3 candidates to take stage in governor debate

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ROCHESTER — The first of five debates in the Minnesota governor’s race has Democrat Mark Dayton, Republican Jeff Johnson and the Independence Party’s Hannah Nicollet headed to Rochester.

Wednesday’s prime-time debate is expected to focus on issues of importance to greater Minnesota. But it also comes on the same day as new health insurance rates are released, so that topic could produce sparks. Rochester is a major medical hub by virtue of the Mayo Clinic.

Dayton, the incumbent, has a lead in independent polls. But Republican nominee Jeff Johnson is hoping to close the gap in the final five weeks. He’ll have four other chances to confront Dayton in debates.

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It’s unclear how many debates Nicollet will be invited to participate in.