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According to the Minnesota Morning Watchdog, Tom Emmer got a shot of good news from last night’s precinct caucuses:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

Only 4.3% of caucus voters were undecided. While this straw poll isn’t binding, it can’t be ignored. Rhonda Sivarajah can’t be happy finishing 50 points behind Emmer. Phil Krinkie can’t be happy that he finished almost 60 points behind Emmer.

I’d be surprised if CD-6 delegates will be impressed with Commissioner Sivarajah’s or Rep. Krinkie’s showing. At this point, I’d argue that both face steep uphill fights to win the endorsement. I’d also argue that the odds of Tom Emmer winning a first ballot endorsement victory seem more likely this morning than they were a week ago.

In other straw poll news, Marty Seifert, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson appear to be heading for top 3 finishes in the gubernatorial straw poll. With 96% of precincts reporting, Seifert had 28% of the vote, followed by Dave Thompson with 26% and Jeff Johnson with 17%.

That’s got to put a smile on Sen. Thompson’s face. With a strong finish like that, Sen. Thompson can credibly tell potential contributors that his message is popular.

Marty Seifert has to be pleased, too. He can credibly tell potential contributors that he’s got the experience, organization and name recognition it’ll take to defeat Gov. Dayton.

While this wasn’t the strong showing the Johnson campaign was hoping for, Jeff Johnson must still be considered a top tier candidate. He’s got a solid fundraising team. He’s managing his resources well (he’s got the most cash-on-hand of the candidates) and he’s got a terrific record of being a fiscal conservative.

This couldn’t have been the night that Kurt Zellers was hoping for. Finishing a next-to-last 6th place with 8% can’t instill confidence in potential campaign contributors or in potential delegates.

Based on the results of last night’s U.S. Senate Straw Poll, it’s looking like it’s down to a 2-person race. With 96% of precincts reporting, Julianne Ortman led Mike McFadden by a 31%-22% margin. Finishing in third place was Undecided with 16%, followed by Jim Abeler with 15%.

With that many undecideds and soon-to-be undecided delegates, this is another race to watch.

Last night, I received an email from Jim Kroger, an assistant professor in the Accounting & Business Law department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Dr. Kroger had studied the campaign finance reports of the GOP gubernatorial candidates.

This post shouldn’t be interpreted as me expressing my preference for who runs against Gov. Dayton. This post is simply about Dr. Kroger’s studies.

Dr. Kroger’s spreadsheet, which doesn’t translate well into WordPress formatting, gives us some basic information. Specifically, it highlights the fundraising per week and the burn rate per week for each of the candidates. At this point, Marty Seifert has raised an average of $26,029 per week while spending $1,842 per week since entering the race in late November. By contrast, Scott Honour has raised an average of $14,142 per week while spending $14,132 per average week.

Kurt Zellers is raising $13,392 per week while spending $9,894 per week. He’s followed by Jeff Johnson, who is raising an average of $7,041 per week while spending an average of $2,091 per week, followed by Dave Thompson, who has raised an average of $4,559 per week while spending $2,673 per week.

Here are some of Dr. Kroger’s observations:

