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During her interview with KMSP-TV, Erin Murphy did her best to explain why the DFL endorsement for governor is important. At one point, I got the sense that Rep. Murphy almost said that it’s important because she’s strapped for cash and needs the DFL’s assistance to push her across the finish line. She stopped short of that but that’s still the truth:

According to this report, Murphy had less than $75,000 cash-on-hand as of 3/31/2018. By comparison, Tim Pawlenty has $900,000 more cash-on-hand. On the DFL side of things, Tim Walz has almost $650,000 cash-on-hand.

Let’s get serious here. With the DFL’s help, Erin Murphy should win the DFL Primary. The minute the primary is over, though, she’s in trouble. The bad news for the DFL is that her competitors on the DFL side are in worse shape. With the DFL having been taken over by Our Revolution, Murphy is the only candidate extreme enough for that organization. Lori Swanson and Tim Walz will split the outstate vote. When they lose the primary, their voters are most likely to either not vote for Murphy or they’ll switch to the GOP.

This won’t be a happy reunion. This is the DFL’s civil war. Republicans aren’t unified but the DFL is heading for outright civil war.

Thus far, Tim Pawlenty is the only GOP gubernatorial candidate to send me information on their campaign. Jeff Johnson’s campaign hasn’t shown any signs of activity, either in fundraising letters, campaign updates or through social media. At this point, I’m left to question whether Jeff Johnson is going through the motions or whether he’s just too broke to run a full-fledged campaign.

At any rate, Tim Pawlenty is running a complete campaign. In his latest campaign email, Pawlenty writes “The DFL candidates for governor, Tim Walz and Erin Murphy, support tax increases and turning Minnesota into a haven for illegal immigration by imposing sanctuary state laws. In fact, Tim Walz even proposed bringing terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay to Rochester, Minnesota!” Later in the same email, Pawlenty wrote “At a time when our state government can’t properly operate the renewal system for licenses; can’t even properly confirm eligibility before giving out public assistance; and is even being investigated for potentially diverting child care funds to terrorists — we need our elected officials to be accountable and use common sense. With the DFL plunging into chaos, they have proven to every Minnesotan that they cannot and will not take these critical responsibilities seriously.”

Gov. Dayton has been a total disaster the past 8 years. Minnesotans are taxed far too much. Far too often under Gov. Dayton’s and the DFL’s watch, they’ve ignored warning signs of theft or fraud.

It isn’t improper to call the DFL the party of big broken government. They’ve proven that they only care about oversized appropriations and no oversight. MNLARS continues unfixed. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton vetoed a bill that would’ve saved deputy registrars from financial ruin that Gov. Dayton and the DFL caused because Republicans wouldn’t write Gov. Dayton a blank check for an additional $33,000,000 to supposedly finish fixing MNLARS. When the GOP insisted on strict oversight, Gov. Dayton went into another of his famous diatribes.

Do we want another inept, corrupt Democrat in the Governor’s mansion? Shouldn’t we want a governor who has already shown he’s competent? We can’t afford Erin Murphy’s wildly expensive ideas

With the DFL primaries likely to be contentious, some major rifts have gotten exposed. In his weekly commentary, Harold Hamilton noted that “the DFL is wholly funded, owned, and operated by the wealthy urban elites who hail from about three zip codes in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. These king makers are extremely liberal in their world view and thus support candidates who are extremely liberal in their world view. In short, the DFL establishment these days favors extreme liberals who hail from the urban core.” (Hamilton predicts that Erin Murphy and Keith Ellison will win their primaries and be the DFL’s general election candidates for governor and AG respectively.)

That necessarily means some awfully hurt feelings. As Hamilton said, “Lori Swanson specifically pointed out in her announcement that she was running for governor that she is in favor of gun rights, a hot button topic. Erin Murphy, on the other hand, is a gun grabber and has no regard for the Second Amendment, as does her running mate.”

Anyone that thinks rural DFLers and metro DFLers won’t duke it out over the Second Amendment is kidding themselves. This is one of the existential fights that DFL Chair Ken Martin has tried avoiding for 5+ years. Hamilton noted that “there is a growing schism between the party’s urban, liberal faction and its rural ‘Reagan Democrat’ pragmatic faction.” Here at LFR, I’ve been chronicling that schism for years. It’s inevitable that the divorce happen.

