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To the surprise of nobody, the St. Cloud Times in endorsing Joe Perske and Al Franken. What’s surprising is that the Times admits they’re biased:

Central Minnesotans should back Sartell Mayor Joe Perske in the 6th District House race and incumbent Al Franken in the race for U.S. Senate.

Republicans will immediately call “liberal bias” with the endorsement of two Democrats. The truth, though, in both these races is no matter which major-party candidate wins, the victor is going to seldom cross party lines and compromise on major issues.

Before anyone gets their undies in a bunch, it’s clear that the St. Cloud Times thinks they’re fairly impartial. The truth is that they aren’t impartial. Here’s proof:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

The soft-spoken, blue-collar-leaning Perske is a better choice than Republican Tom Emmer. While Emmer is the likely favorite because of the district’s conservative demographics, voters need to seriously consider whether his political persona will help the district. He’s similarly conservative to Bachmann and he is known as a political bully, which makes his House strategy is “building relationships” a tough sell.

The Times’ logic behind endorsing Joe Perske is that he’s a “blue-collar-leaning” kind of guy and that Tom Emmer’s a “political bully.” That’s stunning in its lack of seriousness. There’s this though:

Voters need to elect the person who can begin to restore district credibility while improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.

I won’t insist that the Sixth District’s credibility is untattered. That said, the Times Editorial Board’s animosity towards Michele Bachmann is extensive and well documented. Another thing I’ll say is that it isn’t just about “improving the return district residents get on the tax dollars they send to Washington.” It’s about whose policies will strengthen central Minnesota’s economy and Minnesota’s economy.

One of the things Tom Emmer will jump right into is cutting the federal government’s wasteful spending. He’s spoken frequently about his admiration of Sen. Tom Coborn, the man who put together a series of videos on sequestration.

Franken

In not endorsing Al Franken in 2008, this board cited Independence candidate Dean Barkley as being most in touch with local, middle-class voters. Franken objected immediately and vowed to show it. In six years, and in a highly polarized Capitol, he has, and he deserves re-election.

Again, noting neither he nor Republican challenger Mike McFadden will stray far from their respective party’s line, Franken still stood up for Main Street over Wall Street, for a reasonable farm bill, and for better matching people with employers through education.

That’s insulting. The Times didn’t mention the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto letters that oppressed his president’s political opponents while ignoring the Bill of Rights protections of citizens. The Times ignored the fact that Sen. Franken signed onto a letter to the IRS directing the IRS to apply additional scrutiny to TEA Party organizations.

As for Sen. Franken staying in touch with Main Street, he’d pass with flying colors if Main Street was defined as a union hall. If staying in touch with Main Street is defined by holding town halls in profitable businesses, Franken would get a D-.

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Despite what Sartell Mayor Joe Perske told WCCO’s Esme Murphy, he’s still fighting a steep uphill fight:

Perske said that he thinks, while the district may be heavily favored toward Republican candidates, “people want a change.”

Perkse added that he believes “people are sick of the polarizing politics that we’ve seen with Michele Bachmann, and I think we’re just going to get more of the same with Tom Emmer. If you take a look at his past record of what he’s done in the state legislature, and you take a look at the things he’s said, (he’s) very similar in being on that right side with the Tea Party.”

First, it’s clear that Perske’s only hope of getting elected is in a) turning Tom Emmer into the biggest boogeyman this side of the Koch Brothers and b) getting voters to ignore what’s important to them.

Perske needs three other things to happen to win. He needs to have an instant name ID bomb to go off in the Sixth so people south of St. Cloud know who he is. At the moment, his name ID in Andover, Annandale, Anoka, Becker, Big Lake, Clear Lake and Clearwater is on a par with my name ID in those cities.

I’m pretty certain my name ID is virtually non-existent in those cities. Welcome to the club, Joe.

Another thing Perske needs is a mass cash infusion so he can at least run enough ads so people in Big Lake and Clearwater know who he is. (Perske should forget about becoming known in the south Metro part of the district.)

Finally, to be competitive, Perske needs the Sixth to become much more moderate between now and election day. Since that ain’t happening, Perske should accept the fact that he’s gonna get beaten like a drum.

Emmer’s team is working hard. They’re showing up at all the right events. They’re having discussions with all the right people. They’ve got a great GOTV operation.

