Archive for the ‘Special Elections’ Category

David Catron’s article for The American Spectator focuses on how the racial divide in North Carolina’s Ninth District is closing. Catron writes “Last week the Democrats were touting the special election in North Carolina’s 9th District as the first major contest of the 2020 cycle, and the polls indicated that Democrat Dan McCready might win what should be a pretty safe GOP seat. By Wednesday morning, after Republican Dan Bishop had won, their focus had shifted and much commentary was devoted to his ‘thin margin of victory.’ Little notice was taken of certain voting patterns that should frighten the Democrats. Specifically, McCready did far worse than expected in every county but one, and many of those counties are dominated by minority voters.”

In this paragraph, though, Catron notices that “The most unnerving example, from the Democratic perspective, is rural Robeson County. The ethnic makeup of this county is as follows: Native American (38.6%), White (25.7%), Black (24%), Hispanic (8.52%), Two or More Races (2.15%), Asian (0.66%), Other (0.275%). On Tuesday the Democrat received a fraction of the votes he received in 2018, running for the same seat. Ryan Matsumoto of Inside Elections provides the gory details: ‘McCready won Robeson County by only 1.11 points, a MASSIVE decrease from his 15.31 point margin last November.‘ In 2012, Obama carried Robeson by 17 points.”

That isn’t the type of performance that Democrats should be happy with. Still, Republicans shouldn’t be too overjoyed. The margin was still too narrow for my liking. This might explain why Bishop did so well with minorities:

One result: the persistent gap between white and black unemployment also narrowed to its smallest on record. The unemployment ratio has averaged around 2 to 1 or so for decades, meaning the black unemployment rate is typically twice the white unemployment rate. In good times, the unemployment rate of whites and blacks falls but the gap remains…. [B]lack unemployment typically remains around twice that of white employment…. In other words, the decline in employment inequality now is undeniably the best on record because it comes in the context of falling unemployment.

If that performance can be replicated in other battleground states and swing districts, that would make quite a difference. The fact that President Trump’s policies are helping narrow the unemployment gap between minorities and whites is a great selling point for President Trump’s campaign. It shows that he’s actually accomplishing things that are making life better for minorities.

By contrast, Democrats have overpromised and underdelivered for decades. In answer to President Trump’s question to minorities of “What do you have to lose?”, it’s pretty obvious that minorities have another generation to lose. Finally, there’s this:

The voters who elected Dan Bishop to the House of Representatives are the people who actually work for a living in places like Cumberland, Richmond, and Robeson counties. They are by no means all white, and they remember all too well what it was like during the Obama years and how it felt to go hat in hand to the unemployment office. That should frighten the Democrats badly.

Let’s see who wins that district in 2020.

Harold Hamilton’s weekly commentary contained a great pop quiz on a DFL family dynasty:

Candidate #1: Union electrician. Started his own electrical contracting company, which is also union. Never went to college; educated in the electrician’s apprenticeship training program. Likes to snowmobile, ice fish, and hunt deer. Lives in a rural area of the district and drives a pick-up.

Candidate #2: Lists a work history in politics. No private sector experience. Graduate of Carleton College. Has been living in Washington, DC (AKA The Swamp) for the past year. Comes from a political dynasty that has been in political office for decades.

If you guessed that the Democrat was candidate #1, you would be WRONG. Candidate #1 is Jason Rarick, who is the Republican candidate for Senate District 11.

This district will elect a new state Senator on February 5th to replace the incumbent, who was appointed to a political patronage job by Governor Tim Walz. Jason Rarick doesn’t come from a background of any prominence or privilege. His daddy was no one of any note.

He didn’t go to an elite private college, where the tuition is $55,000 per year, which is more than the median annual household income in Senate District 11 by a long shot. Instead, Rarick graduated high school and enrolled in the electrician’s apprenticeship program, where he learned to become a skilled tradesman and work with his hands. After mastering the craft of the electrician, he took the risk of starting his own company, Rarick Electric.

He started out like every entrepreneur, with one truck, one employee, and big dreams. He knows what it means to worry about feeding a family. He knows what it’s like to worry about work and where the next job will come from. He knows what it’s like to work with your hands. He knows how to assemble, disassemble, and perform a functions check on a deer rifle. He knows how to change the oil in truck and a snowmobile.

The Democrat, Stu Lourey, couldn’t be more different. After graduating from Carleton College, he immediately went to work in politics, working for both Senator Al “happy hands” Franken and Senator Tina Smith. Beyond that, Lourey has no work history. His only real credentials for serving the people the Senate District 11 is that he has the correct last name.

