Johnson supporter vandalizes bike trail to get out the message

Categories: Bicycle, Politics

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The infamous Cedar Lake Trail graffiti

The ride from St. Louis Park to Minneapoils along the Cedar Lake Regional bike trail is normally uneventful -- a few twists and tunnels are all the excitement you'll get. But lately, you'll find something different among the gravel and debris a few hundred feet from Target Field. A message has sprouted up on the pavement, spelled out in big, white, spray-painted letters, from a graffiti artist with a point to make.

"DUMP DAYTON," the message reads, sprawled out in all caps. Underneath it sits a big white checkmark, and another hastily spray-painted name: "JEFF JOHNSON."

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Mills Ruins Park defaced by graffiti


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GOP may hate the export-import bank, but Minnesota small businesses love it

Categories: Business, Politics

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Wikipedia

The town of Princeton, Minnesota, is tiny, holding fewer than 5,000 people. But head to its southwest corner, a few blocks north of the town's auto shop and welder, and you'll find U.S. Distilled Products. From this tiny town, the company churns out all sorts of alcohol: bourbon, brandy, gin. Nearly everything a bar owner could ask for.

These are products that go around the world, to dealers in places like China and Australia. But to get them there, and to convince new foreign buyers to really jump in, the company sometimes needs a little help. So it often turns to the government, and in particular, a program called the export-import bank.

See also:
Do Dayton, DFL deserve credit for MN's high rank in CNBC's Top States For Business?


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Erik Paulsen takes "Ice Bucket Challenge" for ALS research after voting to cut ALS research

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Screengrab via New York Daily News
Paulsen helped raise money for ALS research as a private citizen, but not as a congressman.
Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen, along with 15 of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives, has been singled out by the Huffington Post for taking the "Ice Bucket Challenge" this summer to raise money for ALS research despite voting to cut government funding for that same sort of research back in 2011.

Sure, that sounds hypocritical on its face, but it's not necessarily so simple. The bill Paulsen supported that cut ALS funding -- the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- cut a number of federal agencies' budgets by 5 percent, including the National Institute of Health. In other words, it took a cleaver to spending, not a scalpel.

See also:
Sheila Kihne occupies Erik Paulsen's office after he says he wants to end shutdown


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GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson: A primer

Categories: Politics

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Screengrab of Jeff Johnson

After a crowded but largely uneventful primary season, Gov. Mark Dayton finally found out who his general election challenger will be late Tuesday night. Jeff Johnson, the former Hennepin County commissioner and GOP-endorsed candidate, snagged the nomination with 30 percent of the vote, beating out former Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Zellers by about seven points.

Now the race is down to Dayton and the GOP-endorsed Johnson, with a few third-party candidates as well. But after debates that largely featured the GOP candidates arguing over who was the most conservative, what can we expect from Johnson's policies in the general election?

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Jeff Johnson is the only Republican candidate for governor who supports medical marijuana


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Meet Vance Opperman, Minnesota's top Super PAC donor

Categories: Politics

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401(K) 2012

The 2014 midterm elections may not be considered as important as the presidential race we saw two years ago, but don't tell that to millionaires.

Wealthy businessmen are still spending like crazy on Super PACs in the 2014 race, led by former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who's already given more than $20 million. And the cream of the crop in Minnesota is Minneapolis businessman Vance Opperman, who's already thrown $260,000 to Super PACs this election, making him one of the top 100 super PAC donors in the country, according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

See also:
Former foes Arne Carlson and John Marty team up against Citizens United ruling


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Iron Range blasts Mike McFadden over Keystone comments

Categories: Politics

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Like many Midwestern political snafus, this one started on a farm -- a Senate forum at the Farmfest trade show in Redwood County last week, to be exact.

The star was Mike McFadden, the GOP candidate looking to snag Al Franken's U.S. Senate seat in November. In the forum, he was aggressive, confronting Franken about not approving the Keystone XL pipeline. But it was after the debate where he hit a rough patch, faced with the question of whether he would be okay if the pipeline was built with cheaper Chinese steel instead of material from the U.S.

See also:
McFadden won't talk specifics on Social Security, but seniors want him to


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Political endorsements are pouring in, but do they really matter?

Categories: Politics

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The Strib endorsed Jim Abeler (right) over Mike McFadden (left) in the GOP senate primary

It's only a week until Minnesota's primary elections, and that means one thing: Political endorsements are about to come pouring in.

We've already seen it a few times on both the statewide and national levels. Mike McFadden got the endorsement from the national powerhouse U.S. Chamber of Commerce, but he was denied by the Star Tribune, who instead gave their blessing to challenger Jim Abeler. The Minnesota Gun Owners PAC spent yesterday handing out a huge range of endorsements, from incumbent AG Lori Swanson to five different gubernatorial candidates.

See also:
Star Tribune ruffles feathers by not endorsing Mike McFadden in primary election


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Jay Nygard is not in jail, and still fighting Orono over his wind turbines

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This tall metal structure (on the right) moves people to sue each other
Jay Nygard got the bright idea for a homemade wind turbine in 2010, and set about collecting, in his own words, only the finest parts -- "I didn't buy a piece of shit propeller."

Maybe so. But the whole thing stunk to Orono city officials. They tried to stop construction and took him to court in 2011. Since then, he's built three more machines in his Lake Minnetonka backyard.

See also:
Prospect Park steps into the future with DIY urbanism



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Mike McFadden won't talk specifics on Social Security, but seniors want him to

Categories: Politics

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Mike McFadden

Senate candidate Mike McFadden gave an extensive interview to MinnPost's Eric Black last week, but what was most jarring about the chat was the candidate's refusal to give specifics about his policy positions on one issue -- Social Security.

McFadden started off by saying he wanted to reform the program, along with Medicare, soon, telling Black: "My proposal is that we address it now, in a bipartisan fashion and that every issue is on the table."

See also:
MIchele Bachmann, defying critics, calls Social Security a fraud


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Michele Bachmann considering another presidential run [UPDATE]

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Bachmann and her beloved anti-gay Chick-fil-A
Michele vs. Hillary, anyone?
-- Update at bottom --

It's the campaign nobody is asking for, but we might get it anyway.

Michele Bachmann was barely able to hold onto her solidly Republican exurban district last election cycle, and in May 2013 she announced she won't run for another term. Yet she still believes she'd be a viable presidential contender in 2016.

See also:
Michele Bachmann says she's heard from people who confused her for Miley Cyrus


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