Gov. Pawlenty and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will lead a delegation to Dearborn, Michigan today with the hopes of convincing Ford executives to keep St. Paul's Ford Plant open. The plant is scheduled to close next year.
DFL Legislative leaders are urging Pawlenty to take the FMAP money. His spokesman says Pawlenty hasn't decided yet.
A federal ruling on embryonic stem cells could slow down research at the U of M.
The Chief Justice of the MN Supreme Court says the state's justice system "is on the brink."
The Minnesota Court of Appeals rules that the I-35W bridge design firm is not clear of bridge claims.
The Central Corridor light rail bid is $12 million under budget.
Race for Governor
The three candidates for governor will take part in a debate focused on infrastructure this morning.
Yesterday the candidates focused on the economy. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal does a write-thru of the debate.
MPR says IP candidate Tom Horner's tax plan was in the crosshairs.
The Star Tribune focused on the fact that none of the three candidates for governor thought Governor Pawlenty's JOBZ program worked.
The AP focused on where they stand on lifting the state's ban on new nuclear power plants.
The Pi Press focused on their vision for Minnesota in six words or less.
You can listen to the full debate here.
During the debate, Republican Tom Emmer takes uses a new talking point when it comes to the budget deficit - he says state revenues are climbing seven percent.
AP also says Emmer is in a sticky spot for using terms like "take back the state" and "it's time for a new direction" since Republican Tim Pawlenty has been governor for eight years.
MPR's Midmorning will ask whether jobs are really leaving Minnesota for South Dakota as the MNGOP claims. Show is at 9am.
Democrat Mark Dayton says he's disappointed in Target's donation to MN Forward. Dayton's family founded the Dayton-Hudson Corporation that formed Target.
Washington University canceled an event with Target because the company donated to MN Forward.
SEIU officially backs Dayton's bid for governor.
Former State Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm backs Horner's bid for governor.
Home sales plunge to the lowest level in 15 years.
A broadband summit focuses on ways to close the digital divide. The forum was hosted by DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
DFL Sen. Al Franken hears a pitch for local renewable energy plans in Kandiyohi County.
The head of the National Endowment for the Arts will speak in St. Paul this evening. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is sponsoring the event.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is headed to northwestern MN to talk about flood diversion efforts. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson invited him.
Peterson will be in South Carolina on September 8th to talk about the Farm Bill.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
The Rochester Post-Bulletin says the picture for Pawlenty's new book cover was taken at Frontenac State Park near Red Wing.
The book cover prompted many political writers to compare it to Sarah Palin's cover.
Good-bye Douglas Amdahl.
Posted at 9:37 AM on August 25, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Campaign 2010
The Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board has distributed $3.9 million in public subsidy payments to 365 candidates running for office this fall.
The payments are going to candidates for governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state auditor and the Minnesota Legislature. In the governor's race, Republican Tom Emmer is getting a total of $511,834 in public subsidies. Tom Horner of the Independence Party is getting $346,368. There's no payment for DFL candidate Mark Dayton, who declined to abide by the required spending cap.
The Minnesota Associated Builders and Contractors has announced its support of Republican Tom Emmer in the race for governor.
Associated Builders and Contractors is a national association representing nearly 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms in 78 chapters.
Emmer issued the following statement:
"I am humbled by the support of the Associated Builders and Contractors and by the hardworking small businesspeople they represent. They understand that it's not government but businesses which create jobs and opportunities for working Minnesotans. With ABC's support, I know we will make Minnesota a place that's open for business."
Republican Attorney General candidate Chris Barden is calling on Democratic incumbent Lori Swanson to debate his eight times. Barden told reporters that he wants to have eight debates - one in each congressional district in Minnesota - between now and Election Day. Barden says the debate will give the public an opportunity to learn the differences between the two candidates.
Barden said his top priorities are suing to stop the federal health law, working to institute photo identification at the polls and making Minnesota's business climate more friendly. Barden says he would join a lawsuit filed by other attorneys general challenging the constitutionality of the federal health law. He also said he would lobby the Legislature to pass a law that requires photo identification at the polling place. Barden also said he would work to be an advocate for consumers and businesses if he's elected. He argues Swanson has been too focused on consumer issues at the expense of business.
Barden says the only debate that is currently scheduled is a KSTP-TV/League of Women Voters debate on October 16th.
I'm checking to see whether Swanson has agreed to appear at the KSTP-TV debate or any other debates.
Here's a response from Brian Bergson, with Swanson's campaign:
"AG Swanson is tending to the office's legal work, and hasn't yet seen Dr. Barden's political correspondence. She will participate in a debate sponsored by KSTP 5/League of Women Voters, but details and scheduling still need to be worked out."
Posted at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: Campaign 2010
State officials have unveiled a new online service to help Minnesotans check their voter registration status.
Voters who visit http://www.sos.state.mn.us/ can now enter their name, birth date and address to see if their registration is current. Links and further instructions are provided to those who need to update their registration. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says the service will make the voting process easier by addressing one of the most frequently asked election questions.
