With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry and Jim Spencer.

Posts about Gov. Mark Dayton

Sertich, former House majority leader, leaves Dayton administration

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: November 6, 2014 - 6:32 PM

Tony Sertich, a former state House majority leader who has been serving under Gov. Mark Dayton as commissioner of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, is leaving that post to take over as head of a Duluth foundation. 

In January, Sertich will be taking over as president of the Northland Foundation, which raises money from public and private sources, and makes grants aimed at improving the economic and social climate in seven northeastern Minnesota counties. 

"Tony Sertich has been an outstanding advocate for his community, for the Iron Range, and for all of Minnesota," Dayton said in a prepared statement. Sertich did not respond to a telephone message. 

Elected to represent an Iron Range-area House district in 2000, Sertich in 2007 rose to the post of House majority leader. At 30, he was the youngest House majority leader in Minnesota history. He held the post for four years, but resigned his legislative seat in early 2011 to take over the IRRRB. 

As commissioner of the IRRRB, Sertich oversaw a staff of 55 and a $40 million annual budget. The agency uses proceeds from taconite mining to re-invest in the economy of northeastern Minnesota. 

Dayton was re-elected Tuesday to a second term. Sertich is the first of his Cabinet commissioners to announce he won't continue to serve in the second Dayton term. 

And, in closing: Here are the final TV ads in key election races

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Updated: November 3, 2014 - 1:01 PM

Candidates for governor, Senate and Congress have spent millions to get dozens of messages on television.

But, with Election Day nearly here, these are the words they really want you to remember.

Here are their final, closing argument television ads.

Governor

Republican Jeff Johnson

Johnson, a Hennepin County commissioner raised in Detroit Lakes, tailored his final ads to three different parts of the state. In all three ads, Johnson is standing in a sun-dappled, tree stand.

"He's just not up to the job any more," Johnson says of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton. "It's time for new leadership in Minnesota."

In two other ads, he claims that he, unlike Dayton, will focus on Greater Minnesota.


DFL Gov. Mark Dayton

Dayton's final ad is called "Rising" and highlights the way his campaign believes the state is better since Dayton took office and will be even better if he wins again.

"Mark Dayton knows we have much more to do, to help struggling families, make college more affordable, and help small businesses grow," the narrator says. "Moving forward together."


U.S. Senate

Republican Mike McFadden

McFadden's final ad shows a contrast -- the country as it is, with the country as it could be.

"Everything is at stake," a narrator reads, as various scenes of Minnesota life flit by. "Our hopes, our dreams, our future....We can make America great again."


Democratic U.S. Al Franken

Franken's final ad, called "Delivered," uses quotations from newspaper editorial endorsements to promote the candidate.

"Newspapers across Minnesota back Al Franken," the ad's narrator says. Video of Franken meeting with various people shows as different voices read selections from the pro-Franken endorsements.

Eighth Congressional District

Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan

Nolan, fighting to keep his northern Minnesota district, closed his campaign with an ad that shows him speaking to a crowd and going hunting. Against that backdrop, Nolan gives his enthusiastic stump speech.

"It's time to do what's right for the middle class," Nolan says in the ad.


Republican Stewart Mills

In Mills final ad, he speaks directly to the camera and makes the ask for viewers' votes.

"Minnesota is my home," he says in the ad, which includes childhood photos of Mills. "I'm Stewart Mills. I approved this message and I'd appreciate your vote."

Poll finds tightening race for governor; Franken leads by double digits

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: November 3, 2014 - 8:28 AM

Both Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken are holding onto leads in a new KSTP-TV/SurveyUSA poll, but Dayton's race in particular has tightened.

The poll, taken Oct. 27-30, found Dayton leading Republican Jeff Johnson, 47 to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. Hannah Nicollet of the Independence Party had the support of 2 percent, as did Libertarian Party candidate Chris Holbrook. Six percent were undecided or supporting other minor candidates. 

The poll found Dayton's support slipping among independents, with Johnson leading by 12 points. Dayton still holds a notable advantage with women voters, though that support has also slipped from previous polls. 

Dayton has led Johnson in every independent poll of the race, though what was once a healthy lead has shrunk. A Star Tribune poll published a week ago found Dayton leading Johnson, 45 percent to 38 percent. 

