Archive for the ‘Marty Seifert’ Category

Not surprisingly, Rep. Michele Bachmann was endorsed to return to Congress for a third term at yesterday’s CD-6 convention.

All of the major State Auditor candidates spoke at the Convention. Former State Auditor Pat Anderson, the candidate I’m supporting, was the last of the candidates to speak. She said that she’d be a strong advocate for Minnesota’s taxpayers, which she was when she was Minnesota’s Auditor before.

Tom Emmer defeated Marty Seifert in the CD-6 Straw Poll by a margin of 205-82. What struck me the most, though, was Tom’s vision for Minnesota. Increasingly, Tom is laying out a vision for Minnesotans that will appeal to a majority of Minnesotans.

Friday night, I attended a Tom Emmer event at St. Cloud’s Radisson Hotel. During the Q & A session, Tom said that people are fed up with both parties but that doesn’t mean tha they’re moderates. In his opinion, they’re people who are looking for the right vision and the right leader who will implement that vision.

I think Tom’s right about that. In fact, I think that’s the exact right message for this year.

The other note I’d make is that Marty’s speech at the CD-6 convention was cliche-filled. What it lacked in substance, it more than made up for in cliches. I’m not accusing Marty of not being a substantive candidate. I’m just talking about his stump speech.

Let me be clear about something else, too. Marty did a magnificent job as House GOP Leader the past 3 years. In fact, Republicans couldn’t expect more from him in his capacity as House GOP Leader.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Dan Severson’s speech to the convention. Dan’s built a reputation of being a man of integrity, especially when the subject is election integrity. Dan’s speech comes close to being the most logic-filled stump speeches I’ve ever heard. Included in his stump speech is Dan’s explantion of why photo ID is essential to true election reform and what needs to be done to guarantee the proper counting of absentee ballots cast by the military.

Finally, it’s important that I mention Janet Beihoffer’s presentation. Janet has been put in charge of recruiting election judges. Follow this link to find out more about becoming an election judge. Hugh Hewitt once wrote a book titled “If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat.” King rightly points out that the inverse is true, too, that if it is close, the DFL will cheat. If you don’t believe that, visit Al Franken’s Senate website.

DISCLAIMER: I am part of Tom Emmer’s Steering Committee.

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Marty Seifert must be feeling the heat for supporting the Next Generation Energy Act. That’s the only explanation for his introducing a bill that would roll back requirements mandated by SF4, which created a Renewable Energy Standard:

A Republican candidate for Minnesota governor is attempting to roll back a requirement that a quarter of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2025.

Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall brings his bill to a House committee on Monday. It would erase the requirement approved two years ago, which he and a large legislative majority voted to put in place.

Seifert’s bill would replace the gradually increasing energy standard with a “good faith” goal. When they approved the requirement, lawmakers and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said it would reduce reliance on dirtier power sources and drive up demand for homegrown electricity.

Rep. Tom Emmer is Seifert’s main rival for the Republican gubernatorial endorsement. Emmer was 1 of 10 House members to vote against the 25 percent by 2025 goal when it was approved.

It’s good to see Rep. Seifert finally start making his way back to the right side of this issue. I’d be even happier if Rep. Seifert admitted that he’s voted for a system that’s similar to cap and trade.

Rhonda Sivarajah, Rep. Seifert’s running mate, says that he hasn’t voted for cap and trade legislation:

I’d also like to discuss an issue that I’ve been asked about on the campaign trail regarding energy costs. I’m disappointed to hear about emails which have been circulating that clearly misrepresent Marty’s position. Like me, Marty opposes “cap and trade” legislation. Over the past few years, DFL legislators have introduced “cap and trade” legislation which Marty has consistently opposed.

You deserve a substantive discussion of the differences between the candidates for governor, however, other campaigns are doing a great disservice when supporters are intentionally spreading false information to mislead activists. Rest assured, Marty Seifert and I strongly oppose “cap and trade” legislation, and as governor, Marty will veto any “cap and trade” legislation.

That last sentence is meaningless. Here’s why:

There was a second important energy bill passed at the end of the 2007 session known as the Next Generation Energy Act (SF 145). This bill enacted “carbon emission goals” and directed the Commerce Commissioner to create a “climate change action plan.” The bill specifically mandated that “[t]he state must, to the extent possible, with other states in the Midwest region, develop and implement a regional approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from activities in the region, including consulting on a regional cap and trade system.”

