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Erin Murphy was one of the first declared DFL candidates. Based on this article, it appears as though she’s all but officially dead in the water.

First, it’s worth noting that “Murphy criticizes capitalist models of health care, saying that a for-profit model of any part of the health care system is bad for Americans.” It isn’t surprising to read that “Murphy also supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) plan for Medicare for all across the United States.” From a DFL primary convention perspective, this isn’t a foolish strategy. She’s essentially just rolled out the red carpet for Bernie Sanders’ voters. Let’s remember that Sen. Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton by a 61%-38% margin in Minnesota’s caucuses.

This tends to support the belief that DFL voters are further left than a decade ago and significantly further left than during the Perpich era. But I digress.

Later in the article, it quotes her as saying “Let’s start by making MinnesotaCare an option available to everyone. Like Medicare, it’s tested, trusted, and affordable coverage, available everywhere in Minnesota.” The bad news for Murphy is that she’d be history if she made it to a general election. Here’s why:

NPR reported in May 2016 that expanding Medicare coverage to cover everyone in the United States would add $18 trillion to the national debt in just the next ten years. The current national debt is just under $20 trillion.

Murphy’s strategy appears to be to win the endorsement by winning over Sen. Sanders’ supporters. It likely also means she’s going hard left in the general election, too. Here’s what she said on her campaign website:

But for too many that’s not their reality. Too many of our neighbors are feeling forgotten, working harder than ever just to survive. Too many are at risk of falling further behind, and too many are not getting the opportunities they need to make progress.

That sounds like a repeat of Bernie Sanders’ or Elizabeth Warren’s stump speech.

Potentially, this sets up an interesting fight for the DFL endorsement for governor. Tim Walz appears to be running as a Blue Dog Democrat. That’s probably wise because I don’t think he can convince Sanders voters that he’s one of them. Murphy, however, appears to be running as the Bernie Sanders candidate. Here’s the question that we don’t have the answer to: will this split the DFL? Here’s another question: will the Iron Range finally reject a DFL gubernatorial candidate? At this point, that’s a distinct possibility if Rep. Murphy is the DFL’s candidate.

Ed Morrissey is the latest Minnesotan to ask the question about whether Minnesota is turning red. Prior to Ed asking that timeless question, Barry Casselman asked that question in his Weekly Standard article.

Ed and Barry both note that Tim Pawlenty is the last Republican to win statewide office in Minnesota, with Ed noting that Hillary’s near-defeat shouldn’t be attributed to Trump’s strong performance as much as it should be attributed to Hillary’s poor performance. Ed highlighted the fact that “Trump did manage to outscore Mitt Romney’s 2012 results, but only by 2,000 votes. Clinton, on the other hand, dropped nearly 180,000 votes from Barack Obama’s 2012 total. That lack of enthusiasm for Clinton, and the poor GOTV effort on the ground in the state, is what nearly cost her the election.”

What neither gentleman wrote about was the strength of the Republicans’ legislative victories in 2016. In my opinion, that’s missing a key data point. Just look through the margins in the State Senate races. Republicans flipped SD-1 and SD-2 in northwestern Minnesota, SD-5 on the Iron Range, SD-17 near Willmar, SD-20 in south central Minnesota. Most of those seats were won by double-digit margins. Of the Republicans winning re-election, most won by high double-digit margins. On the House side, Republicans won by impressive margins.

The point isn’t that President Trump didn’t win. It’s that legislative candidates outperformed President Trump by a significant margin throughout the state. Further, DFL incumbent Tim Walz almost got defeated in CD-1. The race was so close that Walz opted to run for governor rather than accept a rematch with Republican Jim Hagedorn.

Walz is considered the DFL frontrunner for governor. Speculation is that the DFL might not endorse a candidate this year. If there’s a 3-, 4- or 5-way primary, which is a distinct possibility, the winner will limp out of the primary to face a hungry Republican Party and a well-rested, respected candidate.

Ed ends his post by saying “Before we get around to declaring the state ready to go red, perhaps the GOP can win one statewide office first. Casselman suggests that Pawlenty might be enticed to run again for his old office. That would be good news for the GOP, but we should wait to see whether any other Republican can crack that code — for the Senate, for secretary of state, auditor, etc. Until then … stay skeptical.”

That’s a fair point but I’m getting more confident that something historic is getting ready to happen with each passing election cycle. Don’t forget that I was the only journalist that predicted Chip Cravaack’s victory in 2010 and I’m the only journalist that predicted that Republicans would flip the Minnesota Senate.