  1. Seifert’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $26,029 exceed Dayton’s average weekly individual cash contributions of $15,327 by $10,702. Presently, in Republican circles, one of the issues that is discussed is which candidate can raise enough money to be competitive against Dayton. Based on this analysis, which seeks to measure each candidate equally based on when they announced for governor, Seifert is by far the strongest fundraiser outperforming Honour by a margin of nearly 2 to 1.
  2. The average amount of cash burned per week by Zellers exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 143%. The average amount of cash burned per week by Honour exceeds the average amount of cash burned per week by Dayton by 204% (more than double). In Republican circles it is often said that no candidate will be able to fundraise and spend more than Dayton. Based on how fast Zellers and Honour are blowing their cash and what they are burning it on, I would argue that both of their campaigns are wasteful and simply unsustainable on a long-term basis.
  3. Thompson ended the year with $50,283 cash on hand, but he also has unpaid bills of $28,235. This means that he essentially ended the year with approximately $20,000 cash on hand, which is the lowest next to Farnsworth. Given his monthly expenses, I would argue that Thompson’s campaign is either dead in the water or running on fumes. I suspect that his announcement of a running mate was the last gasp as he attempts to gain momentum and save what appears to be a sinking ship.
  4. Zellers has $44,300 or 11% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state; however, I discovered what may be a red flag issue. Zellers received $21,000 from 38 individuals in 8 states (Missouri, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, DC, New Jersey, and Florida) and ALL 38 contributors listed Express Scripts, a mail-order pharmacy, as their employer. This raised a red flag in my mind. Is Express Scripts funneling money to Zellers through these individuals? What ties does Zellers have to Express Scripts? What will Express Scripts expect if he is elected? Is Express Scripts trying to skirt lobbyist regulations? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but it presents an interesting puzzle.
  5. Honour has $295,847 or 48-58% of his total receipts coming from out-of-state. It is 48% if you include his $101,000 loan to himself in total receipts and 58% if you exclude it. 189 of 368 total contributions to Honour’s campaign are from people outside of Minnesota and, in some cases, outside the United States (Singapore and London). 51% of all individuals contributing to Honour’s campaign are not Minnesotans. I counted 13 contributions from Beverly Hills, CA, 29 from Los Angeles, CA, and 16 from New York City. It appears that bankers, lawyers, and even an actress are the ones who think Honour would make a good governor. If you disregard the $295,847 that came from outside of Minnesota and the $101,000 loan that he gave himself then he only raised $217,919 from Minnesotans, which is less than both Johnson and Zellers. Further, the deep pockets that he tapped from outside of Minnesota often gave $4,000 so they cannot contribute again. I would argue both that Honour is not supported by the people of Minnesota and that his campaign is likely not sustainable due to fundraising concerns and wasteful spending. Having exhausted his out-of-state deep pockets and squandered the money, he must now look to the people of Minnesota or himself to fund his campaign. He ended the year with $14,251 on hand. I would argue that Honour’s campaign is more akin to the campaign of Farnsworth or Thompson and that Honour is nearly dead in the water or running on fumes.

Whether Dr. Kroger’s opinions hold up is subject to the test of time. Another thing that’ll require additional scrutiny is whether Marty Seifert can continue at his current fundraising pace. If he can, then he’ll be a formidable opponent for Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson’s figures aren’t gaudy but his burn rate is under control. That will matter over the course of a long campaign.

Each of these candidates would be a significant improvement over Gov. Dayton. It’s difficult to have faith in a politician who doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed and negotiated.

Finally, tonight is precinct caucus night in Minnesota. If you want to shape this election, there’s no better place to be tonight than at your local precinct caucus. If you’ve never attended a precinct caucus, you’ll want to attend. It’s the best place to let your voice be heard. If you don’t know where your precinct caucus is being held, follow this link, then enter your zip code. It’s just that simple.

GOP gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert is running on a reform-minded platform. One of the reforms he’ll push is elimination of the Met Council. Here’s Seifert’s statement on why the MC should disappear:

Dear Fellow Minnesotan,

As the start of a new year approaches, we can look forward to the opportunity for new leadership in our state in 2014. My campaign for governor is less than a month old, but our message of restoring leadership at the State Capitol is resonating across Minnesota.

Part of leadership is offering bold ideas to address critical problems. The Metropolitan Council is a major problem for the people of Minnesota and I am calling for it to be abolished. For far too long, the Met Council’s unelected bureaucrats have imposed higher taxes, burdensome regulations and “urban planning” without representation and against the will of local governments. This weekend’s Star Tribune called the Met Council a “master of imposition” – I encourage you to read the editorial.

I hope you will visit my website, learn more about the issues I am focusing on, and consider making a small donation to help our campaign finish this year strong. I’m asking for your support to dramatically downsize the size and scope of state government, reverse harmful taxes and regulations, bring real job growth to our economy and halt the damaging implications of Obamacare in Minnesota.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Marty Seifert

No taxation without representation was one of the principles that started the Revolutionary War. Nearly 250 years later, Minnesota politicians think that taxation without representation is a great idea. The DFL and the Met Council’s lobbyists will fight against abolishing the Met Council if Rep. Seifert is elected. In fact, they’re likely to fight him to prevent him from becoming governor.

