Archive for the ‘Mark Dayton’ Category
When I read this article, I thought “Dayton’s MnSCU bailout.” Here’s why:
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system would get $17 million, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth would receive $5 million, with both amounts meant to help those schools avoid faculty layoffs.
Moorhead already announced that it’s laying off professors, aka retrenchment. St. Cloud State can’t be far behind because of its financial mismanagement issues and its shrinking enrollment. The other thing I’d take out of this is that this is a quiet admission that the DFL’s tuition freeze was a political ploy.
Freezing tuition sounds great but it isn’t the right policy without MnSCU reform. It also can’t work if the House and Senate Higher Education committees don’t seriously police the universities budgets. I’m not talking about micromanaging the universities. I’m talking about intervening, though, when a university signs an ill-advised contract that’s losing them over $1,000,000 a year. The only thing worse than that is when the president calls the contract a success:
What’s frightening is that losing $50,000 and $150,000 a year under the best of circumstances is considered “the right decision” by that university’s president.
The legislature is spending lots of time this session undoing the damage they did last year. Unfortunately for Minnesota taxpayers, they aren’t undoing the damage that they’ve caused through years of neglect to MnSCU.
Thanks to the mismanagement at Moorhead, Mankato and St. Cloud State that I know of, taxpayers apparently will be bailing those universities out. Apparently, Gov. Dayton isn’t hesitating in spending other people’s money.
There’s nothing structurally sound about MnSCU. The trustees don’t want to protect taxpayers. The presidents don’t seem to embrace fiscally responsible policies. Chancellor Rosenstone won’t intervene in a university’s misconduct until it becomes a political liability to him.
If the Higher Education committees wanted to do something meaningful this session, they’d scrap MnSCU, then commit to regular reviews of the universities’ finances. If Gov. Dayton wanted to do the right thing for once, he should unpropose his MnSCU bailout that taxpayers will have to pay for.
The DFL’s hostility towards businesses has been frequently documented. Tax the Rich became their mantra in 2008. It’s still part of their mantra today. Unfortunately for Minnesotans, Gov. Dayton and the DFL didn’t just ‘tax the rich.’ They dropped a ton of taxes on the middle class and the working poor.
Speaker Thissen officially went on the record at a Minnesota Chamber of Commerce event that the DFL will raise the minimum wage and that it’s likely to be closer to $9.50 per hour than $7.75 per hour:
Tuesday’s Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Session Priorities event may have been full of literature, displays and speeches promoting business interests, but House Speaker Paul Thissen wasn’t shy about telling business leaders that they won’t be getting some of the biggest items on their wish list.
For starters, the highest income tax bracket is not going away, the DFLer from Minneapolis predicted. There will be a minimum wage hike, and that new minimum wage will be closer to the high end than the low end, he said.
“Quite frankly, I think this is the right direction for Minnesota to go. I know that’s going to disappoint a lot of the people in the room, but I think it’s where we should head,” Thissen said at the RiverCentre in St. Paul, where 1,650 tickets were sold to the annual event.
The short-term effect of raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour is that fewer teenagers will find jobs if the minimum wage is raised. In this sluggish economy, employers will have an additional excuse not to hire teenagers for summer jobs.
What’s most disturbing is that Thissen thinks that Democrats think this is the right direction to head in. It indicates that the DFL doesn’t understand what creates prosperity. One of Thissen’s top lieutenants, Rep. Ryan Winkler, repeatedly says that raising the minimum wage doesn’t hurt hiring. He’s both right and wrong. There’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during good times isn’t tragic for businesses. It isn’t helpful but it isn’t catastrophic.
Likewise, there’s sufficient proof that raising the minimum wage during a struggling economy hurts hiring, especially with young people looking for their first job.
Finally, it looks like the warehousing services sales tax and the farm equipment repair sales tax will be repealed. Two weekends ago, SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea tried spinning the repeal of these taxes as DFL tax relief. That’s the most deceitful spin I’ve heard in ages.
The DFL legislature passed a Tax Bill that raised too many taxes. After a lengthy public outcry, they’ve decided that it’s in the Democrats’ political self-interest to repeal their mistake before voters punish them this November. This isn’t about the Democrats realizing that their tax increases will hurt businesses.
