National media do the Minnesota swing

On Nov. 3, voters will elect either incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden as President of the United States. Biden holds a wide lead in the popular vote according to national polling, but it’s actually the Electoral College vote that determines the winner. That’s why American presidential elections become a mishmash of individual state… Read More →

Labor Daze on the Iron Range

I feel bad that I’m not posting more often about what’s going on around the Iron Range these days. Hip deep in writing my book and teaching remotely I just don’t have time to whip up posts like I once did. As a result these events keep happening and the social arbiter of it all… Read More →

Duluth senate primary will document changing DFL coalition

It’s primary election day in Minnesota. And while there are some interesting races around the state — notably the 5th Congressional District DFL race for Congress in Minneapolis — only one merits significant attention here in the North. In the State Senate District 7 DFL contest Sen. Erik Simonson of Duluth faces a spirited challenge… Read More →

The politics of unemployment

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is up. Here’s a taste: The extension of mining unemployment benefits is an ever-present Iron Range campaign issue and legislative priority. Now it could prove to be the biggest national campaign issue in the entire 2020 race.  Welcome to Thunderdome! I’m afraid to report the real winners are in… Read More →

IRRR commissioner OKs contested water tower project in Brookston

On Thursday afternoon Commissioner Mark Phillips of the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation announced the approval of a contested $250,000 grant for a water tower in Brookston. The decision concludes a growing controversy over the project’s exclusion from a collection of public works projects funded by the unique state agency. The small… Read More →

CD8 race to test GOP trend in northern Minnesota

The 8th Congressional District race, which drew so much attention two years ago, begins with a dynamic unseen since the 1920s: a Republican incumbent clearly favored. U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber won the high-priced MN-8 donnybrook of 2018. He enters 2020 joined at the hip with President Donald Trump as both seek re-election. With Trump’s approval… Read More →

Competitive legislative races slated across Northland

NOTE: This post appears in today’s Hibbing Daily Tribune as part of a news sharing arrangement. Generational change. A historically contentious presidential race. Not one, but two major parties devoted to legalizing marijuana. These factors and more will influence several interesting northern Minnesota legislative races that formed after last Tuesday’s filing deadline. Though the presidential… Read More →

UPDATE: Layman won’t seek third term in State House

State Rep. Sandy Layman (R-Cohasset) announced late Tuesday she would not seek another term in the legislature. The surprising news dropped just as the filing period closed, leaving the Republican slot blank if she removes her name from the ballot. “Anyone in public service knows there is a balance that needs to be struck between… Read More →

Talking Iron Range economy and COVID-19 on ‘Almanac’

I was a guest on Almanac Friday evening talking about COVID-19 and the economic downturn on the Mesabi Iron Range. Here’s the video: This was the first time I’ve done the show from the confines of MinnesotaBrown World Headquarters in Balsam Township. It was nice not to have to drive to St. Paul. I was… Read More →

Duluth attorney McEwen thumps Simonson for DFL State Senate endorsement

Jen McEwen, a Duluth attorney, won the Senate District 7 DFL endorsement today after party officials tabulated online balloting. She outpaced incumbent State Sen. Eric Simonson (DFL-Duluth) with more than 70 percent of the vote on the first ballot, a stunning margin for an endorsement challenge. Of 435 eligible delegates, 374 cast votes. “I am… Read More →