Here’s what Rep. Seifert said about abolishing the Met Council on his issues page:

Abolishment of three cabinet departments, in addition to complete elimination of the Metropolitan Council. Over a one-year period, the functions no longer required will be eliminated and needed functions will be transferred to local units of government or other cabinet departments.

Assuming that each part of the Met Council is essential is foolish. Ditto with cabinet offices.

Republicans should run on a positive, pro-growth reform agenda next year, whether they’re runnning for the legislature, governor, Congress or the US Senate. Telling the people how electing Republicans will lead to more prosperity with more disposable income and more representative government will sell.

Just telling people that the next Republican administration won’t rationalize a bureaucrat going on a 2-week vacation while her agency is in crisis will highlight the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

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This article puts its finger on why the Affordable Care Act is likely to fail:

A recent Reuters poll found Obamacare may not attract enough young people to keep costs low for others, despite a headline that asserts the opposite: “Poll shows healthy young adults may keep Obamacare afloat.”

The conflict between headline and data represents a collision between the hopes of survey respondents and economic logic.

The poll found that a little more than a third of young adults in its survey had tried and failed to purchase health insurance in the past. It also found that a third hoped to be able to buy health insurance now.

Reuters figured if just half of them do so, “the White House would easily meet its goal of getting 2.7 million young adults, out of about 16 million uninsured 19-to-29-year-olds, to buy Obamacare insurance for 2014.”

Here’s the flaw with Reuters’ optimism:

This group couldn’t afford health insurance before, and Reuters never bothers to explain how they’ll afford it when it gets more expensive.

The other thing that the Obama administration isn’t talking about is how the Affordable Care Act will attract the additional young people over their initial projection to subsidize the additional 50-somethings that are getting kicked off their company-supported health insurance plans.

The initial estimates didn’t figure on businesses dropping their health insurance plans at the rate that they’re actually dropping their health insurance plans. That likely means that the 2.7 million figure needed to float the Affordable Care Act significantly underestimates the number of young people buying health insurance.

After the glitches are straightened out, mathematical reality will hit the Obama administration. The numbers simply won’t add up. It’s just that simple.

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Friday night, former AG Mike Hatch tried playing the ‘raising taxes is inevitable’ card during the political roundtable on Almanac. His argument is that we’ll either raise property taxes or income taxes to balance the budget.

Hatch even cited MMB statistics showing that the GOP’s plan to not raise income taxes will cause “a $428 million property tax increase.” That’s nonsense. Here’s why.

First, MMB can’t assume that local units of government will change their priorities or spending habits even though it makes sense. In the real world, people make different decisions when financial conditions change.

Next, Mr. Hatch apparently thinks that citizens won’t fire elected official who’d rather raise taxes than set intelligent priorities. With money being tight, I think the odds of citizens just settling for that type of representation is unlikely.

Finally, the people who’d raise property taxes would property taxes on their neighbor, their co-worker, their friend or someone they know at church. It’s one thing for someone in St. Paul to raise taxes on people who they’ll likely never meet. It’s another for a person to raise taxes on their neighbor, friend or co-worker. After all, it’s likely that that politician’s neighbor, friend or co-worker will want to have a chat with them if they cast an unpopular vote.

Also appearing on the panel were Fritz Knaak, Marty Seifert and Denise Cardinal. One thing that’s apparent is that Ms. Cardinal was outclassed by Mssrs. Hatch, Knaak and Seifert by a significant amount.

Marty made a number of substantive suggestions on how Minnesota could save money, including unfunded mandate reforms and privatizing things. He specifically mentioned sending printing jobs to a private company several years back rather than using the in-house print shop.

Bids were taken. Predictably, the government unions complained about losing jobs. The job was done by a private company for a cheaper price than the job would’ve cost had they kept the project in-house. It took less time.

Most importantly, Minnesota’s Main Street didn’t notice the change. Had they noticed, I’d bet they would’ve been fine with the change because it saved the state money, which means citizens could’ve kept more money in their wallets.

The thing that stood out most to me was when Fritz Knaak said that, this week, it became apparent to him that the DFL was the party of the status quo, that they weren’t the party of ideas. I didn’t realize that Mr. Knaak hadn’t noticed that before tonight but it’s nice that he’s noticed.

