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DFL, Dayton hustling to hang on to narrow hold on incumbencies

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Gov. Mark Dayton is preparing to deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday as his re-election campaign moves into higher gear.

The Star Tribune earlier announced that the annual address was delayed as the governor has recuperated from hip surgery. He is scheduled to deliver the speech in the House chambers in presence of state lawmakers. MPR News said his speech is expected to focus on the future of Minnesota, with a look at what he considers his key accomplishments during his tenure.

The governor said he thinks the speech has a higher profile to people inside the Capitol than those outside. “I have yet to find a single Minnesotan out there who’s asked me anxiously when am I giving the State of the State address,” he said.

The Associated Press reports that the speech comes as the DFL party is opening new offices that will employ 35 field workers in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Rochester, St. Cloud and other population centers. The story said that the party usually doesn't arrive at this level of activity until late summer.

Not to be outdone, Republican Party Chair Keith Downey said that while the GOP won't know which candidate will emerge as their standard-bearers for months, his team is busy building campaign machinery. The party has significantly paid down or restructured the debt that had hampered its activities in previous years.

Political wonks and number-crunchers know that Democrats typically lose more voters each midterm election than Republicans do. The AP story explains that Minnesota Democrats consistently see hundreds of thousands fewer votes cast in midterms compared to presidential years. Roughly 650,000 fewer voters cast ballots for Dayton in 2010 than Barack Obama netted as a presidential candidate in 2008 and 2012. Republican fall-off is not as steep because the GOP base is older and considered more reliable.

The stakes are high. Besides the governor's office, the DFL has a narrow hold on the Minnesota House, three other state offices and the U.S. Senate seat Al Franken narrowly carried in 2008.

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