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Dick Day was hired to lobby for the Running Aces track about a month ago, spokesman John Derus said. Day left his job as the lead lobbyist for RacinoNow, a Canterbury Park venture, this summer.

Dick Day to lobby for racino with Running Aces track

Dick Day (Staff photo: Peter Bartz-Gallagher)

Lobbyist and former Senate Republican Minority Leader Dick Day left a job pushing for slots in racetracks with advocacy group RacinoNow last fall, but he will still be pushing the issue in the 2012 session, this time with the Running Aces Harness Park.

Day was hired by Running Aces about a month ago, the track’s spokesman, John Derus, said on Tuesday. That was just several months after Day split from RacinoNow to start his own lobbying firm, Day and Associates.

“Dick is just a tremendous resource,” Derus said. “He is very popular, especially in rural Minnesota, and he his very knowledgeable having been a minority leader in the Senate.”

Day’s two-year contract with RacinoNow — a joint venture started in 2009 by Canterbury Park and the horse groups that race on its tracks — came to an end last year and was not renewed. Randy Sampson, CEO and founder of Canterbury Park, said it was Day’s decision to move on.

Day joins Running Aces’ lobbying team from last session, which includes Vic Moore, a former aid to DFL Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe, and Doug Franzen, an attorney with Republican connections in the House, Derus said. Derus, who sits on the Running Aces board, will continue to serve as the track’s spokesperson.

Like most racino advocates, Derus is encouraged by increased talk of gaming for funding a new Vikings stadium, as well as the recent election of longtime racino proponent Dave Senjem as Senate majority leader.

“We don’t think we are the answer, we think we are the only answer,” Derus said. “The way things are shaping up, especially now with the stadium heating up, looks good for us. This racino measure is $130 million a year for the state of Minnesota, and that’s the state’s estimate, not ours. That is on the table. It can be enacted immediately.”

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