1.) Gov. Mark Dayton will introduce his choice of running mate during a 10:00 a.m. rally with AFL-CIO members. The latest conventional wisdom points to chief of staff Tina Smith as the odds-on favorite, particularly after Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, took her name out of the running late last week. Smith has a background that mixes corporate experience with public sector service, having worked for General Mills and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak. Should Dayton choose Smith to replace Yvonne Prettner Solon, the selection will be an interesting one: Smith is known as a trusted adviser to Dayton, and would likely expect to manage a larger portfolio than Prettner Solon, who complained of her limited role. One other name frequently floated as a running mate possibility is Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) Commissioner Tony Sertich, though a male candidate choosing another man as his running mate would be out of step with trends over the last several decades.
2.) After months of considering a gubernatorial bid, Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point, announced on Monday that she would not join the already crowded GOP field running against Gov. Mark Dayton. Housley broke the news in an interview with the Forest Lake Times, saying she had received encouragement to run for the state’s top office from “a number of people,” but had decided to stay in the Senate, where she was first elected in 2012. “We have real challenges with MNsure, out-of-control state spending and bringing more jobs to Minnesota, and those are things I am going to continue to work on,” she said. Housley’s decision means that only one rumored potential candidate, Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Fairmont, could still add a female voice to the GOP contest.
3.) The state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) has pushed back the date for its release of guidelines on regulating the silica sand mining industry, the Associated Press reports. The EQB had originally planned to set a model ordinance for local governments by Oct. 1, as prescribed in the statute passed during the 2013 legislative session. But an outpouring of public comment contributions, much of it from the state’s environmental activists, has since caused to delays in the board’s work finalizing its plan. The 2013 law was intended to help local governments deal with the potential fallout from the burgeoning frac sand business, including the possible option of enacting an extended moratorium on the practice.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- Joan Mondale, wife of former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale, died yesterday at age 83, shortly after entering hospice care. No cause of death was given in announcements about her passing. Mondale was a patron of the arts and a booster for artistic causes and, before meeting her future husband, worked briefly as a librarian at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, according to a Washington Post obituary. Her death was recognized by many, including Gov. Mark Dayton, who credited Mondale with having “made the Vice President’s home into a showcase of American art.”
- This evening is precinct caucus night, with DFL, Republican and Independence Party events scheduled throughout the state beginning at 7:00 p.m. The Secretary of State’s office has a website that helps participants locate their neighborhood caucus options.
- Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges announced her decisions regarding a number of city departments on Monday, opting to retain six incumbents who served under R.T. Rybak. Hodges did move to change out two office holders: City Coordinator, a job held by Paul Aasen, and Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED) Director, which currently belongs to Jeremy Hanson Willis. Hodges thanked those two staffers for their service, and said her team would conduct a thorough search for their replacements.
- GOP legislative candidate Stacey Stout is mounting another bid against Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, who beat Stout with about 53 percent of the House District 43A vote in 2012. Stout is a former U.S. House and U.S. Senate staffer, and worked as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice for five years.
- TakeAction Minnesota has endorsed its former communications leader, Greta Bergstrom, for the House District 64B race, where she is one of several Democrats running to replace outgoing Rep. Michael Paymar, DFL-St. Paul. Bergstrom worked for that organization from 2009 through the launch of her campaign late last year.
- Perennial candidate Dick Franson is at it again, this time filing to run as a candidate for Secretary of State. Franson, a Democrat, has run numerous races for statewide and federal office in the past, typically falling well short of the mark.