Today’s UpTake: Governors Debate in Rochester, Congressional Debate in Grand Rapids

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Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner

Mark Dayton (DFL) Tom Emmer (R) & Tom Horner (IP)

Mark Dayton (DFL) Tom Emmer (R) & Tom Horner (IP)

The UpTake team will divide and conquer today in order to cover political debates all over Minnesota. At noon in Rochester, the town’s Chamber of Commerce and the Post-Bulletin newspaper will hold a gubernatorial debate at the Golf & Country Club. Time is running out on Mark Dayton, Tom Emmer and Tom Horner’s quests to become Minnesota’s next governor. The election is just 11 days away. Then at 7 p.m. in Grand Rapids, The UpTake will livestream the 8th Congressional District debate at Itasca Community College, between Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar and Republican challenger Chip Cravaack. This race has tightened lately, as Cravaack’s internal polls show him only three points behind.

Tomorrow we’ll send our team to the Northrup Mall at the University of Minnesota for President Obama’s much anticipated appearance in support of Mark Dayton. The mid-afternoon rally will kick off the Democratic-Farm-Labor (DFL) party’s “Get Out the Vote” campaign to put Dayton in the governor’s mansion. Lieutenant Governor running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Attorney General Lori Swanson and State Auditor Rebecca Otto will also appear with Obama. The President will reportedly appear at 3:30 p.m., and we’ll provide live coverage of his speech as well as crowd shots and interviews with protesters outside.

On Sunday, La Asamblea de Derechos Civiles (the Civil Rights Assembly) will hold a gubernatorial debate at 2:30 p.m. in south Minneapolis that focuses on immigration — specifically undocumented immigration. The discourse will likely be in both Spanish and English. Dayton and Independence Party candidate Horner will both attend — but not Republican Emmer, who is scheduled to campaign with sitting Governor Tim Pawlenty in the Minneapolis suburbs on Sunday, and elsewhere in Minnesota on Monday. Emmer likely wouldn’t find many allies in this audience, since he cooked up a firestorm by calling the anti-immigrant Arizona law “a good start.” Then at 7 p.m., former President Bill Clinton will return to Minnesota to stump for Democrat Tarryl Clark in Blaine. Clark is trying to unseat incumbent Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Attacks aren’t difficult to find this election season, and yesterday at the State Capitol, DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez attacked Emmer’s familiar “live within your means” rhetoric on account of the seven mortgages he took out on his Delano, Minn., home. Melendez called on Emmer to release his tax returns — as Dayton has — to show why the GOP candidate needs to borrow so much money.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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