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Tracking Minnesota’s political scene and keeping you up-to-date on those elected to serve you

David Gerson jumps on Rep. John Kline announcement that he's not running

David Gerson, a Tea Party favorite who has twice challenged Rep. John Kline for the Republican nomination in the Second Congressional District, wasted no time getting his campaign rolling the day after Kline announced he will not seek reelection

Gerson, an engineer by training, thanked Kline for his service before railing against the "Washington establishment and its tired and ineffective leadership." 

He said his first order of business would be to vote for someone other than Speaker John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Boehner is seen as too establishment by Tea Party activists, though his opponents have never mustered a serious challenge to him. So, Gerson could wind up beginning his term on the wrong side of the Speaker. 

Gerson is a small government Republican. He said he favors a plan to eliminate the deficit but did not specify how he would do so. He said he would raise the Social Security retirement age and begin reducing benefits for the well off, also know as "means testing." 

Other potential Republican candidates include Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville; Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa; Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake; Dakota County Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg; Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake. 

Kline's retirement creates an opening for Democrats; President Obama won the district in 2012. 

Mary Lawrence, a doctor, and Angie Craig, a St. Jude’s Medical executive, have already announced they are running. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he would make an announcement about his intentions next week. Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, is another potential candidate.

Political parties traffic in State Fair stunts

Come to the Minnesota State Fair for substantive political debate at its finest. 

Hoping to distract fairgoers for a couple minutes and sway a few undecided voters while they're at it, both of Minnesota's major political are deploying partisan stunts. 

The Republican Party struck first with Gov. Mark Dayton Commissioner Pay Raise trading cards for sale at the GOP booth. Springing off Dayton's decision earlier this year to grant hefty raises for his Cabinet commissioners, each card features a picture of the commissioner on the front, and stats on the back about their pay before and after the raises. 

"Collect them all!" the GOP urges. 

The DFL struck back Thursday with a swipe at the recent news that House Speaker Kurt Daudt had sought more state money for legislative offices as part of the State Capitol renovation. Making a play on the popular PBS series "Downton Abbey," about upper-crust Brits early last century, the DFL booth offers visitors the chance to take a photo with a mocked up, lifesize "Daudton Abbey Door."

"Get your photo with Speaker Daudt's $10,000 door," the DFL offers.

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