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Capitol Chatter: An agreement: Senator not a prom queen

ST. PAUL — U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and challenger Kurt Bills agree on little in their campaign, but there is one little area they can agree.

Republican Bills’ campaign repeatedly has complained that the media does not ask Democrat Klobuchar tough questions about the federal budget.

“Klobuchar is a senator, not a prom queen,” Bills campaign manager Mike Osskopp said, so reporters should not avoid tough questions.

The first-term senator agreed, at least that she was not prom queen.

“I was really Miss Skyway News of 1988,” she said with a laugh at a Wyoming, Minn., coffee shop.

For the honor, she received 12 helium-filled balloons and dinner for two, “which I never used, because I didn’t have a Mr. Skyway News at the time.”

The reference to her prom did bring back memories.

While she headed up a lollipop sale in her junior year to make sure that year’s prom would be in a nice hotel, the next year’s junior class did not do as well and her senior prom was in a shopping mall.

Her date, something short of a boyfriend, “decided he wanted to dance in the fountain. ... I said I wouldn’t do that because I didn’t want to ruin my pink polyester prom dress.

“I have a bad memory of my high school prom.”

‘Vote in pajamas’

It’s not an email subject line often seen: “Vote in your pajamas.”

But, then, emails are so commonplace in today’s campaigns that everyone needs a new hook. The pajamas line worked for Ben Goldfarb, get out the vote director for Minnesotans United for All Families, the umbrella organization opposing a proposed constitutional amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.

“Minnesota is famous for close — ridiculously close — elections,” wrote Goldfarb, whose full-time job is Wellstone Action executive director. “And this year will likely be no different.”

So he urged opponents of the amendment to get absentee ballots if they think they will be out of their precincts on election day.

“Voting absentee means you can fill out your ballot at home — maybe even in your pajamas, if you want — and return it before Nov. 6,” he said.

Minnesota law does not allow general early voting as done in some states, but does allow absentee voting when a voter does not expect to be home.

Pawlenty done running

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty seems to say that after 18 years in public office, he will not run again.

“I’ve had my full run,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek.

In his new job running the Financial Services Roundtable, which on behalf of more than 100 top financial firms, observers think he makes in the vicinity of $2 million a year.

Romney sees Minnesota

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney does not have a campaign office in Minnesota, but with little more than a week to go until Election Day, he is paying the state a bit of attention.

Some television commercials have been scheduled, and for the first time in the campaign Romney emails are appearing in some Minnesota political reporters’ email inboxes.

“The debates have supercharged our campaign and the Republican team,” Romney declares in one of those emails. “We’re seeing more and more enthusiasm, and more and more support.”

Workplace injuries fall

Fewer Minnesotans are hurt at work, a new study shows.

An annual survey indicates the state had 3.8 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time workers in 2011. That is down from 3.9 cases per 100 workers a year earlier.

“These numbers are part of a long-term downward trend in injuries, due to greater safety awareness and technological improvements in the workplace,” Labor and Industry Commissioner Ken Peterson said. “For example, the 1995 injury rate was more than double the 2011 rate, so we are encouraged by this trend.”