Minnesota is getting plenty of attention from outside groups and national political heavy weights. Former President Bill Clinton will campaign in Blaine on Sunday night to campaign for Democrat Tarryl Clark's campaign for Congress.
Clinton's visit comes one day after President Barack Obama will hold a rally at the U of M to hold a rally for Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign for governor.
Obama's visit comes at a time when polling shows young voters aren't engaged in the midterms.
While Democrats will bring in their heavy hitters, the RGA delivered a $1 million check to spend on ads to help Republican Tom Emmer get elected. The RGA has spent $1.8 million on the race to date. The DGA spent $1.5 million.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty will also campaign with Emmer on Sunday and Monday.
Former GOP Gov. Al Quie announced on Thursday that he's backing IP candidate Tom Horner. Horner now has the backing of two of the three living GOP governors in Minnesota.
The candidates will appear in a debate this morning in Rochester.
On Thursday, Dayton spoke to Minnesota teachers and said he wants to create an alliance with them.
Emmer told the St. Cloud Times that he wants no state funds to go for the expansion of the Northstar Commuter Rail Line.
Horner supports the judicial appointment process.
Horner told the Marshall Independent he likes where he's at.
MPR talks to the candidates about what they think the state's role is for broadband.
As they prepare for the final push, Democrats have a large cash advantage over the MNGOP.
Race for Congress
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack will square off in a debate tonight in Grand Rapids. Oberstar says he wants a civil debate not a "professional wrestling match."
Small donors make a big difference in the race for Minnesota's 6th District.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann says she'll have a bigger role in Congress if Republicans take the majority.
Democrat Tarryl Clark says the 6th District should be the focus of the job.
The Star Tribune uses the 1st District as an example of how voters are shifting their preferences along with the economy.
The candidates in the 4th District debated the issues.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson turned down a push for public debates.
Smart Politics says Oberstar and Peterson receive more than half of their money from special interests.
The Wall St. Journal reports that AFSCME is the biggest spender in this year's election (to date).
Race for Legislature
DFL state Rep. Tina Liebling of Rochester is making a play to become Speaker of the Minnesota House. Read her letter to DFL House members here.
The candidates for Attorney General will be on TPT's Almanac tonight. Side note: Attorney General Lori Swanson, the DFL incumbent, declined MPR's request to appear in a debate with Republican Chris Barden next week.
Under the Dome
The state lost 9,900 jobs in September.
Families and friends say good-bye to twelve soldiers who are being deployed to Afghanistan.
Six are charged with voter fraud in Hennepin County. The sheriff investigated 110 cases.
Chris DeLaForest is leaving his post with the Pawlenty Administration.
Top companies are aiding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in policy fights with the White House.
The feds will boost spending on ethanol production.
DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken back Sun Country's bid to have a slot at Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C.
Klobuchar is also taking aim at reducing online harassment.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty told KSTP that he'll make a decision by March on whether he'll run for President.
Gov. Pawlenty will spend the Sunday before Election Day campaigning for the GOP candidate for governor... of Iowa.
On the Saturday before Election Day, Pawlenty, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will hold a campaign rally for Emmer.
Pawlenty will host a fundraising luncheon today for Wisconsin Congressional hopeful Sean Duffy.
He also has a Facebook chat with the Heritage Foundation today.
Not a gubernatorial debate goes by without some discussion of government aid to cities and schools.
DFL hopeful Mark Dayton raised the issue during a debate at the University of Minnesota on Oct. 15, 2010, saying state aid cuts are forcing property taxes up.
"For every dollar you cut in local government aids or in school aid from the state, property taxes go up by 67 cents," he said. "That's why property taxes in Minnesota under Gov. Pawlenty have gone from $4 billion to $7 billion."
Dayton's correct that the correlation between cuts in government aid and increasing property taxes is strong. However, it's worth pointing out that there are other reasons school and local property taxes are on the rise.
First, Dayton says that property taxes increase by 67 cents for every dollar the state cuts in aid.
Generally speaking, this is true, though it's important to note that this is a rule of thumb employed by the Minnesota Department of Revenue when estimating how cuts in state aid will interfere with tax revenue, not the law of the land. Eric Willette, who directs property tax research at the revenue department, says recent estimates have been on the high end because many cities are choosing not to raise property taxes in light of the ongoing recession.
The same trend is evident when it comes to per pupil school aid. Based on Department of Education data, when accounting for inflation, per pupil funding has declined by about $1,300 since 2003, and property taxes have increased by about $870 - a two-thirds increase in taxes.
Further, Dayton points out property taxes have increased from $4 billion to $7 billion in recent years. This is also true. Since Pawlenty took office in 2003, local and school property taxes have increased by about that much. (State property taxes have increased over the years, but not dramatically.)
Dayton's underlying point, that a rise in property taxes is the direct result of cuts to state aid, is fuzzier.
By all accounts, the cuts are a major contributor. However, there are other factors at play.
In counties, for instance, property taxes have been on the rise because the state has shifted some of the costs associated with taking care of the Medicaid patients and the mentally disabled to counties, says Keith Carlson, executive director of the Minnesota Inter-County Association.