It’s important to remember that these taxes were in Gov. Dayton’s initial budget. They were stripped from the Democrats’ Tax Bill thanks to an intense lobbying campaign by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. On the final weekend of last year’s session, the DFL put the tax increases back into the final bill.
Simply put, Democrats thumbed their noses at the Chamber. The DFL only changed directions when they noticed how upset the Chamber was with these tax hikes. Thissen is especially worried because the Senate isn’t up for re-election. That means all of the Chamber’s anger will be directed at House DFL legislators.
That isn’t automatically catastrophic with a statewide candidate, though it can’t help. It’s likely to have the biggest impact in House races where a well-funded challenger can defeat a vulnerable incumbent. That’s why Thissen is rightfully worried.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Tax Increases, Warehouse Services Sales Tax, Farm Equipment Repair Sales Tax, Ryan Winkler, Minimum Wage Increase, DFL, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, Election 2014
After reading this article about MNsure, I’ve got more questions than answers. Here’s what I’m talking about:
With the new projections, the exchange now expects that Minnesotans will purchase about 500,000 months of coverage through the online marketplace this year, and more than 1.1 million months of coverage next year.
Thankfully, Rep. Greg Davids issued a statement that explains things nicely. Here’s the text of Rep. Davids’ statement:
“The numbers released today demonstrate that Governor Dayton dramatically overstated MNsure’s enrollment projections,” said Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston). “MNsure revised revenue projections from the insurance premium tax down 44 percent this year and 31 percent in 2015. As a result of the administration’s wildly inaccurate financial assumptions, MNsure will likely run a significant deficit next year and into the foreseeable future.”
Here’s what MNsure announced today:
The MNsure Board of Directors announced Wednesday that it dramatically reduced enrollment expectations for 2014. The board released a new projection showing that 50,518 households will enroll in individual market plans, and 1,313 will enroll in small group plans through the SHOP exchange. In March 2013, the Dayton Administration estimated that 164,000 would enroll in individual market coverage, and 13,125 would enroll through the SHOP exchange. In October 2013, the board projected individual market enrollment of 102,800, and SHOP enrollment of 13,125.
That’s stunning. The Dayton administration estimated that 164,000 households that had purchased their insurance through the individual market would buy insurance through MNsure. Today, MNsure admitted that that estimate would only be 50,518 households. The Dayton administration’s estimate was off by almost 70%.
The Dayton administration estimated that 13,125 households would purchase insurance through small group plans. MNsure verified today that only 1,313 households will enroll in small group plans via the SHOP exchange. That estimate is off by 90%.
Those e-tab e-tab revenue projections for the Vikings stadium were off by 95%. These projections are getting into that neighborhood. That’s a frightening thought.
The best rule of thumb with this administration is that this administration doesn’t deal with serious projections. Rather, they specialize in Statistical Wild Ass Guesses, aka SWAG.
Predictably, the DFL’s spinmeisters are doing their best to put the happiest face on MNsure possible. This time, ABM and the public employee unions aren’t the only DFL spinmeisters plying their craft. Now they’ve got Scott Leitz, the interim CEO of MNsure, painting rosy pictures. This time, though, it’s time to dispel the myths that the DFL is working feverishly to establish. First, let’s look at what Mr. Leitz said in painting a hopeful picture:
“With regards to the private side, we are running about 30,000 right now, but we do anticipate because of the mandate that people have health insurance coverage by March 31,” Leitz said.
It’s time to see what official MNsure documents say about the health of the MNsure initiative. First, let’s look at how enrollment is going:
According to MNsure’s report, approximately 26,000 people had signed up for qualified health plans, aka QHPs, as of Jan. 4, 2014. As of Feb. 8, 29,493 people had enrolled, an increase of approximately 3,500. That’s an increase of approximately 13.5%. During the same timeframe, enrollments in Medical Assistance increased from approximately 28,000 to 41,591, an increase of over 13,500. That’s an increase of 48%.
That certainly isn’t the ratio MNsure was hoping for.