Most importantly, Emmer’s team has something that Perske doesn’t have. Specifically, they’ve got a candidate who’s a great fit for the Sixth.

In 2010, Tarryl Clark had a well-financed campaign. Michele beat her by 13 points. This year, Perske is woefully underfunded in a year that’s likely to be another good year for the MNGOP.

The likely outcome is Emmer beating Perske like a drum.

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This LTE is just another helping of DFL gibberish:

Joe Perske, who is a candidate for the 6th Congressional District, is the kind of person we need to represent us in Washington.

Joe has worked in local politics for the past 10 years and has advocated diligently for workers and families in this area. He has an incredible gift of being able to relate to people from all walks of life. He has the integrity we are lacking in Washington today.

Recently he was endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education for his positions and record on issues of importance to workers and their families. The endorsement is based on his steadfast support of working families.

The notion that a DFL congressional candidate getting endorsed by the AFL-CIO isn’t news. Based on their list of endorsees, if you had a D behind your name, you were endorsed.

Simply put, Perske is just another tax-raising liberal. His history is littered with raising propert taxes and spending money foolishly.

In 2010, I wrote that Tarryl faced an uphill climb against Michele Bachmann. Tarryl lost by 13 points, the biggest winning margin in Michele’s congressional career. If Republicans work hard this year, the DFL will look at the Michele vs. Tarryl as the good old days.

Tom Emmer is a great fit for the district. He’s fiscally conservative, which is important. Most importantly, he’s a reform-minded conservative.

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Tom Emmer just sent out this statement on his primary victory:

Tom Emmer Statement on Primary Results
Thank you for the great support that I have received from the Sixth Congressional District to be your Republican candidate in this year’s General Election.

Today marks another benchmark in the process and together, we are going to run hard and keep moving forward to another victory – this time in November!

Jacquie and I announced my candidacy for Congress well over a year ago and we knew that we had to be committed to gaining significant support for every milestone in the election process. We knew we would have to work for every vote, one handshake at a time.

Since I was endorsed by Republicans this April, I’ve enjoyed the time getting to know more people in a district that strongly believes in freedom and prosperity. As I look towards beginning the next phase of our campaign, there are no shortcuts to putting the time in with the residents of the Sixth District. I’m eager to continue to hear from citizens within the district on how we can improve the dialogue and outcomes in Washington, D.C.

There are just over 80 days until the General Election and I know we will go into the election as a united party. I am truly humbled by the support of voters in the Sixth District and I am very thankful for all of the friends and volunteers that have helped Jacquie and I achieve this important victory in the election process.

Thank you,

I’m voting for Tom Emmer tomorrow. A little part of me will be voting against Rhonda Sivarajah, too. I’ll have lots of reasons for votin Tom Emmer.

Chief among those reasons is something Tom said early in the campaign. At the first Townhall Tuesday meeting he attended, Tom said that he loved Tom Coborn’s Sequester This video series. He said that the Sixth District didn’t need a congressman who said we need to cut federal spending. He said the Sixth District needed a congressman who had a plan to cut federal spending.

Tom has instant credibility on spending restraint. In 2007, Tom was one of 4 legislators who got a perfect score from the Taxpayers League, joining Laura Brod, Mark Buesgens and Mark Olson. Tom was joined by Reps. Brod and Buesgens in 2009, too.

I’m voting for Tom because he’s got a reform agenda, too. He’s also willing to cast a no vote even if it isn’t popular. Tom was one of the few people people who voted against the Next Generation Energy Act, aka the NGEA. That horrific legislation got more than 115 votes in the House.

That leads me to why I’m voting against Rhonda Sivarajah. Last week, I heard one of her radio spots on KNSI. Saying that it repulsed me is understatement. In it, the narrator said that Rhonda was the only candidate with a proven track record of cutting spending. The clear implication was that Tom Emmer wasn’t a fiscal conservative.

I expect that type of BS from Democrats, whose fidelity to the truth is minimal at best. I won’t tolerate it from Republican candidates. That immediately eliminates Ms. Sivarajah from consideration.

I’m also voting be voting against Ms. Sivarajah because she’s proven she can’t raise money. In the summer of 2013, Ms. Sivarajah attended a BPOU fundraiser at Dan and Cathy Jo Severson’s home. While there, she openly said that we needed a candidate who wouldn’t let this be a tight race. Again, the implication was that Tom was a fatally flawed candidate that the DFL candidate could stay competitive with.

