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Don Davis, Published October 19 2009

Political notebook: Governor hopefuls could affect session

ST. PAUL – The Minnesota 2010 governor’s race is unique.

For one thing, the race is gearing up big time now, while it still is just 2009. It depends on how you count, but there are about 20 Republican and Democratic candidates already in the race, and more are bound to belly up to the bar.

With half of the candidates serving in the Legislature, next year’s session is sure to be affected. Many predict that the candidates, including House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher who more than anyone can affect the tone of the session, will want to get out early and hit the campaign trail.

On the other hand, some Capitol insiders claim that the candidates will feel they can get more free publicity by filibustering at the Legislature, so the crowded race actually could prolong the session.

Nurses pick Thissen

The Minnesota Nurses Association has endorsed Rep. Paul Thissen for governor.

The president-elect of the 20,000-member organization said Democrat Thissen is a champion for registered nurses.

“From his work to make sure all children have health insurance to his advocacy of adequate RN staffing for patient safety, he exemplifies the characteristics we expect of a governor,” Linda Hamilton said.

Franken’s favorite

Each Wednesday that the U.S. Senate is in session, Sen. Al Franken hosts a brunch for Minnesotans who happen to be in Washington.

In a letter to supporters the other day, he praised the meal’s highlight: “Mahnomen porridge – a Minnesota treat made from wild rice. If you haven’t had it, trust me, you don’t know what you’re missing. So I’ll tell you – you’re missing something delicious.”

Earlier in the week, at a University of Minnesota stop, he said that he tries to serve healthy food at his weekly gatherings. But the porridge, well, it has syrup and cream, among other goodies, and Franken just licked his lips in a sign that appeared to say the treat was there to stay.

Party change?

One of the Minnesota Independence Party’s major beliefs is up for debate.

The party long has rejected political action committee money, the mainstay of many other campaigns. But on Nov. 21, party delegates will meet to decide whether to break with that tradition.

The party also will consider whether to continue endorse candidates of other parties.

Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Forum. He can be reached at (651) 290-0707 or ddavis@forumcomm.com