Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category
When former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe announced that he was running to succeed Bob McDonnell as governor, he brought tons of political baggage with him:
Turn over any green-energy rock, and wiggling underneath will be the usual creepy mix of political favoritism and taxpayer-funded handouts. Add to this the Clintons, Mississippi and a murky visa program, and you’ve got a particularly ripe political embarrassment for Terry McAuliffe.
That’s just the tip of McAuliffe’s political difficulties. This information will hurt McAuliffe:
Among the first questions he was asked was why, as a proud “Virginia” businessman, he’d located his business in Mississippi. Scrambling, Mr. McAuliffe stated that he had wanted to bring his jobs home but the Virginia Economic Development Partnership “didn’t want to bid on” GreenTech—whereas Mississippi had offered incentives. He went so far as to criticize the state for not going after manufacturing jobs like his, suggesting he’d change that.
After an investigation, media outlets discovered that Virginia never received enough information from GreenTech to proceed. The Associated Press reported that the state agency worried that “GreenTech lacked brand recognition; had not demonstrated vehicle performance; had no federal safety and fuel-economy certification; no emissions approval…no distribution network” and (ouch) “no demonstrated automotive industry experience within the executive management team.” Rather than respond to these concerns, GreenTech moved on with Mississippi (which perhaps wasn’t asking annoying questions).
As disturbing as that information is, that still isn’t the worst news for McAuliffe. This is:
Virginia was particularly alarmed by GreenTech’s use of an opaque visa program, called EB-5, to fund itself. Part of a 1990 immigration law, EB-5 lets foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in a U.S. company receive green cards. A federal immigration agency approves “regional centers” that administer the program.
While these centers can be run by local government, GreenTech proposed running a Virginia center itself. One official at the Virginia development agency wrote to colleagues that she couldn’t view Greentech’s EB-5 program as “anything other than a visa-for-sale scheme with potential national security implications.”
Touting GreenTech as proof of McAuliffe’s capitalist roots wasn’t smart. Having it exposed that he might be exploiting an immigration statute makes his uphill climb a stiffer challenge than first thought. Explaining away why this “Virginia businessman” opened his business in Mississippi is like loading another sack of bricks onto McAuliffe’s back. Last but not least, finding out that McAuliffe’s company isn’t manufacturing cars or creating jobs is a dagger through McAuliffe’s political campaign.
Get out the butter, folks, because McAuliffe’s campaign is toast.
Last fall, a dispute arose about judicial elections. Specifically, the dispute arose over whether judicial district conventions had the authority to endorse candidates for appellate court judgeships. This post won’t deal with that matter, mostly because a hearing was held in February, 2013 at the State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings on the matter. Additionally, this post won’t defend anyone’s actions.
Rather, I’ll focus this post on settling disputes between Republican Party activists. This past Saturday, a resolution was approved at the CD-8 convention. Here’s the text of that resolution:
Minnesota 8th Congressional District Republican Party of Minnesota
Annual convention, Saturday, March 16, 2013
GOP insider Harry Niska filed a legal action against GOP Judicial Chair Bonn Clayton over differences of opinion in the interpretation of the MNGOP Constitution and;
This legal action was heard February 7 & 8, 2013 and;
Complainant Niska was represented in court by recent MNGOP employee David Asp before a three-judge panel convened by the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and;
Whereas differences of opinion within the party are best resolved first within the party and;
There is reasonable evidence that MNGOP, Chair, Pat Shortridge, at minimum approved of this extraordinary legal action;
Now, therefore be it resolved that we strongly condemn the GOP activist complainant, appropriate MNGOP leadership and the Executive Committee for enabling the legal action against Judicial District Chair Bonn Clayton instead of resolving the matter within the State Central Committee.
