Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
- Member for
- 4 years 2 months
ST. PAUL—The Nov. 8 election will be rare. The big difference from other elections, obviously, is two unpopular presidential candidates sit at the top of the ballot. But differences do not stop there. In Minnesota, the only statewide race is a little-followed one for Supreme Court justice. Only once every 12 years does a ballot not have a statewide political race. There is no governor contest, no mention of attorney general or state auditor. The secretary of state's office is not listed.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota's top elected Republican says he will call for Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton's resignation if he does not put in enough effort to solve what is widely regarded as a health insurance crisis. House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said on Wednesday, Oct. 26, that the Dayton administration has thousands of workers who could work on improving the health insurance situation, in which people buying individual polices could see premiums rise up to 67 percent, coverage fall and deductibles soar to several thousand dollars.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton blames state House Republicans for blocking more than $100 million in federal highway funds. The Democratic governor said on Wednesday, Oct. 26, that the road and bridge projects would have been in nearly 30 communities across the state. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is ready to use the funds, Dayton said, but cannot do it because House Transportation Chairman Tim Kelly, R-Red Wing, objected.
RED WING, Minn.—Lisa Bayley laughs, halfheartedly, when talking about a political flyer showing her shoveling money into an incinerator. Then "there is one of me with a bunch of cows wandering around and it says that Lisa Bayley must think we are a bunch of cash cows," the Democratic candidate from Red Wing said. Her Republican opponent in the Nov. 8 election, Barb Haley, said a mailer about her claims "I have metro millionaires and skyscrapers who are backing me; I don't know any metro millionaires."
WILLMAR, Minn.—Some would like to think that the road to control of the Minnesota Legislature goes through Willmar. Maybe so, maybe not. But a state House race there, expected to be very close, is a good example of where that control may be decided in rural districts around the state.
ST. PAUL—Voters will face more than two choices for president on Nov. 8, even though just two are well funded enough to have a chance. Minnesota voters see candidates from the Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Constitution, Independence, Legal Marijuana Now, the Socialist Workers and the American Delta parties. Other than Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the candidates lack enough money to make much of an impression.
ST. PAUL—Look at history and it would appear Democrats will control the Minnesota Legislature next year. After all, Democrats have won control of the Senate in every presidential election year since 1992. And House Democrats came out on top in four of the six most recent presidential years. Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party voters have a tradition of turning out in greater numbers when the presidential race is on the ballot than in other years. When they show up to vote for their presidential candidate, they usually vote for other Democrats on down the ballot.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn.—Rep. Tom Anzelc sat in a coffee shop talking about his re-election campaign when a woman interrupted to say how good a job the Democrat has done for his northern Minnesota House district over the years. An hour later, first-time candidate Republican Sandy Layman was sitting in another Grand Rapids coffee shop when a woman came up: "Are you Sandy Layman? We are voting for you. You do a good job."
ST. PAUL—The two major presidential candidates appear to agree on something. Hillary Clinton: "America's rural communities lie at the heart of what makes this country great." Donald Trump: "Growing our farm sector and supporting our nation's farmers are absolutely critical steps to making America great again." The two short quotes from Democrat Clinton and Republican Trump are more than most Americans hear about rural issues in the campaign, so the two apparently agree that rural issues are not critical enough to their chances on Nov. 8 to talk about them much.
ST. PAUL—"The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton had not even finished the sentence when political reporters knew they had a story. After all, Dayton has been a strong proponent of the federal health care law, better known as Obamacare, and pushed to establish a state online health insurance sales portal. That MNsure operation is Minnesotans' connection to Obamacare.