Mitch Berg correctly notes that “It’s pretty clear the DFL is sliding toward Metro-only status. If they lose CD8 and possibly CD1 this year (both are more possible than at any time in years), and with the knowledge that Colin Peterson’s Potemkin seat in CD7 will never be replaced by a Democrat again when he retires), it’ll really be official, even if they someday flip CD3.”

Tonight on Almanac, the 3 DFL gubernatorial candidates did their best to spin the differences between rural issues and metro issues. They failed. Each played nice to a certain degree, though Erin Murphy definitely attacked Walz on the NRA. When rural voters hear that, it’s inevitable that they think the DFL is the party of gun grabbers. What’s clear is that these candidates either don’t understand rural voters or are too busy pandering to city voters.

Murphy and Maye Quade have opposed pipelines and mining. They voted for the buffer strips, too. These positions will alienate rural voters. Amy Koch nails it during the roundtable:

During the Roundtable, Eric Eskola mentioned the Eighth District DFL Primary. They’d run out the environmentalist in that race. Now, 2 more environmentalists have filed to run in the primary. These candidates won’t win but they will keep that fight fresh through August. That isn’t just a disagreement. Potentially, it might turn into a civil war.

If the DFL can’t resolve these major differences, a divorce is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when.

Minutes after Tim Walz withdrew from the endorsement fight, the DFL endorsed Erin Murphy to be their gubernatorial candidate.

This was an event-filled, tumultuous, convention. The first shock happened when unknown Matt Pelikan trailed DFL Attorney General Lori Swanson by just 5 points, with Swanson at 52.2% and Pelikan at 47.2% of the vote. Before they started the second ballot, Swanson pulled out, handing the endorsement to Pelikan. When Erin Murphy won the endorsement after Tim Walz withdrew from the endorsement race, rumors started swirling that Swanson might jump into the DFL gubernatorial primary instead of fighting through the DFL AG primary.

Meanwhile, another rumor has it that Ryan Winkler will run in the DFL AG primary if Swanson opts for the DFL gubernatorial primary. If AG Swanson runs in the AG’s primary, she’d probably win. If she runs in the gubernatorial primary, her chances of winning drop significantly. In both instances, though, her chances of winning the general election aren’t that great, though they’d be better if she ran for AG.

As for Murphy’s chances, they aren’t good. If she defeats Tim Walz, she’ll only do so by running far to Walz’s left. Single-payer health care isn’t popular in Minnesota. People didn’t trust MNsure. They definitely won’t trust single-payer. Further, it’s quite possible that she’ll lose to Tim Walz while pushing him farther left than Walz can afford to go to win the general election.

Murphy’s victory makes life difficult for Chairman Martin because it’s dragging the supposed frontrunner farther left than Martin wanted. Next, whoever wins will have gotten dragged so far left that it’ll be virtually impossible to win in November, mostly because Murphy is a hostile environmental activist. To win, she’ll have to alienate miners and union construction workers like pipefitters. Think heavy equipment operators, too.

This isn’t the script the DFL wanted written at convention-end. Most likely, they’ll have primaries in Tina Smith’s seat, the open Nolan seat, the possibly open State AG seat and the governor’s race. It’s the exact opposite of what Chairman Martin hoped for.

Finally, this situation virtually guarantees a Republican governor in November. Add to that the likelihood of Republicans winning the auditor’s race and the definite possibility of Republicans winning the AG race, coupled with the strong likelihood of maintaining their majorities in the Minnesota House and Senate and you’re looking at a pretty difficult year if you’re Chairman Martin. That’s before mentioning the likelihood of winning the First and Eighth U.S. Congressional districts.

This year, Minnesota has none of the makings of a blue wave.

This LTE highlights what I think is a Range war. It starts by saying “I got a big chuckle out of comments by Governor Mark Dayton (MDN 5/13) ‘Everyone on the Range should know: the state government is on your side.’ In fact, I still can’t stop laughing! His comments remind me of the old adage ‘The Three Biggest Lies: the check is in the mail, of course I’ll still respect you in the morning and I’m from the government…I’m here to help you.'”

One thing comes through clearly in that opening: Rangers don’t trust Gov. Dayton. That should frighten whoever becomes the DFL gubernatorial candidate. Tim Walz’s Lt. Gov. pick is a wild-eyed environmentalist. That’s before considering the fact that Walz was a longtime NRA member who just threw that record overboard to win the endorsement. While she was part of the Executive Council, Rebecca Otto voted against approving a series of exploratory mining leases, then sent out a fundraising letter bragging that she’d stood up to big mining corporations. Finally, Erin Murphy is an unknown quantity in terms of mining policy but who is the most progressive of the 3 DFL finalists. Why would a Ranger trust her on mining issues?

