The Free Press, Mankato, MN

October 31, 2008

Mondale in town Saturday

By Mark Fischenich

MANKATO — Former Vice President Walter Mondale will be campaigning with Congressman Tim Walz in Mankato this morning and across southern Minnesota throughout the day.

Mondale and Walz, DFL-Mankato, will kick off a get-out-the-vote door-knocking campaign at 9:30 a.m. at the Local 49 union hall at 308 Lundin Boulevard. The event is open to the public, and door-knocking begins at 10 a.m.

Mondale, who served as vice president under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, will join Walz for similar events in Owatonna, Austin, Dodge Center, Stewartville and Rochester.

Walz’s Republican opponent, Dr. Brian Davis of Rochester, hadn’t issued a weekend schedule as of late Friday afternoon.

Steve Sarvi, the 2nd District congressional candidate, is scheduled to be in Le Center from 11 a.m. to noon today. Sarvi, a Democrat attempting to knock off Republican Congressman John Kline, will be at Brad’s Home Plate, 315 E. Derrynane St., Le Center.

Breaking 80
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie announced Friday that he believes there’s a good chance the state will have 80 percent voter turnout on Tuesday — the first time in 52 years it’s reached that level.

It will take 2.99 million voters to reach 80 percent, Ritchie said. The state has more than 3.7 million eligible voters, and nearly 3.2 million are registered to vote — including nearly 598,000 between the ages of 18 and 29. The office is expecting hundreds of thousands of more people to register on Election Day.

Dodging questions
Wouldn’t it be nice, after all the misleading advertisements and one-sided campaign brochures, to be able to go to a place where candidates are forced to answer hard questions about some of the most controversial issues and biggest challenges facing the nation?

That’s what the people at Project Vote Smart thought. A bipartisan organization that’s been supported by some of the biggest names in both parties, Project Vote Smart badgers candidates every campaign to answer their rigorous questionnaire.

Questions range from abortion to gun issues to Social Security reform. They also seek specific answers on whether candidates would increase or cut various budget items and taxes.

For 2008, none of the 1st District congressional candidates answered the questionnaire. (Walz’s answers from 2006 are still available).

Sarvi in the 2nd District filled it out, as did Independence Party Senate candidate Dean Barkley. The only incumbents in the Minnesota congressional delegation who answered it this year were Rep. Keith Ellison and Rep. Jim Oberstar.

The answers, along with other information on candidates, can be found at www.votesmart.org.