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Judy Keen

Nation/World Editor, Politics/Government Reporter | Newsroom
Phone: 612-673-4234
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: None

Judy Keen, a politics reporter, has been at the Star Tribune for five years after a long career at USA Today.


Born in Austin, Minn., Keen got her start in journalism at her hometown paper. At USA Today, she covered five presidential campaigns and three White House administrations. She also served as the paper's Chicago bureau chief and covered mass killings, natural disasters and plane crashes, as well as international stories in Somalia, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East.
Recent content from Judy Keen

Edina focus group part of series with swing voters in key states

Health care and immigration were mentioned most often when the Minnesotans named the top issues on their minds heading into the 2020 presidential election.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at the Iowa State Fair on Sunday in Des Moines.

Sen. Bernie Sanders to campaign in Minnesota this month

His visit, Sen. Warren's stop signal a new phase.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential hopeful, signs her autograph for young fairgoers at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa

2020 hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren to campaign in St. Paul next week

Candidate plans town hall at Macalester on Monday.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Michele Bachmann signed shovels at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new St. Croix River Bridge in Stillwater in 2013.

Environmental activists fault some of Sen. Amy Klobuchar's moves

Critics cite concerns over copper-nickel mining, gray wolves and the St. Croix bridge battle.
Former Vice President Joe Biden during the second night of Democratic presidential debates, hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, July 31, 2019

Key moments from Wednesday's Democratic presidential debate

His front-runner status made him the target for everyone else Wednesday.
Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren participated Tuesday in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN at the Fox Th

Key moments from Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate

The Democratic Party's direction and the viability of 10 of its presidential candidates were on the line in last night's debate in Detroit.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar held a Medicare for All town hall earlier this month in Minneapolis.

Trump-Omar sparring influences the fight for Minnesota in 2020

ROCHESTER - Phillip Hilleshiem is a strong supporter of Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean he likes everything the president does and says. Among the…
Activists at a rally for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., on May 16, 2019. Warren joins Sen. Bernie Sanders, Joe Bide

With oldest, youngest candidates in 2020 race, will age matter?

Voters differ on whether some candidates are too old — or too young.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar's presidential bid is 'at a crossroads'

Fundraising, polls put her in campaign's second tier, but she might still have time.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke during a presidential candidate forum sponsored by AARP and the Des Moines Register, Monday

Klobuchar raises nearly $3.9M, keeping her competitive

The Minnesota Democrat still has to hit the 130,000 unique donors needed to make the September debate.
At the National Education Association presidential candidate forum in Houston on Friday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she would fund higher teach

Sen. Amy Klobuchar proposes new partnerships to aid education

Democratic presidential candidates woo education union.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) gestures as she speaks during the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday night, June 26, 2019. Fro

First impressions of the Democratic presidential candidates

Now that the first Democratic debates of the 2020 presidential campaign are in the books, here's a look back at how each hopeful fared.
Democratic presidential candidates, author Marianne Williamson, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pet

What the candidates said during Thursday's debate

On the second night of debates in Miami, 10 more candidates sought to set themselves apart from the crowded field.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) speaks during the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami on Wednesday night, June 26, 2019. From left: Sen. Cory B

Democratic debate: What the candidates said

Democratic presidential candidates tried Wednesday to elbow their way into the spotlight in a debate that kicked off the 2020 primary season.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar addresses the South Carolina Democratic Party's convention on Saturday, June 22, 2019, in Columbia, S.C.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar looks for breakout moment at high-stakes primary debate

Klobuchar could use a boost in Iowa, which has the first say on the 2020 race at its Feb. 3 caucuses
Bill Miller gave a thumbs-up to a fellow firefighter about the taste of the smelt at a fundraiser for the Jump River Volunteer Fire Department. Wiscon

