Daily Digest: Those contested primaries for governor

Good morning, and welcome to Monday and the start of the last full week before next week’s primary. Let’s take a look at the Digest, with a lot of attention on the contested races in both parties for the nomination for governor.

1. Candidates for governor pitch their biography along with message. Candidates for office face a common quandary: What’s the right balance between talking about themselves versus what they would do for voters? The answer for many is to blend biography with policy aims. While all of the main candidates for governor are airing TV ads, their appearances at cafes, local chambers of commerce meetings and in union halls matter just as much as they make personal appeals to the narrow universe of voters who will decide who wins the Aug. 14 primary. Here’s a look at how they’re doing it. (MPR News)

2. Republicans hope to control governor’s office and Legislature. The Republican primary contest between Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson pivots around an elusive opportunity for the Minnesota GOP: full control of state government for the first time in half a century. If the Republican candidate wins the governor’s race in November and the party holds its current legislative majorities, a conservative chief executive with an allied House and Senate could finally act on long-standing GOP vows to lower taxes and shrink government. (Star Tribune)

3. Democrats look to high stakes. On the DFL side Erin Murphy, Lori Swanson and Tim Walz are locked in a three-way battle for the  nomination for governor. All three hope to emerge from the Aug. 14 primary, stitch together a divided party and beat the Republican candidate. The consequences are huge: Whether Minnesota stays on a path set by eight years of a Democratic governor, or joins neighboring states in choosing Republican rule. “The stakes are enormous,” said Jeff Blodgett, a longtime DFL operative not involved in any of the campaigns. The next governor will be in office during the redistricting of the state’s congressional and legislative districts. “This election will help determine the shape of politics for the next decade in Minnesota, and that’s not hyperbole,” he said. (Star Tribune)

4. Trade policy a looming issue in CD1. Fallout from President Trump’s hard-line trade policies is testing support for the president and defining the First District race to replace Tim Walz in congress. Farmers, particularly soybean growers, have been hurt by retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other countries after they were hit with U.S. levies on imports such as steel and aluminum. No top-tier candidates in the district — including Republican primary rivals Jim Hagedorn of Blue Earth and state Sen. Carla Nelson of Rochester — unreservedly endorse the tariffs. These misgivings are one way they’re trying to demonstrate that they’re attuned to rural voters’ worries and priorities. (Star Tribune)

5. DFL endorsed candidate for AG says ‘don’t forget me.’ Matt Pelikan realizes that he’s known as “the young guy” running to become Minnesota’s next attorney general. What he refuses to accept, however, is that his experience doesn’t line up with the others seeking the DFL nomination. The 36-year-old Pelikan has been in politics for 20 years — he said he was a precinct chair in his native Northfield before he could vote — and, as he proudly points out, he’s the only one that’s been campaigning for this office for more than a year. “That has given me not only a political advantage of a statewide network, but a substantive advantage,” Pelikan said in an interview with the Daily News last week. “I have, by far, the most comprehensive vision and plan for how to use every aspect of that office to fight for the people of Minnesota.” (Winona Daily News)

If you missed the debate I moderated Friday with the Republican candidates for governor, you can find it here. Tom Hauser had them on his show on KSTP TV yesterday. This Friday I’ll host the DFL candidates.

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