Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- First-term state Rep. Kurt Bills is the Minnesota Republican Party's pick to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Bills won on the second ballot with 1,353 votes, well ahead of Pete Hegseth with 439 and Dan Severson's 3`6. The high school school economics teacher from Rosemount told 2,000 state convention delegates he is like David fighting the Goliath of Klobuchar and other Washington Democrats. "I humbly ask you to send me to Washington to defeat the giants," he said. Endorsing the Senate candidate was Friday's convention highlight.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Republicans gather in St. Cloud this morning, with the official main event picking a candidate to face Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. But the main undercurrent may be how Ron Paul supporters do at the Friday and Saturday state convention. How strong presidential candidate Paul is among delegates likely will affect the Senate race. Estimates of the number of Minnesota Paul delegates range from a third to nearly a half of the 2,000-some Republicans at the River's Edge Convention Center. "Ron Paul is a big factor in this race," Minnesota U.S.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Rep. Morrie Lanning knows how to win elections and football championships, and says getting a new Vikings stadium is much the same. "I'm a former football player who had an extraordinary team," the 1964 Concordia College of Moorhead center said Monday after Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill to build a Vikings stadium.
ST. PAUL - Lawmakers approved the final version of a Vikings stadium construction plan Thursday, sending it to the governor's desk for approval. The new stadium would make Minnesota "a better place to live," Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said shortly after the House approved his stadium construction bill 71-60 early Thursday. "It's a win-win for everybody in this state," Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, said of the project. Senators approved the stadium 36-30 Thursday afternoon. The House adjourned for the year after passing the stadium bill before 4 a.m.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Vikings are close to a new stadium after the House early Thursday approved a construction plan 71-60. Representatives debated the stadium bill an hour and 50 minutes after day-long negotiations produced a compromise bill after the House and Senate passed differing versions. Soon after passing the stadium bill, the House adjourned for the year before 4 a.m. today. Senators expect to take up the bill later today before adjourning until 2013. If they pass it, Gov. Mark Dayton is expected to sign the bill.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Senate is debating a Vikings stadium funding bill that mixes user fees with gambling taxes as a financing plan. Senators began the debate at 12:50 p.m., nearly four hours late. They planned to be at it for hours. "It is an issue that has been put on our lap," bill author Sen.
ST. PAUL -- A debate a decade in the making began this afternoon as the state House considered whether to build a nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium. "This is our one chance," Rep. John Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, said. "This bill works. It has been fined tuned and it will build a stadium." Rep.
ST. PAUL -- A Republican Vikings stadium plan has collapsed and legislative leaders decided to take votes on the original plan Monday, perhaps opening the door to end the 2012 Minnesota Legislature. However, leaders did not predict the existing plan would pass or say if they would try again if it fails. In a mid-day announcement, GOP leaders also said they would consider a $496 million public works finance bill separate from the stadium. The Senate today was to debate a Republican-written tax bill the Democratic Gov.
ST. PAUL -- Republican leaders and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton plan to discuss a new GOP-written Vikings stadium proposal this afternoon, but the governor did not wait until then to say the idea could kill any chances of a stadium being approved. "The three of us have invited the speaker and Senate majority leader to a meeting this afternoon to see if anything can be salvaged out of this fiasco," Dayton said, with Democratic legislative leaders standing alongside him. Republicans agreed to the 1 p.m.
ST. PAUL -- Dozens of Vikings fans decked out in purple jerseys rallied in the state Capitol Saturday, but went home disappointed after learning there would be no vote to build a new stadium. It was not clear when, or if, they will be able to return to watch House and Senate debates on the decade-old issue. A planned Sunday vote in the Senate was postponed, and House leaders would not say when they might take it up. Republican leaders said they put a higher priority on a tax-relief bill, and urged Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to resume negotiations on that issue.