All of Rochester's DFL incumbents signed a letter declining to participating in a candidate forum sponsored by the Rochester Tea Party Patriots. In the letter, the lawmakers thank the group for hosting the forum but add that they hope their members will take advantage of one of the "neutral forums" being held. The lawmakers declining to participate are: Sen. Ann Lynch, Rep. Tina Liebling, Rep. Kim Norton and Rep. Andy Welti. Also choosing not to go is the District 29A DFL candidate Doug Wunderlich. Click here to Download Letter from DFL candidates
One DFL candidate is going to participate. Senate District 29 candidate Greg French, of Byron, has said he plans to attend. The Republicans who have said they will attend are Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, former state Rep. Carla Nelson, House District 29A candidate Duane Quam, House District 29B candidate Mike Rolih, House District 30A candidate Charlie O'Connell and House District 30B candidate Mike Benson.
Rochester Tea Party Patriots Chair Cindy Maves said the group does not endorse and candidate or party "but endeavors to educate the voters and provide opportunities for them to make the own informed decisions." The group does urge its members in its e-mail news updates to help elect conservative candidates.
The event starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 23 with a buffet dinner at Godfather's Pizaa, 1611 16th St. N.W. in Rochester. The forum runs from 7 p.m.t o 8:30 p.m. All candidates will have five minutes to introduce themselves and they will then answer questions from the audience.