The Daily Digest: 1-31-08

A new MPR/University of Minnesota Humphrey School poll has Hillary Clinton and John McCain leading in the race for president in Minnesota. Here’s the story. Here’s the complete poll methodology which includes head to heads, etc.

Barack Obama will hold his Saturday rally at the Target Center. The Star Tribune and the Pi Press have stories.

John Edwards supporters are now looking for another candidate after learning that the former North Carolina Senator dropped his presidential bid. Ted Mondale says they may back Obama.

State Government

Gov. Pawlenty tells MPR that he agrees with State Economist Tom Stinson that the state’s budget gap could widen:

“It’s pretty clear that the economy is fragile and deteriorating and so we’re anticipating, in my own personal opinion and the economist backs this up, that the deficit will probably grow. I hope it grows in a manageable manner and not some sort of mushrooming manners but clearly the economic condition of the country and most of the states, with the exception of the energy or defense states is deteriorating. It’s something that we’re going to have to address.”

Finance officials won’t be able to make a complete budget prediction until the next revenue forecast is released next month.

The Star Tribune says long waits for jobless benefits have been cut.

The Pi Press says the state will test Washington County residents for PFCs, Arsenic and Mercury.

MnDOT will not put a weight limit on the Hastings Bridge.

The Star Tribune says a contractor may refund some of the payments made on the expensive staircase at the I-35W bridge.

Minneapolis may ban elephant rides. How is this related to state government? Well, the city will push to have the state retire some of the Target Center’s debt citing a lack of business because of the Xcel Center. How do you make that argument when you are basically taking an action that could kick out an annual tenant?

U of M president Bob Bruininks talks about light rail and bonding with the Minnesota Daily.

Gov. Pawlenty visited a U of M open house.

Congress

AP has a story on military action in the Middle East. GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is quoted as saying he doesn’t see military action in Iraq as a diversion from Afghanistan.

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is reminding Minnesotans that travel rules to Canada change today. MPR and the Star Tribune say the chances will cause some complications for travelers.

MPR says Minnesota’s congressional delegation is calling for cooperation from the Justice Department on the Paulose probe.

The La Crosse Tribune says lawmakers, like DFL Rep. Tim Walz, defend their spending requests as President Bush targets earmarks.

The Washington Post calls GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad a “dying breed of moderates.”

The Hill says liberals are threatening to not back the Farm Bill. DFL Rep. Collin Peterson is mentioned.

The new Ag Secretary tells Reuters that President Bush is committed to changes in the Farm Bill.

USA Today says lobbyists are finding other ways to bond with lawmakers. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.

The Salt Lake Tribune says pilots oppose airline mergers. Oberstar is mentioned.

2008 U.S. Senate race

Roll Call (subscription required) says Tuesday’s precinct caucuses serve as a test for the Senate and Congressional candidates.

MinnPost has a story on what the DFL U.S. Senate candidates are doing to convince people to caucus for them.

Channel 4000 has a profile on Al Franken.

Franken stopped in Esko and is headed to Wadena on Friday.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a stop in Bemidji.

The Minnesota Daily has a story on U of M faculty donations to candidates.

2008 Legislature races

Bob Hill, a Stillwater Attorney, announces his bid to run for the Minnesota House.

2010

Governor Pawlenty hauled in $850k in 2007.

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