Gov. Dayton's back surgery has forced him to cancel a speaking engagement at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce's annual Session Priorities Dinner.
He'll be the first governor in 22 years to not speak at the event. Officials with Dayton's staff and the Minnesota chamber are careful to note that Dayton isn't sending a message by not appearing. His ongoing recovery from back surgery in late December led him to cancel all of his public events for the first two weeks of January.
Dayton's chief of staff, Tina Smith, will be speaking on behalf of the governor at the event, which has become a place for business officials, elected officials and lobbyists to outline their priorities for the upcoming legislative session.
The Chamber Dinner will still feature the four incoming legislative leaders; DFL House Speaker Paul Thissen, DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, GOP House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt and GOP Senate Minority Leader David Hann.
The event, which is sold out, will be held on Wednesday night.(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - When asked twice in the same interview this week by MPR News whether he was considering a bid to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken in 2014, Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen said "no."
Now he's saying "maybe."
According to a report in The Hill newspaper published Thursday, Paulsen said, "I am planning on just continuing to represent my district right now. I haven't ruled anything out. But just staying focused on my district."
Paulsen's office argued that his comments to MPR on Wednesday were taken out of context. In the spirit of transparency, here is the audio of the entire exchange:
After Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills performed extremely poorly in this past election against DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Republicans have been anxious to find a strong candidate to take on Franken. The first-term senator won his seat by a razor-thin margin in 2008 that led to a lengthy recount that lasted into 2009.
Paulsen, who began his third term in the U.S. House this week, is considered very friendly with the business community, particularly Minnesota's medical device industry, and has become the strongest fundraisers in the state's U.S. House delegation behind U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, raising more than $3 million the latest two year election cycle.
With U.S. Senate races now regularly costing tens of millions of dollars, candidates frequently begin campaigning far in advance of the election in order to raise the cash they need to compete.
However, Franken is a also very strong fundraiser, raising more than $3 million in the past two years. His political committee has more than $1 million in the bank as the campaign ramps up.
There's at least one sign that someone in Paulsen's camp has thought about a Senate bid: the domain name www.paulsenforsenate.com redirects to Paulsen's main campaign website.(0 Comments)
Former state Rep. Allen Quist announced today that he will be a Republican candidate in a yet-to-be called special election House District 19A.
Candidates are lining up to replace Rep. Terry Morrow, DFL-St. Peter, who announced last month that he will resign from the Legislature to take a job in Chicago.
Quist, who served three terms in the Minnesota House in the 1980s, sent out a news release highlighting his experience and willingness to work across the political aisle.
"Both experience and seniority are major factors in being effective," Quist wrote. "Good legislation is almost always bipartisan."
Quist said that his legislative priorities would include protecting and promoting the interests of small business and agriculture.
Quist is coming off an unsuccessful congressional campaign against incumbent Democrat Tim Walz in the 1st District. Walz won by 15 percentage points. Quist was also the second-place finisher in District 19A, where Walz won by more than 25 percentage points.
Governor Dayton announced that he's accepting applications to replace Justice Paul Anderson, who's retiring at the end of May.
Anderson has served on the bench for nearly 20 years. He was appointed by Republican Governor Arne Carlson in 1994. Anderson is reaching the court's mandatory retirement age of 70 in May.
This will be Dayton's second appointment to the Supreme Court. He appointed Wilhelmina Wright to the Supreme Court in August. She joined the court in October.
Dayton has asked the Commission on Judicial Selection to aid in the selection process for the upcoming vacancy. He can pick someone the the commission recommends or appoint someone else.(0 Comments)
WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison can add a new job to resume: whip. The 5th District Democrat has been named to the Democratic whip team in the U.S. House.
What exactly does a whip do? They count and round up votes for leadership on important bills. As the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Ellison is a leader among the most liberal Democrats so he carries some weight within the party's House caucus.
Ellison was first elected in 2006 and represents Minneapolis.(0 Comments)