You see, Stu’s dad has been the state Senator for some years. And before that, Stu’s grand mama was the senator. In short, he comes from a political dynasty. And dynasties always believe that DNA is really the only qualification to propagate dynasties. Put another way, if Stu’s last name was “Jones” or “Lundquist” or “O’Leary”, he wouldn’t have had a shot at this office.

How ironic that the party of the “working man” is backing a privileged kid who has a powerful daddy for office over a true working man who boasts of nothing more than a belief that an honest day’s work will get you an honest day’s pay.

In other words, Stu Lourey is just another career politician. Then there’s this:

To get a great visual presentation of what we’re describing, head on over to Stu’s web site. Take a look at the photos. You see him all dressed up in Carhart work gear and Gamehide hunting gear.

There’s just one minor problem. None of the gear has a single rip or stain. No coffee stains. No blood stains. No mud. No dust. It looks like Stu borrowed the gear from John Kerry.

https://www.stulourey.com/meet/

In other words, Lourey is a total phony. He’s as much a part of the working class as Kerry. It’s time to retire this family dynasty.

Finally, Tony Lourey was one of the authors of the disaster we call MNsure.

In their Our View Editorial endorsing Karin Housley, the Duluth News Tribune included a quote from Tina Smith, Karin’s DFL opponent.

In the quote, Smith said “Minnesotans are sick and tired of the partisan bickering. They don’t have Republican problems or Democrat problems, and so my whole approach has been to listen really hard, to work really hard to do my best to solve problems for people. That’s what I’ve been doing, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”

She couldn’t have listened that hard on then-Judge Kavanaugh. Within minutes of President Trump nominating Brett Kavanaugh, Tina Smith had announced that she wouldn’t meet with him and that she wouldn’t vote to confirm him. That doesn’t sound like listening to me. This is what listening looks like:

This is the video of Tina Smith ignoring Minnesotans by not attending a debate with Karin Housley that was televised statewide:

Karin Housley respected Minnesotans by showing up and answering questions. She has legitimate legislative accomplishments. Tina Smith is just another politician hoping you won’t notice that she’s ignoring you.

Minnesotans are smarter than that. I’m betting you’ll notice and make Tina Smith pay for her elitism.

As usual, Salena Zito’s latest column provides the best insight into another election that’s caught the public’s attention. This time, Ms. Zito is writing about Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th district. The special election pits Democrat Danny O’Connor against Republican Troy Balderson.

In her article, Ms. Zito wrote that Vice President Mike Pence hosted a rally for Troy Balderson on July 30 before writing that “Pence left no doubt in the packed event hall in the center of picturesque Newark. He repeated the Aug. 7 date no less than a dozen times. He even made the attendees repeat it back to him.”

The question now remaining unanswered is whether Trump’s voters will turn out in sufficient numbers to propel Balderson to victory. This provides some insight into that question:

Outside the Pence event, Democratic activists, with signs covering every issue imaginable, chant slogans and attempt to engage with GOP supporters. One gentleman with a bull-horn chants, “Balderson hates puppies,” at the folks trying to enter.

“The Trump hysteria kind of gets old,” Wade Rogers says. “Especially when you walk up here to come in line, the first time you’ve ever been this political — where we’ve come to a rally of any sort — and when you hear the opposition over there screaming, ‘Troy Balderson hates puppies.’ I mean, to me, that’s people that’s out of sync with normalcy.”

This provides more insight into the outcome of Tuesday’s race:

Wade Rogers, who had never been very political, says he knows what is at stake, not just for this special election, but also to show up in November. He addresses the question on many reporters’ minds: Is he satisfied enough with the results of the Trump presidency to take the time to vote for a member of Congress, not once, but twice this year?

Absolutely,” he says with a broad grin. “We need to keep showing up. It’s important that the president has a Republican Congress to help pass his agenda for the next two years. You don’t take these things for granted,” he said.

Statements like that tell me that the Trump Brigade won’t let Troy Balderson down. Let’s hear from Mr. Balderson himself:

These rallies don’t guarantee a Balderson victory Tuesday night. That being said, the fact that Trump’s supporters understand the importance of this special election is a positive sign for Balderson and the White House. According to Jai Chabria, this is an affluent district:

This is the type of district that isn’t filled with tons of Trump voters. If Balderson wins this race by 5+ points Tuesday nights, that will be quite the positive sign for Republicans.

When he’s campaigning, Conor Lamb attempts to sound like a Lindsey Graham Republican. One trip to his campaign website priorities page, though, exposes him as a hardline progressive.

