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Archive for the ‘Special Elections’ Category

Before getting into this post, let me state without hesitation or equivocation that I won’t defend Roy Moore’s disgusting behavior. Further, I find these women’s stories credible. Finally, I find Judge Moore’s replies to the reporters’ questions to be shifting, defensive and filled with platitudes.

John Kass’s column starts by saying “There is a cost to defending Moore. Don’t kid yourselves that there is no cost to it.” Kass continues, saying “But as long as he fights this, even as more women come out with their accounts of what happened years ago and reports surface about how Moore, in his 30s, trolled shopping malls for teen-age girls, there is the temptation for some in the GOP to defend him.”

Don’t count me as one of Moore’s defenders. I won’t defend the indefensible. Based on the steady stream of credible reports of Moore’s behavior, it isn’t difficult to believe that he’s a pervert attempting to hide behind his faith. It’s a disgusting sight for me, especially as a person of faith.

To his credit, Sean Hannity has issued an ultimatum to Judge Moore. I join with Sean Hannity in this ultimatum:

It’s being charitable to say that Judge Moore’s answers have been inconsistent. Frankly, I think he’s been outright dishonest. Meanwhile, Steve Bannon has defended Judge Moore, hinting that the MSM is trying to destroy a conservative. First, let’s admit that Judge Moore isn’t the first conservative that the MSM has attempted to destroy. Let’s also admit that it’s possible that they have a natural anti-conservative bias and still be honest.

When Judge Moore denied ever knowing the then-16-year-old who accused him of rape, I was skeptical, mostly because she was represented by Gloria Allred. That skepticism was erased, though, when the woman produced a yearbook with Judge Moore’s signature attached to it.

He calls all this a lie, threatens to sue The Washington Post and says he’s the victim of the Democrats and the establishment Republicans. His answers seem incomplete and remarkably thin. He signed his name in a girl’s yearbook? He can’t remember the name of the restaurant where he met one of them, where an alleged assault took place?

If Steve Bannon continues defending the indefensible, that’s his right. It’s also stupid. By defending the indefensible, he’s destroying his credibility and the candidates he’s supporting. In the end, that might be Mr. Bannon’s only gift to Republicans during the 2018 campaign cycle.

Republicans have done the right thing in distancing themselves from Moore. Even if they lose that seat to a Democrat, they’ve still done the right thing. This is one of those times when political considerations just aren’t the most important considerations in a person’s life.

It’s time for Moore and Bannon to exit the stage. That’s because they’re both disgusting people who are indefensible.

I just received an email from Joe Davis, the executive director of the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, thanking me for helping persuade Inge Thulin, the CEO of 3M, to resign from President Trump’s Manufacturing Council. Davis insists that this is a major victory. It isn’t. The average person couldn’t care less about these councils. They’re most interested in whether the economic future looks bright and whether their kids will have jobs when they get out of school. Nonetheless, Thulin tried spinning it in a statement. Thulin said “I joined the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative in January to advocate for policies that align with our values…After careful consideration, I believe the initiative is no longer an effective vehicle for 3M to advance these goals.”

Why should I care if Thulin, or any other CEO for that matter, is offended? Truthfully, it’s painfully obvious that Mr. Thulin is playing a political game to avoid the wrath of liberal activists protesting his company’s products. It’s probably the right thing to do from a financial standpoint but it’s still caving to unprincipled activists. Here’s Thulin’s statement:

If Davis wants to think this is a big victory, that’s fine with me. It isn’t like ABM has had a great election victory in Minnesota recently. In 2014, Republicans got outspent decisively but still flipped the Minnesota House of Representatives. In 2016, Republicans widened their margin in the House and flipped the State Senate. Rumor has it that ABM is thinking about changing their logo to this:

The other logo under consideration is this:

Here’s my statement to Mr. Davis: Pop the cork on that champagne. Celebrate those moral victories. Savor them. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep telling yourself that it’s just a matter of time before people come to their senses.

In the meantime, Republicans will keep winning elections, not just moral victories.

After going O-fer on this year’s special elections, Democrats aren’t in a good mood. Let’s fix that. They’re mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Simply put, they’re in the mood for a lengthy round of circular firing squads.

That’s especially obvious in this article. Early in the article, it says “Many were upset that Democrat Jon Ossoff blunted what was arguably his greatest asset — antipathy toward President Donald Trump — by going relatively easy on the president and avoiding controversy at all cost. Others, however, countered that Ossoff was a fine candidate who was the victim of a party that is too cautious and has lost its ability to connect with voters.”

I’d be lying if I said I thought Ossoff was a good candidate. He isn’t. He tried being something he isn’t. He isn’t a centrist, which is how he tried portraying himself. The ads were right. He’s a Pelosi hardline liberal. It’s just that he couldn’t admit that in GA-06 because he would’ve gotten obliterated if he’d been honest.