Mark Dayton is a poor little rich kid from Minneapolis whose fortune is invested in trust in South Dakota to escape Minnesota taxes. He is personally and ideologically aligned with the environmental wacko movement and his heart and soul is not with us on the Range.

Dayton will do what he thinks the Range needs, not what the Range knows it needs.

The DFL has literally run the Range into the ground for decades. That isn’t hyperbole. When confronted with the Range’s high unemployment years ago, IRRRB Chairman Tony Sertich said (sorry, I’m paraphrasing here) that that’s been that way for years. The statistics verify that.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Republican Party is the new home for construction workers, farmers and miners. The DFL doesn’t understand blue collar workers any more. The DFL has fought and is fighting against new pipeline construction (Sandpiper) or old pipeline (Line 3) replacement.

The DFL has shut its doors to blue collar workers. Their policies haven’t helped the Range in decades. Literally.

Minnesota came close to having unified Republican government in 2010, when Republicans swept into control of the State House and Senate while losing the governor’s race in a recount. With Republicans controlling the Senate and not up for election in 2018, Republicans can focus on strengthening their majority in the Minnesota House and electing a Republican governor. The DFL is in real trouble in the legislature. According to the article, “the Democratic National Committee announced in May it would give a $100,000 grant to the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor party for outreach to rural voters.”

That’s pretty laughable. The DFL has been well-funded for years, with DFL trust fund babies (Think Alita Messenger) writing big checks to the DFL. The DFL shouldn’t need outside help to connect with rural voters. I can save the DNC that $100,000. The problem isn’t that the DFL hasn’t reached out to rural Minnesota. It’s that those DFLers are attached to a cancer originating from Minneapolis and St. Paul. The DFL won’t like hearing this but it’s the truth: The Republican Party of Minnesota is the new home to farmers, miners and construction workers.

Skipping the convention is a sign Pawlenty has trouble with the modern GOP, said David Turner, spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, who compared the Minnesota contest to the 2017 Virginia governor’s race—which was expected to be close but turned into a big victory for centrist Democrat Ralph Northam over moderate Republican Ed Gillespie.

“What we’ve seen in 2017 and 2018 is a high level of enthusiasm among Democratic voters,” Turner told Fox News. “Pawlenty is eerily similar to Ed Gillespie in Virginia. Both had harshly criticized President Trump in the past and lobbied for Wall Street. Now, Pawlenty is coming back to Minnesota and—like Gillespie—doesn’t know how to deal with the current Trump Republican party.”

The chance to elect, for the first time in Minnesota history, a unified Republican Party government is all the motivation Republicans will need this fall. The opportunity to fix the problems Dayton created but didn’t fix is great motivation. The opportunity to trash Minnesota’s socialist economic policies will be a great motivator, too.

I’d be in denial if I said that there aren’t some people who question Pawlenty. They definitely exist. That being said, he’s a reliable chief executive who is light years more trustworthy than Gov. Bobblehead, aka Gov. Dayton. A Pawlenty-Daudt-Gazelka trio of leaders would be able to get lots of good things done.

As for the DFL gubernatorial candidates, each have serious flaws. The first test for a candidate is picking a running mate. Rebecca Otto failed that test by making an identity politics choice. The first thing a running mate has to be is capable of running the state if, God forbid, something happens to the governor.

Here’s the opening sentence in the article:

DFL gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Otto has chosen Zarina Baber as her running mate, creating the possibility that if elected, Baber would be the first Muslim woman to hold statewide office in the United States.

Picking a nobody with no government experience is foolish. It’s impossible to take this pick as serious. This is purely an identity politics pick.

As for Tim Walz, his biggest flaws are that he’s got the worst of both worlds. He really isn’t a Twin Cities kind of guy but he doesn’t fit well with rural Minnesota, either. He once represented rural Minnesota but he lost that by playing politics with the NRA. When he pandered after Parkland, people saw that his values are ‘flexible’. That won’t fly during the age of Trump.

Erin Murphy’s biggest flaw is her being a true believer. She’s a single-payer advocate:

I am a supporter of single-payer and a co-author on John Marty’s Minnesota Health Plan. A full single-payer solution isn’t possible without federal participation, but we can build the infrastructure here in Minnesota and lead the nation.