On the subject of health care, Lamb says “I believe that every American has a right to go see a doctor when they’re sick, and that means every American has a right to health insurance they can afford. The Affordable Care Act has flaws, but it has provided affordable coverage to more than a million Pennsylvanians who were previously uninsured. Our representatives in Congress should be working together to build on that progress, fix what isn’t working, and make the law better. Instead, Republicans in Congress spent the past year trying to take health insurance away from people with no plan to replace it. Now, costs are likely to go up for many of us, especially those with preexisting conditions. That is unacceptable, and it’s a failure of leadership.”

The ACA isn’t “flawed.” It’s a disaster that, until tax reform was passed, forced people to buy a product or pay a hefty fine if they didn’t buy health insurance. Further, Republicans didn’t spend “the past year trying to take health insurance away from people.” They gave people the option to not buy insurance if they didn’t like their options. Hopefully, sometime soon, we’ll get rid of QHPs, aka Qualified Health Plans, which is how Democrats forced people to buy insurance policies they didn’t like.

On energy, Lamb is wishy-washy at best:

In short, Lamb isn’t as hardline progressive as Bernie Sanders but he isn’t who he’s pretending to be, either.

While my constitutional position on Lt. Gov. Fischbach hasn’t changed, Don Davis’ article reminded me why I despise Sen. Bakk’s political tactics. It’s why Gov. Dayton didn’t trust Bakk. According to Davis’ article, Bakk said “he wants to time a lawsuit so the court can remove Fischbach as senator when Democrats can best elect a replacement for her in the central Minnesota district. If that happened, Democrats would take control. Fischbach said she is confident she can win her district again, if a court orders he removed from the Senate. But Bakk said Democrats have a candidate waiting who is ‘a good fit for the district.'”

That good fit must be Larry Hosch. He’s the only candidate who’d have a prayer in that district. If Hosch isn’t the candidate, then Sen. Bakk is just blowing smoke. The DFL’s bench in that district is virtually nonexistent. From what I’ve been told, Hosch’s wife is from Paynesville, which would be important to winning a special election.

That being said, Hosch announce his retirement from the House the minute that Rockville was added to his House district in 2012. Rockville consistently gives the GOP House candidate 80% of their votes. The minute the redistricting map was announced, Hosch essentially admitted that he’d get his butt kicked if he ran for re-election. What part of that sounds like Rep. Hosch is “a good fit for the district”? What part of this looks competitive?

FYI- HD-13A used to be Hosch’s district. He would’ve been lucky to lose by only 15 points if he’d chosen to run. Sen. Bakk can yap all he wants about good fits for the district but the numbers tell a different story. Whoever the DFL would run would get annihilated.

The point is that Sen. Bakk is either incredibly stupid or he’s playing a game. I don’t think he’s that stupid but I might be wrong.

In the special election to replace State Sen. Dan Schoen, Karla Bigham leads Denny McNamara by 607 votes with 33 of 34 precincts reporting.

In the other special election, Jeremy Munson trounced Melissa Wagner by 1,285 votes. The margin was almost 20 percentage points.

Republican friends in SD-54, today’s the day we can elect Denny McNamara. Today’s the day Republicans can solidify their Senate majority. In fact, a McNamara victory gives Republicans a chance to hand Gov. Dayton and the DFL a major defeat.

First, McNamara is excellent on environmental issues. He isn’t a squish on these issues. He’d bring lots of grit to those issues, which is a big deal considering how many jobs-related issues are tied by the DFL to the issue. In Minnesota, the biggest jobs fights are tied directly to the environment. Electing McNamara will give Republicans a better chance of winning those fights.

Next, Jason Lewis supports McNamara. Jason even campaigned with him:


Sen. Dan Hall wants Denny McNamara as a colleague:


Finally, a McNamara victory gives Republicans at least 34 senators regardless of the outcome of the Fischbach fiasco. Think about this possibility: The court rules that Sen. Fischbach can’t keep her Senate seat. Gov. Dayton sets the date for the Fischbach special election. Fischbach resigns as Lt. Gov. With McNamara in place, Republicans elect a DFL senator from a swing district, perhaps from David Hann’s or Dave Thompson’s former districts. That gives Republicans a great shot at recapturing another seat in the Senate. After Fischbach wins her special election, combined with a McNamara victory and another victory from Hann’s or Thompson’s district, Republicans would have a 36-31 majority instead of the 34-33 majority they had last year.

That’s a long way of saying it’s important (imperative?) to get out and vote for Denny McNamara today.

