News digest on SD26 race

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Up in Faribault, Daily News reporter James Warden talks to potential voters in the Senate special election in Jobs, budget top voter concerns:

Ali Ahmed didn’t have any uncertainty about what he thinks is the big issue of the District 26 special election between DFLer Jason Engbrecht, Republican Mike Parry and Independence Party candidate Roy Srp. Ahmed is unemployed and wants someone who will create jobs.

“I need a job. I’m a Democrat. I like Jason,” Ahmed said during a break form watching a soccer game at Banadir Restaurant.

Jobs, the state budget and health care topped the list of issues as Faribault residents prepare to head to the polls Tuesday.

Carla Dalaska, who works at a group home for mentally handicapped women, said she’s seen her own health-care rates jump while budget cuts have reduced funding at the group home. And, of course, all of this relates to jobs.

“There’s a lot of people who aren’t working because of cuts in the budget,” she said while dining at Boston’s. 

Parry’s posting and scrubbing of offensive material on his twitter account also bothers voters:

Jill Mithun, a contract worker for the chamber of commerce, said she hasn’t forgotten tweets that Parry made before he received the GOP endorsement. The 33 tweets included one where he called Obama a “power hungry arrogant black man” and another where he seems to make a correlation between Democrats and pedophiles. He has since erased those posts from his Twitter account, but Mithun said such language isn’t appropriate, especially for someone expected to set an example.

“If you’re trying to teach children how to talk and how to act, you don’t talk like that,” she said during a visit to the Sweet Spot.

Mary Boggie, a retired St. Paul teacher who grew up in Faribault and now lives here, was offended by Parry’s Twitter posts, too. But she said she also likes that Engbrecht is a professor because it suggests he’s intelligent.

“I think he’s a great guy,” she said just before a Lion’s Club meeting at Monte’s Steakhouse. “We need new blood here. We don’t need a smart mouth guy like Parry. He’s not diplomatic.” . . .

Echoing the importance of the state budget in this election, the Mankato Free Press’s Mark Fischenich looks at the candidate’s positions in District 26 race: Difference of opinion on state’s budget:

The Republican wants to slice another $5 billion from the state budget, saying it must be done to protect employers from tax increases.

The Democrat thinks that would be disastrous, proposing instead a combination of cuts and taxes on wealthier Minnesotans.

The Independence Party candidate is willing to add revenue from gambling to help reduce the magnitude of cuts, but he’s not inclined to raise general taxes.

In Tuesday’s special election in state Senate District 26, tax and budget issues – and how they affect the economy and the core services provided by government – are at the heart of the debate. . . .

The Owatonna People’s Press reports on Pawlenty’s stumping stop for Parry, posting a video of Pawlenty speaking. The paper has also posted a snippet from a candidate forum on Monday in which the candidates answer a question about partisanship.

In the Waseca County News, father and son Tim and Marcus Penny, who are both supporting Waseca Mayor Srp, praise the number of forums in their column, Our Two Cents: The good and bad news in a special election.

I agree with their praise of the local papers’ coverage of the forums, and hope that voters take a close look at the discussion and what is known about the candidates.

Yesterday, Minnpost’s Daily Glean linked to a Bluestem post from Wednesday, but originally misread the point about the extent of the local coverage of the forums — and the absence of mention of (and links to) these forums in various Republican Party social media (the MNGOP facebook page, saturation retweets and Parry’s own media page on his campaign website). Fortunately, the online venue  graciously corrected its post and apologized when informed of its error.

While I won’t hesitate to call out media — big and small — when it doesn’t do its job, it’s also important to praise when praise is do. Voters have a wealth of local reportage to turn to — and I hope it will motivate them to get out and cast their ballots on Tuesday.