Satveer Chaudhary stripped of DFL backing over fishy vote

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Photo: Minnesota Senate
The senator won special fishing protections for a lake at which he owns a cabin
So state Sen. Satveer Chaudhary gets language inserted into an omnibus game and fish bill in the waning days of the legislative session in St. Paul; he wants additional measures to protect the walleye in Fish Lake Reservoir. Since he's chair of the state Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee, that might not sound like an extraordinary measure. But here's the thing: Chaudhary owns a cabin on the lake.

Bad move. First he apologized publicly and promised to repeal the regulation. Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed the entire the entire bill. Republicans started to pile on. The Senate ethics committee found he threatened public confidence in the Legislature. And then last night, DFLers in his district voted to strip him of their official endorsement, giving it instead to former Rep. Barb Goodwin.

But as the PiPress reports, there's more at play here than the fish and the ethics, though: Chaudhary had also committed the partisan sin of endorsing former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton in the 2010 governor's race, putting him at odds with the official DFL backing of House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Clearly, some Democrats in his northern suburban district felt no need to be loyal to the senator.

Chaudhary, first elected to the Senate in 2000, says he plans to run in the August primary without his party's endorsement. And he sounded defiant when quoted by Politics in Minnesota:

"I stepped up and accepted responsibility for an error but at the same time fighting for conservation," he said. "Sometimes doing the right thing is hard and it's not popular."

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