MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — WCCO-TV has announced long-time political reporter Pat Kessler will retire following the 2020 election.

Kessler dedicated 36 years to covering Minnesota politics and local government here. Kessler has reported on the administrations of eight Minnesota governors, dozens of legislative sessions and political conventions, and chronicled the presidential bids of Minnesota’s own, including Walter Mondale, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and Amy Klobuchar.

He was there for Minnesota’s political earthquakes such as the death of Hubert Humphrey, the upset victory of celebrity wrestler-turned-governor Jesse Ventura, and the plane crash that killed Sen. Paul Wellstone.

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Kessler was also among the first reporters in the nation to publicly fact-check politicians on TV, debuting WCCO’s Reality Check for the 1996 Minnesota U.S. Senate election.

Kessler attended Macalester College before starting his career at Minnesota Public Radio. He joined WCCO in 1984, where he has interviewed hundreds of state and national public officials, including presidents and future presidents from Jimmy Carter to Donald Trump, and crisscrossed the state from Ada to Zumbrota talking to Minnesotans about their lives in good times and bad.

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“It has been the honor of my life to tell the stories of everyday Minnesotans and the people in elected office who represent them. I am humbled by the kindness and support our viewers have shown me for many years. Our state is vast, and our political differences are sometimes great, but we have a uniquely Minnesota ability to persevere and thrive,” Kessler said. “Thank you to my family at WCCO-TV, who made me a better reporter. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated journalists in the country.”

Kessler was inducted into the Silver Circle Hall of Fame in 2015 by the Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, an honor that recognizes lifetime achievement in broadcasting. He has also won numerous state and national journalism awards for his work, including three regional Emmy Awards for his “Reality Check” political franchise.

“Pat is part of what makes WCCO a legacy newsroom, covering some of the biggest political events of our time,” said Ann Ouellette, Vice President and General Manager of WCCO-TV. “Our community has benefitted from Pat’s consistent, impartial reporting.”

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