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Poll: Dayton and Franken ‘well ahead’ of GOP challengers

Wisconsin voter ID law tossed; buh-bye defense jobs?; banning ‘Asian’ carp; and more.

MinnPost file photo by James Nord

“Well ahead … .” MPR’s Mark Zdechlik reports, “A new [Suffolk University Political Research Center] poll finds Democrats Mark Dayton and Al Franken are running well ahead of all of their Republican challengers, but neither incumbent Democrat is drawing more than 50 percent support. … According to the results, Gov. Dayton leads all of his Republican challengers by double digits, but one in four voters said they were undecided on the governor’s race. Pollsters found support for Sen. Franken in the mid-40s and that none of his Republican challengers has more than 29 percent support.”

Wisconsin’s Voter ID law has been ruled unconstitutional, the AP tweets. It’s an impermissable burden on poor and minorities to get photo identification to vote. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, the law’s most prominent supporter, previously vowed a special session to get around any court objections. The decision is here.

Defense contractor Alliant Techsystems’ move from the state is continuing. The Strib’s Dee DePass reports ATK is moving more defense functions to Virginia, and spinning off sporting goods (think: bullets, etc.) to Utah. The company has not confirmed local cuts in the Eden Prairie office, but they appear logical.

To the jury … . The AP’s Amy Forliti says, “The trial of a Minnesota homeowner who killed two teens during a break-in has been given to the jury after the man’s attorney argued the teens would be alive if they hadn’t chosen to commit a burglary.” If this was Florida, I know how I’d bet.

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Says Pam Louwagie for the Strib, “Prosecutor Pete Orput hammered home the idea that Smith, 65, plotted the killings of the intruders as they descended his basement steps about 10 minutes apart. After repeated break-ins to his home and his adjacent property throughout that fall, Smith set up an ambush, the prosecutor argued.

Noting the judge’s decision to shut down on-line voter registration here, Reid Wilson of The Washington Post reminds his readers, “Eighteen states — not counting Minnesota — allow online voter registration, and four other states are in the process of implementing online systems. … The states that allow online sign-ups include both deep red states like Kansas and Georgia, and deep blue states like California, Colorado and Washington. Studies have found online registration can save states big money. Processing a paper registration can cost a state 83 cents, but it costs just 3 cents to process an online registration.”

The AP’s story on the struggle to squeeze every project into the available bonding funds says, “Those [projects] in the mix range from re-roofing college campus buildings to mid-size city civic center expansions to rehabilitation of public housing. But the competition is fierce, with giant projects like an ongoing Capitol renovation chewing up a large chunk of available funds. ‘I’ll just name three projects: the Capitol at $126 million, the state security hospital in St. Peter at $56 million, the state prison in St. Cloud at $34 million. I’ve just given you three projects and that’s $200 million,’ said House Capital Investment Committee Chairwoman Alice Hausman, DFL-St. Paul. ‘That’s how fast the $850 million goes.’”

Are we all cool now? From yesterday … news that “Asian” carp are no more. Says the Forum News Service, “Minnesota legislators have been trying to get rid of Asian carp for years and on Monday senators got rid of the ‘Asian’ part of the name. On a split voice vote, senators approved dropping “Asian” from the invasive carp name. … Sen. Foung Hawj, D-St. Paul, said the state needs to do a better job of being sensitive.”

Meanwhile … Tim Pugmire of MPR says, “Legislation to legalize medical marijuana has cleared another hurdle in the Minnesota Senate. Members of the State and Local Government Committee advanced the bill today on a divided voice vote.”

But colleague Tom Scheck writes, “ … as that bill gets another Senate hearing Tuesday, quieter voices are rising in opposition. People who run drug treatment programs in Minnesota worry that opening the door to any form of legal marijuana will cause many more problems and could lead to greater abuse. … Drug treatment professionals and the medical community have given little public testimony on the medical marijuana bill in the Legislature, though they have joined law enforcement groups in opposing it.”

By the look of the “fans” at the Capitol last year I assumed they already have some kind of brain-controlling “Matrix”-like link to the NFL. However, MPR’s Tim Nelson says, “The team is building an app that will leverage their new home and tie fans closer than ever to the team — to keep them buying tickets and coming to the games. It’s part of a broader mobile media strategy to keep fans tied to the team whether they’re at home or at the game. You follow the Vikings, the Vikings follow you.” If they follow you down a dark alley and you roll them — in self-defense, of course — see if they’ve got your $500 million in their pockets.