Daily Digest: Pick a card

Good morning, and welcome to Friday. Here’s the Digest.

1. Dayton reveals lung problem. After spending a month at the Mayo Clinic, Gov. Mark Dayton revealed Thursday that he had complications following a planned surgery that affected his lungs and forced him to spend weeks longer than anticipated in a medical unit. Dayton, who is in the final months of his last term, hasn’t appeared in public since early October. His daily schedule has referenced meetings with key staff since then, and the update on his medical condition didn’t come until after MPR News reported Wednesday on his extended hospital stay. The 71-year-old underwent two procedures in a matter of a few days to resolve spine problems that were affecting his leg strength and balance. After the second procedure, his office issued a statement saying he expected to return to St. Paul within a few days. But he wound up staying in Rochester for much longer. “Unfortunately, I experienced post-surgical complications, which caused damage to my lungs.  At my doctors’ recommendation, I have remained at Mayo for therapy to rehabilitate my lungs,” Dayton said in a statement issued Thursday. “During this time, I have been in constant contact with my Commissioners and staff.  I expect to return to St. Paul in the next few days.” (MPR News)

2. Luck of the draw wins mayor’s race. Paul Allen will keep his seat as mayor of the tiny north-central Minnesota city of Manhattan Beach — thanks to the luck of the draw. Minnesota law says ties in municipal elections must be decided “by lot”: flipping a coin, drawing straws or some other game of chance. The card draw was used to settle an electoral tie for the Manhattan Beach mayoral race in the Nov. 6 election. Allen and challenger Kevin Larson received 23 votes apiece. In a high-stakes moment of drama inside the cramped city hall Wednesday night, the deadlock was decided with playing cards.As cameras snapped and residents leaned in to watch, Allen and Larson each drew a card and laid them, face up, on the table. Larson had a three of hearts. Allen had a nine of diamonds. A similar scenario played out in a few Minnesota cities this election: Maplewood officials used a coin toss earlier this week to decide a stalemated city council election. In Winona County, the city of Stockton also used a coin toss to choose its mayor after a tie vote. (MPR News)

3. Walz heads to ‘governor-101’ class. Minnesota Governor-elect Tim Walz is heading to Colorado for a weekend seminar on how to be a governor. The National Governors Association (NGA) regularly brings together newly-elected governors and their spouses from throughout the country for a bipartisan training session. A spokesman for the NGA said topics covered during the Seminar for New Governors include “making the most of the transition period, leading and managing the administration and working with the legislature and major constituencies.” The event runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Colorado Springs. Walz, who will be sworn in as Minnesota’s 41st governor in early January, said he’s looking forward to the seminar. “It’s governor-101,” Walz said. “Everyone who’s been through that, former governors, tell me it’s incredibly valuable in terms of getting you on the right foot.” (MPR News)

4. Contractor chosen for Southwest LRT. The Southwest light-rail line now has a contractor to build it and up to $435 million to start construction this winter. The Metropolitan Council, which will build and operate the line, awarded a $799 million bid on Thursday to Lunda/C.S. McCrossan, the lone bidder left in a process that dragged on for more than a year. “This is an exciting, big project and we’re excited to be a part of it,” said Brent Wilber, Lunda Construction Co.’s vice president for Minnesota. When the council unanimously approved the contract late Thursday afternoon, those in the Robert Street chambers burst into applause. “This is an incredible moment; after two decades of work we’re finally ready to begin construction,” said Alene Tchourumoff, the outgoing chair of the Met Council. (Star Tribune)

5. Will Klobuchar run for president? To date, Sen. Amy Klobuchar has remained predictably coy about any ambitions — rumored for years — beyond serving as Minnesota’s senior U.S. Senator. But for her and for several other possible 2020 candidates, last week’s midterm was the last fig leaf left to obscure an answer to the “are you running?” question. The next election on the calendar is now the all-important presidential one, and it appears that more people than ever are interested in Klobuchar’s answer to the big question. (MinnPost)

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