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—Almost every morning when I come to work, part of the trip is on a 10-lane-wide stretch of freeway. It is a long ways from my 4,000-population hometown in southern Iowa's rolling hills in many ways.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn.—Minnesota's governor race got real at the State Fair, the location where the public begins to notice election campaigns. Democrat Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson laid out their differences—such as on spending, taxes, health care and guns—sharper than ever Friday, Aug. 31, during a Minnesota Public Radio-sponsored debate. Johnson was especially tough during the nearly hour-long event.
ST. PAUL — The 219,000 Minnesotans paid minimum wage will get a raise Jan. 1. State officials announced Thursday, Aug. 23, that employees of large businesses will be paid at least $9.86 an hour, up from $9.65 that is required today. Those who work for smaller businesses will be paid a minimum of $8.04, compared to the current $7.87.
ST. PAUL — The White House is leaving no doubt that Minnesota is important in its 2018 political strategy. The Minnesota Republican Party announced Monday, Aug. 20, that Vice President Mike Pence will be in Bloomington on Aug. 30, with a fundraiser the only thing on his agenda so far. When Pence and President Donald Trump have been here this year, they also have fit in rallies and other events to help GOP candidates.
ST. PAUL -- President Donald Trump wants to influence Minnesota's governor race. The winner of the Tuesday, Aug. 14, Republican primary received the president's endorsement and the loser said he failed because he is not on Trump's wavelink. Trump endorsed Republican governor candidate Jeff Johnson Wednesday, tweeting: "Jeff Johnson of Minnesota had a big night in winning the Republican nomination for Governor against a very strong and well known opponent! Thanks for all of the support you showed me. You have my complete and total Endorsement.
ST. PAUL -- Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz will be Minnesotans' choices for governor this fall. "I think we sent a message, people want something different," Republican Jeff Johnson said shortly after 10 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 14, as vote counting wound down in the state primary election. Johnson said he was not for the status quo, and campaigned as the most conservative governor candidate.
PAUL — The 2018 primary election is as different as it gets, with more contests than usual, late surprises and a ton of votes already cast. Republicans are attacking each other in the governor race. U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the No. 2 official in the national Democratic Party, opted against re-election, instead running for attorney general in a crowded field. Ellison's withdrawal from the U.S. House race led to a six-person race to replace him.
REDWOOD FALLS, Minn.—Minnesotans are interested in the primary election. Almost triple the number of early ballots have been cast compared to two years ago. At Farmfest, southwest Minnesota's agriculture show, 1,000 seats were full, with about 600 more standing as the five major governor candidates were in the only forum to host all of them.
ST. PAUL—Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson denies allegations that an aide hired workers in her state office to do campaign work. In a Minnesota Public Radio forum Friday, Aug.10, she said the online news organization that reported the issue is "widely discredited." She said she has sued investors in the The Intercept website, adding: "When you do things like that you get a target on your back"
ST. PAUL—Minnesotans operating recreational vehicles such as boats, all-terrain vehicles, jet skis, snowmobiles and other powered vehicles while drinking now are being treated the same as people who drink and drive cars or trucks. That is good news to Marybeth Lonnee, grandmother of an 8-year-old boy who died in January after being struck by a snowmobile operated by a man whose driver's license was revoked after being convicted of drunken driving multiple times.