The video and report by Bill Sorem and Mike McIntee at The Uptake, Sharp Differences In St. Cloud Legislative Candidates Debate – Full Video, focuses on the highly competitive Minnesota House race in St. Cloud's 14B between first-term incumbent Zach Dorholt and former state representative Jim Knoblach.
But the video also includes 14A incumbent Republican incumbent Tama Theis and her DFL challenger Dan Dan Wolgamott. MinnPost ranks this seat as a less competitive race:
With a PVI of 12.6, district 14A is significantly Republican leaning. The Republican incumbent TAMA THEIS — who won by a 8.1 point margin in 2012 — might have an easy race against challenger DAN WOLGAMOTT (DFL).
Wolgamott is working hard, but the historically Republican district would be a tough nut to crack.
Here's the debate:
McIntee's point-by-point analysis of the Dorholt and Knoblach debate is worth a read. Here's his overview:
Rep. Zachary Dorholt is a speck of blue in the sea of red that is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s district. He is the only Democrat in Minnesota’s legislature from that conservative area. He was elected in 2012, which was a bad year for Minnesota Republicans. However, he did win by 13 percentage points — which was better than President Barack Obama, who outpolled Mitt Romney by just 10 percentage points among the same voters.
Despite numbers that seem to favor Dorholt, Republicans would like Minnesota’s most conservative congressional district to be all red again; several groups have targeted the race hoping to boost his Republican challenger Jim Knoblach to victory in 14B. Knoblach is a former legislator. He served from 1995 to 2006 and has been working in the private sector since then.
The two debated this past week on business-friendly turf — a meeting of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. They were on a four-person panel that also included Rep. Tama Theis, the Republican candidate in 14A, and her DFL challenger Dan Wolgamott. Chamber President Teresa Bohnen moderated and chose topics that were mostly of interest to the business community.
Dorholt and Knoblach found agreement on a few issues. Neither wants the state to mandate nurse-to-patient ratios at hospitals. And both agree that state regulations should not be “one size fits all” when it comes to dealing with businesses. Both thought transportation was an important issue. But beyond that, the two were on opposite sides of nearly every other topic discussed.
Screenshot: Minnesota state representative Zach Dorholt (DFL-St. Clould) deliveringhis closing comments the St. Cloud area Chamber of Commerce debate, via The Uptake video.
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