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Does GOP candidate's fishing opener make him a 'pretend governor'?

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Isn't the fishing opener one of those rare days when Democrats and Republican can put their differences aside and just bask in the bipartisan joy of reeling in that first walleye of the season?

Not anymore.

This week a candidate for governor, Republican Marty Seifert, announced he's holding his own event to mark the start of fishing season and invited the news media to be on hand when he puts a line in Otter Tail County's Rush Lake.

The candidate's opener on May 9 and 10 will happen while Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, is in the Brainerd Lakes area hosting the official Governor's Fishing Opener.

Seifert is only one of several Republicans competing to be the party's standard-bearer in the November election. So does holding his own fishing opener make him bold? ... or presumptuous?

At blogger Michael Brodkorb suggests we prepare for partisan bickering over who caught the biggest fish and what it will mean in November.

MinnPost says Seifert deserves props for showing creativity and a little chutzpah.

But one of Seifert's rivals for the Republican nomination, state Sen. Dave Thompson, sees nothing prop-worthy about it.

When asked by the Star Tribune to respond to Thompson's tweet, Seifert's campaign manager called it petty. Andy Post agreed, though, that the alternative fishing opener is part of a strategy to present Seifert as the alternative to Dayton.

So, what's the deal with the Governor's Fishing Opener?

The Minnesota Historical Society traces the start of the tradition back to Gov. Luther Youngdahl in 1948. Which just so happened to be the first year that the Minneapolis Tribune's fishing opener coverage included journalists filing dispatches from around the state.

Explore Minnesota tells us it the event was created " improve Minnesota’s economy through the development and promotion of the state’s recreational opportunities, especially fishing."

The Governor's Opener has grown over the years and is now a four-day event. This year's schedule is centered around Grand View Lodge, but includes tie-ins with other attractions such as Brainerd International Raceway.

But this year's opener, like last year's, could be marred by ice.

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