I’ve written for the past 3 years that the DFL was an obstructionist majority and that Sen. Berglin’s HHS committee was “where good health care reforms go to die.” This isn’t news to GOP activists. It’s a bit of a yawner, in fact.

The reality is, though, that the DFL is stubbornly wedded to the status quo because too many government unions rely on the status quo.

DFLers Hatch and Cardinal apparently didn’t notice that voters rejected their policies in rather significant numbers this past election. It wasn’t just a matter of the DFL losing a few seats in both houses. In the Senate, the DFL lost one-fourth of their members, dropping from 46 seats to 30. In the House, Democrats went from 87 seats to 62 seats, a drop of almost 30 percent.

Cardinal hasn’t shown that she’s figured that out yet, replying that the GOP majorities will have a difficult time governing. That’s foolishness. Thus far, the GOP majorities have kept one promise after another in terms of streamlining the permitting process and cutting spending.

DFL legislators shouldn’t heed the advice of pundits like Ms. Cardinal. If swing district legislators listen to her, they’ll soon be former legislators.

Hatch is right about this though. Something is inevitable. That inevitability just isn’t what he said. Change is what’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of whether the DFL listens to the people or whether they’ll get hit with the political equivalent of a steamroller.

Based on their actions thus far, I’m betting it’s the latter.

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Former Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer deserves special thanks for writing this op-ed because it gives the felons who voted illegally in the 2008 election an identity. Here’s the identity of a few of the felons who voted illegally:

  • Theresa Marie Barslou (known to police by this name and six others): priors for multiple check forgeries, multiple instances of giving a peace officer a false name, and malicious punishment of a child.
  • Karen Louise Burrell McKinney (known by this name and five others): multiple priors for check forgery, wrongfully obtaining assistance, and malicious punishment of a child.
  • Antoinette Davida Molinar (known by this name and four others): priors for drug possession, giving a peace officer a false name, wrongfully obtaining assistance, aiding and abetting theft, and fifth-degree assault.
  • Donald James Diamond: multiple priors for issuing dishonored checks and theft.
  • Dustin James Norring: multiple priors for disorderly conduct, aiding and abetting theft, and third-degree assault.

Minnesota Majority has identified other felons but that should suffice in proving that felons voting.

What’s shameful is that it was Minnesota Majority that investigated the story, not soon-to-be-former Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Ritchie has said on more than one occasion that voter fraud didn’t exist in Minnesota. This group of felons, uncovered in Minnesota Majority’s investigation, says that Mr. Ritchie is wrong.

What’s notable is the prevalence of identity theft-related offenses. Anti-reform special interests like Common Cause, the League of Women Voters and the misnamed Citizens for Election Integrity in Minnesota will say there has never been an instance of a voter impersonating someone else prosecuted in Minnesota. But there is no system even to detect that activity.

I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat it again: it’s impossible to find what you refuse to look for. Mark Ritchie isn’t interested in making sure the voter rolls are kept updated. Based on what I’ve seen, election integrity isn’t a priority with him.

Though Mr. Ritchie’s efforts are disgraceful, what’s worse is that political hacks like Nick Coleman are providing cover for Mr. Ritchie:

Nick has…made up “facts” (for example, in his July 19 column, saying that I started the nonprofit public policy organization Minnesota Majority. I did not, though I did help as a consultant).

Looking back at the 2008 U.S. Senate recount, in his usual sarcastic and sophomoric way, Nick takes about 800 words to belittle the people at Minnesota Majority who painstakingly did due diligence where Secretary of State Mark Ritchie did not, discovering problems with our election system, specifically, that felons were allowed to vote in 2008.

Nick Coleman hasn’t payed attention to details in ages. Let’s not forget his anti-Pawlenty diatribe following the collapse of the I-35 bridge in which he declared as settled fact that Gov. Pawlenty’s no new taxes pledge had caused the bridge collapse. Months later, the NTSB said that the gusset plates were defective.

