Minnesota celebrity Garrison Keillor comes to Fridley Tuesday in an effort to raise money for DFL-endorsed candidate Connie Bernardy as she seeks election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
There is no incumbent in the race. Redistricting put both state DFL Reps. Tom Tillberry and Kate Knuth into the district and both are retiring from the Legislature.
Keillor is the featured guest at the fundraising event for Bernardy, which will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Shorewood Bar and Grill. The campaign is asking for donations of $35 to $100 from donors. But people who bring in more will get more face time with Keillor. According to Bernardy's campaign website: "Supporters who contribute or raise $250 or more to our campaign will receive a special invitation to a private reception with Garrison Keillor at 6 p.m."
The Shorewood hosted another well known Minnesotan last week, when former First Lady Terry Ventura returned for an annual event to benefit that Wishes and More charity. (Gov. Mark Dayton spoke there in January to a meeting of to the Twin Cities Metro North Chamber of Commerce, which meets at the Shorewood and regularly hosts politicians.)
It's a return of sorts, too, for Keillor, who was born in Anoka and draws on his experiences around Anoka County for his tales of the fictional town of Lake Woebegone.
Keillor—a bestselling author and radio host of A Prairie Home Companion—is also a reliable fixture at DFL Party fundraisers. But he jokingly downplays his effect on political fortunes. "I'd been a Democrat since I was 18," he told Houston PBS last year (see YouTube video). "In Minnesota I'd always done fundraisers for various losing liberal candidates. I was kind of known as kind of a brave loser of the group, of defeat in Minnesota."
One thing Keillor is not is an office-holder himself—despite what one typo-beset sentence at Bernardy's campaign website says: "The incomporable Minnesota treasurer, Mr. Garrison Keillor, will be performing at a fundraiser at the Sherwood in Fridley."