Here’s more bad news for MNsure and the DFL:
According to that chart, approximately 100 people are signing up for QHPs per day. If enrollments in process continue at this pace, MNsure won’t meet its goal of 69,904 until March…of next year.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst news. This pie chart should frighten Gov. Dayton and every DFL legislator who voted for the exchange legislation:
According to MNsure’s own statistics, only 21% of the enrollees in QHPs are in the 19-34 age cohort. That’s far below the 40% the federal government said is needed to pay for the benefits of less healthy people. Without 40% of the enrollees being young healthies or invincibles, health insurance premiums will spike this fall.
That should frighten Gov. Dayton, President Obama and Democrat legislators and senators to death because there’s nothing President Obama can do to stop insurance companies from announcing big premium spikes before this fall’s election. Those rate spikes will be announced in September or October.
If Democrats think they’re slamming into fierce headwinds now, they ain’t seen nothing yet. When that rate spike happens, employers will dump coverage and pay the penalty. Employees will get hit with the worst sticker shock they’ve ever experienced.
September and October will be difficult months for Democrats. The only month worse for Democrats than those months will be November.
When it comes to MNsure spin, Scott Leitz’s spin ranks right up there. Here’s what he said:
MNsure’s interim CEO Scott Leitz appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“With regards to the private side, we are running about 30,000 right now, but we do anticipate because of the mandate that people have health insurance coverage by March 31,” Leitz said.
Notice that Leitz didn’t say that they anticipate people enrolling because MNsure is selling a great product. Leitz didn’t say that people would buy at the last minute because they’re having a difficult time picking between a bunch of great options at great prices either. What Leitz said in this unguarded moment of truth is that people would buy health insurance because the government pointed a gun at their head.
It remains to be seen if Leitz’s prediction is right. I’m betting it isn’t because President Obama might delay imposing the individual mandate because it’s as unworkable as other parts of the ACA are. If that happens, people will have an additional incentive to not buy insurance. If people choose not to buy health insurance, health insurance prices will skyrocket. Not just that but there’s another important thing that likely will happen if people don’t sign up:
Only about one third signed up for private insurance plans, far below the projected numbers. That’s a problem because starting in 2015, money to fund MNsure is supposed to come from a tax on those private plans. If that trend continues, MNsure will face a substantial deficit and taxpayers may have to bail out the program.
If Minnesotans don’t flock to MNsure, MNsure will run a significant deficit that taxpayers will have to cover. This MNsure report indicates that MNsure won’t reach its targets. According to the report, 41,591 individuals have enrolled in Medical Assistance, 29,943 individuals have enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs), while 21,414 individuals have enrolled in MinnesotaCare. According to the chart on page 4 of the report, approximately 3,500 people have signed up for QHPs this year. That’s approximately 3,500 individuals signing up between 1/4/2014 and 2/8/2014. That’s a little over 100 enrollments per day.
That’s stunning. MNsure needs to go from 29,500 individuals enrolled on 2/8/2014 to having 69,900 individuals enrolled on 4/1/2014. If enrollments continue at a pace of 100 enrollees per day between 2/8/2014 and 4/1/2014, they’ll have 34,600 individuals enrolled on April 1. At that pace, they’d fall short of their goal by 35,300 people.
That’s just part of the terrible news. According to the latest data, only 21% of the people signing up for QHPs are in the 19-34 age group. If that percentage doesn’t double by April 1, next year’s premiums will jump through the proverbial roof. If MNsure falls that far short of their goal, Minnesotans would be totally justified in thinking of that the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, isn’t affordable.
It isn’t surprising that Mr. Leitz’s spin got past Ms. Murphy’s attention. What won’t escape people’s attention if they’re buying health insurance is the fact that it’s expensive.
These days, the environmentalist wing of the DFL, aka the elitist Metrocrats, seem determined to shaft miners. This time, it’s Speaker Thissen that’s giving the Iron Range the shaft:
The Minnesota House speaker will not allow any legislation to pass this year setting an amount PolyMet Mining Corp. should set aside to fix environmental damage done by its proposed copper-nickel mine.
“We are not taking up any legislation related to mining, one way or the other,” House Speaker Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, told Forum News Service on Friday. “The best thing is to let the process work its way out.”
One of Thissen’s committees held a 5½-hour meeting this week dealing with how much money the state should require PolyMet to pay up front to clean up any environment issues once the mine closes. PolyMet itself has said perhaps $200 million should be available at mine closure, with a few million more a year for some time afterward.
