Today’s UpTake: Recount Training Presentation, FBI Raids and Judicial Elections

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As next Tuesday, Nov. 23, looms as the date when the Minnesota gubernatorial recount begins, the Office of the Secretary of State has invited media today to view a live Recount Training Presentation for election officials at 1:30 p.m. at the State Office Building. State elections director Gary Poser will run the show, and we’ll carry this live on The UpTake.

U of M Professor Larry Jacobs

Then at 4 p.m. at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, we’ll broadcast a panel discussion led by moderator Larry Jacobs about the state of judicial elections in Minnesota. As a result of recent U.S Supreme Court decisions, judicial campaigns are becoming more partisan and expensive every election cycle. Many fear Minnesota’s courts are in danger of becoming the next battleground of big-money campaign contributors and partisan operatives. Panelists will include former Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Eric Magnuson (who Tom Emmer has hired as counsel), Local Ministry Director for AM980 KKMS radio, Gary Borgendale, and Chief Operating Officer at 180 Degrees, Inc., Sarah Walker.

Our FBI raid protest beat reporter Bill Sorem will be outside the Minneapolis Federal Building at 4:30 for this afternoon’s demonstration. The UpTake learned yesterday that the local targets of the Sept. 24 FBI raids will, in fact, be ordered to appear before a grand jury in Chicago.

Yesterday the elbowing resumed between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer’s camps, as the gubernatorial recount looms next week. The GOP filed a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court yesterday, asking it to ensure that reconciliation has occurred in each of Minnesota’s 4,136 precincts. In return, Dayton recount director Ken Martin called the Republican move “an attempt to delay and damage the next governor”. You can watch that entire press conference here. Meanwhile, the Republicans who will soon take over the State House named their committee chairs yesterday. And yet another of Governor Pawlenty’s close advisers announced their exit strategy yesterday. What will happen if a prolonged recount keeps Pawlenty in the governors mansion with no one to help him run the state government?

Tired of partisan politics? You’ll find this refreshing. President Obama has announced that he’ll award the medal of freedom to former president (and moderate Republican) George H.W. Bush. And speaking of reaching across the aisle, we sure had fun during our marathon, 16-hour coverage of “Give to the Max Day” on Tuesday, when we featured 82 Minnesota nonprofits of all shapes and sizes, boasting all messages and political persuasions. If you haven’t already, check out’s “Thank you” video here.

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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