In my opinion, Gov. Pawlenty’s time has come and gone. There’s little doubt that he’d do well in the suburbs but there’s equally little doubt that he’d struggle in rural Minnesota. The traditional pick, if he runs, would be Kurt Daudt. The dark horse candidate I’d pick would be Amy Koch. They’re both urban enough and well-known to win in the suburbs. They’re both rural enough to win rural Minnesota by a big enough margin.

In 2018, expect the DFL to experience a difficult election season. For years, the DFL, led by Gov. Dayton, has patted themselves on the back profusely for how strong the economy was and how their policies were working, etc. Those days, like Gov. Dayton’s time in office, are slipping away. Last week, I cited this article as showing the DFL’s economic policies aren’t that great.

The article starts by saying “New data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that Minnesota was one of only seven states in the country to experience a shrink in its gross domestic product (GDP).” In the next paragraph, it states “In the first quarter of fiscal year 2017, Minnesota’s GDP shrank 0.3 percent. This is the seventh worst mark in the United States, ahead of only Montana, Kansas, Hawaii, Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska.” While Minnesota’s GDP shrinks, consumer confidence in President Trump’s policies keeps growing.

As of July 25, 2017, consumer confidence was recorded at 121.1. It was projected to be a still-healthy 116.5.

What’s worse for the DFL’s election chances is that “North Dakota’s GDP increased by 1.6 percent, while Wisconsin’s increased by 2.1 percent in the past quarter. This was the fifth best mark of any state.” Gov. Dayton has frequently talked about how much better Minnesota’s economy was doing than North Dakota’s or Wisconsin’s.

By the time that the conventions end next spring, it’s a distinct possibility that the DFL’s talking point of having a stronger economy than North Dakota or Wisconsin won’t be true anymore. Likewise, it’s possible that Republicans will be able to say that Minnesota’s economy is underperforming compared to the national economy. Consumer confidence was at 98.6 as of Oct. 25, 2016. Since then, consumer confidence has been 15-25 points higher.

Considering the DFL’s difficulties in rural Minnesota, it isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL and their special interest allies will sink their money into holding the governor’s mansion. If the US economy is doing well and Minnesota’s economy is faltering, it isn’t a stretch to think that the DFL might have their worst election cycle in a generation.

Tim Walz’s seat in Congress is likely to flip into the GOP column. It’s difficult to picture the DFL defeating Paulsen, Emmer or Lewis in their races. If Minnesota is underperforming the US economy, it’ll be virtually impossible to pin that on Republicans. That makes things plenty difficult for the DFL gubernatorial candidate, especially if their candidate is Tim Walz.

Let’s be blunt about something right upfront. Tim Walz is probably the DFL’s best candidate in a lackluster field of candidates. He isn’t charismatic. He won’t drive turnout. In 2010, Democrats were thirsty because President Obama had just led them to their holy grail of universal health care and because they’d been shut out of the governor’s mansion since 1991.

By contrast, Minnesota Republicans are hungry this cycle. They want unified Republican state government. They don’t just want to hold their majority in the Minnesota House. (The Minnesota Senate isn’t up for re-election.) They’d love to take over control of the congressional delegation, too.

Barry Casselman’s article said that “Trump’s strong showing came in the rural and blue-collar exurban areas, which responded to his antiestablishment message, and in the northeastern Range area, usually a DFL stronghold, where the vote was as much anti-Clinton as it was pro-Trump.” That’s actually wrong. President Trump’s message was a perfect fit for the Iron Range, just like it was in other parts of blue collar America. That President Trump won the Iron Range by 12 points isn’t surprising. Further, the Range was littered with Trump lawn signs all summer long.

Simply put, you can’t explain that away as simply rejecting Hillary.

First-term GOP congressman Jason Lewis in the 2nd District could be vulnerable next year. He represents a swing exurban district.

Jason Lewis will win re-election. Angie Craig has announced that she wants a rematch. The NRCC put together this devastating ad late in the campaign:

After that ran morning, noon and night, Angie Craig became synonymous with ‘toxic waste’. To be fair, the DCCC will dump tons of money into this race. The good news for the good guys is that she’s a bad fit for the district. She’s a crony capitalist who fought for special exemptions for her company while pushing unpopular policies on Minnesota.

Divided state government has produced some epic clashes, the most recent being Governor Dayton’s line-item veto of the entire budget passed by the legislature for the next two years. Republicans have sued the governor over what they assert was his unconstitutional use of the veto. The state supreme court will hear arguments later this month. Voters next year will try to resolve this stalemate.

