The Flaherty & Hood lobbying team, on behalf of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC), helped to plan and organize the first gubernatorial debate of the 2014 election season.

The debate, which was held Oct. 1 at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, marked the first time incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton (DFL) squared off face-to-face against challengers Jeff Johnson (GOP) and Hannah Nicollet. It was co-sponsored by the CGMC, Rochester Post-Bulletin and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce.

Flaherty & Hood staff members, in conjunction with the Post-Bulletin and the Chamber, choose the debate questions and handled the logistics of the event, including communicating with the candidates’ campaigns, promoting the event and dealing with media requests. They also worked with Pioneer TV, which filmed the debate and broadcast it live on public television stations across Minnesota and to a nationwide audience on C-SPAN.

In addition to the television audience, more than 500 people attended the debate in person to watch the candidates discuss issues important to Greater Minnesota, such as local government aid, transportation and health insurance.

The CGMC/Post-Bulletin/Rochester Chamber debate was the first of only five debates scheduled before the Nov. 4 election.