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 two young children


Jensen says he can’t be sure who won the 2020 election, which is all you need to know

By: - August 19, 2022

When Republican nominee for governor Scott Jensen was asked on Minnesota Public Radio in March whether the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump, here’s what he said: “I have no way of knowing that.”  This was a clever response because he cast doubt on the 2020 election, thereby pleasing the credulous fans of […]

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) July 23 2019

Primary results: What it all means

By: - August 10, 2022

This is ripped from Daily Reformer. Sign up to get it in your in-box every day — free!  Good morning.  U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar got the scare of her political life Tuesday with a narrow victory over Don Samuels in the DFL primary.   The note I wrote to myself as the returns were coming in:  […]


Daily Reformer: GOP unease about Doug Wardlow

By: - August 9, 2022

This is ripped from this morning’s Daily Reformer. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.  Happy primary election day!  Our story from Michelle Griffith and Deena Winter is a handy guide to how to find your polling station and what races to watch.  We’ll have full team coverage tonight. For ye political junkies, some primary thoughts:  […]

Feds secure first publicly known plea in Child Nutrition Program case

By: - August 9, 2022

Federal prosecutors have secured a first publicly known plea agreement in the Feeding Our Future investigation, which involves alleged fraudulent use of taxpayer dollars from the federal Child Nutrition Program. Federal court records show Mohamed Jama Ismail signed a guilty plea agreement in late July for passport fraud.  Ismail’s passport was taken by the FBI […]


Your plane landed safely — thank the bureaucrats at the FAA

By: - August 5, 2022

A faddish phrase on the right is something called “the administrative state,” which refers to the federal workforce deputized by Congress to craft and enforce rules over the environment, banking, health care, product safety, mass communications, the power grid, etc.  A recent profile of the Claremont Institute — which has the unenviable task of stitching […]

Bye bye Birk Burger

By: - July 22, 2022

"Come out and eat at Shamrocks and don't worry about left and right politics — just come out and eat," Casper implored customers.


The sacking of Birk won’t last forever, so Walz needs to be bold

By: - July 22, 2022

The drip-drip-drip of the Harvard grade inflation scandal continues, as Harvard College graduate Matt Birk, the likely GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, continues his tour through Minnesota politics. In case you missed it, Birk made a speech to the National Right to Life group on the same day Roe v. Wade was overturned, and he […]

Video of Jensen’s running mate Matt Birk shows controversial views on abortion, women working

By: - July 19, 2022

Even though abortion remains legal in Minnesota due to a 1995 state Supreme Court precedent, the issue continues to shape the 2022 governor’s race, with Gov. Tim Walz’s reelection campaign set to hammer likely GOP opponent Scott Jensen and his running mate Matt Birk on the issue Tuesday.  Newly released video shows Birk speaking to […]

Congressional candidate Tyler Kistner is two months late on financial disclosure form

By: - July 14, 2022

Tyler Kistner, the likely Republican nominee to challenge U.S. Rep. Angie Craig in the 2nd District, hasn’t filed a required financial disclosure report with the House Clerk despite a May deadline.  A Kistner campaign spokesman said in a text message that the paperwork has been completed but not turned in, and they expect it to […]


Thanks, Republicans: THC legalization began with the 2018 federal farm bill

By: - July 8, 2022

After Minnesota Republicans in the Legislature couldn’t get their story straight last week about whether they had intended to allow Democrats to legalize marijuana edibles and drinks, the big joke was that they’d sampled the supply and accidentally legalized it. But it’s even funnier, because the Minnesota GOP may not have been the first Republicans […]

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig raised $1.4 million in 2Q

By: - July 7, 2022

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig says she raised an impressive $1.4 million during the second quarter, with a lift since the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision. The campaign says donations via their texting program tripled since Roe was overturned and saw a 60% increase in return on ad spend on Facebook. Craig is in one of the […]

copycat THC edibles

The Legislature stumbles into legalizing THC, for better or worse | Column

By: - July 1, 2022

In the final days of the legislative session in May, a bipartisan panel was negotiating the differences between health and human services bills passed by the DFL-led House and GOP-controlled Senate.  They had hundreds of pages to get through, and a bevy of amendments to approve, including one “exempting cannabinoids derived from hemp from Schedule […]