First, that’s BS. I’ve given Joe Perske a nickname. It’s ‘Sacrificial Lamb.’ Second, Ms. Sivarajah can’t raise money. In the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, she raised well short of $50,000. Combined. By comparison, Jim Knoblach, who is running for the legislature, has raised almost $60,000.

In the Sixth, it probably isn’t fatal if a Republican doesn’t raise tons of cash. The Sixth is conservative enough to let a qualified candidate win. That being said, why pick a candidate who would let the DFL candidate remain competitive when we have a candidate who will run away with the race?

Finally, Ms. Sivarajah hasn’t shown an ability to get her voters to turn out at the important meetings. They didn’t show up for the precinct caucuses. That’s when she lost the Straw Poll by 50 points. They certainly didn’t show up at the CD-6 Convention, where she got trounced again, this time by 52 points. If she loses tomorrow night by 40 points, it will represent her best showing of the cycle. Losing by 40 points shouldn’t be the high point of a campaign.

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This afternoon, I got this email from the Sivarajah for Congress campaign:

Friends,

I am honored to have received an AQ rating from the National Rifle Association. An AQ rating as explained on the NRA website means the following:

“A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.”

I look forward to the opportunity to prove my commitment to our 2nd Amendment rights with my vote in the United States Congress.

The highest grade a candidate can receive from the NRA is an A+. It will be my personal goal to be “a legislator with not only an excellent voting record on all critical NRA issues, but who has also made a vigorous effort to promote and defend the Second Amendment.”

My message to Ms. Sivarajah is simple. Talk is cheap. Anyone can fill in the right answers on a questionnaire. Here’s what matters:

U.S. House of Representatives District 6 Republican Primary

Tom Emmer (R) Grade: A
Status: Candidate

Rhonda Sivarajah (R) Grade: AQ
Status: Candidate

It’s nice that Ms. Sivarajah got a nice grade but the NRA endorsed Tom Emmer. Here’s what the grades mean:

A: Solidly pro-gun candidate. A candidate who has supported NRA positions on key votes in elective office or a candidate with a demonstrated record of support on Second Amendment issues.

AQ A pro-gun candidate whose rating is based solely on the candidate’s responses to the NRA-PVF Candidate Questionnaire and who does not have a voting record on Second Amendment issues.

In the Sixth District, we insist that our candidates walk the walk on the Second Amendment. Just talking the talk isn’t good enough. Tom Emmer’s consistently walked the walk. Thus far, Rhonda Sivarajah has only talked the talk.

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Michael Brodkorb’s post about Rhonda Sivarajah’s attempt to attack Tom Emmer’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives is quite revealing. First, here’s what Brodkorb wrote about Sivarajah’s campaign:

Sivarajah has rebooted her campaign for Congress since losing the Republican Party’s endorsement in the 6th Congressional District to Emmer in April. In the last few weeks, Sivarajah has hired Patrick Davis as the campaign’s general consultant, released a new campaign website, been more aggressive on social media and also in contrasting her positions with Emmer.

This attack will fail because it’s apparent that it’s an act of desperation.

Even if Tom Emmer was connected to NPV, it’s irrelevant because Congress will never bring this subject up. Never. NPV is something that state legislatures would have to deal with.

Apparently, Sivarajah and Krinkie are attempting to say that Emmer’s involvement with NPV is proof that he isn’t a real conservative who will fight for lower taxes, pro-growth policies, regulatory reform and repealing Obamacare. If that’s their contention, then they’ve lost what little is left of their credibility.

Polling released from Emmer’s campaign showed Emmer maintaining a big lead over Sivarajah in the upcoming primary election.

This primary is essentially over. If they do exceptionally well, the combined votes for Sivarajah and Krinkie would allow one of those candidates to lose by 25 points or more.

According to the poll, which is extremely credible, Emmer’s name ID within the district is 94%, with 71% of likely voters having a positive image of him. Those statistics translate into the reality that Sivarajah is getting hit with hurricane-force headwinds. They translate into an overwhelming defeat.

At the CD-6 Convention, the rationale spread by the Sivarajah campaign was that a) attendance was low for the caucuses and b) we need to grow the Republican Party.

I agree that attendance was low for the precinct caucuses. I agree that growing the MNGOP is a high priority. It’s just that desperately attacking the endorsed candidate doesn’t grow the party. It’s important to make a distinction, though.