The KSTP poll found Franken with a larger lead over challenger Mike McFadden, 51 to 40 percent, though that lead too is smaller than Franken's lead in the last SurveyUSA poll. The IP's Steve Carlson is at 4 percent and Libertarian Heather Johnson is at 2 percent. Four percent are undecided or back other candidates. 

Franken, too, has never trailed McFadden in any poll of their race. The recent Star Tribune poll found Franken up over McFadden, 48 to 39 percent, although past SurveyUSA polls showed Franken with a much wider lead than he holds in the new one. 

All four of the statewide candidates planned full days of campaigning Monday, ahead of the start of voting on Tuesday morning. Dayton is joining the DFL's  bus tour for several events throughout Minneapolis: at Urban League headquarters in the early afternoon, at the University of Minnesota in the evening and then later stops at organized labor offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul. 

Johnson is holding meet-and-greet stops with Twin Cities voters throughout the day: at a suburban park and ride, in grocery stores and other spots. He's also makinig get-out-the-vote calls and visiting Republican volunteers at several sites. 

Franken is also participating in multiple stops on the DFL bus tour. McFadden is flying around the state with Sixth Congressional District GOP candidate Tom Emmer to campaign at greater Minnesota locations. 

In U forum, Johnson talks education policy, tax reform

Posted by: Ricardo Lopez Updated: October 30, 2014 - 1:41 PM

Jeff Johnson, the GOP nominee for governor, said during a forum Thursday hosted at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs that he would focus on comprehensive tax reform, the state's transportation infrastructure and education policy if he is elected governor. 

The forum, moderated by political science professor Larry Jacobs, touched on a wide range of topics -- including the state's business climate and the creation of well-paying jobs -- but Johnson did not deviate from well-established positions on taxes and education.

Johnson told a small crowd of two dozen students that he would be an "engaged governor" and would work to reduce tax rates in Minnesota, including the corporate tax rate which he said discourages businesses from coming to the state. 

The state's tax climate, Johnson said, needs a major overhaul. "We have a tax system that is decades old," he said. "It's about being competitive with other states." 

On transportation, Johnson said he would oppose new forms of revenue, including a gas tax, and instead would pay for infrastructure maintenance through the issuing of state bonds. He said the focus would be on roads and bridges, not light-rail construction. 

"I'm not an anti-train guy," he said. "I'm a cost-benefit analysis guy."

On education, Johnson favors more local control for schools and said schools should be able to follow best practices to work in narrowing the state's achievement gap. 

With five days left until the election, Johnson will be busy meeting with voters. His schedule Thursday also included stops in Red Wing.  

Democrats start final sprint to Election Day at State Capitol rally

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: October 29, 2014 - 10:52 AM

Minnesota's top Democrats gathered in front of the Capitol Wednesday morning to launch a six-day, 31-stop bus tour of the state that's aimed at firing up the party's supporters and motivating them to vote next Tuesday. 

Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken, both of whom face voters next week, joined with the party's other statewide candidates, members of Congress and congressional candidates, legislators, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and party and union activists. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, not on the ballot this year, teased her colleague Franken, whom recent polls have shown sitting on a comfortable lead over GOP challenger Mike McFadden. 

"The latest polls have him not 10 votes ahead, but 10 points ahead," Klobuchar said, a reference to Franken's razor-thin win in 2008, which led to a months-long recount and lawsuit. 

Dayton's running mate, Tina Smith, related a discussion the two had a day earlier about the governor's view of where his race against Republican Jeff Johnson sits in its final days. Smith said Dayton often jokes that she's "hope" and he's "reality."

"I said, 'how do you feel?'" Smith said. "And he said, I feel like it's a hockey game, and I'm the goalie, and we're one point ahead and we've got two minutes, and anything could happen."

The red, white and blue bus chartered by the party has a busy schedule of stops in the coming days, with rallies on Wednesday alone in Mankato, Albert Lea, Rochester and Winona. Ensuing days bring stops throughout the state, as statewide, congressional and legislative candidates take turns participating.

Minnesota Republicans are not mounting a similar bus tour, but state GOP chairman Keith Downey said on Tuesday that its candidates would be canvassing the state in the coming days and at times making joint appearances, as well as appearing with local legislative candidates. 

Johnson campaigned Wednesday morning at a suburban bus rapid transit station, and had plans to do retail campaining later in the day in New Ulm, Fairmont and Worthington. McFadden is campaigning in Duluth with Becky Hall, a local state House candidate. 

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