That’s perplexing. The Minnesota Supreme Court will settle this soon. It won’t turn out well for Gov. Dayton or the DFL.

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If ever there was a sign that Tim Walz’s seat was in play, this article provides proof that Rep. Walz’s seat is in danger of flipping into Republicans’ hands.

The paragraph that’s killing the DFL says “That’s still better than any of Hagedorn’s potential DFL opponents. Former state lawmaker Vicki Jensen raised just $17,000. Four other Democrats have filed as candidates but none reported raising any money by Saturday’s deadline.”

When the DFL fundraising leader for the First District has raised $17,000, that’s a terrible sign. What’s worse is that Sen. Jensen lost that race by a 58.5%-41.5% margin. What’s worst for the DFL is that the other 4 candidates haven’t raised any money yet. That’s the definition of a weak DFL field.

There’s more than just that, though. According to the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office, Tim Walz, the incumbent in 2016, defeated Jim Hagedorn by a 50.3%-49.6% margin. Now Walz is running for governor, most likely because he thought he’d lose the rematch against Hagedorn.

If Vicki Jensen is the DFL-endorsed candidate to replace Walz, they’ll be fighting an uphill fight. At this point, though, I don’t think we know who the DFL-endorsed candidate will be because none of the candidates have raised much money. Hint: there are legislative candidates that’ve raised as much money as Jensen has.

This article on Tim Walz is filled with inaccuracies and propaganda. Then again, it was written by a Strib writer.

For instance, it says “Politicians who reach a hand across the aisle in Washington sometimes pull back a stump. But once a week, Walz laces up his sneakers and joins a bipartisan running group as it sprints away from a Capitol convulsed by bitter partisan disputes over health care, immigration, budgets and taxes. In a House divided, Walz would rather run with his colleagues than against them. ‘Being bipartisan may be viewed as a weakness in some quarters,'” said Walz, who has signed on to more bipartisan bills than almost anyone else in Congress. ‘I reject that idea.’”

The Strib’s Jennifer Brooks then includes “Of the 351 bills Walz co-sponsored last term, more than half — 54 percent — were sponsored with non-Democrats. The legislative site GovTrack ranked him as the 9th most bipartisan member in Congress in 2016. Walz’s seats on committees like Veterans Affairs and Agriculture lend themselves to cooperation and blurred party lines.”

As a congressman, Rep. Walz can steer clear of controversial issues like health care. Governors can’t. Recently, Rep. Walz tried portraying himself as independent of the DNC on health care. The Republican Governors Association, aka the RGA, put together this video of Rep. Walz’s townhall meeting:

That sounds centrist. Unfortunately, Walz hasn’t lived up to that billing. First, he voted for the ACA. Next, after the ACA started failing, Rep. Walz refused to offer a single amendment that would fix the ACA. In this post, I wrote “Rep. Walz hasn’t lifted a finger to propose a solution that would fix the ACA. It’s one thing to whine about bills. It’s another thing to fix bills that are “failing my constituents in a lot of ways.” This is typical Democrat do-nothing complaining that don’t offer solutions.”

Rep. Walz hasn’t said whether he’d eliminate MNsure. Rep. Walz has said that the ACA is “failing my constituents in a lot of ways.” What’s his solution to that crisis? Congressmen can hide from those crises. Governors can’t. Without explaining how he’d solve the problem, we won’t know if Rep. Walz is truly a moderate. All we have to go by is his word. That isn’t enough. Actions are required. If the actions don’t match the rhetoric, then we know he’s a phony.

Anyone that thinks that Tim Walz’s recent statements will help him get elected is kidding himself. Rep. Walz is a con artist. Those of us in Minnesota know that about Rep. Walz. According to this article, Rep. Walz said “The DNC wanted the message to be the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is working fine and don’t talk about the warts. I said I can’t do that because it’s failing my constituents in a lot of ways.”

Rep. Walz’s statement is transparent in that he’s a) voted for the ACA, b) criticized the AHCA and c) criticized the Senate Republicans’ health care bill. The thing is that Rep. Walz hasn’t lifted a finger to propose a solution that would fix the ACA. It’s one thing to whine about bills. It’s another thing to fix bills that are “failing my constituents in a lot of ways.” This is typical Democrat do-nothing complaining that don’t offer solutions.

