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Expect the presidential race to be closer than the double-digit lead Barack Obama has shown in Minnesota, the state's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party chairman said. "I saw one commentator say it is buyers' remorse," Chairman Brian Melendez said. However, the chairman said he has not seen evidence of such remorse in Minnesota. "Obama has a pretty committed base here." A fear among Democrats is Obama supporters at the last minute will wonder if they picked the right candidate.
There's an old saying that goes "The reason most academic debates are so prevalent and so acrimonious is that there is so little at stake." After spending 20 years in the groves of academe I've always subscribed to that saying, but now I'm not so certain. That's because I just finished reading "Woodrow Wilson: Princeton to the Presidency," by W. Barksdale Maynard (Yale University Press, $30).
ST. PAUL - When Democrat Al Franken earlier this year described some of Sen.
Todd Palin, the husband of Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is slated to be at Duluth's Gander Mountain store Thursday to bolster local support for his wife and John McCain. The 2 p.m. rally featuring Alaska's self-proclaimed "First Dude" is organized by the McCain campaign and motorized recreation enthusiasts. "Todd Palin visiting is getting a huge buzz. The phone calls and e-mails are really going around among the Republican activists in town," said Carinda Horton of Duluth, a GOP activist and local McCain campaign official. "It's going to be a big deal.
WILLMAR -- He's not up for election, but Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has been traveling around the state the last few days like a candidate in a big contest. Ritchie is making the circuit on college campuses and media outlets to remind all first-time voters of today's deadline to pre-register for this year's election. Minnesota allows same-day registration at the polls, but registering ahead of time can shorten lines at polling places Nov. 4.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty's veto remains the only thing standing in the way of "a runaway train of bad ideas," the Republican governor said Monday. In stumping for Republican House candidates John Carlson in 4A and Doug Lindgren in 2B in Bemidji, Pawlenty said both need to be elected Nov. 4 to prevent Democrats from a supermajority in the House. "If we do not get these two candidates elected, the odds that the Democrats will run the entire state as a runaway train are going to go dramatically up," Pawlenty said to a conference room full of people at Bemidji Regional Airport.
Cuts in the staffing of Duluth's U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations could jeopardize the city's future as an international port and handler of cross-border air traffic. For Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, a letter he received from the local Customs office this summer drove home the danger. Ojard felt local customs operations already were thinly staffed when he learned that an agent was retiring and there were no plans to replace him. The Duluth Customs office was to go from having five agents to just two agents and a supervisor.
A major infusion of $6.4 billion into Minnesota's transportation system amounts to only a third of what's actually needed, say transportation lobbyists. "It took 20 years since the last gas tax was passed, and we can't afford to let that happen again," Gary Botzek, government affairs lobbyist with the Minnesota Transportation Alliance, said Thursday. "We have to stay on top of our infrastructure; we can't let it get run down," he said.
WILLMAR -- The Kandiyohi County veterans service officer was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation, a $1,000 fine and a host of conditions on a felony theft charge for taking money veterans paid for bus rides to the Veteran Affairs hospital. Trisha Lynn Appeldorn, 34, of Pennock, received a stay of adjudication on her sentence, handed down by Judge Kathryn N. Smith in Kandiyohi County District Court. Under the stay, no conviction will appear on Appeldorn's record if she complies with the court's conditions.