Trump is counting on rural Wis. economy to help hold the state

Trump's shot at a second term could come down to parts of rural Wisconsin, where the economy is always on people's minds and threatened tariffs on Mexico could cause new woes.
The Midwest is expected to be a crucial battleground in the 2020 race, with Dakota County and other swing congressional districts helping to shape the

Dakota County, growing U.S. burbs could flex power in 2020

Dakota County voters want focus on ideas, not partisan extremes.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler had a discussion on the House Floor with Minority Leader Kurt Daudt as debate slogged forward on the Omnibus enviro

DFL, GOP angle for 2020 election edge after Legislature's session

Candidate recruitment and targeting of Minnesota districts has begun.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi participated in a Roundtable at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul, exploring ways to strength

'I'm done with that': Pelosi tries to tone down Trump feud while in Twin Cities

Speaker talked health care, headlined DFL fundraiser.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke spoke at town hall meeting at Edison High School Wednesday May 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN.

Beto O'Rourke urges Minneapolis crowd to unite against Trump

Health care, climate were topics at Edison High.
Nelsie Yang, who is running for a seat on the St. Paul City Council, is one of many candidates who was inspired to seek office by historic 2018 electi

New batch of candidates energized by barriers broken in 2018

Voters who set turnout records last year elected people who broke age, race, gender and sexual-orientation barriers across the U.S. The results are inspiring a new crop of Minnesota hopefuls.
Among the 2020 hopefuls: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

2020 presidential race has 22 hats in the ring. So far.

In the 282 days between now and the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, debates, gaffes and fundraising woes will whittle the field and even more people could enter the race.

States weigh bills to require presidential candidates to release taxes

Legislators in 18 states, including Minnesota, have introduced bills that would require presidential candidates and running mates to make their taxes public.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a candi­date for the Democratic presidenti­al nomin­ation, takes a photo with a fan after speaking at a rally in Pitts

Bernie Sanders campaign challenges Klobuchar in her home state

Klobuchar's presidential candidacy hasn't deterred the Vermont senator and several other Democratic challengers from investing resources in Minnesota.
Campaign officials estimated in February that Sen. Amy Klobuchar would need about $25 million to get through Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucuses and into New Ham

Sen. Klobuchar hauls in $5.2 million for White House bid

Donation totals can be an early measure of support. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tops the list with $18.2 million.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz

Walz kicks off year-long effort to ensure full 2020 census count

Federal funding, seats in Congress and Electoral College clout are at stake.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) gets ready to speak at a town hall in Rye, N.H., March 23, 2019. At events across early primary states, voters asked abou

What voters across the U.S. are learning about Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Voters in other states are forming early impressions.
Setting the agenda: Sen. Paul Wellstone, pictured at a 1991 July 4th parade in Richfield, pushed issues, such as universal health care, protecting the

Late Sen. Paul Wellstone is a force in 2020 presidential race

Several candidates who are in the White House race or are weighing a bid call the late Minnesota Democrat an inspiration.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has seen some criticism of her tough record as a Hennepin County prosecutor. Above: Klobuchar spoke to voters at a campaign st

Klobuchar's first big 2020 test could come in South Carolina

"She has a challenge to introduce herself to voters in the South," said state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Charleston Democrat, before Klobuchar's arrival for her first campaign stop in the state on Saturday.
In this Nov. 1, 2016, photo, a voter is reflected in the glass frame of a poster while leaving a polling site in Atlanta, during early voting ahead of

Who's in, who's out among possible 2020 Democratic candidates?

These men and women won't all decide to run, and the eventual nominee could be a surprise. But here's a look at who's capturing the buzz right now.
Shift workers arrived at a chicken processing plant in Charles City, Iowa, part of Floyd County, which voted for Donald Trump after backing a string o

Iowans have first say in 2020, and mood on politics is testy

White House hopefuls are already swarming the state to court them. Floyd County, which voted for Donald Trump after backing a string of Democrats, is an up-for-grabs fulcrum.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar waved to supporters on Feb. 10 along with her husband John Bessler and daughter Abigail Klobuchar Bessler after announcing she is r

Klobuchar's presidential bid faces fundraising challenge

Small-dollar donors could be crucial in a crowded 2020 presidential field.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar made her announcement to run for president Sunday from a snowy Boom Island Park in Minneapolis.