According to the text document, the document was “prepared and paid for by Terry Stone on his own behalf and not done by any candidate or candidate committee.” When I contacted Mr. Stone, he stated something emphatically to me. Here’s what he said:
This resolution isn’t about who is right or who is wrong; it’s about the dignity of being a Republican activist and the correct way to resolve intramural disputes. This complaint was filed November 7, 2012. Any alleged harm was already resolved by the election. There was no timeliness and the issues should and could have been resolved by the Central Committee at its next meeting.— Terry Stone
Before anyone thinks this is a split within the RPM that can’t be repaired, they’d best think again. I know both Mr. Stone and Mr. Niska. They obviously have different points of view but their commitment to defeating DFL legislators and congresscritters is indisputable.
It’s apparent to me that Mr. Stone simply thinks this issue should’ve gotten resolved at a State Central Committee meeting, not at the Office of Administrative Hearings.
In my humble opinion, I think that’s the right way to resolve disputes between committed party activists. If, after that attempt is made, things still aren’t resolved, a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings is still available as an option.
This Politico article says that Chris Christie hurt his chances at becoming the GOP presidential nominee in 2016 because he’s expanding Medicaid. That’s being charitable.
New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s reversal on accepting the Obamacare Medicaid expansion was a political no-brainer for a politician running for re-election in a blue state this year.
But the move has uncertain implications for Christie as a potential 2016 contender who is already taking darts from some conservatives over his bona fides.
Actually, this is exceptionally straightforward. Gov. Christie won’t be the GOP presidential nominee. Ever. The GOP rank-and-file, like the nation, despises the Affordable Care Act. Expanding Medicaid won’t make health care more affordable. It’s making health care more expensive. While there’s little doubt that Gov. Christie will cruise to re-election as governor of New Jersey, there’s no doubt that his thumbing his nose, again, at the GOP base on one of its core values has essentially ended his presidential aspirations.
Dandy Don Meredith put it best:
Yesterday, former Rep. Keith Downey announced that he is a candidate to replace Pat Shortridge as chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota:
A former state representative says he wants to be the next head of the Minnesota Republican Party.
Edina’s Keith Downey told fellow Republicans on Wednesday that he’ll vie for the party chairmanship in early April. Current chairman Pat Shortridge is stepping down.
Downey was a two-term House member before he tried to move up to the state Senate. He lost that race in November. Downey says the Republican Party is due for a turnaround with a critical 2014 election cycle looming. The governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat and many more key offices are on the line.
First, this isn’t an endorsement, mostly because I won’t have a vote on RPM Chair. This post is merely this activist’s opinion on what Rep. Downey brings to the table.
It’s bound to sound corny that Rep. Downey is one of the great thinkers of the GOP and the conservative movement. If Rep. Downey is elected to be the next chairman of the Minnesota GOP, the GOP’s message discipline would significantly improve. Keith Downey is a great conservative who knows why he believes what he believes.
In his letter to state convention delegates, Rep. Downey said something that’s sure to resonate with the activists:
As a businessman and recent State Representative, I hope to earn your confidence with the right combination of principle, skill and experience, and a concrete plan for the gains we need to make.
As a legislator, Rep. Downey earned a reputation as a reformer and strong fiscal conservative. I suspect he’ll have a plan to transform state GOP operations. That’s been his history as a legislator.
Good luck to all the candidates. This is a crucial time in Minnesota’s history. If the GOP doesn’t turn this state around soon, the DFL will significantly damage Minnesota for a decade or more.
It was 8 years ago today that I started blogging. Rathergate caught my attention but it was the freedom movement that inspired me. The first big subject that I wrote about was the Orange Revolution in the Ukraine. That’s how I first learned of a certain economics professor at St. Cloud State. I’ve been privileged to call King Banaian my friend since then.
I wrote about the massive protests that gathered in Independance Square, the Purple Thumb elections in Iraq, followed by Hezbollah’s assassination of Rafiq Harriri in Lebanon. Harriri’s assassination triggered the Cedar Revolution.
It’s been fun writing about the TEA Party movement. I’ve even helped put a couple of them together with the help of Leo Pusateri, another important conservative ally in the fight against progressives. As helpful as Leo has been in the fight for conservative principles, I appreciate his friendship the most.
