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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published January 18 2010

Political Notebook: Coleman not running for governor

ST. PAUL - The Republican who could raise more money than any other and who has a ready-made statewide campaign organization is not running for governor.

Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman announced Sunday night that he will sit out the 2010 race, leaving seven candidates in the GOP column.

“I love Minnesota and I love public service, but this is not the right time for me and my family,” Coleman said in a Sunday night statement.

Coleman, in a statement given to KSTP television's Tom Hauser, thanked those who urged him to run, but said, “I’ve learned there are lots of ways to serve without an official position.”

Coleman indicated he will remain involved in public policy issues.

Second matchup

Rebecca Otto and Anderson will run against each other again this year, a repeat of their campaign for state auditor two years ago.

Anderson dropped out of the Republican governor’s race to challenge Otto, the Democrat who unseated her in 2006.

In making her announcement, Otto promised to continue improving government efficiency, accountability and transparency in this tight budget time.

“I think it will be an important race,” Otto said. “Minnesota families can’t afford another four years of the hundreds of millions of dollars in financial errors made by Ms. Anderson when she was state auditor, and the political grandstanding that drove up our property taxes. I’ve been cleaning up after her for three years. In tight times, we need an innovator, not a grandstander.”

Anderson is the only Republican in the race with a statewide campaign organization.

“I’ll bring that level of respect back to the auditor’s office and that level of commitment to protecting tax dollars back to the people of Minnesota,” Anderson said.

Windows broken

Security personnel arrested a homeless man across the street from the Capitol on Thursday moments after three windows were broken.

The three windows in doors next to the office of Sen. Keith Langseth of Glyndon were broken with rocks.

No injuries were reported.

The doors were locked. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, only two sets of Capitol doors are open for the public.

There is no word why someone would want to break the windows.

Biodiesel changed

Minnesotans using No. 1 diesel fuel do not need to mix it with biodiesel until April 1.

The normal 5 percent biodiesel mixture requirement is being lifted because of concerns from truckers and others who fear extreme cold weather could clog fuel lines, the state Commerce Department reports. No. 2 diesel still must be mixed with biodiesel.

Biodiesel normally is made from soybean oil, and Minnesota is the first state to require the mixture.

Kelliher gets $254,000

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher received $254,000 in four and a half months running for governor.

“Given the number of candidates and the short time frame we had, I’m thrilled with our numbers,” campaign manager Jaime Tincher said.

Kelliher picked up almost $80,000 in December.

The campaign reported that more than 1,400 people donated and 94 percent were Minnesotans.

Langseth celebrates

Even the sometimes-gruff Sen. Keith Langseth likes to have a good time.

A group of senators, staff and others helped Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, celebrate his 72nd birthday, toasting him at a St. Paul restaurant popular with politicians.

Sen. Kathy Saltzman, a Woodbury DFLer who joined the party, said that it was an example of Democrats and Republicans getting along away from the public spotlight.

There were 15 to 20 people at The Lexington on Wednesday night, including Langseth’s wife, as well as Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester.

Earlier, those in a committee meeting sang “Happy Birthday” to Langseth, led by Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley. Langseth thanked his fellow senators, but let them know that his birthday was not for several days, and he may not still be around then.

Seifert happy

Marty Seifert says he is pleased with donations to his campaign for the Minnesota GOP governor nod.

The Marshall state representative said he likely has the best mixture of urban and rural donations of any of the nearly 20 candidates.

He reports he received more than $262,000 last year, among the most of any candidate.

“Not only do we have an extremely strong grassroots organization, our finance network extends to every corner of Minnesota,” Seifert said. “I am confident that ours is the only Republican campaign with the necessary resources to win the GOP endorsement and win in November.”


Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.