Klobuchar may find progressives to be holding out on her candidacy

Organizers in key voting bloc view Klobuchar as too centrist.
Lawmakers attend Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address, in the House Chamber of the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 5, 2019.

Minnesotans in Congress find reason for optimism in Trump speech

But there was wariness on both sides of the aisle about whether comity can exist in a divided Congress that represents a divided nation.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., questions President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary C

Iowa Democrats weigh Sen. Amy Klobuchar's presidential ambitions

Some suggest she's better suited for vice president.
In 2016, Equal Rights Amendment supporters rallied outside the Minnesota Senate chambers on the first day of the legislative session.

Equal Rights Amendment on the move in Minnesota, nation

A hearing is set Thursday for two Minnesota measures on the amendment, a vestige of 1970s activism but one with building momentum.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar in her Senate office in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar drops more hints about 2020, disavows fake campaign logo

A tweet included an image of mountains on a pyramid-shaped logo with a blue background and a swath of green in the foreground.
Congressman Erik Paulsen, shown with wife Kelly after giving his concession speech on Election Night. Hours after Paulsen lost, Republicans in the Thi

Only 661 days until the 2020 election — and Minn. activists are busy

Activists in both parties are doing postmortems on 2018, preparing for municipal and school board elections this year and gearing up for 2020 races.
A view of the U.S. Capitol Building on July 25, 2017, in Washington.

New population estimates show Minnesota could keep 8th House seat

The state's eighth seat in Congress could be saved if new growth trends continue.
Along with political matters, census data is used to calculate federal spending on infrastructure, school lunches and many other programs. The state c

Minnesota on the edge — again — of losing seat in Congress after 2020 census

The result of the decennial census will determine whether the Minnesota loses one of its eight U.S. House seats, which would dilute its clout on Capitol Hill and would reduce electoral votes in presidential elections.
Judy Keen interviewed President George H.W. Bush on Air Force One in 1992, days before his re-election loss to Bill Clinton. Keen, then a USA Today re

George H.W. Bush up close: A man of gentility, humor and hope

For someone who covered Bush and got to know him, his death at 94 brought back a flood of memories.
Kurt Daudt, shown in 2017, goes from House speaker to House minority leader.

Minnesota House Republican leaders prepare for minority role

Rep. Anne Neu of North Branch is the new deputy Republican leader.
President Donald Trump greeted now-U.S. Rep.-elect Jim Hagedorn on the stage of Trump's rally in Rochester in October.

Looking ahead to 2020, will Minn. be a tossup state?

Despite DFL sweep, parties expecting another pitched battle in Minnesota.
Sen. Tina Smith gave her acceptance speech election night at the DFL headquarters election party in St. Paul.

Sen. Tina Smith asks for donations to help Democrat in Florida recount

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is asking her supporters to chip in to help fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson pay for the recount…
U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn., gave his concession speech at the state GOP headquarters at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on Nov. 6, 2018, in Bloomin

Rep. Jason Lewis blames the late Sen. John McCain for GOP election losses

The daughter of the senator, who died Aug. 25, called comments "abhorrent."
Dean Phillips and Angie Craig defeated GOP incumbent U.S. Reps. Erik Paulsen and Jason Lewis, respectively, on Tuesday.

Minn. suburbs, like many in U.S., swing to Dems in election

The insurgency that swept Democrats into power in the U.S. House was led by suburban voters, both in the Twin Cities area and across the country.
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith acknowledged their supporters Tuesday night after Smith's acceptance speech.

