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Political Notebook: Presidential politics in Minnesota

It's a big week for Democratic presidential politics in Minnesota.

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It's a big week for Democratic presidential politics in Minnesota.

On Friday, all five Democrats running for president will visit Minneapolis to speak at the Democratic National Committee Summer Meeting. Slated to address the crowd are former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb.

Polls continue to show Clinton with a strong lead over her competitors. Real Clear Politics analyzed recent polls and found that Clinton has a 24 percentage point advantage over her rivals. Still, it's a long time until February when the all-important caucus and primary season kicks off. Also unknown is whether Vice President Joe Biden will decide to toss his hat in the ring.

Drazkowski backs Cruz

Mazeppa Republican Rep. Steve Drazkowski took to Facebook last week to announce who he is supporting for president.

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Drazkowski signed a commitment card for Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential bid and posted a picture of it on his Facebook page. Cruz is one of 17 Republicans running for president. So why Cruz?

"I think he is the best candidate to turn our country around, and I think he is a strong, principled conservative candidate that will not capitulate to monied interests that way too many times affect our government and inhibit the types of change people are clamoring for," he said.

Recent polls show real estate mogul Donald Trump continues to enjoy a sizable lead over his GOP rivals. A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday found that nearly 32 percent of Republicans surveyed favor Trump, compared to 24 percent the week earlier. The second place spot went to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who got 16 percent.

Nelson to sponsor bill seeking airport funding

Rochester GOP Sen. Carla Nelson said she has already drafting a bill seeking $5 million from the state to help with a $16 million expansion of the customs facility at Rochester International Airport.

The city has requested the $5 million be included in a statewide construction borrowing bill in next year's legislative session. The request comes after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warned Rochester that the airport's customs facility does not meet Homeland Security's requirements for safety, security and passenger processing time. The fear is that if Rochester fails to comply with the federal requirements, its airport could lose its international designation.

Nelson said that is a risk Rochester simply cannot afford to take.

"We all understand the devastating significance that that would place upon our regional economy. It is essential that we maintain our designation as the Rochester International Airport," Nelson said.

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The Legislature will not return to St. Paul until March. In the meantime, key lawmakers are traveling around the state to tour projects being considered for state funding. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton will also unveil a proposed statewide construction package by Jan. 15.

Related Topics: CARLA NELSONSTEVE DRAZKOWSKI
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