Coleman stated authoritatively that the I-35 bridge collapse was caused by Gov. Pawlenty’s no new taxes pledge, an absurd accusation that Sarah Janacek called him out on in this article. First, here’s Coleman’s accusation:

For half a dozen years, the motto of state government and particularly that of Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been No New Taxes. It’s been popular with a lot of voters and it has mostly prevailed. So much so that Pawlenty vetoed a 5-cent gas tax increase, the first in 20 years, last spring and millions were lost that might have gone to road repair. And yes, it would have fallen even if the gas tax had gone through, because we are years behind a dangerous curve when it comes to the replacement of infrastructure that everyone but wingnuts in coonskin caps agree is one of the basic duties of government.

Here’s Sarah’s rebuke of Coleman:

The $3.3 million price tag was being paid mostly by the federal government ($2.97 million) and not the state ($330,000).

The National Bridge Inventory conducted by the federal government in 2003 reported that the bridge had a “sufficiency” rating of 50% on a scale of 120. That’s not great, but that’s where about 80,000 of the country’s bridges stand. The significant finding of that Inventory, however, was that structurally, the bridge “meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as-is.”

The federal government didn’t flag structural issues; neither did MnDOT.

Pawlenty could have raised the gas tax $50 a gallon and nothing would have happened. The structural condition of the bridge was not on anyone’s radar screen. At this point, that appears to be the real issue: All levels of government may have failed us.

The point is this: if liberals are whining about an issue, Nick’s reliably there to amplify their whining whether the facts support them or not. (FYI- more often than not, Coleman’s whining hasn’t been supported by the facts.) Here’s Coleman’s logic-free column on the felons voting issue:

I believe that felons voted illegally in the last governor’s election, helping Tim Pawlenty defeat his crime-busting DFL foe, Attorney General Mike Hatch, by less than 1 percent of the votes in the 2006 contest, the closest Minnesota governor’s race in years.

I have not one jot or tittle of evidence to support my suspicions. But a lack of credible evidence did not stop Pawlenty when he used one of his frequent national TV appearances, where he is seldom pestered by journalists with actual knowledge of events on the ground back here in Flyover Land, to renew the stench of uncertainty over the Al Franken-Norm Coleman U.S. Senate recount.

Mary Kiffmeyer wrote a response after reading Coleman’s column. Unlike the professional columnist Nick Coleman, though, Mary Kiffmeyer’s op-ed included real information, including the names of felons who voted illegally.

I’d call for Coleman to resign but that’s just a waste of good bandwidth. I’d call for Coleman to do a little research before writing his latest diatribe but that’s another waste of good bandwidth. He is who he is: a loudmouthed jerk who can’t be bothered by factchecking and doing his due diligence.

Mark Ritchie is much the same way. Obviously, he isn’t interested in doing his due diligence. Obviously, he can’t be bothered by doing even the minimum amount of research and investigation required to do his job.

The bad news is that I can’t do anything to get Nick Coleman fired. That’s beyond my control. The good news is that I can play a vital role in getting Mark Ritchie fired this November. That’s my intent. Mr. Ritchie willfully ignoring of one of his most important responsibilities is all the reason I need to vote the bum out of office.

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According to a statement issued by Stephen Imholte, raising taxes is what Minnesotans want from their next governor. You’ll forgive me if I’m just a little skeptical of Stephen Imholte’s opinion.

The Minnesota Republican Party is in full desperation mode. Their candidate is sinking, and instead of acknowledging their blunder in selecting an extremist candidate, they choose to go on the attack.

Minnesotans want more from their candidates this year. They want candidates who are addressing the issues of jobs, education and Minnesota’s budget deficit. The survey is available to the Minnesota Republican Party. Perhaps they should use it to understand their candidate’s shortcomings in the eyes of Minnesotans.

If raising taxes is so popular, which is Tom Horner’s prescription to the budget deficit, why didn’t the DFL get their way in budget negotiations this year? After all, their prescription is strikingly similar to Horner’s prescription.

MEMO TO HORNER, DFL CAMPAIGNS: Minnesotans are tired of worrying if their taxes will get raised. They’re tired of government not setting priorities in tune with their priorities.

