Republican gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert is challenging opponents to refuse campaign contributions from lobbyists.
The former legislator from Marshall claims he has never accepted lobbyist contributions in his previous campaigns and will hold to that standard his newest quest for the governor's office.
“Not accepting lobbyist contributions so far this election ... has made my campaign unique,” Seifert said Tuesday in a statement. “I feel strongly that my opponents should also agree to live by this same standard.”
The other gubernatorial campaigns could not immediately be reached for comment.
Seifert has twice lost the GOP endorsement for governor. He is now running in an Aug. 12 Republican primary against the GOP endorsee Jeff Johnson and Orono businessman Scott Honour, who has tapped his personal fortune to beef up his fundraising efforts. Former House Speaker Kurt Zellers, a Maple Grove Republican, is also running in the primary.
DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who has tapped his personal wealth to finance previous campaigns, has agreed to limit his campaign spending to about $3.6 million in his quest for re-election.
The Minnesota Department of Health, which will administer the state's brand new medical marijuana program, is looking to hire someone who can run it.
The agency posted a job ad at the end of last week for chief administrator of a new division, the Office of Medical Cannabis. Gov. Mark Dayton signed the medical marijuana program into law last week, with an expectation that about 5,000 patients with a range of maladies could have access to compounds of the cannabis plant starting in July 2015.
The words "cannabis" and "marijuana" are interchangeable in reference to the drug, but the plant genus is properly known as cannabis. Many advocates have adopted that word in an attempt to avoid the negative cultural and legal connotations of the word marijuana.
According to the job posting on the state of Minnesota's employment website, the administrator of the Office of Medical Cannabis will be responsible for developing the program's vision and staffing plan, managing its budget, and overseeing the private contractors that will grow and distribute cannabis to patients. Other job duties will include communicating with the governor's office and state lawmakers, law enforcement and the media.
The administrator will report not directly to the commissioner of health, but rather an assistant commissioner for strategic initiatives. Pay for the position will be between $73,811 and $105,862 annually, according to the job ad, and the state is taking applications through June 20.
Experts have described Minnesota's fledgling program as unique compared to 21 other medical marijuana programs around the country. Minnesota will be the only state that will prohibit patients from possessing plants and smoking marijuana. Instead, participants will have access to cannabis compounds in oil or liquid forms, and will consent to have their treatment closely monitored by the Department of Health.
Republicans Saturday afternoon pivoted full tilt to their picks for governor as they started to sort through a crowded field of men seeking endorsement.
The task may be lengthy.
Michelle Manke, a delegate from Roseville, said despite the length of Friday and Saturday's Senate endorsement process, it's unlikely the Minnesota GOP will rush through the governor's endorsement.
The same is true, she said, for the governor's office.
Voting was set to begin shortly after 4 p.m. and many candidates were in the running:
A former House Minority Leader from Marshall, Seifert opened his message to delegates with a popular question: “Who is ready to beat Mark Dayton this fall?” He promised if he wins, he will be the people’s servant not their boss. Seifert, who first won his House seat when he was in his early 20's, first ran for governor in 2010 but delegates refused him. This time, he will take the fight all the way to a primary.
In front of delegates on Saturday, he called Dayton a “liberal huckster who tried to sell an elixir of big government and higher taxes” whom he could defeat by appealing to Democrats and independents. His advice to voters: “You don’t have to switch your party, vote for Marty.”
A special education teacher from northern Minnesota, Rob Farnsworth has run a low-key campaign much like that of Senate candidate Philip Parrish, who captured votes in early voting Friday.
“We are Republicans and there are some things that are still worth fighting for,” Farnsworth said, citing abortion, domestic spying, and traditional marriage and gun rights.
Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who took the stage with the sound of a boxing ring’s bell, told delegates he would be a fighter for Minnesota. He said that he has roots in greater Minnesota and has spent years working in the urban core, “Not asking for votes but trying to solve problems.”
“You have taken these good people for granted for one election too long. We will not concede Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2014 to the Democrats,” Johnson said.
Dave Thompson, a state senator from Lakeville and former radio host, preached a smaller government message that would “change the face of Minnesota.”
“We are institutionalizing liberalism…We have given the cradle to our government and we must take it back,” Thompson said to big cheers.
Two contenders did not appeal to delegates on Saturday. Both former House Speaker Kurt Zellers and businessman Scott Honour, who had long vowed to run in a primary, declined to put their names into nomination for endorsement.
Follow all the news on our live blog:
Minnesota Republicans gathered in Rochester on Friday to give the statewide candidates the push they need to take back power.
"Who is ready to win some elections in 2014?" Republican chairman Keith Downey asked the cheering crowd.
On Friday, the GOP activists plan to select candidates to run for auditor, attorney general, secretary of state and U.S. Senate to oust Democratic Sen. Al Franken. The senate fight, expected to begin Friday afternoon, will be the centerpiece of the day.
On Saturday, the crowded race for governor will take the stage as Republicans select their favorite to take on Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton.
In a rare move for Republicans, several candidates in both the senate and the governor's races are expected to fight in a primary.
Follow all the news is our live blog below and right here on the Hot Dish blog.
Photo: Chairman Keith Downey addresses the convention//David Joles, Star Tribune
Gov. Mark Dayton signed an agreement Friday that will sharply limit his ability to personally bankroll his re-election campaign.
Dayton agreed not to spend more than $20,000 of his own money in exchange for about $447,000 in public subsidy. The agreement also limits Dayton’s campaign to about $3.6 million.
That's a sharp contrast to 2010, when Dayton poured $3.7 million of his own money into the campaign and narrowly beat GOP rival Tom Emmer.
Now an incumbent with a list of accomplishments, the governor said the agreement will allow him to spend less time raising money and more time traveling the state meeting with Minnesotans.
The agreement has no bearing on what outside groups can spend defending Dayton or attacking his rivals.
Dayton, a department store heir, has already embarked on an active fundraising schedule, taking in more than $1.1 million.
Dayton and his running mate, Tina Smith, came to the Secretary of State’s office Friday to file the paperwork to make their campaign official.
The governor said the theme of his first campaign was to make Minnesota better.
“I think we’ve indisputably made Minnesota a better state,” said Dayton, noting new education investments, a balanced budget and progressive legislation, such as legalization of same-sex marriage. “That’s why I am running, not only to make Minnesota better, but to make it the best.”
Dayton and Smith will travel to Duluth this weekend to accept the DFL’s endorsement for governor and lieutenant governor.
Ample signs are already emerging that Dayton will have a heated and divisive race.
A GOP group that has criticized Dayton and Democrats for months parked a rented truck in front of the Secretary of State’s office displaying a huge banner criticizing the governor for the troubled rollout of MNsure, the state’s health insurance exchange.
The group, Minnesota Jobs Coalition, plans to park the truck outside the DFL State Convention in Duluth.
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