I’ve learned from some outstanding bloggers along the way. Captain Ed’s (that’s what he was called in his pre-HotAir days) posts from CQ were awesome reads. When Ed published his lengthy posts, the thing that stood out for me was the depth and detail of his research.
Mitch Berg’s literary skills still continue to amaze me. Mitch isn’t just a talented writer, either. He’s a topnotch reporter, too.
Early in my blogging career, I learned about the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. Today, many MOBsters are friends of mine. If you aren’t a MOBster, you should join ASAP. The comradery is great.
Finally, I’d like to thank the people who faithfully read my blog. Over the years, I’ve been amazed at who reads my blog. Sitemeter statistics have shown lots of state legislators read LFR. That’s why I’m proud to say LFR has had a serious impact on the policy debates in St. Paul.
With the DFL now in control, temporarily, of the Legislature and with a DFL governor, I pledge to step up my reporting.
The FBI has started an investigation into a voting scam in Florida:
TAMPA, Fla. – The FBI is joining an investigation into bogus letters sent to many Florida residents, including the Republican Party of Florida chairman, that raise questions about their eligibility to vote.
FBI officials said Wednesday the FBI will focus on letters received by voters in 18 counties in central and southwest Florida.
According to the Republican Party of Florida, Chairman Lenny Curry received one of the fake letters on Tuesday.
“This type of activity is not only disgusting, it is criminal, and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Curry said in a release. “I call on Florida Democrats to join me in condemning this false letter writing campaign that appears to target likely voters in Florida, and help RPOF get the word out about this false campaign.”
Local 6 first reported the bogus letter scam on Monday, which claim to be from county supervisors of elections but are postmarked from Seattle. They raise questions about the voter’s citizenship and appear intended to intimidate people.
The FBI says voters who get a letter should contact their supervisor of elections and then keep the letter for the FBI.
Patrick Moran, the son of Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, needs a lawyer:
At the time this video was taken, Patrick Moran served as the field director for his dad’s campaign. He’s since resigned. In the video, Patrick Moran explained to a Project Veritas investigator how to commit voter fraud in Virginia.
There was a legislative debate in Duluth Thursday night. A loyal reader of this blog called me afterwards so I asked what the most newsworthy thing from the night was. My friend first told me that the League of Women Voters were one of the sponsors of the debate. Then my friend said that the thing conservatives were most talking about after the event was the lengths to which the LWV-MN went to prevent audience participation.
According to my friend’s report, the audience was instructed not to applaud or boo any of the candidates. The LWV-MN then made it clear that any such ‘participation’ would earn the ‘participant’ a police escort out of the debate hall.
The threat was credible because 2 uniformed law enforcement officers were stationed inside the debate hall.
This is appalling behavior for the LWV-MN, though I can’t say that it’s surprising. It isn’t, unfortunately. The reality is that the LWV-MN has been drifting further left each year. They aren’t the organization they once were.
The LWV-MN of 20 years ago would’ve insisted on voter participation. The St. Cloud chapter of the LWV invited questions about photo ID when they held a townhall meeting in St. Cloud last March. I know because I asked one of the questions.
What caused the LWV-MN to change their practices this dramatically? Why did they go from accepting written questions from the audience in March to threatening removal of people if they uttered a peep in September?
What caused this once-proud organization to turn into an organization that appreciates censorship?
It’s time the LWV-MN got called out for turning into just another organization of left-leaning political hacks. Citizen participation should be welcomed, not frowned upon. Censorship should be criticized, not tolerated.
It’s worth noting that a ‘civility organization’ handed out sheets on what would or wouldn’t be allowed.
It’s a sad day in Minnesota when citizen participation is denied but censorship is viewed as a necessity.
Opponents of Minnesota’s proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment gave away their secret for estimating the cost of elections in a Photo ID environment:
Ritchie has largely relied on a 2011 estimate state Minnesota Management and Budget officials prepared for a voter ID bill that Gov. Dayton later vetoed. It showed roughly $32 million in start up costs for the state, with another $24 million for counties.
Based on H.F. 2738′s language, it’s impossible for Ritchie to know what the cost is. Ritchie’s ‘statistics’ (I use that term exceptionally loosely) are, at best, wild estimates.