"We know that this service is one that's going to save a lot of voters' time," Ritchie said. "And it's going to save a lot of local elections officials money, because the number of phone calls and just the staff time, they will not have to be devoted to this particular question."
Ritchie says the online tool only verifies registration and does not disclose any information about individual voters. His office staff will demonstrate the new service during the Minnesota State Fair.
To help reduce the deficit, Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner has proposed revamping the state's sales taxes.
Doing so will "make Minnesota's sales tax consistent with most other states," a press release on his website states.
So, how does Horner's sales tax plan stack up? It's true that his proposal would make Minnesota more like the rest of the nation.
Horner's tax plan has several components, but in this instance he's specifically talking about his plan to lower the general sales tax and expand sales taxes to previously exempt products and services.
Currently, Minnesota has the seventh highest sales tax in the country at 6.875 percent. But Horner wants to lower that to 5.875 percent, giving Minnesota the 25th highest sales tax in the country. Doing so would put Minnesota right in the middle of the pack, with a sales tax just above the national average of about 5 percent.
It's important to note that Horner would also allow counties to increase sales taxes by half a percent to offset his proposed reductions in state aid. So, in counties that take this option, the net impact on the consumer would be a half percent reduction in the sales tax.
Unlike most states, Minnesota exempts clothing from sales tax. Horner's plan would change that. (He's also talked about expanding sales tax to other services, but hasn't detailed his ideas.)
Horner's claim is accurate: The sales tax reduction and the expansion of sales tax to clothing would make Minnesota more like other states.
Tom Horner for Governor, Horner-Mulder Release Budget Outline, accessed Aug. 24, 2010
Tom Horner for Governor, Minnesota Works: Horner-Mulder Budget, accessed Aug. 24, 2010
Minnesota Public Radio News, Horner outlines budget plan: Taxes, cuts, delays, by Mark Zdechlik, Aug. 23, 2010
The Federation of Tax Administrators, State Sales Tax Rates and Food & Drug Exemptions, January, 2010
Minnesota Department of Revenue, Minnesota Sales and Use Tax, accessed Aug. 24, 2010
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, Is it time to tax clothing sales?, by Baird Helgeson, March 4, 2010:
Interview, Mark Haveman, executive director, Minnesota Taxpayers Association, Aug. 24, 2010
At their latest debate, Republican Tom Emmer, Democrat Mark Dayton and Tom Horner from the Independence party talked transportation issues during a 90 minutes debate this morning sponsored by a variety of transportation interests.
Dayton is proposing a one billion dollar bonding bill, which he says could create nearly 30,000 jobs. He said it makes sense to borrow because the need for road work comes when interest rates are low.
"There's both the short term benefit of a $1 billion bonding bill in a state that has a gross state product of $263 billion, I mean that's not going to tip the scales But in terms of the economic recovery, it's going to make a significant contribution. 28,500 jobs through a $1 billion of public investment is a good deal for the people of Minnesota."
Horner would spend less than half of that. Horner used the debate to rip Dayton's spending plans and his income tax increase on the top ten percent of wage earners.
"That's not nearly enough to pay for the billions and billions and billions of dollars that you're promising in new spending and there aren't enough bonding bills in the world that are going to help small businesses if they're not in business because they're having to pay rates that are at the top of the nation."
Dayton defended his tax proposal, saying more than 90 percent of small business owners don't report enough income to get hit by the higher rate.
Republican Emmer has never voted for a bonding bill as a state legislator. He said the bills should be used only for long-term projects and that they are instead used for political purposes.
"They should not be used to pass policies like a policy on greenhouse has emissions that would not otherwise not get through the legislative process. They should not be used to give out a Christmas tree full of gifts to convince career politicians to give their votes in other areas where they might not otherwise provide them."
You can listen to the full debate here: Listen
The three candidates are scheduled to take part in another debate tomorrow. The TwinWest Chamber will host that debate in the morning.
MPR's Mark Zdechlik wrote the story and gathered the audio for this blog post.
Sixth district Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann invited reporters along for a bus tour to businesses in her district. It was part of her newly ramped-up campaign efforts, which include an ad launched yesterday attacking DFL opponent Tarryl Clark.
Today's events began at Dorothy Ann Bakery in Woodbury, where Bachmann was shown around the ovens and dough preparation areas. The bakery's treats later showed up on her campaign bus, where she served them to reporters.
Reporter access to Bachmann was otherwise limited. She took questions for about seven minutes of the roughly half-hour long drive to the next destination. Here are a few snippets of the comments she offered.
On the topic of her political action committee, MICHELEPAC:
The primaries are essentially over, but I'm hoping to be able to help a few candidates out with funds. It's all about trying to bring in like voices, constitutional conservatives who want to roll back spending, tax increases, and create more of a job friendly environment
On the question of what she's done to help the sixth district:
I've been a very strong voice in Washington, D.C. against this out of control spending, against the tax increases, and against deficit spending. I worked very hard on the health care bill to make sure we wouldn't have the government takeover of health care. People across the sixth tell me, "Thank you for the work that you did on that health care bill. Thank you for the work you've done to fight against the government takeover of cap and trade."