When Yvonne Prettner-Solon announced that she’d gotten tired of being ignored by Gov. Dayton, she created an opening on the Dayton ticket. Rather than picking Tony Sertich, Gov. Dayton picked Tina Smith, creating an all-Minneapolis ticket.
This time, Speaker Thissen is saying he won’t lift a finger to help out the Iron Range. It’s worth noting that Thissen is the quintessential Minneapolis Metrocrat. He’s danced the environmentalists’ tune every time they’ve demanded it of him.
At some point, the blue collar workers of the Iron Range will have to ask whether Gov. Dayton, Speaker Thissen and Alida Messinger care about them after they’ve cast their votes for the DFL. Thus far, the Metrocrats have proven that they’re interested in the Iron Range’s support at the polls. What’s worse is that the Metrocrats have shown that they’re totally disinterested in supporting the Iron Range’s pro-mining agenda.
FOOTNOTE: During Friday night’s political roundtable, SEIU Local 26 President Javier Morillo-Alicea said that this isn’t a big deal, that “voters don’t think in terms of geographical balance.” Andy Brehm pounced on that, saying “Spoken like someone from Minneapolis.”
It’s true voters don’t walk into a voting booth and say “I can’t vote for this ticket because it isn’t geographically balanced. That said, there’s tons of reasons for Iron Rangers to abandon the DFL, starting with the indisputable fact that Alida Messinger, the biggest funder of the DFL, hates mining.
Funding the DFL isn’t the only activism Ms. Messinger has engaged in. According to Conservation Minnesota’s website, Ms. Messinger is the Vice-Chair of CM’s Board of Directors. CM is one of the biggest supporters of MiningTruth.org:
Our goal is to provide a resource for Minnesotans to get the facts about sulfide mining and its impacts. Today, there is little awareness and even less understanding about proposed sulfide mining projects in northern Minnesota.
Our state has important choices to make that impact every Minnesotan. The more people who participate in these decisions, the better the outcome. Learn more about sulfide mining.
Founding partners of Mining Truth are Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Conservation Minnesota. See the full list of supporters.
Apparently, Thissen doesn’t want his DFL House caucus voting on anything controversial:
However, Thissen said the DNR should proceed with its studies, adding that he is confident the process will provide enough information that those in charge “can make the right decisions.”
“We do have this process in place,” the speaker said. “It feels like the information is getting out there. I feel this is going to be an extensive process.” Thissen said fellow House Democrats, who hold a majority of the votes, do not appear to be leaning “one way or the other” on the PolyMet issue.
That’s pure BS. The Twin Cities DFL want to kill the PolyMet and Twin Metals projects. The Iron Range DFL want those project built ASAP.
Politics is definitely a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately proposition. Lately Metro DFL legislators have given the Iron Range the shaft. They just didn’t give them the mine to go with it.
Technorati: Paul Thissen, Mark Dayton, Alida Messinger, Tina Smith, Militant Environmentalists, Metrocrats, Yvonne Prettner-Solon, Tony Sertich, Iron Range Democrats, DFL Civil War, Javier Morillo-Alicea, Metrocrats, Election 2014
All of the pundits have hinted that the DFL is one big, happy family. I’m betting that those pundits are stretching things a bit based on this article:
The DFL political establishment on the Range is virtually unanimous in its support, which also has the backing of many in the construction trades, another key DFL constituency. But the controversial project faces stiff and well-coordinated opposition from environmental groups and many DFL lawmakers.
“Clearly this opens up the clash and conflict between those DFLers who value the environment first, versus those who value jobs first. We will all have to answer the question, ‘Whose side are you on?’” Anzelc said. “I think this issue has the potential to divide the DFL convention this summer. The table is set for Democrats running for statewide office to have a real challenging time of it in the ’14 elections.”
Anzelc is partially right. He said this in the context of Gov. Dayton picking Tina Smith as his running mate. This split has been developing since 2009. That’s when Chip Cravaack campaigned hard on the Range and took tons of votes from Jim Oberstar, something that people thought was impossible.
