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Home / News / The Capitol Note: Poll finds Zellers leading among poorly known GOP gubernatorial field

The Capitol Note: Poll finds Zellers leading among poorly known GOP gubernatorial field

1.) Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, holds a narrow lead over Republican gubernatorial competitors in the latest polling from Survey USA/KSTP, but no member of the GOP field will feel particularly enthusiastic about name recognition. Zellers was first choice for 22 percent of the Republicans polled, followed by Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, who polled at 19 percent, former businessman Scott Honour (15 percent), former House minority leader Marty Seifert (14 percent) and Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, at 9 percent; those figures leave 21 percent of GOP respondents undecided.

That large pool of uncertainty is likely due to the lack of name recognition most respondents had with each of the Republican candidates: Even among Republicans, 38 percent said they were unfamiliar with Zellers, the former speaker of the House, and 39 percent claimed not to know Seifert. The numbers are even worse for the rest of the GOP field. In a hypothetical head-to-head with Gov. Mark Dayton, the incumbent led by at least 12 percent over each of his potential challengers.

2.) Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new data practices act into law yesterday, granting enactment to legislation that would bring private companies that contract with the state under existing law for public disclosure, MPR reports. The origins of the new provision dates back to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling from 2013, which found that a private company retained by a Minnesota school district did not have to reveal details of its own subcontracting related to a construction project. In one of the more controversial decisions made during the 2014 session, HMOs and health companies are exempt from the law until July 2015. Dayton did line-item veto one element which called for creation of a new account for the Office of the Legislative Auditor, explaining in his veto letter that he did so out of concern for potential costs.

3.) Conservative activist Sheila Kihne told Politics in Minnesota that she would have “an announcement” regarding her potential legislative primary campaign today; as of this morning, Kihne had launched a campaign website stating her intention to run in House District 48A, now held by Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie. Kihne’s presence in the local convention contest blocked Loon’s re-endorsement by the party, with most seeing Loon’s vote in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage as the cause of dissension within the party unit. Kihne’s website does not heavily feature that matter, but an “issues” page does warn that “redefinition of marriage in Minnesota will have a deep impact on our state.”


  • Gov. Mark Dayton‘s schedule for the day includes meetings of the Executive Council, the State Board of Investment and the Land Exchange Board, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in room 123 of the Capitol.
  • House Republican leaders will hold a “mass filing” event on the state Capitol steps at 11:00 a.m. this morning, where they will announce the GOP candidates for state House this year. After the press event, candidates will relocate to the Secretary of State’s office to submit their paperwork.
  • Faegre Baker Daniels lobbyist Tom Freeman has registered to advocate for Better Futures Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that works with previously incarcerated men to help them find employment, housing and counseling. Freeman is the group’s fourth advocate now on retainer.
  • The University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs has scheduled a “mingler” event with the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network at the Weisman Art Museum on June 26. Those working or interested in gaining work in nonprofits are welcome to attend the event, which is free; more information here.
  • Stinson Leonard Street lobbyists Paul Cassidy and Andrew Chelseth have signed-on to represent AGNL Health, a New York-based company. They become the company’s third and fourth lobbyists on file, with all of them haling from that local firm.

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