SF145, which was signed into law in 2007, created the mechanism for a regional cap and trade system. The only way to change that is to repeal the Next Generation Energy Act.

I’ve told friends that voting for the M-RETS legislation and the Next Generation Energy Act would hurt Rep. Seifert with the activists the most of all the votes he’s taken. I’d suggest that Rep. Seifert’s new legislation proves that the green energy issue is hurting him.

Tom Emmer, the man that I’m supporting, got both votes right. Rep. Seifert didn’t. The bills that Rep. Seifert voted for will create higher energy prices. They also create new bureaucracies. For a man that constantly says he wants to right-size, downsize and economize, it sounds more like he voted to increase the size of Minnesota’s government.

Tom Emmer took a principled stand because he didn’t want Minnesota’s energy costs to go up. Time has proven him to be on the right side of this issue.

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GOP gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert is touting himself as the principled constitutionalist after a debate with Tom Emmer. Mr. Seifert would be well-advised if he studied First Amendment precedent before making his accusations:

At a debate today sponsored by the Freedom Club State Political Action Committee (PAC), Representative Marty Seifert expressed his concerns with Representative Tom Emmer’s campaign finance reform plan.

Seifert stated, “While I agree that transparency is a critical component in financial disclosure for political contributions, I strongly disagree that we need severe caps, further limiting free speech. Doing so will create a permanent Democratic majority in the Minnesota Legislature.”

Let’s first highlight the fact that limiting contributions has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

Second, I wouldn’t bring up the subject of permanent DFL majorities if I were Rep. Seifert. Rep. Seifert and his surrogates have made a point of focusing attention to the fact that, if he’s elected governor, he’d use his veto pen on the omnibus HHS bill until he got the result he wanted in terms of reforming how people could use their EBT cards. That sounds like a man who’s thinking that the next governor will be working with a DFL majority in both the House and Senate.

Rep. Seifert can take that defeatist attitude if he likes but I’d prefer supporting a candidate with a majority mindset. Tom Emmer is that man. Tom Emmer has been committed to getting GOP majorities elected in the House and Senate. That’s what visionary leaders do.

Tom Emmer issued this statement to MPR to give context to the 2005 vote:

Emmer said he stands by the bill and stressed that the current law “already stifled freedom of speech.” He said he introduced it because Matt Entenza, who is now a DFL candidate for governor, sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to an independent group (527) that then spent the money on Minnesota House races in 2004. Emmer said he was concerned that people were “buying elections” and yet the state bans corporate expenditures.

“Under the rules of the game then, we were trying to do something with independent expenditures. Two things though, one, the environment has changed. In light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, in light of what we’re doing now, we don’t have the same concerns because we are moving toward a direction where always should have been which is freedom. Let people decide elections, don’t let government rules decide the outcomes.”

According to the United States Supreme Court at the time, BCRA was constitutional. Ergo, lawmakers were obligated to work within the provisions of BCRA. Here are the ‘draconian limitations’ Rep. Emmer’s bill would’ve imposed:

  • Individuals limited to a $1,000 cap on contributions to PACs and political funds
  • Individuals limited to a $500 cap on contributions to political party units
  • Independent expenditures (IEs) from political parties and caucuses limited to $2,000
  • IEs over $500 up to the 20th day before an election must be reported within 48 hours.
  • Starting the 19th day before an election, IEs over $100 must be reported within 24 hours.

WOW!!! It would’ve imposed contribution limits, something that’s still constitutional to this day. What Marty Seifert is doing is arguing that following the rulings of the United States Supreme Court at the time is something to be ashamed of.

What’s more telling is that Rep. Seifert thinks this is a legitimate line of attack, something that’s going to hurt Tom Emmer. Frankly, this reeks of desperation. Rep. Seifert knows that he’s had a difficult last couple of weeks in terms of winning delegates to the State GOP Convention. His frontrunner status has disappeared.

I’m betting that Rep. Seifert knew that he needed something to change Tom Emmer’s momentum. If this is his answer, it fell far short of ebbing Tom Emmer’s momentum. In fact, I’m not certain that this won’t hurt Seifert with the activists.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I’m a member of Tom Emmer’s Steering Committee. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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DISCLAIMER: I’m part of Tom Emmer’s steering committee.

