1.) The groundbreaking ceremony for the Minnesota Vikings new stadium drew national coverage from the New York Times, which reported on Gov. Mark Dayton‘s assertion that the project would serve as a boon to the state economy, even if it could potentially cost him an election. “Either way,” Dayton said, “I’ll know that I did what I believe was right for Minnesota.” Political and ideological opponents did not waste their chance to grab some of the spotlight, either. Minnesota Majority and the Taxpayers League convened a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, where those groups’ leaders warned of the likelihood that the state would have to revisit funding options and find new taxes to make up its $348 million share of the project. “I think we can expect to see taxpayers get hit again for this,” said Minnesota Majority director Dan McGrath. Also on hand was Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, one of Dayton’s GOP gubernatorial challengers, who said he would like to see Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf “put more skin in the game” if the state’s revenue package is still falling short.
2.) The already jam-packed Republican candidate field in the 2014 governor’s race might have to make room for one more. Freshman Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, is thinking about jumping into that race, according to Michael Brodkorb, who writes that party sources consider the first-term lawmaker one of the party’s up-and-coming figures. Housley confirmed Brodkorb’s rumor with a tweet, saying she was “just listening” at this point, and that she would give the idea “serious and thoughtful consideration.” Should she join, Housley would become the seventh candidate running on the GOP side, with Sen. Julie Rosen (Fairmont) — a friend of Housley’s, it should be noted — still thinking over her options.
3.) Mike Benson confirmed to the Mankato Free Press that he would seek and abide by the GOP endorsement in the 1st Congressional District, making a commitment that he had previously avoided. Benson, a two-term state House member who is not seeking re-election, joins fellow Republican applicants Aaron Miller and Jim Hagedorn in agreeing to honor the party process. Area Republican activists had been concerned that Benson might run a disruptive primary campaign had he lost the endorsement to either of his competitors, with the memory of the bruising 2012 primary battle between Mike Parry and Allen Quist still fresh in mind. Each of the current three candidates are expected to face a difficult challenge in unseating DFL U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, who won re-election handily last year, and would enter next year’s race with a sizable advantage in name recognition.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- House committee administrator Matt Bergeron announced his candidacy for the House District 64B seat on Tuesday, issuing a press release that included supportive statements from DFL Reps. Tina Liebling (Rochester) and Ryan Winkler (Golden Valley). Before his work with the House, Bergeron ran a public affairs and lobbying firm that bore his name, and he said his combined experience in the public and private sector makes him well qualified for the seat. He becomes the fifth Democrat running to replace Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul.
- Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, endorsed former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert for governor on Tuesday. Ingebrigtsen was known to be mulling his own candidacy for that office, and had said he would enter the race if another rural candidate did not.
- Lobbyists James Clark and Nancy Haas of Messerli Kramer have joined the group of advocates representing the Minnesota Medical Group Management Association. They bring that organization’s total roster to six current lobbyists.
- House Republican leaders are holding their annual holiday dinner this evening at the Town & Country Club in St. Paul. Admission is $300 per person, and sponsorship levels range from $1,500 to $5,000, with the larger amount earning four dinner tickets and four tickets to the main reception. RSVP to 651-225-8586.
- House DFL caucus research consultant Katie Hatt announced via Twitter that she’d be running for the Third District seat on the Hennepin County Board. Prior to her consultant work, Hatt worked as a former aide to Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin.