1) U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden doesn’t vote in primary elections, the Star Tribune reports.
McFadden, who hopes to challenge sitting Democrat Al Franken, hasn’t cast a ballot in a primary for the last 20 years. Other GOP candidates for the seat, including Rep. Jim Abeler, Sen. Julianne Ortman and Chris Dahlberg have been involved in the process. McFadden has also been criticized for not participating in Senate debates.
“Republican primaries in Minnesota generally aren’t competitive, so like most Minnesotans, Mike hasn’t had a reason to vote in them,” a McFadden spokesman said in a statement. “But this year will be different, as Mike McFadden is a different kind of candidate running a different kind of campaign, one that will energize Republicans to cast their primary ballots for a candidate that can beat Al Franken.”
2) GOP gubernatorial hopeful Kurt Zellers, a retiring state representative, announced on Thursday that he chose former Rep. Dean Simpson to join his ticket.
Simpson’s experience running two grocery stores would bring needed expertise on business development, Zellers said at a press conference trumpeting the pick on Thursday. Simpson served in the House from 2003 to 2008 and later functioned as a guide for Zellers at points during his tenure as House speaker.
“[Simpson] is what main street Minnesota is all about,” Zellers said. “He has been a grocer for over 40 years, a mayor for over 25 years.”
3) Greater Minnesota interests greeted the end of the 2014 legislative session with mixed grades, the Forum News Service reports.
Businesses were concerned with a minimum wage hike to $9.50 and provisions in the Women’s Economic Security Act. All eyes were on the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System project, which both Republicans and Gov. Mark Dayton took credit for funding. Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said medical marijuana might be tough to obtain from one of the eight distribution centers around the state.
“That’s going to be an issue: access for all Minnesotans,” Ingebrigtsen said. “You are going to have potentially eight different distribution centers, depending on the population. If you’re in a denser populated area, you’re probably going to have more. That’s going to be an issue. You may end up running toward the metro to get your medical marijuana, should you need that.”
COMINGS & GOINGS
Pete Hegseth, an advocate for veterans issues and a former candidate for U.S. Senate, has been appointed the finance chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota. Hegseth’s addition to the party leadership structure was announced via an email on Thursday, which points out that he has helped his veterans group Vets For Freedom raise $9 million.
Amy Willingham, a community activist, has announced her intention to run for the House District 58A, according to Sun This Week, meaning Willingham will seek the seat now held by retiring Rep. Mary Liz Holberg, R-Lakeville. Willingham is the first DFL candidate to sign-up in that contest; Republican Jon Koznick, a businessman and GOP activist, won the party endorsement there in March.
The state of Minnesota is hiring for a farmers market grant manager position with the Department of Human Services. The employee would be tasked with initiating activities to increase participation in farmers markets, among other responsibilities. A degree in human services, social work or related field required, as is three-plus years of experience with financial management, project management or grant review. More information available at the state jobs website.
A pair of lobbyists for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce have registered to work on behalf of United for Jobs, a pro-business advocacy group that lists Chamber president David C. Olson as its chairman. Beth Kadoun and Jennifer Byers signed-up to work for United for Jobs effective Tuesday this week.
The Citizens League’s next “Policy and a Pint” event will be held at the Varsity Theater on May 29, with the theme of higher education in the state of Minnesota. Tickets are $10, or $5 with a student ID; more information here.