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Heidi Shaffer, Published April 27 2010

Kelliher makes Moorhead visit

Margaret Anderson Kelliher made her first stop in Moorhead Monday as the Democratic-endorsed governor candidate.

And though Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor delegates endorsed Kelliher Saturday night at the party convention, she still faces two opponents in an Aug. 10 primary. One of those men, Matt Entenza, was also in Moorhead Monday.

Kelliher assured supporters at Minnesota State University Moorhead that she is ready to “clean up” the mess the state finds itself in.

She pointed to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s March veto of $14 million in funding for improvements to the MSUM library as one of the problems she would fix as governor. She said funding for such projects are good investments in the state’s infrastructure that she plans to make as governor.

Teresa Joppa, a Moorhead resident and staff attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, asked Kelliher what she plans to do for K-12 schools struggling to get funding.

“I see the need for a new, fair, equitable, stable school formula all across the state,” Kelliher said, adding that she would put the plan in her first budget as governor.

Lauri Winterfeldt, a Moorhead resident who also served on the City Council for eight years, was a delegate at the convention in Duluth and came to support Kelliher in Moorhead on Monday.

“I’m so thrilled that the Democrats chose the best candidate and even more thrilled that the best candidate happened to be a woman,” Winterfeldt said.

Kelliher, the state’s House speaker, is the first woman from a major political party to run the position in Minnesota.

Kelliher faces fellow Democrats former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton and former state Rep. Entenza for the seat.

Entenza spoke at the Moorhead Regional Airport, where he was endorsed by City Council member Mark Altenburg.

“The stakes are high for all of us in the upcoming election, and it is Matt Entenza who has the best shot of beating the Republicans in the fall and making Minnesota great again,” Altenburg said in a statement.

A third Democrat, Susan Gaertner, ended her campaign Monday. For Republicans, either Delano’s Tom Emmer or Marshall’s Marty Siefert is expected to receive the party’s endorsement for governor at the convention on Friday.

It’s been more than 20 years since a Democrat has held the office, and Kelliher said she’s optimistic this could be the year Minnesota sees a DFL governor.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511