In 2012, ‘normalcy’ was restored when fossilized Rick Nolan defeated Chip. That calm exterior disappeared when Nolan decided to vote for HR761:
Northern Minnesota is known for its great fishing, so perhaps it’s fitting that tracking 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan’s position on a bill that deregulates the mining industry and fast tracks the permitting process for PolyMet is a bit like watching a fish flopping around on a dock: first he’s against it, then he’s for it and now he once again opposes it, this time promising to vote against the legislation if it “comes anywhere near close to becoming law.”
Picking Tina Smith certainly contributed to this division getting exposed but the DFL’s allies have contributed more to this expanding division. Twin Cities Metrocrats are militant environmentalists. They’re passionately opposed to mining. They love harvesting the Iron Range’s votes. They also love stiffing the Iron Range on their highest priorities.
Gov. Dayton’s pick is essentially the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
Marlene Pospeck, a former mayor of Hoyt Lakes and a longtime DFL activist, noted that strong turnout on the Range has been critical to many DFL victories in the past, including Gov. Dayton’s narrow victories in the DFL primary and general election in 2010.
“The people in St. Paul need to be aware that if they want to be re-elected, we on the Iron Range hold one of the keys,” Pospeck said.
Still strong for DFL in ’14?
Like Anzelc, Pospeck believes that PolyMet and, more generally, mining, is the principal source of regional conflict within the party. But she said it is not the only one. Another came in 2012, when Mark Phillips was squeezed out as commissioner of the powerful Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). An Iron Range native who previously worked at the IRRRB, Phillips resigned the post after less than a year on the job. The reasons for Phillips’ departure have never been made entirely clear.
Pospeck isn’t issuing an idle threat on this. I wrote this post about Pospeck’s LTE about taking the Iron Range for granted:
For instance, although mining is the lifeblood of our region and provides benefit for the entire state, those in high office in St. Paul have been almost silent in support of this important industry that provides thousands of jobs on the Iron Range.
So when these DFL candidates come north, seeking our votes and making promises they do not intend to keep, let’s carefully assess whether or not they truly support our concerns and intend to effectively address our issues.
It is no longer enough for them simply to carry the label DFL to win our votes. We Iron Rangers must hold their feet to the fire and demand their support for issues important to the Iron Range in return.
It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for the DFL. They can either support the Iron Range or they can start expecting to get a smaller share of the Iron Range vote.
Technorati: Mark Dayton, Tina Smith, Lieutenant Governor Candidate, Alida Messinger, Metrocrats, Militant Environmentalists, Marlene Pospeck, PolyMet Mining, Iron Rangers, Rick Nolan, Flip-Flopper, DFL Civil War, Election 2014
I didn’t know about Joe Soucheray’s column from the Jan. 11, 2014 edition of the Pioneer Press. It’s a fascinating read. Here’s part of Mr. Soucheray’s column:
Not only is a new state Senate office building unnecessary, but the effort to bring it about was, essentially, crooked. In the final minutes of the last legislative session, the lodge tucked into a massive tax bill language that authorized a new edifice for themselves. They might as well have been throwing candy from a parade float.
They didn’t even know what it would cost, and they apparently didn’t care. They didn’t even seem to care that their action might very well have been unconstitutional. Former state Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, filed a lawsuit in October. We should be cheering for this guy. He contends in the suit that authorizing the project in a tax bill, instead of the usual bonding bill, violates a state constitutional requirement that a law embrace only one subject. A hearing is scheduled this month in Ramsey County District Court.
Mr. Soucheray is right. Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk, Speaker Thissen and the DFL didn’t care how much this building cost. They didn’t care that the building wasn’t needed or that there were cheaper ‘solutions’ to this non-problem. The Minnesota Senate needed that building like this ship needed more ice near Antarctica:
The Minnesota Senate needed that office building like Olympic athletes need this type of drinking water:
Let’s get serious about this. If we do, then we’ll be more considerate of the taxpayers’ plight than the DFL was. The DFL Tax Bill is a disaster. First, it raised taxes on the middle class and on small retailers. Next, it’s spending money we don’t have on things we don’t need, aka the Senate Office Building. Third, the DFL is already admitting that they raised taxes too much because they’re already preparing to repeal some of the taxes they created less than a year ago.