It’s one thing to have a spirited debate on the issues the candidates will have to deal with. It’s quite another to just criticize candidates in a fit of irritation and resentment.

If Sivarajah wanted to make sure NPV doesn’t happen in Minnesota, she should run for the legislature, where she might have a chance at winning. If she’s just using NPV to attack Emmer, it’s too inconsequential to have an impact. If there’s anything that’s known about Tom Emmer’s supporters, it’s that there’s lots of them and that they’re exceptionally loyal to him.

If Mrs. Sivarajah wants to continue her campaign, that’s her right. I’m just saying she’ll have to spend tons of money to lose badly. If that’s what she wants, that’s her choice.

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Based on Mark Sommerhauser’s article, it sounds like Rhonda Sivarajah and Phil Krinkie are moving into the ‘sore loser’ category, with Sivarajah sounding particularly bitter:

And Sivarajah didn’t pull punches last week in her campaign’s response to the Emmer poll.

“The state of Minnesota did not want Tom Emmer as their Governor, the GOP party faithful did not want Tom Emmer to represent them at the Republican National Committee, and as voters in the 6th District become more intimate with Emmer’s extremely questionable positions on important issues they will not want him as their congressman either,” the Sivarajah campaign said.

Talk about a sore loser. Wow. First, the Sixth District loved Tom Emmer for governor. Second, the “GOP party faithful” picked Jeff Johnson over Tom Emmer. That’s hardly a stinging rejection. Third, saying that voters will reject him as they get to know him more is purely projection. Actually, I think it’s more wishful thinking than anything.

I’ve met Ms. Sivarajah several times. She comes across as a bitter person. Perhaps that’s why contributors haven’t contributed to her campaign. Perhaps they haven’t contributed to her because they’ve picked Tom Emmer over her. If Sivarajah continues this type of bitter campaigning, she’ll burn her bridges for a future run in the Sixth.

Phil Krinkie, meanwhile, sounds delusional and ill-informed:

Krinkie said this week he likely won’t decide what route to take until after the Republican state convention on May 29-31. At that point, he said it will be clearer which Republican statewide candidates will take their campaigns to a primary — which could influence how many GOP voters show up for an August primary.

Krinkie suggested Bachmann’s endorsement of Emmer could carry a backlash in a 6th District general election. Bachmann barely won re-election in the 6th District in 2012.

“If you ran a campaign as a third-party candidate connecting Mr. Emmer to the incumbent congresswoman,” Krinkie said, “that might have a very interesting outcome.”

First, Krinkie is grasping at straws when he says there might be a general election backlash against Emmer because Michele Bachmann endorsed him at the CD-6 convention. I don’t think even Phil thinks that. Apparently, Phil hasn’t figured it out that the turnout model in 2014 will be dramatically different than the one in 2012.

Second, Krinkie hasn’t figured it out that he’s yesterday’s news. Last week, he was dropped from the Taxpayers League Board of Directors.

It isn’t like Sivarajah and Krinkie had lots of support at the precinct caucus Straw Poll:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

Amazingly, that was the high point of their support in the Sixth District:

The poll of 300 likely Republican primary voters shows Emmer getting 73 percent of the vote in a primary, with Sivarajah getting 5 percent and Krinkie getting 4 percent.

Sivarajah and Krinkie have questioned the poll’s validity. That’s their right but it’s foolish. As I showed before, they started off poorly. Then they didn’t catch fire. That’s before talking about Sivarajah’s fundraising:

Yet after raising a mere $4,266.77 from donors in the first three months of 2014, Sivarajah’s candidacy has its own liabilities, including the question of whether she’ll have the resources to get her message out.

What’s interesting is that Sivarajah raised less than $20,000 in Q4, 2013. A congressional candidate that raises less than $25,000 in 6 months isn’t a viable candidate. They’re just a sore loser.

I’ve volunteered for legislative campaigns that’ve raised more money than that in a single night. I’d say something different if she’d raised $50,000-$60,000 in a quarter. That’s quite a bit less than Emmer but it least it would’ve shown she had some support. The reality is that candidates with terrible fundraising numbers and who can’t reach double digits in support don’t win party primaries. Instead, the likely outcome is that they’ll burn the last of their political bridges in the district.

That’s the likely outcome this time with Ms. Sivarajah and Krinkie.