Capital is leaving Minnesota for other states because Minnesota’s government is hostile to businesses, whether it’s in the form of overregulation, overtaxation or just simply making it difficult to start a business. The obstructionists in the DFL, especially those in the Senate, have prevented many GOP initiatives that would’ve improved government by restructuring government.

As for who’s listening to the people, I’d just remind people of the DFL’s cherrypicked testimony tour and the Horner campaign’s touting an outlier poll as proof that their agenda is Minnesota’s agenda. It doesn’t sound like the Horner campaign or the DFL is listening to everyone. It sounds more like they’re doing selective listening, which is why their agendas are similar in that they’re both out of touch.

Here’s more proof that Horner isn’t about listening to people:

By 53 percent to 42 percent, a majority said they are starting to believe “the problem is not with one political party, but it is with all incumbents.” Based on those responses, Morris said, “People are fed up with partisan gridlock, and they’re looking for alternatives.”

Tom Horner isn’t an alternative to the DFL. He’s just another Arne Carlson liberal who masqueraded as a Republican while it suited him. Morris saying that people are looking for alternatives is partially right in that people are looking for an alternative to the DFL’s agenda of endless tax increases.

In that respect, Horner doesn’t represent an alternative. For all practical purposes, there isn’t much of a difference between Horner and the DFL trio.

As for Tom Emmer and his supposed drop in the polls, I’d suggest that this poll isn’t proof of anything because it didn’t screen for likely voters. The only polls that screened for likely voters show Tom leading.

Meanwhile, an obscure polling company that I’ve never heard of (that’s saying alot because I read tons of polls) says that on obscure politician is getting 17-19 percent of the vote and only trails the GOP-endorsed candidate by 8 points.

Mr. Morris’ polling says, in essence, that the great show of unity at the Republican convention is a mirage, that the Republican Party of Minnesota is hopelessly fractured and that a significant number of Republicans have abandoned Tom Emmer for Tom Horner.

Mr. Morris’ polling would also have me forget the great unifying gesture by Marty Seifert, that Marty’s gesture hasn’t had an effect, that the great displays of unity I’ve seen at other events, like the St. Cloud flyaround visit, were mirages, too.

Sorry, Mr. Morris, but I’ll trust my lying eyes over your polling any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

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When Republicans retake the House majority in January, 2010, they’ll do so without 2 of their most promising stars: Paul Kohls and Laura Brod. Here’s Rep. Brod’s statement announcing that she won’t be running for re-election:

Dear Friends,

Over the past 8 years, I’ve been honored to serve as your State Representative in District 25A.

With your support and encouragement, I focused my efforts on the issues that impacted our daily lives. My efforts were directed to policies that I believed fostered an economic climate that was conducive to job creation and economic growth. I fought against excessive regulations that choke investment in our state and undermine the innovation and creativity of our private sector to generate the type of economic climate we need and demand.

Without your support, I could not have enjoyed the opportunity and the honor to serve that I have had for the past 8 years.

My belief has always been that we are a state that values a citizen legislature, and that there comes a time for other citizens to serve their community.

It is my belief that the time for others to serve in the Legislature for our district has come, and my time to find other challenges and ways to contribute is upon me.

It is in that spirit I announce that I will not be a candidate for re-election in 2010 for the State Legislature in District 25A.

There is a real change going on right now across the country. Finally, perhaps for the first time in thirty years, government is once again hearing from “We the People.”

While I will not be running for public office this fall, I have every intention of being involved in public policy in the future. There are many issues in which Democrats, Republicans and Independents can agree upon and many that have great differences; all of which require a conversation to move our nation forward. I hope to be a part of that conversation in some way, and am proud of the friendship I have developed with you and so many others in this great state we call home. I have a passion to serve, and a strong and resolute belief in the power of the people of Minnesota to build a better state for themselves and their families.

I have been given unbelievable opportunities by you, our party, Governor Pawlenty, and my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus during my tenure. Serving in the minority and the majority, I have seen the importance of every vote and every minute of hard work necessary to ensure prosperity and liberty for our state.

My own parents instilled in me a strong belief that participatory democracy is the cornerstone of our democratic society, and each and every day I served in the Minnesota House of Representatives, I’ve tried to remember their words of encouragement and support.