Single-payer health care will never be the law of the land. This is totally foolish. If she wants to play to her base to win the endorsement, that’s fine. She’d better know, though, that it’ll cost her bigtime in the general election.

As for the Republicans’ majority in the House, the DFL can forget about flipping it. They voted for creating the hated buffer strips that are costing farmers tons of money. The DFL sat silent about the rebuild of the Line 3 Pipeline, which would’ve helped stabilize, if not decrease farmers’ property taxes. The DFL voted against the Republicans’ tax cuts in 2017, which has limited farmers’ property taxes.

It isn’t a matter of outreach. It’s a matter of voting for terrible policies. No amount of outreach will make amends for terrible policies.

Today on At Issue, Tim Walz tried sounding reasonable about Second Amendment issues while preaching the mantra of ‘common sense gun laws’. During the interview, Walz claimed that he’s uniquely qualified to get gun control legislation passed because he’s had an A rating from the NRA. After that, Walz immediately reminds lefty voters that he’s still on their side, that he’s the only person who can navigate that minefield without getting blown to smithereens.

Among the ‘common sense’ gun bills that Rep. Walz has proposed is an assault weapons ban. That isn’t common sense. It’s just politically popular within the DFL:

As recently as 2016, Guns and Ammo magazine called Walz one of the 20 best lawmakers on gun rights. He said in an interview Tuesday that his relationships with gun owners would allow him to bring them into the conversation. “This is about bringing in responsible gun owners who understand something’s got to be done,” Walz said.

Bryan Strawser, chairman of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus, said Walz is mistaken: “Tim Walz’s relationship with gun owners was directly related to his strong advocacy for gun rights. He will soon learn how little of their support he has since he has forsaken them for political expediency.”

Gun rights advocates won’t waste their time on a politician who’s flip-flopped on this issue while pandering for votes. Gun rights advocates want someone who’s rock-solid in their beliefs, someone who’s thought these things through. Clearly, Tim Walz is just a cheap politician who will say anything to get elected. That isn’t a principled man who will fight for people’s constitutional rights. That’s just a politician who will sell his soul to the devil.

Tim Walz had credibility with guns rights advocacy. Then he sold his soul to the devil to win an election. Now, he’s a man without a country, metaphorically speaking. Once, he had credibility with gun owners. He’s always had credibility issues with gun-grabbing Metrocrats. Now he’s got credibility issues with both groups.

First, Tim Walz wanted to be the man who made Minnesota a sanctuary state:

Now, he’s trying to weasel his way through this fight with gun owners. That’s what I’d call a politically disastrous week for Walz.

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I’ll be talking with Dan ‘The Ox’ Ochsner today at 3:10 pm this afternoon about Tim Walz’s statement in support of turning Minnesota into a sanctuary state. For those of you outside the KNSI listening area, click on this link, then click on the listen-live tab to listen in.

Most likely, we’ll talk about what a gigantic mistake this was for Walz. While it will likely help him in winning the DFL endorsement, it’s certain to hurt him in the general election.

UPDATE: For those who couldn’t listen to my interview with Ox Friday, follow this link to listen to the podcast. My interview is the fourth interview from the top of the page.

Please, please, please, please, please let Tim Walz be the DFL candidate for governor. This afternoon, Tim Pawlenty sent out an email stating that Tim Walz answered a questionnaire from Our Revolution Minnesota. Reading through Our Revolution Minnesota’s news & headlines page, it’s pretty clear that this isn’t a moderate, center-left organization. One post is titled Our Revolution MN Endorsements: Ellison, Kulp, Phifer. The next post is titled Our Revolution MN Endorses Jeff Erdmann.

It’s obvious that they’re far left radicals.

The Pawlenty email states “Walz answered a question as part of the ‘Our Revolution Minnesota’ candidate questionnaire by stating that he would ‘make Minnesota a Sanctuary State.'” That Rep. Walz wants to turn Minnesota into a cold California is frightening. In California, which is now known as the ‘Crime & Homelessness State’ (compared to the Golden State of yesteryear), crime is rampant and pictures of massive tent cities of homeless people are routine parts of newscasts. If Tim Walz gets his way, this is what’s in Minnesota’s future:

This is Tim Pawlenty’s response to Tim Walz:

In the ad, Pawlenty said this:

Really? I mean that’s just nutty. And it’s not safe. It’ll take away tools from police officers who are trying to get criminals off the streets. When you turn on the news and you see things like a 90-year old farmer from Carver County who was robbed and beaten to death in his home by two illegal immigrants, Tim Walz’s plan makes even less sense. In fact, it’s dangerous. There’s a better way forward. I’ll bring common sense and accountability back to government.

