- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014
GOP and Dems dial, drum up voters

LAKEVILLE, Minn. (AP) - In a cramped office tucked behind an old 10-cent general store, the voice of 10-year-old Parker Hall cuts through the hum of non-stop conversation. Fueled by bottles of Dr Pepper and a big bag of candy, he asks if he can count on a vote for GOP candidates. Then another call. And another. He’s at it for hours.

This red-haired fourth-grader, the teens sitting shoulder-to-shoulder at folding tables and the baby boomer struggling to work his laptop? They’re the muscle the Republican Party of Minnesota hopes power them at the polls.

From noisy call centers to carefully chosen bus tour stops, Minnesota’s Democratic and Republican parties spend their energy on specific voters they see as likely to side with them. One person, one vote is the law of the land, but that doesn’t mean that political parties chase all of them the same.

Well-honed data about magazine subscriptions, vehicle registration and voting history offer clues about political tendencies, and the task is stirring these supporters to vote in a midterm election that people may otherwise sit out. Tactics include applying peer pressure or getting people to sign “pledge to vote” cards that get mailed back to them before Tuesday as a reminder.

The voter mobilization game is increasingly sophisticated and starts well before election matchups are even set.

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Minnesota candidates scrounge for late votes

OAKDALE, Minn. (AP) - The leading candidates for Minnesota’s top offices hustled around the state Saturday, giving pep talks to the party faithful who went off to knock on doors and call voters in the campaign’s closing weekend.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken told canvassers in a St. Paul suburb that races are “won at the door” and reminded them his 312-vote win in 2008 proves nothing can be taken for granted. Franken put millions of dollars into his ground effort, which often gets overshadowed by television commercials.

“I’m not taking my foot off the gas,” the first-term senator said as he headed off to a pair of events in Minneapolis.

At a lakeside rally in Buffalo, Senate challenger Mike McFadden told GOP backers “don’t stop praying because we can feel it.” He campaigned with former state Rep. Tom Emmer, who is vying for an open 6th Congressional District seat. The district is heavily Republican, so the GOP is banking on an Emmer victory of 25 percentage points or more to ripple through the ticket.

Though the Senate race was largely overlooked nationally and polls showed the incumbent comfortably ahead, McFadden said victory was still within reach.

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After swans recover, Chippewa tribes begin hunt

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Members of seven Chippewa Indian tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are allowed to hunt for swans during a two-month season that started Saturday. It represents the first legal swan hunt in the Mississippi Flyway and the first hunt anywhere that allows trumpeter swans to be legally killed.

While swan lovers have been critical of the hunt, its approval shows the trumpeter’s swan comeback from a population of nearly zero a few decades ago to perhaps 10,000 in Minnesota today, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (https://bit.ly/10cpUo5https://bit.ly/10cpUo5 ).

The hunt, approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is only allowed for tribal members and only on huntable waters across parts of east-central Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

To protect the trumpeter swans, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission says the season will end after a total of 10 trumpeters are shot. Otherwise the season ends Dec. 31. Each hunter can shoot two swans of either species daily; there’s no season limit on tundra swans.

The 10-trumpeter swan ceiling was new in the tribes’ proposal to federal authorities, after previous proposals were rejected. The two types of swans are nearly indistinguishable in flight, and the allowance of only 10 was an acknowledgement of that, the newspaper reported.

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Another vote of no-confidence in MnSCU chancellor

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Faculty members at Minnesota State, Mankato have issued a vote of no-confidence in the chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

The faculty association’s executive committee issued their unanimous vote against MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone on Thursday.

Faculty at Winona State University and St. Cloud State University issued similar votes in recent weeks. The three campuses represent well over half of MnSCU students and faculty.

The Faculty Association says in a statement that much of the concern over Rosenstone’s leadership stems from his handling of the Charting the Future initiative, including his hiring of outside contractors while state campuses suffered budget shortfalls.

The Star Tribune reports that MnSCU issued a statement Thursday pointing to strong attendance at Charting the Future feedback sessions, indicating the program’s initial success.

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