According to this Strib post, Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert offered amendments to the legislation that would move Minnesota’s primary from September to August. Had it passed, Tom’s amendment would’ve required voters to present a photo ID before voting. Unfortunately, too many DFL legislators stayed loyal to the DFL leadership to vote for a reform that upwards of 75 percent of Minnesotans agree with.

Larry Haws and Larry Hosch, who represent HD-15B and HD-14B respectively, voted against the photo ID amendment.

Marty Seifert’s amendment would’ve reduced the number of people a legally registerd voter could vouch for from 15 to 3. My question for Rep. Seifert is simple: Why didn’t your amendment eliminate vouching altogether? If you think it’s important to offer an amendment limiting vouching, you obviously must think that there’s something wrong with vouching. If something in our electoral system needs fixing, shouldn’t we fix it rather than just tinker around the edges?

I remember this Powerline post from the 2004 election cycle:

Among the well-funded and supposedly independent groups supporting John Kerry in the campaign is Americans Coming Together (ACT). ACT has taken notice of Minnesota’s special vulnerabilty to vote fraud and organized a sophisticated effort to exploit it in a manner that violates Minnesota law. In Minnesota the Bush campaign has come into the possession of the following email from ACT to its Minnesota volunteers:

Election Day is upon us. You are confirmed to volunteer with ACT (America Coming Together – on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov 2.

We will be creating name badges that include your Ward and Precinct information for each of the thousands of volunteers that day to make it easier to find a volunteer to vouch for a voter at the polls.

I am emailing you to request your street address, city and zipcode. We’ve already got your other contact information, but your record in our database does not include this information.

You can save us time on election day by replying today to this email with this information, or give us a call at [phone number with St. Paul area code].

In order to get your badge correct, please reply by Thursday.

Thank you for your help and cooperation. See you on Election Day!

This email is a smoking gun of massive premeditated vote fraud. The ACT effort contemplates the prepositioning of registered voters as volunteers at their precincts of residence to provide the “vouching” necessary to get individuals registered to vote on election day in the precinct whether or not the volunteer “personally knows” the residence of the unregistered voter. It is a recipe for illegal voting in every precinct of the state.

Clearly, the opportunity for voter fraud exists within a vouching system. There’s no reason to trust someone vouching for someone who doesn’t have the proper paperwork. As Powerline’s post shows, liberal special interest groups have figured out how to game the system.

With that in mind, shouldn’t Mr. Seifert’s amendment eliminated vouching, not just cut down on it? I’ll admit that it was likely that the DFL was going to defeat the amendment. That’s all the more the reason to draft it right. Doing something half way gives the DFL the excuse that they didn’t vote for it because it didn’t fix the problem. Had Rep. Seifert offered an amendment that would’ve eliminated vouching, the DFL would’ve been forced to defend a system that can be gamed.

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DISCLAIMER: I am a member of Tom Emmer’s Steering Committee.

During Monday’s livechat, Marty Seifert was asked this question:

I have heard some talk about your views on cap and trade, that you would not vote for that…but how come you voted for an energy bill while serving in the state legislature?

Here’s Mr. Seifert’s response:

Marty Seifert: The energy bill you are referring to was not a cap and trade bill. 39 of 49 House Republicans voted for the bill, including Rep. Emmer’s supporters Laura Brod and Matt Dean. I am not for cap and trade any more than those two solid Republicans are. Governor Pawlenty negotiated this bill which started out much worse than the final product. My energy plan is to lift the nuclear moratorium and expand affordable energy choices. I am absolutely opposed to any cap and trade scheme.

I wanted to gather some information on M-RETS before forming an opinion so I did some research into M-RETS, (which stands for Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System). Here’s one of the first tidbits of information I found out about M-RETS:

The Midwest Renewable Energy Tracking System (M-RETS) tracks renewable energy generation in participating States and Provinces and assists in verifying compliance with individual state/provincial or voluntary Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and objectives. M-RETS is an important tool to keep track of all relevant information about renewable energy produced and delivered in the region.

Currently, several States and Provinces participate in M-RETS: Illinois, Iowa, Manitoba, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin have policies in place requiring or strongly encouraging utility development of renewable resources. Additional States and Provinces in the region are expected to join M-RETS after launch. M-RETS uses verifiable production data for all participating generators and creates a Renewable Energy Credit (REC) in the form of a tradable digital certificate for each MWh.

