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High (office) hopes

After a 20-year shutout, DFLers hope to reclaim the governor's chair in 2010. To do so, delegates to the Mower County Democratic Farmer-Labor Convention in Austin's Labor Hall on Sunday afternoon rallied around their champions and talked strategy.

Their only problem was deciding who in the pack of candidates would be the best choice.

In the end, they divided five delegates among Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, former state Rep. Matt Entenza of St. Paul and Senate Tax Committee Chairman Tom Bakk of Cook, 2, 2, and 1 respectively. Four more delegates will go the party’s state convention in Duluth April 23-25 as uncommitted delegates. A corresponding number of alternates were also selected.

Sen. Dan Sparks and Rep. Jeanne Poppe, both DFLers from Austin, fanned the flames of the delegate’s enthusiasm.

"We have wonderful candidates for governor," Poppe told the delegates. "We have got to elect a governor who represents the DFL values that we cherish. Let’s get the governor’s seat back."


Sparks agreed.

"You have probably noticed that we could use some help in the governor’s office," he said. "We are facing some very challenging issues in the state of Minnesota."

On the national level, 1st District Rep. Tim Walz, a DFLer from Mankato, made it clear he is not afraid of the opposition and is warmed up for the race.

"You are here because you want solutions for your country," he said. "That’s why we’re here.

"Who can look you in the eye and tell you our health care system doesn’t need reform?" he asked.

At town meetings on health care, he recalled, some people would come up to him with threats that they were going to vote him out of office. "Well," he would answer, "I’m going to vote for health care reform every day until you do that."

The statement drew loud applause from the group.

Walz also blasted Republicans for name calling.


"If you help someone across the street, that’s not Socialism," he said.

Lori Sellner, 1st Congressional District chairwoman, touted DFLers Sparks, Poppe and Walz and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken.

"And we’re going to have a Democratic governor for the first time in 20 years," she promised.

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher of Minneapolis, state Sen. John Marty of Roseville, state Rep. Paul Thissen, of Minneapolis, and Rybak all attended the convention.

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