On the topic of her opponent, Tarryl Clark:
She has a career of voting for tax increases and spending increase. They tend to go hand in hand. She's voted for big taxing and big spending, and ultimately that means job killing along the way. Also, she fits right in line with the Pelosi-Obama agenda. But I think people overwhelmingly are rejecting the Pelosi-Obama agenda.
Clark's camp issued a press release yesterday countering similar statements made in Bachmann's ad. The ad features a character named "Jim the Election Guy," who took aim at Tarryl Clark's support of tax increases.
Clark's campaign defended its candidate, saying Clark "voted to hold down taxes on 95% of working Minnesotans, including reducing property taxes."
Bachmann's press secretary, Sergio Gor, says Bachmann herself will appear in some future ads. He says the campaign is in "active discussions" with Clark's people about potential debates.
He also says there will be more bus tours in the future. Clark's camp says it's working on details of its own upcoming tour of small businesses.
The Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund has endorsed DFL candidate Mark Dayton in the race for governor.
In a news release today, PPAF president Sarah Stoesz said that Minnesotans have embraced Dayton's vision for the state, including his commitment to affordable and accessible health care for all.
"As our U.S. Senator, Mark Dayton demonstrated his dedication to Minnesota women and families." Stoesz said. "He has a long history of fighting for what's right: access to affordable and high quality health care, including family planning, and protecting the health and safety of women. He has always been a true champion for women's health."
Stoesz also praised Dayton's selection of state Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon as his lieutenant governor running mate. She said Solon is a proven advocate for women and families.
Posted at 4:04 PM on August 25, 2010
by Annie Baxter
In an email to supporters sent earlier today, Rep. Michele Bachmann asked for funds to pay for her two-day bus tour. She says:
Fueling this bus tour will be expensive, so I'm reaching out to you to help. I've set a goal for our campaign to raise $48,000 online in the next 48 hours to fund the tour.
Bachmann noted that her opponent, democrat Tarryl Clark, has been raising lots of cash from liberal groups who want to defeat Bachmann. She says "Nancy Pelosi has personally targeted me for defeat this year."
Happy Start of the State Fair Day! Politicians will flock to the event with the hopes of connecting with as many voters as possible. It's also considered the start of the general election. Every candidate is hoping to get the Big Mo' in Falcon Heights.
The three candidates for governor will all be at the State Fair but they'll talk policy first at the TwinWest Chamber debate.
All three candidates indicate support to expand gambling in the state.
All three candidates say they support building the Vikings a new stadium.
Politics in Minnesota writes about the poster children for changes to the state's permitting system. The article shows the Baer family is not a typical farm family.
All three candidates talked indicated support for a bonding bill and infrastructure projects at a transportation and infrastructure debate on Wednesday. Read what they say and listen to the entire debate here.
The MN Associated Builders and Contractors is backing Republican Tom Emmer's campaign.
Planned Parenthood is backing Democrat Mark Dayton.
The PoliGraph says Independence Party Tom Horner's sales tax proposal would make Minnesota like other states.
Emmer received $511k in public subsidies. Horner gets $346k.
Race for Congress
Politico says Democrats privately fear their House prospects are worsening.
Nate Silver also says Democratic control of the Senate is also in jeopardy.
President Obama is seeking $1 million for the DCCC.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann took a bus tour of the district.
Bachmann raised money off of the bus tour.
Bachmann's leadership PAC initially misspelled the name of her new PAC.
Republican Attorney General candidate Chris Barden is calling on Democratic incumbent Lori Swanson to debate him eight times.
Voters can now check their registration status online.
Under the Dome
The efforts by Gov. Pawlenty and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman to save St. Paul's Ford Plant go nowhere.
Xcel Energy is at odds with a nuclear agency over flood precautions at the Prairie Island facility.
Children's Hospital plans to cut up to 250 jobs.
Gang Strike victims reach a $3 million settlement with the Metro Gang Strike Force.
Olmsted County uncovers felon voters from 2008.
More bids are awarded for Central Corridor.
State Fair officials touted the safety record of the amusement park rides.
President Obama will speak to the troops and the nation next week about Iraq.
Glenn Beck headlines a rally in Washington D.C. this weekend that could be a test of the Tea Party's strength in November.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar calls for a Food Safety Bill in light of the egg recall.
DFL Sen. Al Franken visits Wadena to survey the rebuilding efforts to the tornado.
He also got an earful about Brainerd's problems.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen will hold a meeting with NFIB members to give legislative updates.
The Chair of the National Endowment of the Arts visited St. Paul. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is mentioned.
An update to flood diversion plans in northwestern Minnesota is expected today. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch