Archive for the ‘Special Elections’ Category

Before getting into the heart of this post, and in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve called Andy Aplikowski friend for most of my blogging life, which started in November, 2004. I first met Andy when he was blogging at Kennedy vs. the Machine, which was in 2006. That means that I’m definitely biased for Andy.

With that said, it’s time to get to the heart of the matter. Andy is running to replace Branden Petersen as the senator representing District 35. As with all districts and candidates, the Taxpayers League of Minnesota and the Americans for Tax Reform have asked candidates to sign their “Taxpayer Protection Pledges.” Last night, the Aplikowski for Senate campaign issued this statement:

“We don’t have a revenue problem in Minnesota, we have a priority problem. The reason Minnesota is climbing to the top of the list of highest taxed states is because of our addiction to spending. That is why I was the first candidate to have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledges with both the Americans for Tax Reform and the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. We must be honest with Minnesotans about long-term sustainable budgeting solutions instead of the spend and tax policies that have grown the state budget 30 percent in the last 5 years.”

Andy is right. We’re taxed too much already. Taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill while Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk ship money to corrupt organizations like Community Action Partnership of Minneapolis. Here’s how Community Action Partnership spent the taxpayers’ money:

Auditors blamed Community Action’s board, which includes several well-known politicians and community leaders, for a lack of oversight and for personally benefiting from $34,892 worth of activities that “do not appear to serve a business purpose, and are considered waste and abuse as defined in state policy.”

Those activities included two weekend trips, between 2011 and 2013, to Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, where board members and senior management spent $9,000 for lodging, $3,200 for food and $900 for spas. Davis defended the trips as a “small gesture on our part to offer them a moment of relaxation or entertainment. It’s not like we do this every single week of the year.”

The Andy Aplikowski that I’ve known for almost a decade would be a force for good as the taxpayers’ watchdog.

Andy didn’t stop with signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledges:

Additionally, Aplikowski signed the pledge against any new gas tax increase in the 2016 legislative session. “Whoever wins this special election will serve in 2016. Increasing the gas tax is a potential policy that may face votes in committee and even on the Senate floor. I promise to find other methods than a gas tax to deliver real transportation solutions to the district and to the state. Safe roads and bridges are not a luxury, and demanding another $300 million from drivers for one of government’s main responsibilities is unacceptable.”

I don’t have a vote in the matter. If I did, though, I’d cast it for Andy. If taxpayers want an advocate on their side, I strongly recommend they vote for Andy Aplikowski.

Few people south of Brainerd know that there’s a special election that’s going to be held in the next month. People living in International Falls, Grand Portage and Grand Marais know it well because their representative in the 2015 session, David Dill, passed away this summer after a tough fight with cancer. The DFL hoped to avoid lots of bloodshed by not holding an endorsing convention, which I wrote about here.

I wrote then that “Paul Fish, the DFL chairman of the district, issued a statement on why they chose not to hold an endorsing convention, saying ‘The residents of House District 3A lost a true champion with the passing of Rep. David Dill. The voters of 3A deserve the opportunity to select the DFL candidate who best represents their interests. Therefore, a DFL endorsing convention for the 3A seat will not be held. Participation in the September 29th primary is encouraged.'”

Fish won’t get his wish of not having a food fight after Bill Hansen’s unhinged moment. When talking about PolyMet, Hansen, a hardline environmental activist, flamed out, saying “We need the jobs. Jobs are important. But those aren’t the jobs we want. In this modern age, these projects are going to be man camps … that clear out the community, create a lot of crime, prostitution, gambling. All kinds of community problems and tend to drive out other sustainable jobs.”

That’s stunning. Saying that in a mining district right before a special election can’t be good. Labor’s response was predictable:

“Mr. Hansen has degraded our members for his own personal and political gains. He clearly has a delusional and skewed view of current-day construction workers and the value they bring to their families and community.” — Mike Syversrud, President of the Iron Range Building and Construction Trades Council

I won’t predict the outcome of this special election. I’ll just say that this special election has the potential for some serious fireworks.

Earlier this morning, I wrote this post urging people to vote no on the school board’s attempt to railroad a major tax increase down our throats. Since I wrote that note, loyal readers of LFR asked me some additional questions that the school district should answer before they get another penny from taxpayers.

For instance, the school district combined the 2 projects (refurbishing Apollo, building a new Tech HS). The way it’s worded, you can’t vote down the Tech proposal and vote for the Apollo refurbishing. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to refurbish Apollo to vote for the Tech project, too. That’s a sly way of forcing people who want to build a new Tech HS into voting for the Apollo refurbishing.