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It’s difficult to defend Michelle Fischbach’s decision to attempt to serve as both Gov. Dayton’s Lieutenant Governor and the state senator representing SD-13. How can a supposedly educated woman think that the DFL operatives on the Minnesota Supreme Court will side with her, not with the man who appointed them?

Republicans point to a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling from 1898. At that time, the lieutenant governor was elected apart from the governor. Further, why would anyone think that it’s possible to serve simultaneously in the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch? In March, 2016, I wrote a post titled Is the IRRRB unconstitutional? In that post, I cited an audit report from Jim Nobles, who wrote that “State statutes on IRRRB’s governance structure are vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.”

That’s because the IRRRB’s board is composed of Iron Range legislators who have the authority to appropriate money to specific projects. The IRRRB also is an executive branch agency whose commissioner is appointed by the governor. Simply put, you can’t serve in 2 different branches of government.

Sen. Fischbach should know this. She’s fighting a fight she can’t win. Apparently, she hasn’t figured that out yet. Here’s what she said:

I was elected by the constituents of Senate District 13, and I have a commitment to represent them in the senate.

She ran for and got elected to be the Senate President. Anyone with a bit of understanding of Minnesota’s constitution knows that the Senate President is part of the line of succession to the governorship. If Sen. Fischbach wanted to guarantee that she represent the citizens of SD-13 for the full 4-year term, then she shouldn’t have run for Senate President.

If Lt. Gov. Fischbach cares about the Constitution, she should resign from the Senate this afternoon. The minute Gov. Dayton announces the date for the special election for filling her empty Senate seat in SD-13, she should then resign as Lt. Gov., then immediately start campaigning to regain her Senate seat.

By attempting to wear both hats, she’s causing a constitutional crisis that might hurt Republicans this session and that will cost taxpayers tons of money to pay for the lawsuit that she’ll lose. Apparently, Sen. Fischbach thinks that the Constitution doesn’t apply to her. She’s wrong. She should resign before she hurts her constituents.

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Thanks to a little research help from some loyal readers of LFR and thanks to some clever thinking of my own, I’ve figured out a way to turn the tables on Gov. Dayton and Sen. Bakk. First, Sen. Fischbach needs to get sworn in as lieutenant governor the minute Tina Smith is sworn in as Minnesota’s U.S. senator. Next, Fischbach needs to resign as lieutenant governor by the end of this week.

Thanks to some research from a loyal reader of LFR, I’m able to publish as fact that state statute 204D.19 subd. 2 says “The special election shall be held as soon as possible, consistent with the notice requirements of section 204D.22, subdivision 3(The county auditor of a county in which a special election is to be held shall direct the clerk of each municipality in which the election is to be held to post a notice of the special primary and special election at least seven days before the special primary and at least 14 days before the special election in the manner provided in sections 204B.33 and 204B.34.), but in no event more than 35 days after the issuance of the writ. A special election must not be held during the four days before or the four days after a holiday as defined in section 645.44, subdivision 5 (Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday(2/19/18), the third Monday in February).”

Notice that the statute says the special election shall be held as soon as possible. It doesn’t say that it should be held as soon as possible. The instant that Fischbach resigns as senator, Gov. Dayton is obligated to call a special election “as soon as possible.”

At that point, the Senate will have 33 Republicans and 32 Democrats. It will stay that way until the special election is held to replace Sen. Schoen in the Senate. If Karla Bigham wins, the Senate is tied with 33 Republicans and 33 Democrats. It’s worth noting that this is the best the DFL can hope for. Things would get much worse for the DFL if Denny McNamara wins. That would give Republicans a 34-32 majority. When the special election is held to replace Sen. Fischbach, Republicans will win that seat handily. At that point, Republicans would either have a 35-32 majority or a 34-33 majority.

Either way, Republicans would have a majority going into the start of the 2018 session. At that point, Republicans could elect any DFL senator to be the President of the Senate. Presumably, Republicans could elect the most vulnerable DFL senator as the President of the Senate. At that point, the DFL wouldn’t have a say in the matter. There’s nothing to prevent Republicans from naming someone like Matt Little to be the President of the Senate. That means Little would assume the responsibility of being Gov. Dayton’s lieutenant governor. Remember that this used to be Dave Thompson’s seat. I’d think that’d give Republicans a fantastic opportunity of flipping that seat.

The DFL is intent on flipping the Senate from a Republican majority to a DFL majority. They’ve made that perfectly clear. Why shouldn’t Republicans use this opportunity to their political advantage? That was the DFL’s intent. If Republicans beat the DFL at their own game, that’s the DFL’s fault.

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