It isn’t a stretch to say that Tim Walz sold his soul to run for governor. He used to have a great rating with the NRA. Now he’s trashing them because being on good speaking terms with the NRA isn’t allowed if you’re a DFL candidate for governor. Walz crafted an image of being sensible while in Congress. (He wasn’t sensible but that’s the image he crafted.) Running as the ‘Sanctuary State Candidate’ won’t help Walz’s carefully-crafted image.

This isn’t something Walz can dodge, either. I’m told that there’s visual proof of Walz’s sanctuary state statement. That puts Walz in an impossible position. If he denies making the statement, the visual proof is produced, which destroys Walz’s credibility. If Walz proudly states that he supports Minnesota as a sanctuary state, he turns off people in rural Minnesota, who expect laws to be enforced. Couple Walz’s sanctuary state policy with the refugee resettlement crisis and you’ve got the potential for lots of hostility directed at Rep. Walz. That’s a can’t-win situation.

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Ed Morrissey’s post illustrates the strength of Tim Pawlenty’s position, both going into the August primary and potentially the general election. First, Ed cites this article:

“The 1,300 delegates, or so, that you need to get endorsed may already be pledged to other candidates,” Pawlenty said on WCCO Sunday Morning. “If that is the case, the cake may already be baked, but either way our campaign is not stopping with the endorsing convention. You get on the ballot in Minnesota by running and winning a primary, and that is what we intend to do.”

Ed then highlights the DFL’s difficulties:

Walz has other worries than just fundraising. It’s taken him more than a year to get to $1.6 million, which means that Pawlenty may soon surpass him. Meanwhile, his nearest two Democratic opponents (Erin Murphy and Rebecca Otto) have raised almost a million dollars between them. Furthermore, the fight in the DFL has burned through much of that fundraising; Walz has spent just over a million dollars from his coffers, while Murphy and Otto have run through most of their funds (Murphy appears to be $30,000 or so in the hole). Otto, whose campaign will challenge Walz from his left, also pledges to run in the primary, which will force Walz to either move in a more progressive direction or lose ground in the Twin Cities.

Ed’s observations are certainly accurate but they don’t tell the entire story. It’s my contention that Tim Walz sold his soul while pandering to the anti-gun left. I think that Rep. Walz did that because he needs to win tons of votes in the Twin Cities.

I don’t think Rep. Walz will like that trade-off. First, I don’t think that Walz will be that competitive against Otto in the Twin Cities. Next, by pandering to the anti-gun left, Rep. Walz likely undercut his support in rural Minnesota and Southern Minnesota. If I’m right, that foolish pandering has left Walz as a candidate without a sturdy base of support.

Outstate Minnesotans won’t like Walz’s pandering. It isn’t likely that they’ll appreciate his flip-flop on the Second Amendment, either, though the pandering is the bigger sticking point.

The other problem facing whoever the DFL candidate is in the general election is that they’re all virtual unknowns. That means the DFL’s candidate will need to spend tons of cash. Apparently, they’re already doing that:

Meanwhile, how much of Pawlenty’s funds have gotten spent? Er … $40,000 as of last Tuesday, a mere 4% of his revenue, which means that Pawlenty already has an advantage of nearly $400,000 over Walz. Compare that burn rate to Johnson (~50%), Walz (62%), Otto (74%), and Murphy (105%), and it’s not looking bad for Pawlenty in either the primary or general election.

With or without a DFL primary, the DFL candidate faces a steep uphill fight to raise enough money to compete. While Pawlenty an Johnson duke it out in the GOP primary, the DFL candidate will need to spend tons of money just to gain name recognition. Considering the amount of money that the DFL candidates have spent, they’ll need to raise literally millions of dollars for the general election.

Whether you agree or disagree with Tim Pawlenty, he’s a good debater:

Here’s something worth thinking about. Pawlenty is prepared to defend his record and tout his accomplishments. The DFL candidate, whoever it is, won’t have many accomplishments to highlight. Jeff Johnson is kinda stuck in the same situation as Walz. The activists know him but he isn’t well-known beyond that. His fundraising hasn’t inspired much confidence either.

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