The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Election News

October 25, 2010

Campaign Notebook: Governor debate tonight at MSU

MANKATO — The race for governor will be focused on south-central Minnesota with tonight’s debate at Minnesota State University, but the candidates were also scheduling some additional pre-debate campaigning in the area.

Independence Party candidate Tom Horner is meeting with students, staff and faculty at South Central college from 3-4:30 p.m. today and dining with supporters at Jake’s Stadium Pizza before the 7 p.m. debate at Bresnan Arena.

Republican Tom Emmer apparently has the same craving. There’s a 1 p.m. stop planned at the Pizza Ranch in New Ulm following morning stops in Waconia and Hutchinson. Emmer will also hold a pre-debate rally at the Mankato GOP headquarters in Mankato Place at 5:30 p.m.

Democrat Mark Dayton has meetings in Austin with local leaders and TV and newspaper reporters.

Horner bounces back

Horner’s campaign was much happier with the latest statewide poll than the previous two that were released Friday and Saturday. Monday’s St. Cloud State University poll showed the IP nominee with 19 percent of the vote, which still failed to crack the 20 percent threshold Horner said he must break for voters to see him as a potential winner when making their choice a week from today.

But the number was much better than the 13 percent in the Star Tribune’s poll last weekend and the 10 percent in Friday’s Rasmussen poll. Dayton led Emmer 40 percent to 30 percent in the SCSU poll, 41-34 in the Strib’s and 44-41 in the Rasmussen.

Pentel, Eno

and Wright

Horner is worried about the wasted-vote syndrome, but his concern is nothing compared to the three candidates for governor who will be debating at MSU at 5 p.m. Ken Pentel, Linda Eno and Chris Wright aren’t even included in the polls and get virtually no mention in media coverage of the governor’s race.

But the Mankato Area Activist collective is hosting the minor party debate to let voters know other options exist to the three guys who get all the coverage. While the major party candidates will be duking it out in prime time in a crowded basketball arena, the earlier debate is in a classroom — Armstrong Hall Room 306.

Pentel of the Ecology Democracy Party, Eno of the Resource Party and Wright of the Grassroots Party are pledged to attend. Farheen Hakeem of the Green Party had a scheduling conflict.

The Mankato Area Activist collective would have preferred a single debate with all seven of the candidates at the Bresnan Arena venue, asserting that the exclusion of the four minor party candidates is an attempt at “marginalizing those candidates who pose a challenge to the two-party system.”

Amy K stands by Walz

The state’s most popular political figure, according to polls, was campaigning with Congressman Tim Walz Monday.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar made stops with Walz at businesses in Rochester and Owatonna before visiting Walz’s Mankato campaign office to thank the volunteers busy making calls and organizing the get-out-the-vote efforts that will ramp up this week.

Klobuchar referenced the large amount of outside money being spent on campaign ads attacking the two-term Democrat from Mankato.

“I want the 1st District to show the rest of the country that Minnesota can’t be bought,” Klobuchar said.

She praised Walz’s work in Washington on behalf of the district, particularly veterans. And she noted the endorsements of Walz by “two respected statesmen of the Republican Party”  — former Gov. Arne Carlson and former Sen. Dave Durenberger.

More outside attacks

Get ready for more anti-Walz ads. Fox News contributor Dick Morris recently organized “Super PAC for America,” which is raising money from large contributors in an effort to win a convincing victory for the Republican Party in congressional elections.

The organization is planning to spend $70,000 in TV ads targeting Walz in the final week of the campaign. Morris joins Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Republican Congressional Committee in investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in attempting to defeat Walz.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has responded with a $276,000 ad buy in the 1st District attacking Republican challenger Randy Demmer.

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