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Emmer Cedes Race for Minnesota Governor, Jobs and Economy Dayton's Priority

Governor-elect Dayton's focus on jobs and the economy reflects the country's concern over rising unemployment and deficits. Increasing numbers of long-term unemployed workers might find it difficult to re-enter the work force. Social Security benefits are many peoples' only safety net. For those already retired or on disability - such as those living in Minneapolis and on Social Security Disability benefits, the conditions of this tough economy cast the importance of disability benefits for those who cannot work in sharp relief.

Minnesota seems to relish close elections. In 2008, Al Franken came from behind to defeat his Republican rival by only a few hundred votes in a recount following the Senatorial election. Mark Dayton was recently conceded the governorship by his opponent, Tom Emmer, one month after the election. It was a disputed race that saw Dayton win by about 9,000 votes out of the 2.1 million votes cast.

Because the margin of victory was less than one half of a percent, it automatically triggered a recount. Emmer also questioned the validity of the state's voting process during the recount by petitioning the Minnesota Supreme Court despite the state Republican Party's running the recount. The court denied the petition, an act that limited Emmer's challenge options and presumably led to his decision to concede the election.

Emmer also reportedly did not force the recount after being assured of the accuracy of the election results, unlike incumbent Norm Coleman, who prolonged the Senate race outcome for months with court challenges before conceding to Al Franken in June 2009.

Governor-elect Dayton now faces a $6.2 billion budget deficit. During his campaign, the progressive Democrat proposed raising taxes on individual earners making more than $130,000 annually and on couples making more than $150,000 to come up with about $1.9 billion. He also pledged to sign the federal early Medicaid opt-in, which could bring the state $1.4 billion in federal health care funding.

Dayton also has plans for creating jobs in the state. He has proposed a number of measures he believes will return jobs to Minnesota and shore up the economy. His 2011 bonding bill would add construction projects. An energy savings fund would reputedly invest in energy savings and alternative energy retrofits of public and government buildings and schools over the next decade. This would hopefully create thousands of jobs in the building trades. Dayton would also invest in the state's tourism industry.

Source: Dayton says jobs, economy are top priorities

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