Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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ST. PAUL—Joel Schaberg can be forgiven if shivers go through his body when he thinks back to that early December 2017 day. "We got sick of waiting for the lakes to freeze over," Schaberg recalled about an early-season ice-fishing adventure. "It felt safe and it was shallow, so if you fell in it was no big deal." But Forest Lake, in a Minnesota town of the same name, was not ready for ice anglers, as he and a friend discovered. They thought they were ready, knowing the dangers. They did not just walk onto the lake, but used kayaks instead.
ST. PAUL -- Political organizations targeted a pair of Minnesota special legislative elections, only to see voters opt for no change in political power. A Democrat will replace a Democrat in the state Senate while a Republican takes over for a House Republican after elections Monday, Feb.
ST. PAUL — Michelle Fischbach may remain Minnesota lieutenant governor and a state senator -- for now at least. A judge dismissed a lawsuit against Fischbach, R-Paynesville, Monday, Feb. 12, saying it came too soon. Ramsey County Judge John H. Guthmann wrote that the suit by Destiny Dusosky, who lives in Fischbach's district, "lacks ripeness," adding that her claim "is premature and based on speculation."
ST. PAUL — Last week's precinct caucus governor straw poll has taken its second victim: former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received," the Democrat said Monday, Feb. 12. "So, it is with a heavy heart that I announce today the suspension of my campaign for governor of Minnesota." State Rep. Paul Thissen of Minneapolis dropped out of the race the day after the Feb. 6 caucuses.
ST. PAUL — Gary Wayne Jackson Jr. has pleaded not guilty to killing his 23-month-old son early this year. Jackson appeared in federal court in St. Paul Monday, Feb. 12, and entered his plea during a brief arraignment. Federal Magistrate Judge Leo Brisbois gave a federal prosecutor and Jackson's attorney a March 5 deadline to file motions. A hearing on motions is planned in front of Brisbois March 26 in the Duluth federal courthouse.
ST. PAUL—Rebecca Otto won the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's straw poll for governor in the 8th Congressional District. Three days later, U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan announced he would not seek re-election. There could be a thread connecting the two. The 8th is a massive district, stretching from Canada to the northern Twin Cities suburbs, covering northeastern, north central and east central Minnesota.
ST. PAUL — A Democratic straw poll conducted during the Tuesday night, Feb. 6, precinct caucuses has claimed its first victim: State Rep. Paul Thissen is dropping out of the governor's race. The Minneapolis Democrat, a former House speaker, picked up support from less than 5 percent of those voting at caucuses. "I know from experience that so much of life is not just working hard, but being in the right place at the right time," Thissen said Wednesday. "Now is not the right time for my campaign for governor."
ST. PAUL — It is dangerous to draw too many conclusions from precinct caucuses, especially from non-binding straw polls conducted there, but one fact stands out from this week's caucus night: Almost three times as many Democrats showed up at the Tuesday, Feb. 6, caucuses than Republicans. That could be a scary fact for the GOP, whose loyalists are known for turning out.
ST. PAUL -- Second-time Minnesota governor candidate Jeff Johnson easily won a Tuesday, Feb. 6 straw poll, but could face a bigger obstacle in coming weeks: Tim Pawlenty. With all votes tallied from Republican precinct caucuses throughout Minnesota, Johnson had 45 percent of the vote of nearly 11,000 caucus attendees.
ST. PAUL—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stole the spotlight from Republican candidates in the governor's race Tuesday, Feb. 6, hours before party loyalists gather to pick their favorite candidate in a straw poll. The two-term Republican governor made a surprise announcement Tuesday morning that he will leave the Financial Services Roundtable next month. As leader of the Washington-based group, Pawlenty has been spokesman and lobbyist for financial services companies.