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
- Republican legislative candidate Dario Anselmo won the GOP endorsement in House District 49A, besting opponent Polly Peterson Bowles, according to a release from Aneslmo’s campaign. Peterson Bowles has opted to abide by the endorsement, and threw her support behind Anselmo, who is now set to face incumbent Rep. Ron Erhardt, DFL-Edina. Erhardt, a Republican-turned-Democrat during the last election cycle, won election to a 10th non-consecutive term in 2012.
- Ryan Rutzick has won the Republican endorsement in House District 44B, in the open-seat race to replace Rep. John Benson, DFL-Minnetonka, who is retiring. Rutzick owns ALL Inc., an appliance and cabinet distributor, and has been active in the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations.
- Minneapolis School Board member Mohamud Noor picked up another notable endorsement in his legislative race with the announcement that the Minnesota Young DFL would back his candidacy. Noor is challenging long-time incumbent Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, for the DFL endorsement, and last week won the support of former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
- Senate District 13 DFL chair Buzz Snyder stepped down from that post at the party unit’s convention over the weekend, according to the St. Cloud Times. Snyder will be succeeded by Shannon Schroeder, a staff representative with the AFSCME Council 65 labor union.
- The MN Beer Activists interest group will hold a fundraiser rally for Sunday liquor sales at the First Avenue music venue at 7:00 p.m. tonight. “The Voice” contestant Mark Andrew is scheduled to appear, among other acts; tickets are $15 at the door, or on sale for $10 online here.