFL race between Margaret Anderson Kelliher, Mark Dayton and Matt Entenza. MPR News will provide live coverage of the results at 8pm.
Tea leaf alert! Absentee ballot voting in the 2010 Primary surpassed past primary elections.
Here are a few of the differences between the DFL candidates.
DFL Sen. Al Franken would have made things worse for South Dakota Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin when he said a vote for her is a vote for Nancy Pelosi. South Dakota is considered a GOP leaning state.
Republicans in the Minnesota Senate hired Ben Golnik to help with the campaign.
House members head back to Washington D.C. to vote on a jobs bill for teachers and government workers.
An Ethics Committee finds that California Democrat Maxine Waters may have used her office for personal gain.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar schedules forums on the Farm Bill.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann holds a tele-townhall with Tea Partiers.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
A Muslim group asks Gov. Pawlenty to retract his remark over a mosque in NYC.
Gov. Pawlenty today issued a news release criticizing Congress for passing legislation that would provide financial assistance to states to pay teachers.
"The federal government should not deficit spend to bail out states and special interest groups. Minnesota balanced its budget without raising taxes and without relying on more federal money. The federal government's reckless spending spree must come to an end. "
Pawlenty, who appears to be preparing for a 2012 White House run, isn't telling the whole story when it comes to Minnesota's budget picture.
In January, Pawlenty proposed a budget that relied on $400 million in FMAP money from the federal government-- the same funds in the bill the House passed today. Pawlenty and lawmakers changed course only after they realized Congress wouldn't provide the money by the time the legislative session ended. They agreed to put the funds, if they became available, into reserve.
The Congressional action means the state now has a cash cushion and may not have to borrow money to pay bills as State Finance officials predicted in July.
Pawlenty also fails to mention that he relied heavily on federal money to balance the state's books in 2009.
It should also be noted that the budget adopted by Pawlenty and the DFL controlled Legislature delayed $1.2 billion in payments to schools that will eventually have to be paid back.
The reliance on federal funds, the school funding shift and other one-time funds mean Minnesota's budget problems will get worse when Pawlenty leaves office. The next governor is expected to inherit a $5.8 billion projected budget deficit for the next two year budget cycle. Factor in inflation and the shortfall amounts to $6.9 billion
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says it looks like nearly 31,000 absentee ballots were cast in the primary, which is a new record. Unfortunately, after all the publicity around the 2008 U.S. Senate recount it also look like about 1,080 absentee ballots were rejected. That's just about the same percentage as were rejected in 2008.
"The 2010 Minnesota Primary election is the first test of the new design for absentee balloting materials and new procedures for reviewing and processing absentee ballots," said Ritchie. "So far the results have been remarkably successful."
Ritchie was standing by his earlier prediction that overall turnout would be about 10-11 percent. That's on the low end historically for primary elections.