Amy Klobuchar easily wins third Senate term; Smith defeats Housley

But Republican victories in other states mean they'll still be in the chamber's minority.
Emily Roskey, 28, in costume as Rosie the Riveter, posed for a photo at a Planned Parenthood event where volunteers worked phone banks.

Newly energized young voters could help Democrats at polls

Energized and dissatisfied with Trump by a wide margin, they could boost Democrats.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and Republican Karin Housley debate in front of 300 people Thursday night at Hamline University in St. Paul.

In Senate debate, Smith, Housley split over health care, immigration

Both agreed that Polymet's copper and nickel mine would help the economy of northern Minnesota.
Mounted Border Patrol agents ride along a newly fortified border wall structure Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, in Calexico, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

GOP ads raise immigration concerns in MN Congress races

In southern Minnesota's First District, Dan Feehan is the target of new ads.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (top left) is running against GOP state Rep. Jim Newberger, and U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (bottom left) is running against GOP stat

Senate races: Klobuchar out front; Housley gains on Smith

The Democrats still lead the two U.S. Senate races, but GOP challenger Karin Housley has closed the gap slightly on Tina Smith.
“I’ve always found that if you listen to people you can find common ground,” Sen. Tina Smith tells volunteers.

Plain talk has always been key to Tina Smith's success

Sen. Tina Smith says Senate work "is intensive and rewarding and frustrating sometimes because you want it to go faster." The contest between Smith and Karin Housley reflects stark political divisions and the high-stakes fight for control of the Senate.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and state Sen. Karin Housley will square off in Minnesota’s first all-female U.S. Senate contest

Tina Smith, Karin Housley U.S. Senate race heats up

Candidates tangled over child care and debates.
Democrat Dan Feehan, left, and Republican Jim Hagedorn are vying for Minnesota's First Congressional District seat.

Southern Minnesota race, crucial to control of Congress, heats up

Contest between Dan Feehan and Jim Hagedorn is considered a toss-up.
Jeff Johnson, GOP candidate for Minnesota governor, says his focus is on what government can do to give people more liberty and opportunities.

GOP icons inspire Jeff Johnson's quest for Minnesota governor

Jeff Johnson has locked in core GOP support, running to the right of Tim Pawlenty in the GOP primary and embracing President Trump. However, Johnson says he worked collaboratively with Democrats during his time in the Minnesota House. "To accomplish things you have to have relationships," he said.
President Donald Trump makes his second visit to Minnesota, with a rally on Thursday night at Mayo Civic Center in Rochester.

Trump calls on Rochester rally to turn Minnesota to red state

In a wide-ranging speech in front of a capacity crowd at Mayo Civic Center, President Donald Trump touted his achievement along with Minnesota GOP hopefuls. The rally also drew a large group of protesters.
People lined up overnight outside the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester Thursday to see President Trump speak at 6:30 p.m. after he attends a private fun

Rochester readies for pomp, protests, gridlock with Trump on Thursday

Protests planned before Mayo Civic Center rally.
FILE - in this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, the U.S. Capitol is seen at sunrise, in Washington. Voter reluctance to pursue impeachment by Congress comes

Half of likely voters in Minnesota oppose impeachment

Reluctance to pursue that dramatic remedy comes from both genders, all income brackets and most age groups and parts of the state.
Robert Mueller on February 16, 2011, as he testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington.

Russia inquiry is fair, half of voters in Minnesota Poll say; a third disagree

The results mirror overall opinions about Trump.
Republican Karin Housley, left, and, to a lesser extent, DFLer Tina Smith remain unfamiliar to many Minnesota voters.

Minnesota Poll: Tina Smith leads Karin Housley for Senate

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has an imposing lead over Republican challenger Jim Newberger, while U.S. Sen. Tina Smith holds a much smaller advantage over state Sen. Karin Housley in the special election race for Minnesota's other U.S. Senate seat.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) questions Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, testifies during his conf

Kavanaugh hearings seen as 2020 audition for Sen. Amy Klobuchar

The hearings also are being used to fuel political fires in Minnesota as well as presidential campaigns.
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith answered questions from reporters following the press conference Friday. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE � anthony.souffle@startribune.com U.