In other words, the legislation authorizes the tracking of how much reneewable energy is being generated and the creation of something called a renewable energy credit. This sounded suspiciously similar to the carbon credits that will be traded if Cap and Trade is ever enacted so I contacted an expert in the energy field. This expert said that this type of infrastructure could turn out to be a preliminary step towards establishing a Cap and Trade program.

To be fair, this expert said that establishing a Cap and Trade program isn’t a guarantee. During this exchange, it was confirmed that this legislation isn’t about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, just about increasing renewable energy production.

The next logical step, I was told, was enacting legislation mandating a certain level of renewable energy production. While that might sound good, the reality is that renewable energy is significantly more expensive than energy created by coal-fired or nuclear power plants.

According to this website, there are some benchmarks that they want to achieve. Here’s a couple of interesting tidbits of information that should be considered:

The standard for Xcel Energy requires that eligible renewable electricity account for 30% of total retail electricity sales (including sales to retail customers of a distribution utility to which Xcel Energy provides wholesale service) in Minnesota by 2020. Of the 30% renewables required of Xcel Energy in 2020, “at least” 25% must be generated by wind-energy or solar energy systems, with solar limited to no more than 1% of the requirement. The solar provision was added by S.B. 550 in May 2009. In effect, this means that the wind standard is at least 24%, solar may contribute up to 1%, and the “remaining” 5% may be generated using other eligible technologies.

In other words, if legislation passes that changes the goals to mandates, Minnesotans’ utility bills will significantly increase. It’s important to remember that this isn’t about controlling greenhouse gas emissions, though the activists that push Cap and Trade are the activists that pushed this legislation through.

Finally, Seifert’s mention that Matt Dean and Laura Brod voted for this legislation is irrelevant. First, this is about the voting decision Marty Seifert made as opposed to the voting decision Tom Emmer made. In this instance, Tom Emmer voted against more expensive energy bills for Minnesota’s taxpayers. Second, according to the House Journal’s recording of the final vote, Matt Dean voted against the final passage of the bill along with Bruce Anderson, Mark Buesgens, Chris DeLaForest, Mary Liz Holberg, Paul Kohls, Mark Olson, Ron Shimanski and Kurt Zellers.

The information in this paragraph can’t be ignored:

Utilities are required to file annual compliance reports with the PUC detailing their retail sales, REC retirements, and REC trading activities. If the PUC finds a utility is noncompliant, the commission may order the utility to construct facilities, purchase eligible renewable electricity, purchase RECs or engage in other activities to achieve compliance. If a utility fails to comply, the PUC may impose a financial penalty on the utility in an amount not to exceed the estimated cost of achieving compliance. The penalty may not exceed the lesser of the cost of constructing facilities or purchasing credits and proceeds must be deposited into a special account reserved for energy and conservation improvements. The PUC is authorized to modify or delay the implementation of the standards if the commission determines it is in the public interest to do so.

I’d love hearing Mr. Seifert explain how this mandate is substantially different from a cap and trade system. Specifically, I’d like to know whether this isn’t just another way to wean us from fossil fuels.

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As the DFL’s chairman, Brian Melendez is expected to be critical of Republicans. I would’ve been surprised if he didn’t comment in this Politico article. That he commented isn’t surprising. How he replied isn’t surprising either. It’s just that his reply is incredibly lame:

State DFL Party Chairman Brian Melendez agreed that Coleman’s absence would push the eventual nominee to the right. “The people left in the field are staunch conservatives. We’re going to get a hard-core right winger, and I’d put Seifert and Emmer in that category,” Melendez said.

For DFL-ers, there would have been both positives and pitfalls to running another statewide race against Coleman. Their playbook on Coleman is up to date and well-defined, but he is also one of the few Republicans who can boast statewide name recognition. “I think it makes life a little easier for us,” said Melendez. “He leaves the Republicans with a really weak bench.”

Hey Brian, ask how that GOP name ID deficit thing helped Martha Coakley. It’s time that political leaders, whether it’s the DFL chairman or whether it’s the NRSC chairman, figured out that the three most important things are message, message and message.

I’m sure Mr. Melendez doesn’t want to talk about the anti-Democrat mood nationwide. I wouldn’t want to talk about the resounding defeats of Martha Coakley, Jon Corzine or Creigh Deeds over the last 3 months. Their defeats are sending a clear message that America is rejecting the Democrats’ radical agenda. Independents are especially disenchanted with the Democrats’ agenda.