It’s pretty obvious why it’s set up this way. That isn’t the same as saying the school district should get away with forcing taxpayers to vote for both projects if they only support one of the projects. This is a scam propagated by the school board. This isn’t a mistake. It’s a feature! It’s intentional.

Another question raised by my readers is why the school district is holding the election at a time when literally nothing else is being voted on. As I said in my earlier post, it’s clear that the turnout from the “education community” will be 95% or higher. Those votes have already been factored in. Further, the school board is counting on low turnout from taxpayers. The vote is rigged. The people profiting from these projects passing will turn out in droves. The people who don’t know that there’s an election happening won’t show up, thereby ensuring the referendum passing.

The people running the school board want what they want when they want it. If that means playing dirty, then that’s the path they’ll take. In situations like that, there’s only one way to foil the school board’s plan. That’s to vote no, then insist that the taxpayers vote on 2 separate questions. Then insist that the election be held on Election Day 2016.

It isn’t surprising that the school board hasn’t held a townhall meeting to explain how big the ‘new Tech’ will be or how big the anticipated enrollment will be in the new school. They haven’t said what has to be refurbished at Apollo, either. Considering the fact that St. Cloud’s population of taxpayers is, at best, staying steady, just how many times do these politicians think they can go to the taxpayers’ ATM?

And yes, I meant to say politicians when referring to the school board. They’re as partisan as the legislature.

David Dill was a diehard mining advocate. Following his death, though, the DFL doesn’t want to hold an endorsing convention, most likely to avoid a fight between the pro-mining parts of the Iron Range DFL and the anti-mining progressives. Paul Fish, the DFL chairman of the district, issued a statement on why they chose not to hold an endorsing convention, saying “The residents of House District 3A lost a true champion with the passing of Rep. David Dill. The voters of 3A deserve the opportunity to select the DFL candidate who best represents their interests. Therefore, a DFL endorsing convention for the 3A seat will not be held. Participation in the September 29th primary is encouraged.”

What’s interesting about that decision is that Bill Hansen, “a favorite of many progressive party activists, was also widely favored to win the endorsement.” This throws everything up in the air. Is Fish trying to hide Mr. Hansen’s anti-mining credentials? What’s known is that Rob Ecklund has a major endorsement from US Steel. While I don’t know the district that well, I’d have to think that the candidate with a major endorsement like that should be the favorite.

Yesterday, President Obama accused Republicans of committing a crime by using their constitutional authority to pass a budget to their liking. President Obama accused Republicans of committing extortion:

With a possible government shutdown looming, President Obama today accused House Republicans of extortion, saying a “faction” of lawmakers threatens to force the United States into default unless he agrees to delay or defund his signature health care law.

“You have never seen in the history of the United States the debt ceiling or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling being used to extort a president and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with the budget and have nothing to do with the debt,” Obama said in speech to the Business Roundtable, a nonpartisan association of top American CEOs.

“That a budget is contingent on us eliminating a program that was voted on, passed by both chambers of Congress, ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, is two weeks from being fully implemented and that helps 30 million people finally get health care coverage; we’ve never seen that become the issue around a budget battle,” he said of the Affordable Care Act.

Mr. President, I still haven’t seen Congress using the threat of extortion to repeal a law, pass a budget or not raise the debt ceiling. That’s because extortion is a crime:

Law. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.

The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse. That necessarily means Congress is acting within its authority, which eliminates the possibility of extortion.

That doesn’t mean I think President Obama thinks Congress is committing extortion. I think he used that incendiary term because he thought it would have an impact. It did. It made him look weak. It makes him look like a drama queen. It prevents him from looking presidential.

The rest of President Obama’s statement is of questionable integrity. For instance, saying that the PPACA was passed by both chambers of Congress is technically accurate. It’s worth noting that President Obama didn’t admit that the bill that passed wasn’t meant to be the final bill. Martha Coakley was supposed to win the special election to replace Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. After that, the House and Senate would go to conference to iron out the differences and make the bill implementable.

Scott Brown’s stunning upset changed all those plans. He represented the 41st vote against the PPACA. That meant Republicans could filibuster the bill into submission. The House had to pass the Senate’s bill to get it to President Obama’s desk.

Meanwhile, the people were consistently and vehemently saying they didn’t want this monstrosity. They didn’t trust their government to do what’s right. President Obama, then-Speaker Pelosi and Sen. Reid didn’t care about the people. They put a higher priority on passing the Democratic Party’s Holy Grail than they put on doing what We The People wanted.

If the drama queen president wants to argue that Congress is attempting to commit extortion, I’ll cheerfully laugh at him. Then I’ll accuse him of pridefully hanging onto an achievement that the American people have consistently, passionately and vehemently insisted on repealing. His accusation is imaginary at best. My accusation is as verifiable as my facts are irrefutable.

President Obama, isn’t it finally time to listen to the American people? Isn’t it time you started acting like a public servant?

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In special recall elections yesterday, Coloradans swept 2 Democrats out of office for supporting restrictive gun control laws:

Two Democratic lawmakers in Colorado, including the president of the state Senate, were recalled Tuesday in elections brought about by their support for tougher gun control laws.

According to unofficial results, voters in Colorado Springs favored recalling state Sen. John Morse, the body’s president, by 51 percent to 49 percent. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, state Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo was defeated in her recall election, 56 percent to 44 percent.

Defeating incumbents is a tough thing, which means Republicans did a great job of appealing to voters. Then they did a great job of getting these people to the polls. Mitch Berg notes that gun control advocates’ money didn’t win the day:

Even better? The avalanche of liberal money didn’t do the job (emphasis added)!:

While both sides campaigned vigorously, knocking on doors, holding rallies and driving voters to the polls, gun-control advocates far outspent their opponents. A range of philanthropists, liberal political groups, unions and activists raised a total of $3 million to defend Mr. Morse and Ms. Giron. Mr. Bloomberg personally gave $350,000.

Money won’t defeat tons of true believers. People still believe in the right to keep and bear arms. They still believe in the right to defend themselves and their families.

Nedless to say, Democrats were licking their wounds after these stinging defeats:

Colorado’s Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, said he was “disappointed by the outcome of the recall elections” before calling on state residents to “refocus again on what unites Coloradans, creating jobs, educating our children, creating a healthier state, and on finding ways to keep Colorado moving forward.”

In other words, they want to put this defeat in the rear view mirror ASAP. They’d rather change the subject than defend their position on gun control. Meanwhile, Republicans were jubilant:

The Colorado Republican Party called the vote results “a loud and clear message to out-of-touch Democrats across the nation” in a statement released late Tuesday.

It’s natural for people to gloat following a big victory like this. The Colorado GOP is right that tons of Democrats are out of touch with people on gun control and other issues. It’s proof that Democrats who listen to their special interest fanatic base will get defeated.

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The sun rising in the east. Bill Gates making money. The government collecting taxes. These are among the most predictable things in the news. It’s time to add another thing to that list: the DFL sending out a misleading mailer the last Friday before an election.

This time, DFL candidate Joanne Dorsher is featured on mailer with a firefighter. The implication is that she’s been endorsed by the firefighters’ union. According to a firefighter to received the mailer, they haven’t endorsed anyone in the special election for HD-14A to replace Steve Gottwalt in the state legislature.

A quick review of history shows that the DFL is famous for these types of last-minute stunts. I wrote about their dirty tricks in this post. In 2010, the DFL sent out a mailer with a picture of King Banaian with a picture of him that made him look like a Middle East terrorist. The front of the mailer said “King Banaian: More Interested in Egypt and Macedonia than St. Cloud”; the back of the mailer said “St. Cloud needs a leader, not a King. King Banaian certainly has a resume- jetting across the globe to consult the governments of Egypt, Macedonia, Armenia, Ukraine and Indonesia.” In another mailer that the DFL sent out, it said that pro-choice DFL candidate Carol Lewis was the “true pro-life candidate” in the race.

It’s up to the citizens of HD-14A to punish Joanne Dorsher and the DFL for their last minute dirty tricks. The only way to do that is by voting for Tama Theis this Tuesday. If they don’t do that, the DFL and Dorsher will be rewarded for their dirty tricks.

Though the DFL endorsing convention for the special election caused by Rep. Steve Gottwalt’s resignation isn’t until Jan. 26, the matchup is essentially set. That’s because Joanne Dorsher is the DFL’s only declared candidate for the Gottwalt special election.

After winning Saturday’s GOP endorsing convention, St. Cloud businesswoman Tama Theis will meet Ms. Dorsher in the Feb. 12 special election to represent HD-14A.

After a drama-filled convention, the GOP can now get into the serious business of getting Theis’s message out, then getting their voters out.

This was a drama-filled convention for several reason. First, Saturday’s GOP endorsing convention wasn’t settled until the seventh ballot. Second, this was a hotly contested endorsement, with Theis, former St. Cloud city councilman John Severson and Iraq War veteran Scott MacHardy each acquitting themselves well.

John Severson led the first and second ballots with 13 votes each time, with MacHardy getting 12 votes and Theis getting 11 votes the first ballot. On the second ballot, Theis got 12 votes and MacHardy 11.

Theis got the most votes on the third ballot with 14, followed by 12 votes each for Severson and MacHardy. Theis got the most votes in each of the following ballots until she won on the seventh ballot.

Ms. Theis will need to hit the ground runnning, starting Monday, because the DFL would love to steal this special election. They know that anything can happen in a special election.

Ms. Dorsher is a known commodity in St. Cloud, having been a member of the St. Cloud School Board and after runnning against Rep. Gottwalt in 2008. One that’s certain is that EdMinn’s foot soldiers will be out in force for Ms. Dorsher.

The biggest question is whether the business community does a better job of getting out their vote than EdMinn does in getting out the pro-government voters.

Earlier today, a Democratic strategist jumped the shark with this statement:

Sachin Chheda, a Democratic strategist who hasn’t endorsed any candidate, said Democrats are not worried about matching Walker’s spending. “The question is not whether they have as much as Walker. It’s do they have enough to get their message out,” Chheda said. “I think they do.”

The question isn’t whether they’ve got the money to get their message out. Big Labor just dumped $7,000,000 into the race:

Just released campaign finance documents show Big Labor both inside and outside of Wisconsin pouring just over $7 million into the effort to recall Governor Scott Walker and four GOP state senators. In the 2011 recall campaign combined total spending by unions and progressive groups reached $14.7 million, or just over twice what labor unions alone have managed to raise or spend in what is the opening round of the effort to knock out Governor Walker less than two years into his term.

The question that’s most important is whether people will agree with Gov. Walker’s message of lower property taxes and getting spending under control. It isn’t likely that the unions’ message of union rights will appeal to voters.

Supposedly, that’s why the unions are switching to jobs as a topic. It isn’t likely that they’ll gain traction with that message because cutting, then stabilizing, property taxes is an appealing message.

That’s a message that Gov. Walker positively owns. It’s also a message that’s apparently already sunk in with Wisconsin voters.

There’s no question that the enthusiasm gap has diminished. There’s no question, too, that the Democrats’ messaging and behavior haven’t appealed to people beyond their base.

After this is over, Wisconsin needs to change the recall elections laws. It’s highly destabilizing for there to be recall elections based solely on political differences of opinion. Recalls shouldn’t happen without the legislature or the governor causing a crisis for the citizens of Wisconsin.

Causing political problems for special interest organizations shouldn’t qualify as a legitimate crisis triggering a recall.

What Wisconites have to determine is whether the PEUs’ tactics are dirty and whether the PEUs care about Wisconsinites more than they care about their own special interests. I’d argue the PEUs don’t care about anything except their own special interests.

In the end, that’s why Gov. Walker will win his recall election.

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In many ways, Chris Christie and Scott Walker are cut from the same cloth. They’re both outspoken. They’re both willing to take on powerful public employee unions to save their states. They’re both willing to push back when those unions employ their predictable intimidating tactics.
Based on this article, it’s possible they have other things in common, too:

“You see what I’ve been able to do is give Scott and the people of Wisconsin a little preview of what good conservative governance can do for states,” Christie told several hundred people who packed a landscaping equipment maintenance shop near Milwaukee. “New Jersey is giving a preview for Wisconsin as to good things than can happen when you stand up for the people of your state and stand against the special interests who have owned these state capitals for much too long.”

The rally came in the middle of Christie’s day-long swing through the Badger State to whip up support for Walker. He also spoke at a fundraiser luncheon in Green Bay and another in the Milwaukee area before heading home. The bank of cameras trained on the Republican governors was not just because of Walker’s fight.

Gov. Walker and Gov. Christie haven’t gotten intimidated by the PEU’s bullying tactics. The opposite is actually true. They’ve stuck to their campaign promises, much to the satisfaction of their supporters.

As a result of their steadfast resoluteness, they’re becoming inspirational figures in their own right. Each are mentioned as potential presidential candidates in the not-so-distant future. Thanks to their charisma, they’re attracting loyal foot soldiers to their GOTV operations.

That, in my estimation, will put Gov. Walker over the top in this recall election. The $13,000,000 he’s raised thus far won’t hurt either.

This race is anything but over. Still, Gov. Walker’s advantages keep piling up. At some point in the not-so-distant future, those advantages will help this race reach a tipping point.

Tom Barrett, Kathleen Falk and the PEUs better hope that tipping point isn’t reached before the Democratic primary.

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