It’s been a topsy turvy day in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, After reading Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement announcing her intent to run in the GOP primary, I’m left wondering if she hasn’t already admitted she can’t win the primary. Here’s what she said that makes me question her:

“We are told we need to broaden the base of the Republican Party and a primary will help accomplish that,” she observed. “I am eager to take my record of achievement to the voters of Sixth Congressional District which will allow all voters–Republicans, Independents and Conservative Democrats, to have a say in who they think will best represent them.”

There aren’t many conservative Democrats or independents that’ll vote in this August’s GOP primary. Politically speaking, Tom Emmer’s support is a mile wide and a mile deep. They’ve passionately supported him since he ran for governor. Their enthusiasm for him hasn’t dipped since 2010.

I wrote in this post that “activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie” that they enthusiastically support Tom Emmer.

“Voters are hungry for an accomplished conservative candidate,” she said. “My record of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is unmatched by any other candidate in the race. People want results, not rhetoric.”

That’s been Commissioner Sivarajah’s battle cry since getting into the race. It didn’t sell during the precinct caucuses and it didn’t sell during the BPOU conventions. Even Commissioner Sivarajah admitted that Tom Emmer will win a first ballot endorsement victory.

What activists know, however, is that Tom Emmer didn’t have a prayer of cutting taxes because the DFL was the majority party in the Senate. Cutting taxes with a conservative majority is considerably easier than cutting taxes with an intransigent, obstructionist DFL majority in the Senate.

“I don’t fear the voters,” Sivarajah concluded. “People are not swayed by inevitability; I want to earn their vote. I am confident I will do so.”

That last paragraph of Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement makes me question whether she’s serious. She’s an experienced candidate so she knows how to count votes. Commissioner Sivarajah knows she lost the CD-6 Straw Poll by 50 points. Even before Wednesday’s announcement, Commissioner Sivarajah knew she was heading for a first ballot defeat at the CD-6 Convention.

That’s before factoring in her pathetic fundraising totals the last 2 quarters and Emmer’s significant name ID advantage. If independents and Democrats don’t turn out to vote for Sivarajah in historic numbers, Commissioner Sivarajah will lose the primary by 30-35 points. It won’t be that close.

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According to Mark Sommerhauser’s article, Phil Krinkie and Rhonda Sivarajah are taking the gluttons-for-punishment path:

Anoka County Board chair Rhonda Sivarajah will take her campaign to a GOP primary election, she confirmed Wednesday in an interview with the Times.

The 6th District seat is being vacated by Rep. Michele Bachmann, who isn’t seeking a fifth term. Republicans are set to endorse a successor at a convention Saturday in Monticello.

The other 6th District GOP candidate, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, said Wednesday that he won’t attend Saturday’s convention or seek the party’s endorsement. Krinkie also said for the first time that he’s mulling a third-party run for Congress, but said he still sees a Republican primary run as his most likely path forward.

Both Sivarajah and Krinkie have left open the possibility of running in a primary. Only Emmer has said he’ll abide by the GOP endorsement.

Sivarajah finished a distant second in the CD-6 Straw Poll, with Krinkie finishing far behind Sivarajah:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

If Commissioner Sivarajah and Rep. Krinkie want to run in the primary, that’s their option. I just question their judgment. They don’t have a chance of winning. With an August primary, most of the turnout for the primary will be the dedicated activists that showed up for the precinct caucuses on a snowy Tuesday night this past February. These activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie that their political careers are history.

That’s before factoring in Tom Emmer’s 100% name recognition, the fact that he handily carried CD-6 in 2010 when he ran for governor and the fact that he’s got an overwhelming cash-on-hand advantage.

If Krinkie runs as the Independence Party’s endorsed candidate, the backlash against him will be overwhelming. If he runs as a third party candidate, they’ll run him off the board at the TaxPayers League. I’d totally support TPL if they did that.

This statement is telling:

Sivarajah still intends to seek the Republican endorsement Saturday, but said she expects Emmer to garner delegates’ support on the first ballot.

Does Commissioner Sivarajah want to get thumped another time? She lost the straw poll by 50 points. She’s going to lose the endorsement on the first ballot. She’ll get thumped in the primary. That’s a helluva trifecta, though it isn’t one that’ll endear her to the activists.

Somewhere near Monticello, a fat lady is getting ready to sing. If I were a betting man, I’d bet she’ll sing a dirge sometime Saturday morning.

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