We truly do live in a remarkable state and an incredible nation. For a kid from New Prague, Minnesota to have been given the honor to work in our state’s capitol, I can’t begin to fully express my appreciation for the past 8 years to serve the people of my community. On behalf of my family, I want to thank you for your support and friendship. We have been honored to be a part of the great experience of public service.

I look forward to continuing to stay in touch and to work and support candidates who share our beliefs in a conservative approach to governance. With so much to look forward to in the days, the weeks, the months and years ahead, I am grateful for your friendship and your support over the past 8 years.

Warm Regards,

Laura Brod

Few people know this but Laura Brod was the person that got me interested in state politics. Prior to the 2006 disaster, if I focused on politics, that focus was almost entirely on national politics. The closest I came to caring about local politics was with U.S. House seats.

Following the 2006 disaster, I resolved to fight a different fight, that I wouldn’t fight for unprincipled RINOs. I resolved that I’d gladly fight alongside principled conservatives every time the opportunity presented itself. Little did I know that Rep. Brod was the first politician that I’d fight the good fight with.

During the first week of the 2007 session, with the House debating tax conformity legislation, Rep. Brod proposed an amendment to cut taxes. Speaker Kelliher, wanting to protect her freshmen from voting against a tax cut, ruled that Rep. Brod’s amendment wasn’t germane to the legislation.

To say that Rep. Brod wasn’t letting it go is understatement. Saying that Laura’s feistiness was a breath of fresh air is also understatement.

That’s when I regained confidence that some Republicans were still willing to fight for time-tested conservative principles. Not being the bashful sort, I emailed Rep. Brod, introduced myself as a blogger in St. Cloud and as a conservative activist who appreciated her fighting the good fight. Within minutes, I got a reply, thanking me for standing with House Republicans in their fight.

A month later, I joined several local BPOU members in meeting Reps. Brod, Dean, McNamara and Greg Peppin in St. Cloud. After that meeting, I was hooked on following state politics.

During those dark days of 2007, I started noticing a strong conservative nucleus emerging in the House, including Reps. Brod, Dean, Buesgens, Emmer, Kohls, Seifert, Severson, Gottwalt and Holberg.

Back then, Republicans I spoke with locally kept living in the past, saying that there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats.” When I’d hear that, I’d just tell them about this nucleus of conservatives and how they were fighting the good fight. Inevitably, I’d tell the person that they should study what was happening.

Last year, I had the good fortune of meeting Paul Kohls when he was running for governor. Paul struck me as a man with a quick wit and great principles. He’s the first person I heard talking about “living within our means.” Saying that Paul’s conservative credentials are impeccable is understatement.

Now we’re faced with replacing most of that group. The good news is that the candidates that’ve been recruited seem very capable of filling some very big shoes.

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The MNGOP has just completed its responsibilities of endorsing a great slate of candidates. Just before starting the third round of ballots, Candidate Marty Seifert conceded victory to Tom Emmer by requesting that Tom be endorsed with a unanimous ballot.

In so doing, Marty Seifert left this state convention on a most gracious note. While I’ve disagreed with Marty on some things and was upset with him for awhile, I can honestly say that I’m proud of Marty for finishing his run in such a gracious manner.

It wasn’t a secret that I’ve supported Tom Emmer almost since he announced his candidacy. To be fair, though, I did my due dilligence. I listened to David Hann, Marty Seifert, Paul Kohls, Pat Anderson and Bill Haas before picking Tom. Each of these candidates would’ve made a better candidate than anyone the DFL picked.

Now starts the dual tasks of keeping the governor’s mansion in MNGOP control but also giving Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks conservative majorities to help them move Minnesota toward a long-lasting prospering economy.

MNGOP Chairman Tony Sutton released this statement following Tom Emmer’s endorsement:

“Tom Emmer will be an outstanding governor for the great state of Minnesota. Republicans stand united behind Tom Emmer and his agenda of lower taxes, limited sensible government, and job creation. Tom will appeal to Republicans, independents, and disaffected Democrats who deserve better than the big spending and big taxes offered by all of the DFL gubernatorial candidates. 2010 is going to be a great year for Minnesota Republicans, and voters couldn’t have a clearer choice this fall. As Republicans unite today, we could not be more optimistic about an Emmer-Meeks victory against a divided DFL Party.”

