State Fair debate on Friday

With a new MPR News/Humphrey Institute poll showing the race for governor too close to call, Friday’s State Fair debate could be important for the candidates to highlight their differences.

Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Tom Emmer and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner have all confirmed for the event.

MPR News is hosting the debate at 11am in Carousel Park on the State Fairgrounds. Stop by if you’re at the Fair. If you can’t make it, tune in live or listen here.

  • Leslie Davis is the best candidate in the race for Governor. I’m running as a write-in so people will know the real issues and my great solutions. The Davis Money Plan is the only thing that can rescue Minnesota and created thousands of great jobs.


    Leslie Davis

  • I’m pretty sure there are more than three people running for Governor. This isn’t a debate, it’s puppet theater.

  • Oliver Steinberg

    There are seven candidates for Governor on the November ballot. A vote for any one is equal to a vote for any other. But Minnesota’s news organizations and the polls they conduct to sample public opinion, ignore these facts. Press and pollsters follow a cut-and-dried approach. Their unquestioned premise is that minor candidates can’t be elected and don’t have the money to be taken seriously in the campaign. Fancy that—the Fourth Estate aiding, abetting, accelerating, and acquiescing in the process of selling off our electoral process to the well-heeled. (It’s been aptly said that we choose our leaders in auctions, not elections.) As for “they can’t win”—well, excluding qualified candidates from debates and polls and ignoring them in news stories is a good way to make that assertion into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, of all the states Minnesota has the strongest multi-party tradition. This is reflected in the compound name of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, and more recently in the Ross Perot-Jesse Ventura manifestation. Notice that the press DOES now include the Independence Party’s nominees, even though their chance of being elected, based on Penny’s and Hutchinson’s past performances, is nil. The independent and minor party candidates realize the odds of being elected are against them, but that doesn’t mean their presence is irrelevant and insignificant. They’re the ones who act as political “guinea pigs” for testing out supposedly controversial or unpalatable ideas, thus functioning as the conduit for new ideas into a two-party structure that otherwise degenerates into stalemate and/or stagnation. In the mid-19th century the Liberty and Free Soil parties voiced anti-slavery sentiments in defiance of political conventional wisdom of that era. The Populists of Ignatius Donnelly’s day pioneered the call for votes for women, direct election of Senators, and an income tax. The Socialist Party’s ideas inspired Al Smith and FDR to champion workplace safety laws, unemployment compensation, Social Security, etc. Therefore, just by participating, the minor party candidates are “winning,” and they may affect policy for the long term without ever getting elected. All that obscene expenditure of money in politics is devoted to crafting propaganda messages, and all too often journalists merely echo that propaganda. Or else, there’s just a constant stream of repetitive “who’s ahead in the horse race” stories—derived of course from selective polling which offers three choices instead of seven. Why don’t you shine a light on the sources of new ideas—so that when voters look at their ballots and see all seven candidates they won’t have to say: “Who are all these people and why haven’t we heard about them?” Maybe you don’t know that minor parties cannot qualify just by paying a ballot access fee. To appear on the ballot, they have to gather thousands of valid signatures in a two-week time frame. Whether to report about them in news stories is a matter of editorial prerogative—but votes they earn have identical value with the major parties’ votes, and therefore all candidates ought to be included in the public opinion polling!