Pat Kessler

Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He’s been on the beat longer than any other TV reporter in the Twin Cities, covering state government, politics, campaigns and conventions since 1984. Pat “pulls back the curtain” on what’s happening in government with stories both amusing and annoying, as well as reporting information you need to know to keep up on the issues that affect you most.
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Joined WCCO: 1984
Hometown: Hawley, Minnesota
Alma Mater: Macalester College

Music: My playlist right now: Bob Dylan, Keith Richards, Muddy Waters, Tom Waits, Aaron Copeland, Jack White, Black Keys, Blind Boys of Alabama, John Coltrane, Lucinda Williams, Tom Morello, Chrissie Hynde, George Jones, G Love, James Brown, Pink Floyd, Allison Krause, Sharon Jones, Ray Wylie Hubbard
Movie: Coen Brothers movies (especially O Brother, Where Art Thou); The Godfather, parts I & II
TV Show: Perry Mason; Veep; Fargo
Author/Book: William Butler Yeats; TS Eliot; David McCullough; Stephen King; Charles Frazier ; Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years
Local Restaurant: The Lexington
Hidden MN Gem: Lake Pepin Bluff Country
Historical Figure: Teddy Roosevelt; Winston Churchill
Famous Minnesotan: Bob Dylan
Quote: “Simplify and focus.”
Holiday: Opening Day in baseball

Facebook or Twitter? Twitter
Cats or Dogs? Dogs
Beatles or Rolling Stones? Both
Phone Call or Text Message? Text
Mac or PC? Mac
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Morning Person or Night Person? Both
East Coast or West Coast? East
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars

Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics.

He’s been on the beat longer than any other TV reporter in the Twin Cities, covering state government, politics, campaigns and conventions since 1984.

Pat “pulls back the curtain” on what’s happening in government with stories both amusing and annoying, as well as reporting information you need to know to keep up on the issues that affect you most.

And Pat’s popular “Reality Check” segments separate fact from fiction in a political world that is often more fiction than fact.

Pat studied English and journalism at Macalester College in St. Paul.

He’s an avid reader, involved in many local volunteer programs and exhibits a particular fondness for baseball.

Before joining WCCO-TV, Pat was a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio, and a technical assistant for “A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor.

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most recent stories2 Pat Kessler

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That Time Donald Trump And Jesse Ventura Talked Campaign Strategy

Donald Trump’s “outsider” campaign for president is nothing new to Minnesota voters — it’s very similar to the one that elected former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in 1998.

5 hours ago

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Sanders, Clinton Speak At Minnesota DFL Fundraiser

A major fundraiser Friday night brought both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to St. Paul River Centre. It was the annual Humphrey-Mondale dinner.


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Drivers In Southern Minnesota Forced Off The Roads

Southern Minnesota is facing the brunt of the Groundhog Day snowstorm — school was canceled for kids in Rochester and Albert Lea.


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Presidential Candidates Make Final Push Before Iowa Caucuses

In Iowa Sunday night, it’s the final frenzy of presidential candidates criss-crossing the state to seal the deal. They’re begging backers to caucus on Monday night.


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Reality Check: Donald Trump Vs. Fox News

The smoke has cleared from Thursday night’s televised showdown between Donald Trump and the FOX News Republican debate, which he refused to attend. Trump had famously predicted FOX’s ratings for the night would be a disaster without him. But did it his prediction come true?


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Audit: Minnesota Overspent On MNsure In 2015 By At Least $115 Million

A new state audit reports Minnesota overspent at least $115 million last year for people on MNsure who got who got the wrong health insurance benefits.


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At State Capitol, Lawmakers’ Per Diem Expenses Add Up

Members of the Minnesota House and Senate racked up almost $2 million dollars in extra pay last year — over and above their legislative salaries.


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Sanders Brings Campaign To Duluth, St. Paul Ahead Of Iowa Caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making two campaign stops in Minnesota Tuesday, just a week away from the Iowa Caucuses. Polls show Senator Sanders is in a very close race with Hillary Clinton in Iowa.


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Reality Check: The Power Of The Iowa Caucus

The Iowa caucus is one week from Monday, along with the official kick-off to actual voting in the 2016 presidential election.