I don’t know why Rep. Walz would make a statement like this while he’s running for governor. Saying that the ACA is failing his constituents in a lot of ways is a shortcut to alienating a huge part of the DFL primary voters. RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel criticized Democrats obstruction in this video:

Here’s what she said:

It’s unfortunate because people are suffering across the country. Let’s look at the evolution of this, they passed 30,000 pages of legislation without reading it. They said you could keep your doctor. They said you can keep your healthcare plan. They said it was going to be affordable, and none of that has been true. And now, premiums have doubled across the country, you have insurers pulling out of marketplaces. People are suffering and Democrats are sitting on their hands when they created this problem. Republicans are working together. We have reached out to them, we want them involved in the process. It is unfortunate they have obstructed every step of the way and they are not putting the American people first.

Tim Walz fits that description perfectly. He voted to create this crisis, then voted multiple times against fixing the problem. Here’s the video of Rep. Walz whining about the ACA without offering a solution to fixing it:

I can’t picture a way for Walz to win the DFL gubernatorial primary. Until now, he’d been predicted to be the DFL frontrunner. I’ve got to think that his criticisms of the ACA will hurt him with primary voters.

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Tim Walz knows how to play the DC spin game. This article is proof of that:

At the U.S. Capitol, Walz said, “there’s not democracy.” Instead, “there’s just a speaker who holds a gavel.” The only legislation that can get voted on is that which the House speaker allows.

The reason Tim Walz is in the minority is because the politicians he voted for for Speaker didn’t just hold the House hostage. Then-Speaker Pelosi wouldn’t even let Republicans participate in writing a bill the vast majority of Americans didn’t want. It wasn’t enough for Ms. Pelosi to play the role of tyrant. She wasn’t satisfied until she ruled with an iron fist.

I don’t recall Rep. Walz complaining about Ms. Pelosi’s dictatorial stranglehold on the House from 2007-2011. Perhaps that’s because getting his way was the only principle that mattered to him.

Walz wasn’t the only spinmeister on stage:

With Republicans in charge of the Legislature and a Republican governor, Smith said, Minnesota ended up with a $6 billion debt.Under Democratic control, the deficit was erased, and money has been put aside for future emergencies.

Tina Smith should be ridiculed and criticized for lying like that. There’s never been a time when a Republican governor got to work with Republican majorities in the House and Senate. N-E-V-E-R. In 2010, Republicans gained control of the Minnesota Senate since it became a partisan election in 1972. From 1972 through 2010, Democrats had a stranglehold on the Senate.

That part of Smith’s BS is bad enough but that isn’t the only BS Smith peddled. In 2011, Republicans inherited a $6,000,000,000 deficit from Sen. Pogemiller and Speaker Kelliher. Sen. Pogemiller had a veto-proof DFL majority in the Senate while Speaker Kelliher lead 87 Democrats in the 134-member in the House.

When the DFL regained control of the House and Senate in 2012, Sen. Bakk and Speaker Thissen inherited a $640,000,000 deficit, not a $6,000,000,000 deficit.

That means Smith was only off by $5,360,000,000. In other words, she was as close to being accurate on the deficit as Gov. Dayton was with the e-tabs projection. That means neither was particularly accurate.

If spin was a $100 bill, the DFL could pay off the national debt. If accuracy and honesty was a gold bar, Walz and Smith couldn’t afford a stick of gum.

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In 2009, Ann Lenczewski proposed tax reform while she chaired the House Taxes Committee. Here’s what she said then:

“This bill proposes the most significant tax overhaul in 20 years,” said the bill’s chief author Rep. Ann Lenczeswki, DFL-Bloomington.

In addition to the tax hikes, Lenczewski’s bill removes a variety of tax breaks for homeowners and businesses. Charitable contributions, the mortgage interest tax deduction and the property tax deduction for homeowners are eliminated and replaced with a tax credit based on income. The bill also eliminates several business tax breaks, like the Research and Development credit and parts of the governor’s JOBZ program.

Lenczewski said she wants to clean up the state’s tax code.

“Which is to sweep the tax code clean of all of the preferential treatment and subsidies and things we can’t afford anymore and instead bring a fairer, more progressive income tax to Minnesotans based on the ability to pay,” she said.

That information is important context to the DFL’s ‘tax reforms’ this year. Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk have announced that tax reform is a high priority this year. One of the first tax bills is from Sen. Rest, in which she’d change the sales tax to apply to clothing. This isn’t a new idea by any stretch. Still, combined with higher taxes on “the rich who aren’t paying their fair share”, the DFL’s tax reform will hurt lots of people.

Is Sen. Rest balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class and working poor? Is it that she thinks the middle class and the working poor aren’t paying their fair share?