Tina Smith calls Brett Kavanaugh 'serious threat to women's freedom'

Senator, former Planned Parenthood exec opposes Supreme Court nominee.
Anthony Rossini, 10, wanted to have his photo taken with cutouts of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the Republican booth at th

On display at Minn. State Fair: An ugly political divide

Divisions among Minnesotans as the Nov. 6 midterms approach and acrimony over President Donald Trump are undercurrents at the State Fair, people from both parties said.
Tim Walz, left, and Jeff Johnson, right, debated Friday at the Minnesota State Fair.

Gov. candidates differ on taxes, spending in State Fair debate

The debate between DFLer Tim Walz and Republican Jeff Johnson drew a rowdy, divided crowd.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, second from right, celebrates with her supporters after her Congressional 5th District primary victory, Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2

Minnesota joins national 'pink wave' of female candidates

More women are running for elective office, and they are facing fewer obstacles.
Republican Jeff Johnson, right, and DFLer Tim Walz, center, debated at Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minn., Friday. KSTP's Tom Hauser, left, was the mod

Debates get race for Minnesota governor off to a roaring start

Hours after squaring off politely in Nisswa, Jeff Johnson and Tim Walz were on TV in St. Paul, taking questions and showing clear differences.
Sen Karin Housley

Tina Smith, Karin Housley make for historic matchup for U.S. Senate

November winner will finish ex-Sen. Al Franken's term.
DFL and GOP candidates shook hands at the end of the forum. All five leading candidates for governor - Republicans Tim Pawlenty and Jeff Johnson, and

Days before primary, Minn. voters are split and energized

An open governor's race, two U.S. Senate campaigns and multiple competitive U.S. House races make Minnesota a critical battleground.
Sophia Morrissette, 19, of Minneapolis voted for the first time ever at the Early Vote Monday August 6, 2018 in Minneapolis, MN.

Signs point to increased voter interest, turnout in Minnesota

A spike in absentee ballot requests and anecdotal evidence that more people are registering to vote suggest higher turnout in Minnesota's Aug. 14 primary and beyond, election officials say.
(Clockwise, top right) Jim Hagedorn is endorsed by the GOP in the First District race, Carla Nelson is also running as a Republican and Dan Feehan is

First District race for Congress could turn on Trump tariffs

Fallout from Trump's hard-line trade policies is testing support for the president and defining the First District race to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a DFL candidate for governor.
U.S. Senate candidate Richard Painter said that he “won’t swear allegiance to a party” but would caucus with Senate Democrats if he’s elected.

DFL in bitter clash with Senate candidate Richard Painter

State DFL Chair Ken Martin called Painter "a wolf in sheep's clothing" who refuses to say he is a Democrat. Painter said the DFL is "applying a litmus test instead of talking about issues."
Bryce Tache and Kim Hyvarinen protested in Minneapolis on Friday against Trump administration policies.

New hyperlocal political force emerges in Minnesota, across U.S.

Yearning to make a difference and eager for community connections not aligned with political parties, the groups are emerging hubs of clout heading into November.

U.S. Senate candidate Bob Anderson says he's got under-the-radar momentum

The dental technician from Hastings is campaigning old-school style as he runs against state Sen. Karin Housley for the Republican nomination.
From left, Sen. Tina Smith, Richard Painter, state Sen. Karin Housley

Smith faces tough challengers to retain her U.S. Senate seat

The high-stakes race for the U.S. Senate seat is a microcosm of the nation's unpredictable, divided political landscape.
President Donald Trump shakes hands with Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., during remarks to a Foxconn facility, Thursday, June 28, 2018, in Mt. Pleasant, Wi

Wisconsin's Walker aims to defy political winds in bid for third term

Walker's worries echo those of Republicans across the U.S. who are bracing for a backlash election.
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