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Pawlenty Wins Minor Battle in Fight Against Illegal Immigration

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The DFL dropped provisions from a higher education bill—passed by the House and Senate—that would have allowed children of illegal immigrants in Minnesota to qualify for in-state tuition.

The inclusion of the so-called "DREAM Act" would assuredly have been met with a veto from Governor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty had expressed his opposition to the DREAM Act on several occasions, frequently threatening to veto the entire bill if it included such a provision.

Pawlenty—considered a moderate Republican by most political observers—has taken a fairly hard line on issues dealing with illegal immigration during the past year. In July 2006, the Governor demonstrated his support for more enforcement of the US-Mexican border by pledging up to 200 Minnesota National Guard troops to be sent to the border under the border protection program outlined by President Bush.

In late September 2006, Pawlenty stated his support for photo-ID requirements at polling booths to prevent illegal immigrants from voting. The Governor also directed the Department of Public Safety to search the state voter registration database for names on a list of noncitizens' driver's licenses or other state ID cards.

Although Pawlenty is characterized above as taking a 'hard line' stance on illegal immigration, the Governor's views on this issue are actually in step with a majority of his constituents, as well as the country as a whole. Minnesotans—like residents of most states—are overwhelming in favor of most measures that aim to reduce illegal immigration to this country.

For example, a January 2006 Rasmussen poll found 59 percent of Gopher State residents supported the building of a barrier along the U.S.-Mexican border, with only 26 percent in opposition. That survey also found likely voters tended to agree with Pawlenty's views on immigration at nearly a 2:1 clip over those who disagreed with him (although a substantial number of Minnesotans (40 percent) were not sure or were not aware of Pawlenty's views).

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Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

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Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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