Kurt Daudt, Mark Dayton & Tom Bakk (credit: CBS)

Gov., Legislative Leaders Talk Special Session, To No Avail

It’s time for a special session status check. Gov. Mark Dayton was set to meet with legislative leaders Thursday morning to discuss his hopes for an emergency session before the Legislature’s scheduled March 8 return.


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Minnesota Lawmakers Say Student Information Needs Protection

Lawmakers and data privacy advocates say the digital age means students’ private information needs protecting. A group of legislators announced their plans Wednesday to push measures this year protecting data on school-issued iPads and laptops.


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State Democrats Unveil Ambitious To-Do List For Rural Minnesotans

DFL lawmakers say they’re prepared to use up to $400 million from the state’s huge budget surplus to start focusing on what they say are specific issues that are having a tremendous impact on rural Minnesota, and that Twin Cities residents might not even think about.


2016 Presidential Hopeful Marco Rubio (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Marco Rubio Visits Twin Cities As Iowa Caucuses Approach

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio made a campaign stop in Minnesota on Tuesday. The Florida Senator is one of several candidates visiting the state ahead of the March 1 caucuses.


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Dayton: $1.4B Bonding Bill Would Add Nearly 40K Jobs

Gov. Mark Dayton is asking lawmakers to borrow $1.4 billion to tackle a massive to-do list of public construction projects. The Democratic governor released his proposed bonding bill on Friday.


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Meet The State Capitol’s New 4-Legged Security Guard

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is ramping up protection at the State Capitol by adding a four-legged, bomb-sniffing security officer. The State Capitol Security introduced Matka to the media on Monday. She is a 1-and-a-half–year-old Hungarian Vizsla who recently completed a 10-week training course in explosives detection.


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Rep. Ellison Asks Lawmakers To Invite Muslims To SOTU

One day ahead of President Obama’s final State of the Union address, Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison is asking members of Congress to bring a Muslim as their guest.


Kurt Daudt And Mark Dayton (credit: CBS)

Dayton, GOP Make Progress On REAL ID; Deadline Pushed Back 2 Years

No decision has been reached on a possible special session for Minnesota state lawmakers. Gov. Mark Dayton held a meeting with Republican leaders Friday morning. House Speaker Kurt Daudt spoke afterward and says he felt it was a very productive meeting.


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Lawmakers Meet To Discuss Possible Special Session Items

With an eye on either salvaging a special session or putting those hopes to rest, lawmakers began weeding through ideas on Thursday that would bring Minnesota in compliance with a federal high-security driver’s license law, extend unemployment benefits for laid-off steelworkers and tackle racial economic disparities.


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With Dayton And Daudt Frustrated, Hopes Of A Special Session Fade

Hopes for a quick special session faded Wednesday when Democrat Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt accused one another of acting in bad faith to solve the state’s driver’s license dilemma and assist sidelined steelworkers.


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‘That’s It?’: Minn. Gun Owners React To Obama’s Executive Action

President Barack Obama unveiled his plan Tuesday to take unilateral action on gun control.


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Trump Amps Up Spending With New Ad In Iowa, New Hampshire

Donald Trump is out with his first television ad of the 2016 presidential campaign, which will start airing Tuesday in Iowa.


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Gov. Dayton Calls For Real ID Cards In Minnesota

Gov. Mark Dayton renewed his call Wednesday for the state to adopt new, high-security driver’s licenses. The Department of Homeland Security denied Minnesota’s request to delay Real ID in the state on Tuesday.


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White House Chief Of Staff Visits Iron Range, Talks Steel Crisis

On Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough visited the Iron Range to talk about the steel crisis. Nearly 1,500 people have been laid off at Minnesota taconite plants.


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Klobuchar Calls For Crackdown On Companies Jacking Up Drug Prices

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called Monday for a federal crackdown on pharmaceutical companies that are raising the prices of lifesaving drugs to record levels.


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Minnesota Lottery Director Ed Van Petten Resigns

Minnesota’s state lottery director resigned Friday amid questions about billing taxpayers for stays at his personal timeshares during work travel.



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