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GOP Keeping ‘Watch List’ On Dayton Staffers

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) – Fresh off a bloody Senate vote rejecting Gov. Mark Dayton’s trusted energy advisor Ellen Anderson, the Republican Party says they’ve got a “watch list” of other Dayton commissioners in the cross hairs, as well.

Republicans are still smarting over Dayton’s harsh comments this week that they are “unfit to govern,” saying they voted Dayton’s appointee down “with grace and style” and calling Dayton “over the top.”

“I think the governor was grossly unfair in his criticism of us,” said Senator Majority Leader David H. Senjem. “I do think we are fit to lead. I do think we are fit to govern.”

Senate GOP leaders suggest Dayton’s comments are hypocritical, since Dayton, as U.S. Senator, voted against 38 nominees of President George Bush — including Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft and John Roberts. But it didn’t end there.

“It may well mean they are just watched,” said Senjem.

Republicans say they have compiled a “watch list” of potentially problem commissioners who could also face rejection.

The list includes Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger and Pollution Control Agency director Paul Aasen.

“It doesn’t mean we won’t confirm them. It just means we need to get to know them a little bit better,” said Senjem.

Senate Democrats were startled by revelations of a Republican “watch list,” which they say is similar to the infamous “enemies list” of President Nixon.

“It does sound like we are setting up a situation of enemies and friends,” said Sen. Terry Bonoff, Assistant DFL Caucus Leader. “And so the very notion of a ‘watch’ list is like, ‘OK. We’re in charge, and we’re watching you.'”

By coincidence, a young Dayton was actually on Nixon’s enemies list.

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