It might have been more entertaining than the governor debate sans Tom Emmer. Former candidates for governor Marty Seifert and Tom Rukavina squared off for the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. Moderator Tim Flaherty wore of referee jersey. That set the tone for fun and feistiness. DFLer Rukavina opened with the joke “I’m standing in for Tom Emmer.” Many mayors from various political parties were disappointed Republican-endorsed Emmer did not attend the debate held later in the day. One twitter user asked me to ask Seifert if he would support a write-in campaign for him. Seifert said no.
Seifert bluntly told the crowd “almost every part of the budget will be affected” and he expects gambling to be part of a budget solving solution. Rep. Rukavina, who unlike Seifert plans to return to the legislature, said “it will be the toughest session we’ll ever face; all the gimmicks and low hanging fruit are gone.” Seifert said you can close the shortfall through cuts alone but “I’m not sure Minnesotans will like what it looks like.” Rukavina said you have to cut and tax. He suggested taxing clothing because “if you come to Embarrass in the winter and see folks in their underwear, you know clothing is essential.” Finally, on bonding or borrowing for state projects, former House Minority Leader Seifert said “if you elect more Republicans you’re going to see a clamping down on bonding.” On the flipside, Rukavina brought down the house with “I like pork. I eat pork. I’m trying to get more pork at the Capitol.”