Gov. Mark Dayton and his Republican opponent, Jeff Johnson, aren't scheduled to meet for their first honest-to-goodness, one-on-one debate until Oct. 1 in Rochester. But Johnson will warm up the crowd for Dayton on Wednesday in Alexandria, when both men -- separately -- will speak to a general session of the Association of Minnesota Counties meeting at Arrowwood Resort. 

The Democratic incumbent and his Republican challenger were each given 30 minutes to deliver their "vision for Minnesota," according to AMC chief Julie Ring, and maybe take a few questions from dozens of county commissioners in attendance. 

Sparing them a potentially awkward encounter, Johnson is scheduled to finish up at 1:30 p.m. while Dayton won't start until 2. 

It's a hometown crowd in a way for Johnson, who has been a Hennepin County commissioner since 2008. But the Association of Counties does not issue political endorsements. 

Dayton is taking a relatively rare break from his official schedule to appear as a political candidate at the county forum. His trip to western Minnesota included meetings in Moorhead and Breckenridge Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning on rail safety and a Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion-project. 

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