The Olmsted County DFL will host a gubernatorial candidate forum in Rochester next week with a unique twist--the event will be structured like "speed dating," organizers say.
The details for the Oct. 21 event have not been finalized, but organizers say that the 10 DFL participants will move between groups of 25 audience members. The candidates will hold short question and answer sessions with each group.
"We just thought we'd branch out and do something different," said Jennifer Harveland, communications officer for the Olmsted County DFL.
"We're hoping that this will get people to interact directly with the candidates, to at least a small extent, and maybe get a better sense of really who they are, instead of the canned speeches and the prepared responses that politicians are so good at," she said.
Participants include: Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner, state Rep. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Sen. Tom Bakk, state Sen. John Marty, state Rep. Tom Rukavina, state Rep. Paul Thissen, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton, former state Rep. Matt Entenza, and former state Sen. Steve Kelley.
Mayor Rybak has not formally entered the governor's race, but plans to announce his plans after November's mayoral election.
The free, public event will take place on Oct. 21 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Rochester Community and Technical College.