The Democratic Party needs to be rebuilt. The proof comes in this paragraph, which says “Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), one of the party’s rising stars, said Democrats have been distracted by the investigation in Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and need to focus more on making a concrete impact on voters’ lives.” Watch this video, then tell me this guy is talented:

It’s apparent that Sen. Murphy is part of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party. He just knows that he can’t admit that and attract the contributions he’d need for a presidential run. This paragraph is definitely true:

Democrats also have an “authenticity” problem, he said, noting, “I think that there are a lot of people who look at the Democratic party and aren’t sure that we aren’t also captive by special interest, and that’s not true.”

Sen. Murphy has an authenticity problem and an honesty problem. When was the last time Democrats sided with blue collar miners over the environmentalists? I can’t remember. President Obama sided with the environmentalists over the pipefitters on the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s that simple.

This headline should frighten Democrats. It says “Jon Ossoff’s Georgia special election loss shows Democrats could use a substantive agenda.” The article wasn’t written by George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Jim Geraghty or Jonah Goldberg. It was written by Matthew Yglesias and published by Vox.

First, Yglesias attempted consoling fellow depressed progressives by saying “To win in 2018, Democrats will have to find opportunities to do better, but it’s certainly an achievable goal. The fact that the district was competitive is a sign that the GOP majority is at risk; the question is simply what can Democrats do to put themselves over the top?”

Next, Yglesias tried telling Democrats a hard truth, saying “One thing they might want to try is developing a substantive policy agenda to run on. They came close this time, and they’ll just need to put forth an attractive package for voters in the 2018 midterms.”

This is a sobering defeat for Chuck Schumer. I’d include Nancy Pelosi but I’m certain she’s too stubborn to learn from this defeat. From a structural standpoint, Democrats have rejected blue collar workers. The other thing is that Democrats still think health care is a winning issue:

With the political world, and the president himself, transfixed by multiple Russia investigations hanging over the White House, Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that movement on Republican legislative priorities will fly under voters’ radar.

This week, Democrats are adjusting their focus — and, they hope, that of the public — toward GOP-led efforts in the Senate to repeal Obamacare, an issue party strategists anticipate to have more sway in next year’s midterm elections than myriad investigations. As Senate Republicans aim for a vote on yet-to-be-finalized legislation by the July 4 recess, Democrats are employing tactics to slow their progress and spotlight the process.

This comes ahead of a highly anticipated special election Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District that Democrats hope will serve as a referendum on President Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress.

Then there’s this:

“I think it’s time we start focusing almost all of our attention on health care. This is a red alert moment, this bill is speeding to the floor,” Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy told RCP last week. “Bob Mueller is going to continue the Russia investigation, and I’d be advising Democrats for the time being to put a little pause on the high-profile Russia hearings and focus all our energies on a health care bill that could ultimately ruin our nation’s health care economy.”

Health care isn’t the winning issue that Democrats think it is. The truth is that each time Democrats try hitting Republicans on the American Health Care Act, aka AHCA, Republicans can hit Democrats with their vote for the ACA, then finish them off by tying Democrats to Bernie Sanders/single-payer health care.

The Democrats’ obstruction tactics will hurt them. Eventually, Resistance will die or Democrats will pay a heavy electoral price in November, 2018. Right now, Democrats are only against Trump. They’ve repeatedly shown that they aren’t for the American people. That won’t work.

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Jerry Relph won election to the Minnesota Senate on November 8 by defeating DFL candidate Dan Wolgamott by 148 votes. Because he won by that narrow margin, Senator-Elect Relph had to wait until the recount was finished to celebrate. That recount was finished yesterday. Predictably, Relph maintained his lead, though the margin of victory got a little smaller.

According to the article, “Wolgamott picked up six votes in Stearns County, while Relph lost one. Both candidates’ totals in Benton and Sherburne counties remained the same.” The bottom line is that Senator-Elect Relph’s margin of victory is now at 141 votes after starting the recount at 148 votes.

Thanks to this recount and another recount victory in SD-44, Republicans will hold a 34-33 majority in the Minnesota Senate. House Republicans are waiting for the outcome of a special election in HD-32B on Feb. 14 to find out how big their majority will be. Right now, there are 76 Republicans in the House. It’s expected that Ann Neu, the Republican running in that race, will win that election.

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Republicans are rejoicing at the fact that they flipped the House seat that Ann Lenczewski held the past 16 years. She’s leaving the legislature to be a lobbyist in Washington, DC.

According to Rachel Stassen-Berger, “Republican Chad Anderson will take the Minnesota House seat long held by DFL Rep. Ann Lenczewski. With all the precincts tallied in the special election to replace Lenczewski, Anderson netted 51 percent to DFL Bloomington City Council member Andrew Carlson’s 49 percent. The win gives Republicans, who are already in the House majority, an extra legislative vote this year and a key boost of confidence before November’s election, when the entire Legislature is up for election.”

Lenczewski never met a tax increase she didn’t like. As chair of the House Taxes Committee, Rep. Lenczewski even tried eliminating the charitable giving and home mortgage interest deductions in 2009. Those proposals were part of her attempt at “tax reform.”

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

Good riddance. Anyone that thinks eliminating the home mortgage interest and charitable giving deductions are “preferential treatment that we can’t anymore” isn’t listening to her constituents. Thankfully, the constituents of HD-50B will now have someone that listens to them.

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.