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Political roundup: Christie to campaign for Johnson, political ads, upcoming debate

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With a little over a month until the election, both gubernatorial candidates are on the campaign trail, but they're leading far different campaigns in hopes of getting elected this November.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who is in his first re-election bid for any office, has been concentrating more on governing than campaigning, the Pioneer Press points out. Dayton has held meetings on oil trains, public health and flood control, but attended few "openly political events," the newspaper says.

In stark contrast, Dayton's Republican challenger Jeff Johnson is "crisscrossing the state hammering Dayton in campaign appearances," the newspaper notes. Johnson has been making appearances throughout Minnesota in hopes of getting more name recognition and to prove he's not a member of the tea party, as he's been branded in some political ads.

Don Davis, a longtime reporter on Minnesota politics, also discussed the different paths the two candidates are taking en route to Election Day, saying Dayton, who doesn't need to hold many political events outside of official state events, tends to draw large crowds to his appearances.

On the other hand, Johnson, as with most gubernatorial challengers in previous campaigns, draws far fewer constituents, Davis pointed out.

Here's a look at some of the happenings on the campaign trail as of late:

Chris Christie is coming to town

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be in Minnesota next month campaigning for Johnson, his campaign confirmed Monday.

Christie, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, will join Johnson Oct. 13, spokesman Jeff Bakken told the Star Tribune. Further details about the appearance are expected to be released later.

Christie was in Hudson, Wisconsin, Monday, campaigning for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's re-election bid against Democrat Mary Burke, FOX 9 says.

Christie campaigned for Minnesota's last Republican gubernatorial candidate, Tom Emmer, in 2010.

Campaign ads

Both Dayton and Johnson have recently started airing their first campaign ads.

In Dayton's hockey-themed ad, he takes credit for "coaching" Minnesota to an economic turnaround, WCCO reports.

Johnson's ad is both humorous and an attack ad, KSTP says. It starts off with funny moments of his kids and dog, and then goes after Dayton for his role in approving a new Senate office building and bonuses for MnSure executives.

The Independence Party, which is seeking at least 5 percent of the vote this election in order to keep its majority party status and all that comes with it, has also released an ad.

MinnPost says the ad may not help the party get its needed votes, but it "may generate some clicks on YouTube."

Gubernatorial debate

Coming up this week is a gubernatorial debate between the three major party candidates – Dayton, Johnson and the Independence Party's Hannah Nicollet.

Wednesday's debate is expected to focus on state-wide issues. C-SPAN will broadcast the 7 p.m. debate nationally, MinnPost reports, which will also be live-streaming the debate on its website via The UpTake.

The debate will be held at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester and be moderated by Jay Furst, the managing editor of the Rochester Post Bulletin.

Absentee voting up

The number of early voting ballots accepted in the first week of the state's "no excuse absentee voting" is higher than it's been in the past two election cycles, MinnPost says.

The Secretary of State's office announced last week that 3,531 ballots have been accepted by election officials, compared to the 2,308 ballots accepted in the same time frame in 2012, and the 2,423 in 2010.

This year is the first year voters don't need an excuse, such as being ill or out of town on Election Day (Nov. 4), to vote with an absentee ballot, the Secretary of State's office says.

To request a ballot, or for more information on how to vote absentee, click here.

Obama to reappoint former state congressman

President Barack Obama will reappoint former Minnesota Congressman Bill Frenzel to the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations (ACTPN), the Star Tribune reports.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Frenzel, a Republican, to the Social Security Commission, and in 2002, to the ACTPN. He also served on Bush's Tax Reform Commission, according to his Brookings Institute bio, where he's a guest scholar.

Frenzel represented the Third Congressional District in Minnesota from 1971 to 1991.

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