Peterson And Franken In Red River Valley

U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and a conservative Blue Dog Democrat, reportedly will appear with U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken at a Climax, Minn., farm and at Crookston, Minn., next week. Merle Anderson of Climax, says Franken will be at his "Poor Farm" farmstead between `:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 27, and will somehow be "hosted" by Peterson.

Anderson is a strong advocate for corn ethanol and was a founder of the American Coalition of Ethanol. He is also a leader of the potato industry and a producer of sugar beets. (My guess part of his mission is education.)

Franken, who seems to have little experience with commercial agriculture, faces Republican Norm Coleman, who has done much to reaffirm his support of the region’s sugar industry, after earlier raising the hackles of beet producers for his support of George Bush trade agreement that sugar leaders have opposed. (Coleman recently has made statements from the headquarters of American Crystal Sugar Co. in Moorhead.)

It’s difficult to say what Peterson’s impact will be on Franken’s image among farmers in the generally right-leaning 7th District. It probably won’t hurt.

Minnesota’s politics is impossible to describe. I remember a few years ago trying to explain it to a colleague, when statewide elections had produced Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., then one of the most left-leaning senators, and Sen. Rod Grams, one of the most right-leaning Republicans, and then Gov. Jesse Ventura.

A Franken/Peterson election alliance? Not so strange.