I don’t think that Mr. Melendez’s statement that Reps. Emmer and Seifert are “staunch conservatives” isn’t meant as a compliment. In Mr. Melendez’s world, conservatism is a four-letter word, as disgusting to the DFL as the term ‘setting priorities’ is a four-letter word. I’m betting that Mr. Melendez wouldn’t like people to notice that Bob McDonnell ran as a conservative in Virginia and won by 18 points. I’m betting that Mr. Melendez wouldn’t like people to notice that Scott Brown ran as a fiscal conservative and national security conservative. All Sen-Elect Brown did was pull off the biggest upset in over a century.

The DFL is in a difficult position after not putting a serious budget together last spring. Because they didn’t put a serious budget together, they’ll be highlighted as having to revisit the problems they didn’t fix last May. Revisiting the budget in a policy and bonding session tells voters that the DFL didn’t get the job done.

Even if the DFL leadership blames Gov. Pawlenty for not getting the problem fixed, he’s got the comeback that Speaker Kelliher couldn’t even hold her team together to pass the smallest tax increases, much less override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto. This is a potential disaster for Speaker Kelliher. If she caves, the DFL base writes her off. If she pushes for a big tax increase, small businesses and independents will abandon her. Plus, Speaker Kelliher looks inept in leading.

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Earlier this morning, I got an email in my inbox inviting me to become a Facebook fan of Pat Anderson for State Auditor. That kinda surprised me since I didn’t know that she’d announced she was dropping her gubernatorial campaign. Now that Pat’s announced she’s running for her old job under significantly different circumstances, it’s worth taking a look at Election 2010 in Minnesota. Let’s start by looking at the impact her announcement will have on the gubernatorial race.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m supporting Tom Emmer. Pat’s departure will likely help Tom Emmer. I don’t hold that opinion because I’m supporting him. Rather, it’s my opinion because it’s been a well-known fact that Pat and Tom were fighting over many of the same people. Both openly courted fiscal conservatives because both are fiscal conservatives.

Pat’s getting out likely hurts Marty Seifert, though it’d be a stretch to call it a death blow. It likely hurts Marty because having Pat out of the race means that Tom will collect the lion’s share of the fiscal conservatives.

At this point, I can’t imagine Pat not getting the GOP endorsement for State Auditor. It’s a job she’s had before. She was very good at it. She got swamped in the 2006 disaster when a DFL wave swept the state. The question now is whether a similar wave will swamp Rebecca Otto, who formally announced that she’s seeking re-election:

State Auditor Rebecca Otto, May Township, formally announced her re-election bid today (Monday, Jan. 11), speaking of innovation in government.

“I’m not playing politics. I’m all about good government,” said Otto to supporters. “And I will not stop,” she said.

Any DFL candidate that says they don’t play politics is really saying that the politics they play aren’t openly political. That said, it’ll be interesting to see how this race shapes up. In the end, I think it tilts in Pat Anderson’s direction because she made great inroads with fiscal conservatives.

I’ve mentioned fiscal conservatives alot in connection with Pat because it’s important to note that fiscal conservatives, whether they’ve supported Dr. Ron Paul or not, are the most energized activists. In every election that I’ve ever paid attention to, the candidate with the most go-getters campaign volunteers wins. If Pat wins, which I think is quite possible, it’s because her volunteers will have run through walls for her.

The other thing Pat has going for her is that her name recognition is higher than Rebecca Otto’s. Pat’s name recognition was earned by showing up at the gubernatorial debates. For instance, she made a positive impression at the bipartisan gubernatorial forum in St. Cloud. (I’d be surprised if the conservatives there that night didn’t give her a high grade that night.)

From an activist’s perspective, I’m glad to hear Pat didn’t adopt a I’m-taking-my-ball-and-going-home attitude. Instead, she’s jumping into what appears to be a winnable race. This just strengthens the MNGOP ticket in 2010.

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This past Saturday night, I had the privilege of introducing Sen. Norm Coleman at the SD-15 GOP BPOU fundraiser. The event was well-attended, even drawing the attention of MPR’s Tim Pugmire. The event was attended by several gubernatorial candidates, including top tier candidates Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert.

In introducing Norm, I noted that “Tonight, I have the privilege of introducing a man doesn’t need an introduction, a man who’s voted for legislation that’s actually created jobs, a man who’s voted to confirm judges that the Constitution means what it says and says what it means and, most importantly, a man who’s earned the reputation of listening to his constituents.”