In testimony to the House Government Finance Committee, Ritchie admitted that there are probably less than 100,000 people who would be eligible to vote who don’t have state-issued photographic identification. If that’s accurate, then the cost of providing free photographic identification would be less than $2,000,000 initially.
Educating citizens of the requirements of the new constitutional amendment wouldn’t cost the millions of dollars opponents of Photo ID claim it would. Most of the education could be done by civic groups for little or nothing.
The cost to counties allegation is fiction. The only potential cost to a county would be from DFL activists filing lawsuits claiming a voter was disenfranchised because of the Photo ID requirement. That type of lawsuit would likely get tossed because the litigants would have to prove that they couldn’t obtain photographic identification.
Ritchie and other opponents of the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment don’t have many options left in defeating it. That’s why they’re resorting to scare tactics, dishonest statistics and threats of frivolous lawsuits.
Their options are pretty pathetic at this point.
President Obama’s words are meaningless, especially when it comes to Israel. Last week, President Obama said that he’d “stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.” This week, when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu asked to meet with President Obama, President Obama chose to appear on David Letterman’s show instead:
The president will chat with the “Late Show” host during a trip to New York City next week, according to the National Journal. Letterman’s nightly monologues mostly spare the president from satirical ribbing, saving his most cutting remarks for the Romneys…or even former President George W. Bush.
The news comes on the same day Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he couldn’t meet with him due to a scheduling conflict.
Nothing says standing with Israel like sitting down with David Letterman for a chat.
The fact that President Obama hasn’t announced that he’s rescheduling his Letterman interview to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks louder than 100 of President Obama’s speeches.
President Obama hasn’t been faithful in dealing with America’s best ally in the Middle East. Instead, he’s tried re-establishing a diplomatic relationship with Iran and Syria while throwing Israel under the proverbial bus.
After the Democrats’ platform difficulties with regards to Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Right of Return, don’t be surprised if Jewish voters don’t reward him this November.
Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer’s op-ed in the Princeton Union-Eagle is a devastating criticism of Secretary Ritchie’s scare tactics in opposition to the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment.
This criticism is particularly sharp:
He’s said that members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas would be unable to vote if the Voter ID amendment passes. As the chief election officer of the state, Ritchie should be familiar with the MOVE Act and UOCAVA ballots under federal law and thus should be fully aware that military absentee ballots are not affected by state laws. Not even an amendment to the State Constitution can hinder military balloting.
If Mr. Ritchie isn’t aware of these laws, then he isn’t qualified to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State. If Mr. Ritchie is aware of these laws but lies to scare people in an attempt to get them to vote no on the proposed constitutional amendment, he’s too corrupt to be Minnesota’s Secretary of State.
Secretary Ritchie is ignoring the word “substantially” and argues that eligibility verification cannot be accomplished on election day in the polling place. He claims that all 500,000 same-day registrants in Minnesota would therefore have to cast a provisional ballot to be counted later.
Ritchie’s intellectual dishonesty is disgusting. It isn’t reasonable to assume that everyone using EDR doesn’t have a drivers license or state-issued ID card. Still, that’s precisely what Mr. Ritchie does with this thinking.
It’s important to ask Mr. Ritchie why he’d make that assumption. I suspect he doesn’t really think that but that he’s just employing that as a scare tactic. Mr. Ritchie knows that anyone who uses EDR will cast a regular ballot if they present a state-issued Photo ID.
Mr. Ritchie can’t admit that, though, because that’d destroy another of his chanting points. If he admits to the truth, his arguments crumple.
His office claims that almost one million voters would have problems voting. This defies logic.
There are approximately 4,000,000 registered voters in Minnesota. In making that type of claim, Mr. Ritchie’s office is claiming that one-fourth of Minnesota’s registered voters don’t have a state-issued form of photgraphic identification.
It’s time for Mr. Ritchie to stop with the fearmongering. It’s time he started telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
It’s time people recognized Mr. Ritchie’s corruption.