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.
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon may have said it best: "What a day to be in the democracy business." Simon, whose office runs state elections, was in the center of Minnesota's political world Tuesday, June 5, as the first Muslim in Congress decided to run for attorney general in what turned into a crowded Democratic primary election contest. Six Democrats are running in the Aug. 14 primary election. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison of Minneapolis attracted nationwide attention with his decision.
ST. PAUL—U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison is running for Minnesota attorney general. He filled out the paperwork, surrounded by the media, in the secretary of state's office at midday Tuesday, June 5, to create a multi-candidate Democratic field for the Aug. 14 primary election. Ellison, 54, serves Minneapolis and never has run in a statewide campaign. He dropped out of his planned U.S. House re-election race after current Attorney General Lori Swanson opted to run for governor Monday. He said he decided this morning to make the switch to attorney general.
MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota's politics is in high gear as the state attorney general said she wants to become governor, the governor picked who he wants to replace him, a lieutenant governor candidate said she misspoke about E85 and a Democratic governor candidate formally suspended her campaign. Monday, June 4, was one of the wildest days Minnesotans have seen in politics. Tuesday, the deadline for filing for state office, could be even wilder if only a portion of the rumors are true.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Democratic governor candidate Erin Murphy picked as her running mate a first-term state legislator who gained wide attention for a 24-hour sit-in protest about gun violence. Erin Maye Quade will be the lieutenant governor candidate, Murphy announced to the Democratic state convention Sunday, June 3. The convention endorsed Maye Quade, finalizing the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party ballot for the Aug. 14 primary election.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Erin Murphy left the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention its endorsed candidate, only to face a familiar opponent in the Aug. 14 primary election. Delegates gave her unanimous support, but only after U.S. Rep. Tim Walz withdrew from the endorsement. He plans to challenge her in the primary election. Murphy, a St. Paul state representative, made no mention of Walz when she spoke to delegates after she won the endorsement. "Together, we are unstoppable," Murphy said.
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Political unknown Matt Pelikan shocked Minnesota's political world Saturday, June 2, by becoming the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party attorney general endorsee. Current Attorney General Lori Swanson pulled out of the race after she received 52 percent to Pelikan's 47 percent on the first ballot at the party's state convention in Rochester. Sixty percent was needed for endorsement.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—Minnesota's two U.S. senators faced little trouble getting their party's endorsement to stay in office, but Sen. Tina Smith first needed to fend off three challengers, including one well known to cable television news viewers. Smith, appointed early this year to replace Al Franken, easily beat Republican-turned-Democrat Richard Painter and two little-known candidates at the Minnesota Democratic Convention Friday night, June 1, in Rochester. Smith collected 74.5 percent of the vote, with Painter following at 17.6 percent.
ROCHESTER, Minn.—The governor race is far and away the top political suspense at Minnesota party conventions this weekend, and at the Democratic event they were on the ground by midday Friday, June 1. Governor candidate and State Auditor Rebecca Otto released figures that she said shows she has enough support to compete with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and state Rep. Erin Murphy. Otto wore her best smile while talking to delegates and others at the convention, which started at 4:06 p.m. Friday and was expected to draw 3,500 people before it ends Sunday.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — Every election year comes the same rote statement: "It is the most important election in a generation." Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton admits that is a cliche. But, this time at least, he said it is true. "I'm not running for office, but I think this is the most important election in my time," said Dayton, who early in January will leave public life after more than 40 years in politics. That is what he plans to tell fellow Democrats when he speaks to their state convention in Rochester on Saturday, June 2.
ST. PAUL -- Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty will have an experienced lieutenant governor as his running mate in this year's governor election. He named Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach to that role Thursday, May 31. Fischbach has been No. 2 in the executive branch since early this year, while still holding onto her Senate seat. She resigned from the Senate last week, after Pawlenty asked her to join his ticket.