Norm quickly noted that he wouldn’t have been there that night if not for Facebook, noting that that’s how I contacted him, then noting that “kids probably won’t think it’s cool anymore because we’re using it, too.” In noting the Facebook connection, Norm suggested to the many local candidates that they needed to take full advantage of the social netowrking software.

Norm quickly noted that “2010 is our year.” He said that Byron Dorgan wouldn’t have retired if not for the unpopular votes he’s made for health care. He quickly noted that “people are worried, maybe even a little afraid,” about terrorism. The inference that Janet Napolitano isn’t as competent as Tom Ridge wasn’t lost on the audience.

Throughout the night, one local candidate after another made presentations to the activists attending the event. First amongst the candidates was John Pederson, who’s announced in November that he’s running for the SD-15 Senate seat currently held by Tarryl Clark. (It’ll be a privilege being represented by John.) Next up was State Rep. Steve Gottwalt, who told the crowd that he “needs more reinforcements in St. Paul.”

That’s likely to happen now that Tom Ellenbecker has announced he’s running for the seat currently held by Assistant Majority Leader Larry Hosch. I noted in this post that Tom is “a small businessman who understands the importance of low taxes and small government” and that Rep. Emmer has “pledged his full support for Ellenbecker.” Larry’s a likeable guy but he’s facing a stiff challenge with Tom.

Sartell Mayor Tim O’Driscoll also spoke to the audience. Mayor O’Driscoll is running for the seat that Rep. Dan Severson currently holds. Mayor O’Driscoll tipped his hat to SD-15 for giving warm welcomes to SD-14 candidates like himself and Tom Ellenbecker, noting that it was a good sign that we’re heading for a big year in Central Minnesota.

State Reps. Laura Brod, Matt Dean and Dan Severson also attended. Dan’s now running for Minnesota Secretary of State. St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis and former Lt. Gov. Joanne Benson also attended Saturday night’s event.

After the official program, I made the most of the opportunity to talk with a number of the out-of-town visitors, including Rep. Matt Dean, who is chairing the House Republican Campaign Committee and Rep. Laura Brod. Matt said that they’ve recruited alot of high quality candidates, including Tom Ellenbecker. He said that recruitment this year has been easier this cycle than in the past because it’s shaping up to be a strong GOP cycle.

After introducing Norm, I was seated at Rep. Brod’s table, where Laura had the opportunity to visit with some women from the Central Minnesota Republican Women’s group. These women were impressed with Laura’s understanding of health care-related issues.

Wherever I went, I found people excited about 2010. I told the candidates that I’d worked with Derek Brigham on this campaign slogan for this cycle:

The candidates that I talked with liked the slogan, saying that it described the differing mindsets perfectly. I think I can speak for Derek in saying that we heartily agree with these candidates.

Before leaving, I talked with King about the event. I thanked him for all the work he did putting the event together. We agreed that the enthusiasm level at the event was high and that it was a great way to kick off this election cycle.

Thanks also go out to Dan Ochsner for emceeing the event and to Barbara Banaian whose idea it was to hold a fundraiser heading into the new year. The point is that alot of people pitched in.

That’s local activism at its finest.

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Saturday, I attended an event in Big Lake sponsored by the SD-16 GOP BPOU. SD-16 BPOU Chairman Jim Newberger emceed the event, which was held at The Friendly Buffalo just west off Highway 10. (Yes, that’s a plug. The owner of the Friendly Buffalo is a loyal conservative.)

The first speaker called to the micrphone was HD-16B Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer. Mary reminded the activists gathered there that the district was once a liberal district, reminding them that it started to turn with her husband Ralph’s election in the 80’s. Mary said that with hard work, SD-16 would reject Lisa Fobbe after her half-term in office. Na7turally, that got a nice round of applause from the activists gathered there.

After talking about taking back Betsy Wergin’s seat, Rep. Kiffmeyer then talked about the different tax increases that Gov. Pawlenty vetoed and that the House GOP sustained. She then talked about the tax credits that Ann Lenczewski’s tax bill would’ve eliminated, including the charitable contributions, the mortgage interest tax deduction and the property tax deduction for homeowners. Mary noted that those deductions would’ve been eliminated under Rep. Lenzcewski’s bill.

GOP gubernatorial candidates Marty Seifert and Tom Emmer both gave brief presentations, followed by a brief Q and A session. Both candidates’ presentations were pleasing to conservatives’ ears as both talked about their plans to create jobs.

