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 is Minnesota’s “go-to” political reporter, covering politics and government at WCCO-TV for more than 30 years.

He’s also a popular radio personality specializing in politics, sports, pop culture, and news.

Pat has won numerous state and national journalism awards for his work, including three regional Emmys for his “Reality Check” political franchise.

In 2015, he was honored for lifetime achievement in broadcasting and inducted into the Silver Circle Hall of Fame by the Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

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

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

GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Fails Again

Late Tuesday night, the Senate failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. And on Wednesday, Senate leaders squared off again.


McCain Returns To D.C., GOP Health Bill Advances To Debate

Both of Minnesota’s Democratic Senators, Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, voted no on the motion to move ahead on the health care debate.


Keith Downey Announces He’ll Run For Governor

Keith Downey announced his candidacy Monday morning at the State Capitol.


Pawlenty, Klobuchar React To McCain’s Brain Cancer Diagnosis

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.


Dayton To Appeal After Judge Rejects Veto Of Lawmakers’ Funds

The Ramsey County District Court ruled Wednesday that Gov. Mark Dayton violated the constitution when he vetoed the operating funds for the state legislature in a budget dispute.


Hennepin Co. Att’y Disputes Claims Of Rising Crime

Sessions has pitched a tough-on-crime mentality as President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Justice.


800 Security Cameras Added To State Capitol Complex

There are now hundreds of surveillance cameras in, on and around the State Capitol, including every government building on the Capitol Mall.


With Federal Health Care Bill Up In The Air, State Lawmakers Discuss A Way Forward

The Minnesota Senate Wednesday opened hearings on what’s expected to be major changes in health care on the way.


Reality Check: How Many Ballots Were Illegally Cast In Minnesota?

Minnesota election officials say there were only a handful of voter irregularities in last year’s presidential election.


Minn. Lawmakers Push For Increased Security At State Capitol

Minnesota state officials are proposing a $30 million dollar security upgrade at the State Capitol complex in St. Paul.


Minn. Sec. Of State On Presidential Election Commission: ‘It Seems Precooked’

The newly formed Presidential Commission on Election Integrity is asking Minnesota officials to provide extensive voter data.


Conservative Think Tank’s Billboards Blame Road Congestion On Met Council

Critics of all the congestion around the Twin Cities say it is not just the multiple road construction projects.


Reality Check: Who’s Paying For The GOP Lawsuit Against Gov. Dayton?

The Minnesota Legislature has a date in court next week against Gov. Mark Dayton.


With Ad Starring Husband, Hoch Looks To Stand Out In Crowded Race

Minneapolis mayoral candidate Tom Hoch is hitting the airwaves this week with an attention-grabbing television ad.


Reality Check: Minnesota Legislature’s Lawsuit

The Minnesota Legislature’s lawsuit against the Governor gets its first hearing June 26 in Ramsey County District Court.


Rep. Paulsen Calls For Unity After D.C. Roommate Is Shot

Minnesota Representative Erik Paulsen shares a house in Washington with three other congressmen, including Majority Whip Scalise.


Minnesota Legislature Files Suit Against Gov. Dayton

The governor’s shutdown threat could mean the largest mass layoff in Minnesota since 2015.


Reality Check: The Budget Impasse & Legislative Layoffs

Hundreds of Minnesota Legislative staffers face layoffs if Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and Republican House and Senate leaders cannot resolve a budget impasse.


New Law Requires De-Escalation Training For 11K Minn. Officers

Minnesota’s legislature recently approved a far-reaching plan to train every police officer in the state in crisis response, and de-escalation techniques.


Mpls. Moves Forward With $15 Minimum Wage Plan

The Minneapolis City Council is moving ahead with plans to raise the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour.


In Response To Dayton’s Veto, Watchdog Pushes For Lawmaker Pay Hike

A government watchdog group went to court Monday to ensure lawmakers get paid even if the legislative funding ends.


Lawmakers Hire Law Firm To Challenge Dayton’s Veto

Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt says Dayton’s action was clearly unconstitutional and needs to be fought in court.


Dayton Urges Special Session To Resolve Spending Bills

Governor Mark Dayton says it was his idea to veto all of the funding for the Minnesota Legislature.


Dayton Signs Bills, Averting Government Shutdown, But Vetoes Legislature’s Funding

Vetoes could trigger another special session or even a government shutdown starting July 1.


Gov. Dayton Says He’s ‘Genuinely Undecided’ On All Budget Bills

Both the House and the Senate adjourned Friday morning at about 3 a.m. after lawmakers sent five budget bills to Gov. Mark Dayton.




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