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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn.

Rep. Jason Lewis makes solutions to opioid abuse a priority

On Monday he'll host a roundtable discussion on the epidemic, which he says has "been swept under the rug until recently."
David and Charles Koch.

Koch brothers' influence in Minnesota reaches beyond just campaigns

The billionaires' brand of free-market conservatism helps shape the state's — and the nation's — political, legislative, business and academic systems.
Rep. Erin Murphy smiled on stage after it was announced that the other candidates for governor were dropping out of the endorsement process at the DFL

DFL endorses Murphy, GOP backs Johnson, but primaries are coming

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty did not compete with the other candidates who went to Duluth for the Republican convention. U.S. Rep. Tim Walz withdrew in Rochester in pursuit of party backing but will continue at the polls.
Jeff Johnson, left, is the favorite to be endorsed for governor at the Republican convention, which former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, right, is skipping and t

State party conventions feature hotly contested race for governor

Across the state, activists and candidates gear up for the endorsing ritual.
Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed the Republican tax bill at Bruce Vento Elementary in St. Paul on Thursday and called attention to his own bid to pressure Repu

Minn. Capitol standoff fuels worry for chaotic tax season to come

Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP leaders to meet again Friday on dispute over tax changes and school funding.

Minnesota House passes GOP tax bill; Dayton not yet on board

Three DFLers signed on; Senate votes next on tax cuts for 2.2 million.
Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton won't negotiate tax bill unless legislators consider school plan

Governor and legislative leaders will meet Tuesday, with the session adjournment deadline looming
FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2017, file photo, Al Franken speaks about his accomplishments as his eight years in the Senate came to an end.

Al Franken returns to spotlight with Portugal cybersecurity speech

The former U.S. senator had been out of sight since resigning in January.
Lifelong Republican Richard Painter announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate as a Democrat on Monday, April 30, 2018.

Richard Painter exits GOP, launches bid against DFL Sen. Tina Smith

A Trump critic, he's running for Senate as a Democrat.
Students held signs as they gathered at Harriet Island Regional Park in St. Paul on March 24 before matching to the State Capitol protesting gun viole

Strong majority of Minnesotans support stricter gun control

A majority of Minnesotans support stricter gun laws in the United States, including wide backing for a ban on military-style rifles and for raising the age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll has found.
Jim Hagedorn campaigned in Sleepy Eye in 2014. He won the Republican endorsement for the First Congressional District U.S. House seat on Saturday, Apr

Jim Hagedorn, Dan Feehan endorsed in First District

Hagedorn and Nelson will square off in the Aug. 14 primary. The winner will compete with Feehan to succeed U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat who is running for governor.
U.S. Congressman Tim Walz is running for Minnesota governor.

Big group of candidates seeks to replace Walz in southern Minnesota

7 candidates compete in a key district for both parties.
In 2017, State Auditor Rebecca Otto defended her actions and her agency's budget before tough questioning from members of the House State Government F

Minnesota Supreme Court rules against Rebecca Otto in county audits case

Court upholds outside auditors law that she said turned her office into "an empty shell."
Aisha Chughtai, field organizers for Erin Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign, belongs to a campaign workers union.

Campaign workers for two Minnesota DFL candidates join new national union

Contracts set standards for hours, pay and health care.
Members of prayer group that meets four days a week gather for what they call centering prayer, silent prayer/contemplation in the church sanctuary of

Evangelicals, other Christians grapple with Trump's contradictions

Minnesota evangelicals torn between president's policies and behavior.
Funding infusions for state foster grandparent and senior companion programs are to be considered Wednesday by the House Health and Human Services Fin

Foster grandparents, senior companions could get more state funding

State foster grandparent and senior companion programs would each get $250,000 funding infusions in fiscal year 2019 under a bill to be considered Wednesday by…
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's Zuckerberg backs effort to regulate online political ads

Zuckerberg said he backs more regulation of online political advertisements.
In court: Hennepin County District Judge Paul Scoggin presided over Beverly Burrell's sentencing.

Legislature could end use of cameras in Minnesota courtrooms

Legislative effort to banish them runs into opposition from transparency proponents.
Voters cast their ballots at a voting center in Minneapolis Friday, Sept. 23, 2016. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune)

Minnesota gets $6.5 million federal grant to improve election cybersecurity

Money was included in $1.3 trillion spending bill signed last week.
DFL candidates for Minnesota House District 49A: Heather Edelson, left, Cheryl Barry and Carolyn Jackson.

Women surge into 2018 elections, from county board to Congress

From councils to Congress, they're urged to shake off misgivings and "Just do it."
As the polls were about to open for the day at the Brian Coyle Center an election worker who wished to not be identified walked to place a flag outsid

Audit calls for upgrades to Minnesota voter registration

Inquiry by legislative auditor says Minnesota has "aging system that is showing signs of strain." Dayton recommends spending boost.
Lawmakers and lobbyists said that Rep. Tony Cornish, shown in 2017, had repeatedly propositioned them for sex, and that he was known by many women who

Tony Cornish declines to comment after independent inquiry on Minnesota House sexual misconduct released

Full report won't be made public because it could deter future victims.
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