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Continued: Dayton's recovery from surgery puts campaign load on running mate

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 20, 2014 - 8:15 AM

“That is the thing I am hearing a lot more,” Smith said. “I haven’t had a single person say to me, ‘What the heck is wrong with you guys on MNsure?’ ”

GOP candidate Dave Thompson, a state senator from Lakeville, remains convinced that the health care overhaul is going to be a crushing issue for Democrats. DFLers, he said, are making “their last gasp effort” to defend MNsure and Obamacare.

“If it doesn’t work by summer, you will start seeing them flaking off when they realize this will hurt them in November,” Thompson said.

Smith regularly finds herself face to face with people who disagree with DFLers or the direction of the state. That can become a high-stakes test of nerves, with so many eyes watching and wondering.

Ron Adkins, a 61-year-old retiree, prefaced his remarks by saying, “I am going to be the fly in the ointment here.”

Adkins is frustrated that his local DFL representatives voted against legalizing same-sex marriage and that his senator opposed the higher minimum wage.

Smith told Adkins she tries to focus on the bigger picture, noting that Dayton and DFL majorities fought hard for the initiatives and that both became law.

“I am like you,” she told him. “I’m like, ‘Let’s get the big things done and not tinker around the edges.’ But when you look at it, we have made a lot of progress.”


Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

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  • Tina Smith

    Party: DFL

    Age: 56

    Home: Minneapolis

    Family: Husband, Archie; two grown sons, Sam and Mason

    Last job: Chief of staff to Gov. Mark Dayton

    Known for: Led the governor’s efforts to build the new Minnesota Vikings stadium and to win passage of the multibillion Destination Medical Center plan in Rochester

    Before that: Chief of staff to then-Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak

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