GOP legislators should ridicule Sen. Rest’s proposal until it’s dropped from committee consideration.

Wednesday afternoon, the House voted to approve Chip Cravaack’s land swap bill that had solid bipartisan support in the Minnesota legislature. The Mesabi Daily News is reporting that, despite the fact that this bill has the support of political opposites like Chip Cravaack and Tommie Ruckavina, the DFL members of the Minnesota delegation voted against it.

Rep. McCollum took a particularly harsh beating during the debate:

When McCollum said it was “completely unnecessary” because the state law had already set the process in motion, Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah said: “The state wants to do it quickly, the federal Forest Service does not. It helps the kids of Minnesota to take it away from an agency that moves at glacial speed.”

After that specious argument failed, Ms. McCollum tried a different argument, only to be shot down again:

When Rep. McCollum said repeatedly that there was not a map related to the issue, Rep. Cravaack responded with a map of the area in question alongside him. “Well, here’s the map,” he said, pointing out the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service have the map and it’s also available to the public online.

It’s pretty obvious that Rep. McCollum either doesn’t know what she’s talking about or she’s willing to shaft students to prevent Chip’s bill from passing.

What’s disgusting is that DFL Reps. Ellison, McCollum, Peterson and Walz voted against a significant funding source for K-12 students. So much for the DFL being the party that’s “for the children.”

That isn’t the only disgraceful behavior on behalf of the DFL members of the Minnesota delegation:

Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken would not answer directly a question of whether they support the House measure passed on Wednesday, but did endorse a land swap in some form yet to be spelled out. And, they said, they are collaborating on legislation.

“I understand how important this is for our schools and local economies in northern Minnesota, and that’s why I continue to support a land exchange and am working with similar legislation with Senator Franken to get it done,” Sen. Klobuchar said in an e-mailed statement to the Mesabi Daily News following a call to her Washington office.

A statement from Sen. Franken mirrored Klobuchar’s.

Minnesota Democratic U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken would not answer directly a question of whether they support the House measure passed on Wednesday, but did endorse a land swap in some form yet to be spelled out. And, they said, they are collaborating on legislation.

That’s code for saying they’re killing Chip’s bill. Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar know that their “similar legislation” would require a conference committee, which wastes valuable time during a lame duck session.

That’s a best case scenario with Harry Reid running the Senate and Sens. Franken and Klobuchar doing their best to sabotage the bill that Chip, Mark Dayton and Tommie Ruckavina support.

This vote proves that Tim Walz and Collin Peterson aren’t moderates. Voting with Raul Grijalva, Betty McCollum, Emanuel Cleaver, John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison won’t improve Peterson’s or Walz’s moderate ratings.

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It’s occasionally possible to ignore dishonest statements from politicians. I can’t do that after reading this article. Tim Walz made this dishonest statement recently:

For his part, Tim Walz doesn’t seem concerned about Republican challengers. He said he’s a proven bipartisan moderate despite the Republican rhetoric.

“Every time you make these types of cases that Walz is in lock-step with Nancy Pelosi or Barack Obama and then the NRA runs an ad for me it really starts to question your credibility,” he said.

Walz also said his victory in the 2010 over former state Rep.Randy Demmer, when many other Democrats around the country were defeated, demonstrates his strength among 1st District voters.

What part of Walz’s record says that he’s bipartisan? It certainly isn’t bipartisan to vote for the stimulus bill. That bill got 3 GOP votes in the Senate, none in the House. It certainly isn’t bipartisan to carry a minimum wage bill as a freshman that shielded then-Speaker Pelosi’s husband from the minimum wage increase.

In fact, those sound like the types of things that only a Pelosi lapdog would do.

That’s before talking about his voting, repeatedly, for Obamacare. That isn’t proof of Walz’s bipartisan nature. It’s proof of his partisan nature.

As for his defeating Randy Demmer in 2010, that isn’t proof of his bipartisan nature. It’s proof that the Demmer campaign didn’t do a good enough job of exposing Walz’s liberal voting record.

This is a new election cycle. Mike Parry is certainly a tougher matchup for Walz than Demmer was. This isn’t being disrespectful of Demmer. It’s just that his spending 8 years in the state legislature made him a target of Walz’s demagoguery.

Mike Parry is a businessman who’s served a briefly in the Minnesota Senate. Sen. Parry is only in his second term but he’s already the chair of the Senate State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee, one of the most powerful committees in the Senate.

The bottom line is that Tim Walz isn’t a moderate. You can’t vote for Cap and Trade, Obamacare and the stimulus and be a moderate.

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