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2014 election: GOP endorsements, a tax pledge, and entitlement talk

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GOP endorsements roll in

Republican gubernatorial candidates are beginning to lay their endorsement cards out on the table.

On Wednesday, two of the candidates – Jeff Johnson and Marty Seifert – each released an updated list of GOP state lawmakers supporting their campaign.

Johnson – the Hennepin County commissioner who won the Republican Party's endorsement back in May – currently has the longest list: 28 current GOP lawmakers – 12 senators, 16 representatives – and 16 former legislators have backed the candidate.

The Detroit Lakes native served in the Minnesota House from 2000-2006, then in 2008 was elected to the Board of Commissioners in Hennepin County.

Seifert's list of endorsements includes 10 current legislators – three of which are senators – and 11 former state lawmakers. According to the press release, the former Minnesota House Minority Leader's campaign will continue to announce endorsements in the coming 10 days.

Two weeks ago, fellow GOP candidate Kurt Zellers released his own list of endorsements, comprising 11 current and five former state representatives. Zellers, a state representative who served as Speaker of the House from 2011-2012, was first elected to the Legislature in 2003. He will not seek re-election while running for governor.

Scott Honour, the fourth major GOP candidate challenging Gov. Mark Dayton, appeared to poke fun at Wednesday's announcement on Twitter, notes. The following was sent out that afternoon.

Zellers signs tax pledge

Zellers, meanwhile doubled down on taxes this week.

On Tuesday, he became the first (and so far only) candidate in the race to sign the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge."

The advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform has offered the pledge since 1986 – a written promise for lawmakers and candidates who will pledge to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes."

You can see a scan of Zeller's signed pledge here. His running mate, former state. Rep. Dean Simpson, also signed the pledge. The advocacy site says 14 governors and more than 1,000 state legislators have signed the pledge.

The Zellers campaign released an ad to go along with the tax pledge.

McFadden interview

The race to unseat U.S. Sen. Al Franken is getting plenty of attention.

The Associated Press put together a profile of the race called "GOP seeks jolt to Senate race against Dem Franken," focusing mainly on businessman Mike McFadden and state Rep. Jim Abeler – the two front-runners.

McFadden (who's had quite a bit of national support) is considered the favorite to win the GOP nomination, and most of the words in the piece are directed his way – examining his relationship with both the traditional Republican Party backers, and the new-wave Tea Partyers.

Locally, McFadden sat down with MinnPost recently to talk at length about Social Security and Medicare.

In the interview, McFadden says there is a problem with those programs' solvency – basically, there won't be enough money going into the piggy bank in order to pay for the upcoming surge in seniors. He tells MinnPost it should be addressed now, in a "bipartisan fashion," but when pushed to offer specifics said simply all options should be on the table.

McFadden will go up against state Rep. Jim Abeler (and others) in the Aug. 12 Republican primary – the winner of which will take on Franken on the November ballot.

Franken meanwhile was invited by MPR to take part in a Minnesota State Fair debate next month, between he and his yet-to-be-decided Republican and Independent candidate opponents. But the first-term senator declined the station's invitation, without giving a reason.

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