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 -- Publicity over the U.S. Senate race helped spur Minnesotans to turn out in near record numbers for Tuesday's election. About 61 percent of eligible voters went to the polls. "I think, in part, it is because the focus on this race reminded people of the race and it was about our future," Sen.-elect Norm Coleman said. "Minnesotans are great citizens from both sides of the aisle. This was an unusual race. This was an unusual point in history, both the sadness and in the outpouring of emotion." The U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Norm Coleman and Walter Mondale gave Americans a glimpse of Minnesota nice. After Coleman won the state's U.S. Senate race early Wednesday, the candidates praised each other. "Walter Mondale is one of the greatest Minnesotans in the 20th century," Republican Coleman said to the applause of hundreds at a noontime Capitol rally. Mondale used his nationally televised concession speech to thank Coleman for the campaign and to thank Minnesotans. "People responded," the Democratic former vice president said. "They gave me strength. They were there.
ST. PAUL -- Tim Pawlenty won the Minnesota governor's race early today. By 1:30 a.m., CNN and the Associated Press had declared Pawlenty the winner. He maintained a lead throughout a night of slow ballot counting. A GOP hotel crowd in Bloomington was abuzz with excitement as Pawlenty maintained a 46 percent to 35 percent vote lead over Roger Moe, with 62 percent of the precincts reporting. Tim Penny conceded earlier. Pawlenty had no comment by 1 a.m., although the Republican crowd wanted him to deliver a victory speech.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesotans saw a feisty Walter Mondale take on Norm Coleman Monday in their only U.S. Senate debate. Mondale accused Coleman of frequently switching his positions. "Which Norm are we supposed to remember?" he asked after the debate. "Is it the one we heard this morning or the guy who ran the trashiest campaign in American history?" Coleman said he didn't like the debate's tenor. "Right-wing this and right-wing that," he said.
ST. PAUL -- The nation peers over the shoulders of more than 2 million Minnesota voters today, but it may be well into Wednesday before anyone sees how key state races play out. The spotlight especially shines on the U.S. Senate race between Republican Norm Coleman, hand-picked by President Bush, and Democrat Walter Mondale, whose name replaces the late Sen. Paul Wellstone on the ballot. While the Senate race takes up the most ink and airtime, Minnesotans also will pick their favorites for offices ranging from county commissioner to U.S. representative.
Walter Mondale plans to emphasize agriculture today for the first time of his 4-day-old U.S. Senate campaign. He is to attend a 45-minute meeting on the John and Laura Jones farm, 2974 28th Ave. N., Moorhead, at 10:15 a.m. It is open to the public. The Mondale campaign said he will discuss agriculture, issues surrounding his decision to run for the Senate and the importance of Tuesday's election.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's political world changed when U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a 10:22 a.m. Oct. 25 airplane crash, and no one knows just how that will affect Tuesday's election. Since the crash, attention from across the country has focused on the U.S. Senate race. But a five-day suspension of nearly every campaign and a new electioneering climate since candidates resurfaced leave questions about many races. "There are a lot of ramifications," said Minnesota GOP official Bill Walsh. "I think incumbents are better off. ...
ST. PAUL -- Omar Jamal told Walter Mondale just what Republicans say. Jamal, a Minnesota Somali community leader, told the 74-year-old Democratic elder statesman he was concerned Mondale did not understand contemporary immigrant problems: "The Minnesota you knew back then is not the same Minnesota we have today." Mondale stood in front of 550 people at the first town meeting of his six-day campaign for U.S. Senate. He didn't hesitate to respond to Jamal, who five days earlier praised the late U.S. Sen.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota's two major attorney general candidates agree health care is a major issue, but they approach it in far different ways. Republican challenger Tom Kelly proposes improving the climate for profit-making insurance companies to return to Minnesota. He says competition would be good for the public. Incumbent DFLer Mike Hatch, who used to work for a profit-making insurance company, said Kelly's idea won't work. "The fact of the matter is, a for-profit (insurance company) is not going to come into this market," the incumbent said.