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Hann will not run for governor; gas tax to resurface in 2014



8:45 a.m: Tax code reform event at 3M Company headquarters in Maplewood, featuring U.S. Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mt., and Dave Camp, R-Mich. Includes meetings with 3M employees.

10:00 a.m.: Tax code reform event at Baldinger Bakery in St. Paul, featuring U.S. Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mt., and Dave Camp, R-Mich.


1:00 p.m.: MNsure webinar to discuss outreach, communications and marketing for the health insurance exchange. Limit 150 participants. More details and registration here.


4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.: “Leaders in Public Policy 2013” banquet and awards ceremony, convened by Politics in Minnesota and the St. Paul Legal Ledger Capitol Report. At the St. Paul Hotel. More information here.

6:00 p.m.: “Political Exit Interview” event hosted by the Citizens League. Features former Reps. Kate Knuth and Laura Brod and former Winona Mayor Jerry Miller. At the Varsity Theater. $10, or $5 for student and Citizens League members. Register here.


DAYTON: Gov. Mark Dayton will meet with the State Capitol Preservation Commission in the reception room at 10:00 a.m. At 12:15 p.m., the governor will hold a general media availability. In the afternoon, Dayton will interview candidates for the Second Judicial District opening.


HANN OUT: In a statement released Friday morning, Senate Minority Leader David Hann said he would not run for the 2014 GOP gubernatorial nomination. Hann said he’d made the decision in consultation with his friends and family; in the past, Hann admitted his thought process was complicated by his wife’s bout with cancer, which was successfully treated with chemotherapy. Instead of pursuing the governor’s office, Hann said he would focus on his legislative and campaign duties, pledging to help the House regain a Republican majority in 2014, followed by a Senate switch in 2016. “Last December, my colleagues in the Senate elected me to be our caucus leader,” Hann said. “That job deserves my full attention.”  Hann’s decision is the opposite of his caucus colleague Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, who last last week resigned his post as assistant Senate minority leader in order to devote his full attention to his gubernatorial campaign.

MILLS CONSIDERED FAVORITE: Though his campaign is only a couple weeks old, Stewart Mills is already seen as the odds-on favorite to win the Republican nomination in the 8th Congressional District, Minnesota Public Radio reports. Mills, a vice president of the Mills Fleet Farm retail store chain,  has so far been campaigning on lower taxes and gun rights, and hitting DFL U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan for wasting time on issues like campaign finance reform. Mills’ profile fits well in the district, according to CD 8 GOP chair Ted Lovdahl, who said he thinks Mills will eventually wind up the Republican candidate. “He’s somebody we’ve been looking for,” Lovdahl said. Also noteworthy: Mills said he would run on a combination of fundraising and his own personal money, though he didn’t say to what degree he would self-fund.

STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE: Minneapolis DFLers Sen. Scott Dibble and Rep. Frank Hornstein, the transportation finance chairs in their respective chambers, plan to reintroduce a gas tax increase next year after failing to pass one this session, according to the Pioneer Press. For the moment, some version of that proposal, which Hornstein calls “the workhorse of the transportation finance system,” seems to have some support from other players. Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle said Gov. Mark Dayton would support a gas tax hike that was indexed to increases in cost-of-living. On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Mike Beard, R-Shakopee, said he’d be on board with a modest phased increase of $0.01 per year for six years, or $0.02 for four years. Zelle added that Dayton was also willing to consider increases to license tab fees and the motor vehicle sales tax; the combination of those two revenue streams and a $0.05 gas tax increase passed in 2008 — the heated debate that spawned the so-called “Override Six” House Republicans who flouted then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty‘s veto — has so far generated $800 million, according to the Minnesota Transportation Alliance.

DEKRUIF’S DEADLINE: Former state Sen. Al DeKruif told Capitol Report that he planned to make his decision on whether to enter the 1st Congressional District race by late July or early August. DeKruif said the decision would have to be made soon for fundraising reasons; already, Rep. Mike Benson, R-Rochester, has declared his intent to challenge DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz  in 2014. Naming a top issue on his radar, DeKruif pointed to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, about which DeKruif said, “Delaying it’s not the right answer. The right answer is to repeal it.” DeKruif was elected in 2010 and served a single term representing the Madison Lake area before redistricting pitted him against Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, and he opted to step aside.

GLAHN ACCUSATIONS: Conservative pundit Bill Glahn thinks he’s caught a snag while taking a fine-tooth comb to financial documents from DFL-friendly fundraising and spending groups. In a series of blog posts, Glahn, a former energy official in the administration of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, writes that the web of connections between fundraising group WIN Minnesota and several liberal advocacy groups, chief among them Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM), might have run afoul of IRS laws governing political activity by nonprofit organizations. In his most recent missive, posted to True North, Glahn points to the two groups’ use, in 2010, of an ABM 501(c)4 as a pass-through for money from WIN Minnesota’s own tax-exempt bank account to ABM’s 527 political spending arm. According to Glahn, that transfer meant the amount the ABM 501(c)4 spent on  “ABM’s political efforts in electing Democrat Mark Dayton as Minnesota’s governor” would be 56 percent of its  total “social welfare” spending, which would exceed the permissible ratio of political spending for a tax-exempt group.

1 + 1 IS STILL 2, RIGHT?: Six metro-area counties are switching to new voting machines, replacing optical-scan devices that are now more than a decade old, according to the Star Tribune. The upgrade, costs of which will run into the millions, comes thanks to grant money made available through the federal government. Among the areas taking advantage is Hennepin County, where Minneapolis voters are set to cast ballots in a multi-candidate mayoral contest that represents the first full-scale trial of the instant runoff voting (IRV) system. Hennepin is spending $4.1 million in grant money on its new machines, which will instantly give in-person voters an error message if their ballot wasn’t read, and will count mailed ballots much faster; the Legislature’s approval of no-excuse absentee voting is projected to increase use of that method by up to 50 percent.

ZELLERS’ TEACHER: A transplant now running for governor got name-dropped and scolded, albeit playfully, in a recent political roundup column in the Bismarck Tribune. Political scientist and former North Dakota Lieutenant Governor Lloyd Omdahl writes, “[Rep.] Kurt Zellers, Minnesota’s former House speaker who hails from Webster, N.D., has announced his intention to run for governor. He says he learned a lot on the farm in Ramsey County, but he gave no mention of the professor who taught him state and local government at the University of North Dakota.”

REINERT LESSON: Sen. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, penned a column in the Duluth News Tribune to convey the importance of the trip he and other Minnesotans made to Gettysburg, Penn. last week. Reinert, who makes his living as a history professor, writes glowingly of the courage shown by the 1st Minnesota Volunteer Regiment, which played a key role in the battle and suffered an astonishing 83 percent casualty rate. He and other members of a Minnesota delegation honored those soldiers’ memory and laid wreaths at nearby memorials during their visit to Pennsylvania.”It was somber and reflective,” Reinert wrote. “I was proud to be there and completely humbled by the experience.”

DOUGLAS DAYTON: Douglas Dayton, a scion of the Dayton family who presided over the original incarnation of Target Corp., died last week at age 88. The now-ubiquitous discount chain was launched in the early 1960’s, and had expanded outside the state by the middle of that decade, according to a Bloomberg obituary. Gov. Mark Dayton released a statement mourning the passing of Douglas, who was his uncle, calling him an “extraordinary businessman, philanthropist, and leader of our family.” The governor continued: “I have cherished memories of our times together: duck and pheasant hunting in Heron Lake, serving on the board of a family business, and discussing the latest political developments.”

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