I’m confident that Tom’s message will appeal to people of all political stripes because it’s a message rooted firmly in common sense, opportunity and prosperity.

Tom’s speach from earlier today set the tone when he talked about the Republican Party being the “Party of Yes.” (Follow this link if you’d like to listen to Tom’s presentation.) In an interview with reporters after the first ballot, a reporter asked Tom about the impact Sarah Palin’s endorsement had. Tom said that he thinks Gov. Palin’s endorsement will help more in the general election because she connects with main street folks so well.

The main goal of this convention was to endorse an impressive group of candidates and to leave united and energized. Thanks to Marty’s gracious concession and thanks to Tom’s impressive victory, Republicans will leave their convention inifinitely more united and energized than the DFL left Duluth less than a week ago.

Tom’s message of reforming government and shrinking its size will play well with Minnesotans because they’ve seen how DC’s Democrats have increased the size of government. People across this state and across this nation want government to stop out-of-control spending ASAP.

Pat Anderson and Dan Severson are proven votegetters who will cause more than a little heartburn for Rebecca Otto and the corruption machine known as Mark Ritchie. Though I don’t know that much about Chris Barden, I’ve heard impressive reports about him. Lori Swanson’s corruption and her unionbusting will make her a vulnerable candidate this November.

Congratulations Tom and Annette. You’ve won a hardfought victory. Congratulations to Marty, too. Marty’s motion to have Tom approved on a unanimous ballot is a classy gesture. Now it’s onto victory this November.

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On this morning’s At Issue, Tom Hauser interviewed Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert on Tom’s DWI conviction in 1981. During the interview, Rep. Seifert was asked about the bill Tom had sponsored.

Hauser asked specifically about the bill Tom had sponsored, saying that Emmer’s bill simply made certain that a person’s license couldn’t be revoked until they were convicted of drunk driving. Hauser then noted that the bill had bipartisan support.

Rep. Seifert’s reply was stunning. In his own words, Rep. Seifert said that just because a bill has bipartisan support doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

I replayed Rep. Seifert’s response to make sure I didn’t hear him wrong. I didn’t. Think about this: Rep. Seifert is arguing that people arrested on drunk driving charges aren’t entitled to the presumption of innocence, that their driving privileges should be revoked without conviction.

Let me be clear about this: Even though I strongly support Tom, if Tom had said that, I wouldn’t hesitate to correct him on a mistake of that fundamental importance.

This isn’t just a mere technicality. This is one of the cornerstones of our legal system,important enough to be included in the Bill of Rights.

I’m not suggesting that Rep. Seifert favors abandoning the Constitution. I’m suggesting that, in this instance, he foolishly said something that he should’ve thought through first. In his zeal to attack Tom, Rep. Seifert put his foot in his mouth instead.

Walter Scott Hudson spoke of the importance of “principled governance” rather than outcome-based governance. Mitch Berg’s post questions Rep. Seifert’s logic this way:

Drunk driving is an emotional issue – made all the more so by groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the rest of the drunk driving lobby. It’s understandable; anyone who’s lost a loved one to a drunk driver is justifiably motivated to seek change. But the .08 blood alcohol level limit is a ludicrious waste of resources, and the resources spent on hammering on first-time, only-time offenders with low levels of intoxication are largely a complete waste.

Question: Does saying the above mean I “support” or am “soft on” drunk drivers and drunk driving?

If you said “yes”, how hard to you have to waterboard logic to get to that answer?

It’s ludicrous to treat attempts to make the system fairer and more rational as “sympathy for drunk drivers”. Almost as ludicrous as assuming two mistakes made a generation ago are defining traits about a late-fortysomething guy’s judgment.

Saying that someone should have a drunk driving conviction hanging over their heads for the rest of their life after they’ve proven that they’ve put that behavior into their past isn’t reasonable, in my opinion. What’s worse is saying that we should abandon one of the cornerstones of our judicial system because it’s an emotional issue.

That’s the position Rep. Seifert put himself in in making that ill-advised remark. Let’s hope he realizes his mistake and admits that he’s wrong for saying that.

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