The one point that stood out to me came when Marty said that he’d veto a bill if it didn’t include a voter ID provision. When it was Tom’s turn, he said that he was optimistic that we wouldn’t have to rely on vetoes but that we could be the majority party if we got our message out.

It wouldn’t be fair to characterize Marty’s attitude as defeatist but there was a significant difference in his response compared with Tom’s response. I’d also question whether it’s smart to veto bills if it’ll lead to a special session.The DFL would love making it difficult by insisting on leaving out the voter ID provision.

At that point, a GOP governor would have to decide whether it’s best to veto a bill, thereby causing a special session, then possibly a government shutdown, which the DFL and their media allies would blame on Republicans.

Regardless, the night’s highlight was Michele Bachmann’s presentation, which she followed up with a Q and A session. Michele said that she really didn’t know what to expect in terms of attendance for the Emergency House Call event. She said that it started on Hannity’s TV show the Friday night before the House vote on Pelosicare.

She said that people like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck got the word out through their shows. She said that the thing that made her beleive that it might get big was a phone call she got at home the Saturday before the event.

Jon Voight called and asked her if it’d be alright to fly to DC “to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with” people standing up for what’s right. When Thursday’s event rolled around, there was Jon Voight, standing with Michele, Levin, John Ratzenberger (Cliff Claven of Cheers) and a host of others.

Michele said that Pelosi walked Democrats off the plank by forcing them to vote for the Pelosicare bill. She said that Pelosi and the Democrats haven’t listened to the American people, which has sparked the TEA Party movement. Finally, she said that a wave is building and DC doesn’t think it’s real; they think it’s astroturf or overhyped, etc.

It’s my opinion that they’ll find out the hard way that their policies aren’t popular. They’ll find out that people aren’t in the mood to have their taxes raised when 1 in 6 people are unemployed or underemployed. They’ll find out that they aren’t popular after voting for economic policies that are making the economy worse and that are making deficits astronomical.

Saturday’s event was well-attended, with about 100-125 people attending.

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Last night, I attended a fundraiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert as a member of the press. The event was held at the home of former state Rep. Jim Knoblach. Jim now serves as Seifert’s campaign manager.

While I won’t take a position on who I’ll support at this time, I can report that Marty is a force to be reckoned with, both for the GOP nomination and in the general election.

It’s apparent that regulatory and fees reform will be a priority in a potential Seifert administration. During his presentation, Rep. Seifert highlighted the fact that a distiller’s license in Minnesota costs $30,000 annually in fees. In Iowa, that distiller’s license costs $350 per year. (After the presentation, a friend who works in the aeronautics business told me that the licensing fee in Minnesota is $3,000, while it’s only $300 in South Dakota, which is quite a dramatic difference.)

While it’s accurate to say that fees reform would be a major part of Marty’s economic agenda, it’s equally true that Marty wants to focus on the principle of limited government, I suspect because that’s the only way we can break out of the DFL’s never-ending cycle of increasing taxes.

It’s also clear that Marty’s campaign won’t take Central Minnesota for granted. There’s alot of GOP votes here in Central Minnesota. Marty’s campaign won’t be satisfied with only winning the base. Their plan is to engage independents with a distinctly common sense conservative message.

Attending the event had other benefits than just taking in Marty’s presentation. I got to talk with Mike LeMeiur, who lost a tight race to Al Doty in 2008, losing by only 76 votes in a definitely DFL-friendly year. That DFL-friendly mood is quickly evaporating, thanks mostly to people’s disenchantment with President Obama’s and Speaker Pelosi’s radical agenda.

In fact, people were frequently mentioning how independents are fleeing the Democratic Party like they were selling radioactive waste. One person told me that the Tarrance Group, one of the most reputable polling companies out there, said that independents age 45 and older are really souring on the Democrats’ agenda.

If that’s the care, and I think that’s accurate, then Democrats are facing a potentially miserable election cycle.

The other noticeable thing at the event is the enthusiasm of the activists there. Conservatives nationwide have been discouraged the last 2 cycles. That attitude has disappeared entirely.

If I’m invited to other candidates’ events, I’ll file reports on them, too.

One final thing that was noticeable was that Marty hadn’t lost his sense of humor. That was apparent when he said that “Republicans have an embarrassment of riches. The Democrats have just embarrassments.”

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