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Dayton returns to D.C.

WASHINGTON — Mark Dayton left Washington in January 2007, after witnessing Amy Klobuchar keep his Senate seat in the Democratic column, something he said two years prior that he might not be able to do. Wednesday, he returned to D.C. triumphant, as one of the very few Midwestern Democratic success stories in the 2010 election, flipping the governor’s seat blue for the first time in 20 years.

His first official meeting was with the person who succeeded him in the Senate, Klobuchar, then on to Al Franken’s office and across the rotunda to the House, where he met with John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen.

“We had great meetings with all, talking about priorities for Minnesota,” Dayton spokeswoman Katharine Tinucci said.

Bachmann called her meeting with Dayton “productive,” as did Franken. Discussions with members included federal transportation projects, education reform and how quickly Minnesota was and could be implementing the health care overhaul law.

It wasn’t all work though. Dayton, as a former senator, is allowed back on the Senate floor, a perk he found chance to use briefly.

And by virtue of the election not being decided in time, Dayton missed out on a new governors meeting at the White House earlier this month, so his first trip there as governor Wednesday was perhaps a bit less formal than it would have been. The occasion this time? A holiday party.

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