It’s more than a year until Minnesotans vote for a new governor, but the race is already roiling beneath the surface. To wit:
Candidates will meet with a screening committee of the Minnesota Nurses Association Sept. 9. MNA spokesman Rick Fuentes said they are trying to recruit as many nurses as possible to be on the committee. They’ll make a recommendation to the MNA board, which will then meet Sept. 20 and decide on an endorsement. In DFL circles, the speculation is that Rep. Erin Murphy, former MNA executive director, has the inside track.
Which raises the stakes for her.
Also, DFL sources say at least one DFL campaign for governor is polling on U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’s potential vulnerabilities: guns, but also refugees.
You may remember a political imbroglio — some called it politicized scare mongering — about Iraqi and Syrian refugees in late 2015 from Republicans in Congress after the Paris terror attack. Walz — as well as DFL Reps. Rick Nolan and Collin Peterson — joined with Republicans to vote for creating new obstacles for refugees to come to the United States.
I asked Rod Halvorson, who was the chair of the Minnesota Bernie Sanders delegation at the Democratic National Convention, if the refugee vote could be a problem among party progressives. “Yes. No question about it,” he said. “And if his opponents are alerting the public, it will have an impact.”
Related: Our Revolution, the grass roots group birthed from the Sanders campaign, will have its first full statewide membership meeting Sept. 16 in Alexandria and elect a board, Halvorson said. Alexandria? They’re trying to attract more members statewide.
Amid all the junk food and animal life, there was actual news at the State Fair. During a forum of Republican congressional candidates in districts 1, 7 and 8, just one candidate of five would commit to supporting U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. Pete Stauber, who is running against Nolan in northeastern Minnesota, later told the Washington Post that he would support Ryan. And for good reason: Coming out against the speaker is a quick way to turn off the fundraising spigot.
J. Patrick Coolican • 651-925-5042 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @jpcoolican