Primary Night saw a split verdict for the Override Six, the PiPress’ Bill Salisbury reports. One Republican who voted against Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s transportation veto last winter lost Tuesday — Bloomington’s Neil Peterson — while another, Anoka’s Jim Abeler, won overwhelmingly. That means half of the veto-busting crew is now gone; Andover’s Kathy Tinglestad and Freeport’s Bud Heidgerken decided last spring not to run. Jan Schneider is your new Bloomington GOP hope.
Elsewhere, spin-meisters will decide whether Al Franken’s margin over Priscilla Lord Faris was big enough; the percentage split was 64-30. MinnPost’s Doug Grow says no. Norm Coleman’s campaign agrees, the PiPress’ Rachel Stassen Berger writes. Dean Barkley triumphed in the Independence Party primary, which drew just 11,000 votes, compared with 237K for the Dems and 136,000 for the GOP.
Other races also produced a split decision on Republican endorsements. Wife-batterer Mark Olson, improbably anointed, lost his state Senate primary to someone who didn’t campaign, the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba and Pat Doyle note. However, conservative doctor endorsee Brian Davis crushed moderate quote machine Dick Day for the right to face off against 1st District Congressman Tim Walz, the PiPress’ Dennis Lien writes. Day will support Davis, but calls the victor “the right of the right of the right,” MPR’s Sea Stachura notes.
Electoral miscellany: Former legislator Jeff Johnson, the GOP attorney general nominee in 2006, made the finals for a suburban Hennepin County Board seat. Supreme Court Judge Lorie Gildea won a majority in a four-person race and will face Hennepin County District Juge Deborah Hedlund in the final. Also, ex-legislator Jane Ranum will square off for a Hennepin County judgeship against David Piper. In St. Paul, ex-legislator Howard Orenstein will seek same against Gail Chang Bohr.
MPR’s Tom Weber notes 10 of 13 school bond referenda won. But Brooklyn Center rejects its sixth operating levy in three years.
Perhaps a bad sign for the government’s case against alleged RNC anarchists: A magistrate released two Texans accused of Molotov-brewing on a signature bond, the Strib’s Jim Walsh reports. He apparently bought arguments that confidential informant testimony didn’t establish an imminent threat. However, the men remain in jail because prosecuters appealed to the chief federal judge. Fox9’s Tom Lyden says going over the magistrate’s head is rare.
Republican Tom Heffelfinger and DFLer Andy Luger will lead an independent RNC policing review for St. Paul, the PiPress’ Dave Orrick reports. Bizarrely, they won’t review excessive force complaints, MPR’s Laura Yuen notes, only whether police stuck to the plan. What if the plan was bad? Both men are ex-prosecutors; Heffelfinger was on the outs with Bushies when he was Minnesota’s U.S. attorney. Undetermined: the review’s cost and schedule. Minneapolis is waiting and watching St. Paul, the Strib’s Chris Havens notes.
A PiPress editorial calls Heffelfinger’s and Luger’s hiring “music to our ears.” The editorial notes New York City, site of the 2004 GOP convention, has spent $8.2 million on legal costs and isn’t done yet; St. Paul has a GOP insurance policy for $10 million with half as many arrests. If you want to read a fine piece of writing on why a review is needed, check out Art Hughes’ piece on the Strib op-ed page.
Why I love having two dailies: “Retail Clinics cost-effective,” says the PiPress headline; “Retail clinics haven’t cut health costs,” blares the Strib. The PiPress’ Jeremy Olson emphasizes research saying that Minute-type clinics aren’t Trojan Horses (offering lower treatment costs while raising overall costs because families also see their regular physician). The Strib’s Chen May Yee says there’s no sign clinics have lowered overall medical costs. Competition has done anything but cut overall prices, which are rising by double digits.
The Strib’s Josephine Marcotty reports Minnesota smoking rates have fallen from 22.1 percent in 1999 to 17 percent last year. National rates aren’t sliding that much, and Minnesota’s is fifth-lowest in the country. Interesting stat: The tobacco industry spends $238 million marketing its product here, and we spend $30 million fighting it.
Big day for local Muslims. A group of Somali workers won the right to short prayer breaks on a poultry processing line, the Strib’s Chris Serres reports. They also don’t have to handle pork, which the Quran considers unclean. Meanwhile, Muslim cabbies fighting airport mandates to carry alcohol-laden passengers were turned back by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, the Strib’s Pat Pheifer notes.
The Muslim-related story that will get the most hits: another Katherine Kersten attack on TIZA Academy. Quoting a state ed department official, Kersten says the Arabic charter school has been “confrontational” about re-doing certain practices that accommodate student religious beliefs. Is Kersten, who loves the Christian-inflected charters, overhyping legitimate disagreement? A Strib news story just three days ago painted a much less adversarial view of the negotiations. If you’re going to read one, read both.
Speaking of charters, Twin Cities Daily Planet’s James Sanna has a nice overview of the 11 new sponsored schools that just opened this fall.
Also, the Minneapolis School Board approved a 10-year compact with black community members, the Strib’s Patrice Relerford reports. Will a piece of paper do much good? There’s reason for skepticism, but at least optimistic quotes are flowing.
A small but important story: 85,000 kids lack health insurance, but half would qualify for state coverage if only their families applied. The Strib’s Mark Brunswick quotes DFLers saying more application obstacles must be removed. Lack of insurance burdens schools, where nurses become primary- and urgent-care providers.
Some lefties are opposing new transmission lines that could transmit wind power, the PiPress’ Leslie Brooks Suzukamo writes. They say utilities have overestimated demand and the lines could enable new carbon-spewing power plants. The story hypes a “green groups” split, but it’s not really spelled out in the piece. One solution could be restrictions on what power goes through the lines.
Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden will campaign using a Sun Country 737, the PiPress’ John Welbes reports. The local airline was the low bidder.
U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s lawyers will be in the Minnesota Court of Appeals today to get his guilty plea in the bathroom-sex case thrown out, WCCO’s Sue Turner notes. Craig won’t appear for the 35-minute argument. (You can see MinnPost explainer here.)
North shore dessert icon Betty’s Pies has quietly opened a Mahtomedi location, the Strib’s Allie Shah writes. There were early customer complaints but management says they’ve fixed them.
A suspected Ramsey hair-stealer is suspected in two other cases, KSTP’s Chris O’Connell reports. Weirdly, O’Connell finds a second woman who says the suspect cut off her hair three years ago for $100. The Ramsey woman also dickered with the man, but says she didn’t strike a deal before he snipped.
Nort spews: A blissful night in Twinsland as Minnesota bludgeon K.C. pitcher Brian Bannister and Chicago loses twice to surging Toronto. The Twins are one game back. Sore Loser — remember those? — here. Also, White Sox first basement Paul Konerko is sore with a mildly sprained knee, but it’s not as serious as feared.