1.) The House DFL caucus published its budget targets on Friday, releasing a plan that couples $550 million in tax cuts with a number of priorities for new spending, MPR reports. The proposal includes $172 million for capital investment and economic development and $92 million in new spending for education funding; notably lower is the transportation category, where Democrats would devote $50 million for repair on highways, roads and bridges. In a statement accompanying the release, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy said the budget plan would “build on our historic investments in education, and support Minnesota workers and small businesses.” The House side continues to outpace its Senate counterpart, where Senate Taxes Committee chair Sen. Rod Skoe, DFL-Clearbrook, has said he plans to introduce the Senate tax bill this week, with hope for a floor vote by Friday.
2.) DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson will bring an end to months of speculation this morning with the announcement of his re-election plans, according to the Star Tribune. Peterson will make his announcement at the Moorhead Center Mall at 10:00 a.m., and sources have indicated that he plans to run at least once more. Since winning election to that seat, the 11-term Democrat has proven virtually unbeatable for GOP foes, despite his district’s relatively conservative political profile. This year, Peterson has a formidable challenger in Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, whom Republicans see as the strongest candidate they have fielded in that race in years. Should Peterson announce he is not running for re-election, a number of Democrats, including Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, could be poised to take his place in the campaign.
3.) The Independence Party of Minnesota has its first declared gubernatorial candidate in the form of Glen Menze, a Rochester accountant, according to MPR. Menze has previously challenged DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson twice, losing as a GOP candidate in 2008 and an Independence candidate two years later. He acknowledged that Gov. Mark Dayton could be difficult to beat this year, but pointed to the “volatile” nature of politics, both nationally and in Minnesota, as a factor that could boost a third-party candidacy. The I-P announcement could further complicate the November vote, particularly on certain issues, especially as the Libertarian Party has said that it, too, hopes to field a strong candidate this year.
COMINGS & GOINGS