Posted at: 06/02/2014 5:14 PM
Updated at: 06/02/2014 6:13 PM
By: Travis Dill
Candidates were endorsed at the Minnesota GOP and DFL conventions over the weekend, and some Republicans flew into Duluth on Monday to kick off a united campaign.
The Republican candidates for state and federal races stopped at Monaco Air in Duluth to let voters know what they will fight for if elected. Mining was on the top of the list.
“I'm going to be a champion for using the resources God has given this state to actually create good jobs, and there is no better example of that than in Northern Minnesota and the mines,” Republican endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said.
The Hennepin County commissioner will square off against incumbent Mark Dayton. In a statement, Dayton's press secretary said the governor is remaining neutral on mining projects until scientific and review studies are complete.
Mining wasn't the only topic for Republicans. Johnson said Dayton and Democrats have hurt Minnesota with tax hikes.
“We've had the largest income tax increase in the history of the state along with other huge tax increases, not on the rich, but everybody in Minnesota,” Johnson said.
However, Dayton claimed that as a victory at the DFL convention in Duluth on Saturday.
“Republicans said if we raise taxes on the rich and closed corporate loopholes we would ruin our state's economy. Instead, businesses have added 145,000 jobs in Minnesota during the last three years,” Dayton said.
U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also focused on mining on Monday.
“We have a phenomenal opportunity with the copper mines up in the Iron Range, and I will work hard to make sure that happens,” McFadden said.
The investment banker is vying for Senator Al Franken's seat. Franken has supported Polymet's environmental review, but urged the Minnesota DNR to ensure taxpayers are protected from paying any cleanup costs in the future. He echoed that sentiment at the convention on Saturday.
“We all know that when everyone can live in a safe neighborhood with clean air and clean water we all benefit,” Franken said.
Jobs and the economy will be a focus as Democrats and Republicans battle for votes in Northern Minnesota.
Jeff Johnson may have the GOP endorsement, but three other Republicans plan to run against him in the August primary.