Meanwhile, cities and towns are grappling with higher health care costs, home foreclosures that erode the tax base, and relatively high energy costs meaning it costs more for police and fire departments to fuel their patrol cars and fire trucks.
Generally, Dayton's claims are correct. It's true that for every dollar that's cut in state aid, property taxes tend to increase by about 67 cents. And these cuts have driven increases in property taxes.
That said, it's important to put this trend in context: The recession, foreclosures, and higher gas prices have all contributed to this increase as well.
All in all, Dayton's claim passes the PoliGraph test.
The UpTake, Gubernatorial Debate at the University of Minnesota, Oct. 15, 2010
Minnesota Department of Revenue, Price of Government: State and Local Government Revenues are Forecast Through 2013, accessed Oct. 19, 2010
State of Minnesota: Office of the State Auditor, Minnesota City Finances, 2008 Revenues, Expenditures, and Debt, Dec. 31, 2008
Minnesota2020, When It Comes to School Finances, No News is Not Good News, by Jeff Van Wychen, Aug. 23, 2010
Interview, Eric Willette, Property Tax Research Director, Minnesota Department of Revenue, Oct. 19, 2010
Interview, Keith Carlson, Executive Director, Minnesota Inter-County Association, Oct. 19, 2010
Interview, Gary Carlson, Director of Intergovernmental Relations, League of Minnesota Cities Oct. 19, 2010
Interview, Jeff Van Wychen, Minnesota2020, Oct. 20, 2010
The latest Rasmussen poll shows Democrat Mark Dayton with a three point lead over Republican Tom Emmer. Support for IP candidate Tom Horner also appears to be dropping.
Dayton received support from 44 percent of those polled. Emmer received support from 41 percent of those poll. IP candidate Tom Horner received 10 percent support.
The poll surveyed 750 likely voters on October 20th. The margin of error is +/-4%.
The poll also found that Gov. Pawlenty's approval/disapproval is locked at 49%.
Fifty percent of those polled approve of the job President Obama is doing. 49% disapprove.
Here's the full poll.
Former Gov. Jesse Ventura told the St. Paul Pioneer Press today that he's backing IP candidate Tom Horner's campaign for governor. Ventura, who is a member of the IP, served as governor from 1999-2003. His victory in the 1998 election completely surprised the world.
"I urge people -- if they truly want change, it's in their power -- shock the world again." Vote Tom Horner in as governor," Ventura told the newspaper.
MPR's Tim Pugmire reports that Horner says Ventura will campaign with him between now and Election Daty.
Two of the statewide candidates for political office will be on the hunt for votes this weekend. They'll also be on the hunt for critters.
Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign is headed to Montevideo on Saturday morning to go pheasant hunting with DFL Rep. Collin Peterson. A campaign staffer says Dayton and Peterson have scheduled their hunt a little earlier than usual so Dayton can make it back for President Obama's rally at the University of Minnesota.
Republican Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson is going squirrel hunting with Hmong Community leaders at the Wattercot Farm in St. Cloud at 8AM. Update: Severson will hunt with clan leaders Toua Zeng Lo, Leng Pha, Chu Chang and Sia Lo.
Severson will host a lunch after the hunt.
Former Vice-President Walter Mondale will campaign with DFL Rep. Tim Walz on Sunday in Rochester. Mondale and Walz are scheduled to attend a rally together at the IBEW Local union hall in Rochester at 3pm. The campaign also says there will be a surprise endorsement at the event.
The candidates for governor will be active on the campaign trail this weekend.
Democrat Mark Dayton will go hunting with DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in Montevideo on Saturday morning. He will then return to the Twin Cities to attend President Obama's rally at the University of Minnesota and will attend a private fundraiser after the event.
On Sunday, Dayton will attend two church services in North Minneapolis with DFL Rep. Bobby Jo Champion.
Republican Tom Emmer will hold several campaign rallies on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, he'll hold a rally with GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann in Woodbury at 11:30, a rally with GOP Rep. John Kline in Burnsville at 1pm, a rally in Chanhassen at 2:30 and a rally with GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen in Minnetonka at 4:30.
On Sunday, Emmer will attend a rally with Gov. Pawlenty in St. Louis Park at 2:30.
IP candidate Tom Horner will go to a tailgate before the University of Minnesota football game.
On Sunday, Horner will attend a Latino candidate forum in Minneapolis at 2:30pm.
All three candidate will attend KSTP's live gubernatorial debate at 6pm on Sunday night.
Health care issues took center stage today in Rochester, where the three-major party candidates for governor met for their latest debate.
The hour-long event was sponsored by the Rochester chamber of commerce.
DFL candidate Mark Dayton said if he's elected, he would reverse Gov. Tim Pawlenty's policy and quickly authorize Minnesota's participation in an expanded federal Medicaid program. Pawlenty has blocked efforts to bring in the available federal Medicaid money. Independence Party candidate.
Tom Horner said he too would seek the federal money. But Republican Tom Emmer said he agreed with Pawlenty's decision. Emmer also said he wants to eliminate the health care provider tax that currently pays for the state-subsidized MinnesotaCare coverage.