Jesse Ventura told CNN’s Larry King he won’t run for U.S. Senate this year because media jackals might be mean to his family; instead, the man he appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2002, Dean Barkley, will enter the race. KSTP’s Tom Hauser broke the Barkley news; the surprise candidate was in KSTP’s studios to react to Ventura’s decision. Barkley said last month he wouldn’t run because of a new bus-company exec job, but as Hauser notes, “That job didn’t work out.”
More Barkley: Hauser notes a one-month-old SurveyUSA poll showed Barkley getting 8 percent in a three-way matchup with Norm Coleman (48 percent) and Al Franken (37 percent); Ventura had 26 percent in a newer SurveyUSA poll. “I don’t have Jesse’s style, his bravado, but I have exactly the same passion,” Barkley argues. But in addition to poorer poll results, he doesn’t have Ventura’s fundraising ability.
Worth remembering: Going back to 1998, no Democrat has won a three-way statewide race with a credible Independence Party candidate. So while Norm Coleman forces didn’t get Ventura to fully cleave the anti-incumbent, anti-war, anti-Norm vote, Barkley will probably do, and is far less likely to score the upset win.
Jesse’s open door: the dye-job diva — we’re talking Ventura, not King — did say he might still file if “God comes and speaks to me like he did the president, and tells me I should run, like he apparently told the president to invade Iraq.” WCCO’s Pat Kessler observes that “anything’s possible in JesseWorld” but notes the ex-guv’s dim view of religion makes this chance unlikely.
Former federal judge Miles Lord’s daughter, Priscilla Lord Faris, will give Franken a Democratic primary run. The 66-year-old was a real estate exec until becoming a lawyer 15 years ago, notes AP’s Martiga Lohn, and is a Franken donor. There’s not much about her issues, but the personal injury attorney has fought against silicone breast implants, the Fen-Phen diet drug and foreclosures. She says she’ll raise $1 million to $2 million for the campaign.
Monday was poll-flurry day: SurveyUSA put Coleman up 52 percent to 39 percent in a two-way race with Franken; however, the man-bites-dog surprise was Rasmussen, which had Franken topping Coleman 44-42 — the DFLers’ first lead since February. Polls often substitute for real news, but I was surprised Al’s counterintuitive lead didn’t rate bigger press somewhere. Can someone detail how two prominent national pollsters diverge so radically?
Also absent from the dailies: Obama is up 18 on McCain in Minnesota, Rasmussen reports via Fox9. The 52-34 spread is Obama’s biggest lead ever in the survey; with one Rev. Wright-fueled dip, the Democrat has lead here by 12 to 15 percentage points since February. That hissing you hear is air escaping from the Pawlenty-for-veep balloon.
A 30-year Minneapolis cop was indicted for corruption. The alleged low price: $200 to help a gangbanger access a police database. The “gangster” was an undercover cop, and Michael D. Roberts was in trouble. Roberts claimed he inventoried the payoff, but local activist Ron Edwards says Roberts gave him the cash “as a friend,” according to the Strib’s James Walsh. Still, Edwards tells KARE Roberts was “set up” and will be exonerated. Roberts faces 20 years on each count.
Put a transit strike on your short-term list of worries. Metro Transit workers resoundingly rejected a new contract and could walk out by mid-August, WCCO’s Liz Collin reports. It wasn’t close; 95 percent said no. The current contract expires July 31, but there’s a 10-day cooling-off period, Collin notes. The strike could coincide with the State Fair and GOP convention; 2004’s walkout lasted 45 days. More details on the issues, please.
GOP national convention organizers have found their 10,000 volunteers and raised the minimum $39 million. They’ll now try to raise another $19 million for “insurance, transportation and office space” so they can do it up right, the PiPress’s Jason Hoppin writes. Meanwhile, the paper’s Tom Webb says Bob Dylan may have strongly encouraged his son Jakob not to play an ag-industry bash on the convention’s second night.
The PiPress continues its series of public-employee salaries. Today’s installment notes how Minnesota counties are losing top execs to other states because of our salary cap. It was made more flexible in 2006, but tops out around $140K, while places like California are luring away talent for $100,000 more. Waivers are possible, and Ramsey County may go to 177K, Rachel Stassen-Berger and MaryJo Webster report.
Remember: we’re also electing legislators. Politics addicts seeking the early line should check out Politics in Minnesota’s rather detailed list of Top Ten contested House districts. Part one of Sarah Janecek’s compendium is here, and Part two is just out here.
Good news/bad news: the Duluth News Tribune’s John Myers says double-crested cormorants have made “a comeback of monumental proportion” since DDT was banned decades ago — but now the birds are fouling islands and taking anglers’ prizes. There were 89 Great Lakes nests in 1970; now there are more than 115,000. The feds have begun shooting thousands of birds to hold down the population. Some enviros think cormorants are wrongly blamed for fisherfolk skunking.
Minneapolis’ Green Institute — every urban remodeler’s friend through its ReUse Centers — may close, the Strib’s Steve Brandt writes. The 15-year-old nonprofit is $60,000 behind on $3.7 million in city loans; foreclosure and re-sale is a not-so-great option. A suburban ReUse Center has closed; the Minneapolis flagship remains open. The institute’s current boss says shuttering doors is a “definite possibility.” Previous management “used debt like a cash machine,” Brandt observes.
At the Strib’s “Big Question” blog, reporter Mark Brunswick explains how the Pawlenty administration poked its finger in the paper’s eye over a recent records request. The state can only charge 25 cents per page for copying fewer than 100 pages of records, but tacked on $275 for a Strib request that went 16 pages over. The government could’ve waived the charge but didn’t; buy a scanner, advises one records advocate. The paper makes common cause with the Minnesota Independent; strange bedfellows.
Nort spews: Justin Morneau sheepishly won the Home Run Derby last night; he bested Texas’s Josh Hamilton 5-3 in the final round, but Hamilton had the Yankee Stadium crowd chanting his name after a Derby-record 28 dingers in the first round. Them’s the rules, folks.