J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and toddler son.


Reformer readers react to ‘deep canvassing’

By: - October 22, 2021

Thursday’s Daily Reformer featured a New York Times story datelined Minneapolis about what’s called “deep canvassing.” This is a technique in political campaigns in which the canvassers spend lots of time with an individual voter — and more time listening than talking. They hope to develop a connection, with the possibility of persuading the person […]

Ethics Committee to investigate Rep. Hagedorn for financial misconduct

By: - October 21, 2021

The U.S. House Ethics Committee will review allegations that U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn used his office budget to pay a business owned by his staff and that his campaign accepted free office space from a political donor, a violation of federal election law. The decision to further investigate the congressman from Minnesota’s First Congressional District […]

No deal in sight on essential worker bonus pay

By: - September 27, 2021

Lawmakers remain sharply divided over how to divvy up $250 million the Legislature set aside for bonus pay for essential workers, with the debate largely unchanged after weeks of public hearings and private discussions.  Democrats want to include a larger pool of workers and increase the total pie; Republicans want to keep the total the […]


Police unions should be illegal — Column

By: - September 20, 2021

Imagine in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal or the massacre at My Lai, the union representing American soldiers sent out virulent statements of support for the accused officers and enlisted men. Picture the leadership of the soldiers’ union going on TV to defend the actions of their union brethren, warning Americans […]

Rep. John Thompson expelled from House DFL caucus

By: - September 14, 2021

Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, whose public controversies have created a series of political headaches for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, was expelled from the House DFL caucus Tuesday, according to a statement from House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “Rep. Thompson’s actions, credible reports of abuse and misconduct, and his failure to take […]

Gov. Tim Walz struggling to recruit a pollution control commissioner

By: - August 27, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz extended a deadline for applicants seeking to become commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a key appointment amid a host of contentious environmental issues facing the state. Laura Bishop, Walz’s first MPCA commissioner, resigned earlier this summer rather than be sacked by the Republican-controlled state Senate, which has failed to confirm […]


Lindell’s dangerous fellow travelers among Minnesota GOP elected officials — Column

By: - August 26, 2021

Jennifer Carnahan’s spectacular implosion as chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota is not even the most concerning recent event for Republicans or — more importantly — the rest of us.  Yes, her close ties to indicted donor and party operative Anton Lazzaro — followed by a cascade of stories of her bullying behavior — are […]

Carnahan resigns as chair of Minnesota Republican Party

By: - August 19, 2021

Jennifer Carnahan, who rocketed from nowhere to prominence in Minnesota politics just four years ago, resigned as chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota Thursday in the face of explosive allegations that she presided over a toxic organization rife with sexual harassment, bullying and paid-for secrecy. Carnahan will leave with a severance package of roughly […]

The latest Carnahan news

By: - August 19, 2021

Some of this was ripped from Daily Reformer. You can sign up for our daily newsletter here. Andy Aplikowski, recently departed executive director of the Minnesota Republican Party, released a statement with some key allegations against Chair Jennifer Carnahan early Thursday.  He says he refused to sign a non-disparagement clause in exchange for money.  Aplikowski, […]


Political nuggets: A DFL strategist on Walz’s choice; retirements coming

By: - August 17, 2021

This is ripped from Daily Reformer, our email newsletter filled with the latest in Minnesota politics and policy. Sign up here.   I talked to a DFL operative recently who framed out the key strategic choice for Gov. Tim Walz’s reelection campaign:  Re-run “One Minnesota,” which was an attempt to unify the state around a set […]

Walz headed overseas

By: - August 9, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz announced Monday he’s going on a trade mission to the United Kingdom and Finland in November. Representatives from more than two dozen businesses and organizations affiliated with the medical technology, agribusiness, environmental technology and educational sectors will join Walz. First Lady Gwen Walz, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove, […]

House DFL staff show solidarity with former Senate staffer who says she was harassed

By: - August 2, 2021

Three dozen Democratic-Farmer-Labor staff in the Minnesota House rose in support of Cynthia Callais, a former Senate aide, who told the Reformer in a recent story that she was sexually harassed by a DFL operative, Clay Schwartzwalter. Callais worked in the state Senate for state Sen. Jason Isaacson, who is Schwartzwalter’s half-brother. Schwartzwalter had also […]