Gov. Mark Dayton and Jeff Johnson, the Republican who wants his job, meet in Rochester Wednesday night for the first gubernatorial debate of the fall election.
The 7 p.m. debate at Mayo Civic Center is sponsored by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the Post-Bulletin newspaper. The intent of the organizers is that the debate focus on issues important to greater Minnesota.
Rochester has become a pivotal swing area in recent election cycles, as the historically Republican-leaning area has elected more Democrats to local offices and become a battleground in statewide races. Hannah Nicollet, the Independence Party's candidate for governor, is also participating in Wednesday night's debate.
The debate is scheduled to air live on the national public affairs cable channel C-SPAN 2.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."