1.) Former House minority leader Marty Seifert debuted his gubernatorial campaign with a statewide swing yesterday, kicking off his campaign in his own town of Marshall before appearing at a press conference in the State Office Building. Despite spending more than a decade in the Legislature, Seifert touted his experience as a “private sector citizen,” saying his years spent out of office had informed his view about the burden of high taxes on the state’s citizens. “I understand the budget, but more importantly I understand the budget of the average working class Minnesotan,” Seifert said. On the crucial question of political calculus and campaign strategy, Seifert said he would seek the party endorsement but did not pledge to abide by that decision, further advancing the likelihood that the party nomination will come down to a contested primary for the first time since the 1990s.
Seifert’s roll-out was accompanied by perhaps the most comprehensive and ambitious gubernatorial platform yet seen in the race, as he announced plans to eliminate the Metropolitan Council and the state Department of Corrections and to stop construction of the Southwest Light Rail Transit line, among other proposals. Seifert, who ran for the office in 2010 but lost in an endorsement contest to Tom Emmer, becomes the sixth officially declared GOP candidate in that race.
2.) In something of a familiar occurrence of late, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is poised to enact significant changes to Minnesota’s elections process without the sign-off of legislators. Ritchie announced a number of proposed rule changes yesterday, nearly all of which are aimed at making it easier for voters to authenticate their identity and prove their current address as they register on Election Day. Among the proposals are the allowance of out-of-state ID cards, rather than those issued by the state of Minnesota, and a provision that would accept electronic records — including the display of a bill on one’s smartphone or laptop computer — to prove a voter’s current address. In announcing the plans, which are meant to go into effect before the 2014 primary election, Ritchie pointed out that both of his predecessors in that office had used their authority to make election rule changes. The proposals will be the subject of a public hearing scheduled for Jan. 3.
3.) The Minnesota Vikings, the state and the construction company hired to build the team’s new Minneapolis stadium have finally agreed upon terms of a maximum guaranteed price, the Pioneer Press reports. The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) will meet today to approve the deal, which would allow for an official groundbreaking date of Dec. 3. That’s a slight delay from the original plan, and the state bond sales for the stadium will be pushed back even further, to January, though officials say the delays will not lead to a later completion date or higher costs to the state.
COMINGS & GOINGS