All of these things are major mistakes. Building the SOB is the biggest of those mistakes because, potentially, it’ll exist a generation or more. Hopefully, the middle class tax hikes will be repealed. (The sooner the better, right?) Repealing the B2B sales taxes will happen this session.
Unfortunately, if it’s approved by the DFL House Rules Committee, the SOB will be with us for a generation or more.
The biggest question Minnesotans need to ask themselves is whether they want inconsiderate, thoughtless people running state government. The DFL did what conservatives predicted they’d do. They raised taxes on the middle class and working poor. They foolishly spent money on things like the Senate Office Building. They built a collosal monument to their warped ideology when they passed MNsure.
I’d argue that the DFL is the ‘gang that couldn’t shoot straight’ if I thought that were true. Unfortunately, this DFL governor and this DFL legislature has aimed their taxing and spending guns at every Minnesotan. Every Minnesota taxpayer will pay for this monstrosity.
Mostly, the SOB is a testimony to the DFL’s appetite for spending money foolishly. That alone should get them fired this November.
Last night, I heard that the judge dismissed Jim Knoblach’s lawsuit. The twisted logic behind the judge’s ruling has essentially given future legislatures a gigantic loophole that essentially nullifies the Single Subject Clause of Minnesota’s Constitution. Jim Knoblach’s argument, the DFL’s counnterargument and the judge’s ruling are found in this document:
Here’s where the judge created a gigantic loophole:
The crux of the plaintiff’s argument is that, based on legislative custom and history, the passage of Section 21 was a significant deviation from traditional practice — by its inclusion in a tax bill and consideration before a tax committee — and was the product of impermissable logrolling that violates the Single Subject and Title Clause. Where the court has found that legislation is germane to a single subject, however, allegations of legislative improprieties cease to be a proper subject of judicial review. Certainly Plaintiff has highlighted significant oddities about this legislation and its passage, but such factors only become relevant if the legislation has failed the mere filament test.
What this judge just did was rule that the DFL could’ve put other capital projects into last year’s Tax Bill:
But Judge Lezlie Marek rejected that argument, writing in her order of dismissal that the legislation did not violate the single subject requirement. The $2 billion tax bill was a sprawling piece of legislation, but Marek ruled that the office building provision is linked to the rest by a common thread of “financing and raising revenue to fund state and local government operations.”
In other words, it’s a single subject because the tax bill finances government operations. That’s absurd illogic. The Senate Office Building project isn’t part of government operations. It can’t be part of government operations until it’s actually built, if then.
By this judge’s ruling, anything can be justified if it’s ruled to be part of state or local government operations and it’s included in the tax bill. That’s a gigantic loophole for the DFL to exploit.
The lesson taxpayers should take away from this is that the DFL won’t hesitate in spending hard-working families’ money on things that aren’t needed. Last spring, the DFL voted to spend $63,000,000 on an impractical building. Here’s what we’re getting forced down our throats:
Under the approved design, 44 senators from both parties and their staffs would relocate to the new building, and 23 others — the DFL and GOP leaders and committee chairs — would keep offices in the Capitol.
The “heart” of the new building would be the main floor with large, open public gathering spaces that look out on the Capitol through a “sweeping curve” of a glass and stone wall, said Jon Pickard, the principal designer with the Pickard Chilton architectural design firm. Large committee hearing rooms, which the Capitol lacks, also would be located on the main floor.
Senators and their staffs would have offices on the top two floors. A two-level, 265-stall parking garage would be built under the building.
The House Rules Committee hasn’t voted to approve this monstrosity. DFL legislators can stop the building of this disfunctional, ill-advised project by not approving this project. If they approve Sen. Bakk’s palace, they will have proven that they’re irresponsible stewards of the public’s money. Only a fool thinks that spending $63,000,000 on this ill-advised SOB (Senate Office Building) is a wise investment.
Anyone voting for the SOB isn’t a trustworthy watchdog of the taxpayers’ money.
According to the Minnesota Morning Watchdog, Tom Emmer got a shot of good news from last night’s precinct caucuses:
6th District Congress (97% Reporting):
Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%
Only 4.3% of caucus voters were undecided. While this straw poll isn’t binding, it can’t be ignored. Rhonda Sivarajah can’t be happy finishing 50 points behind Emmer. Phil Krinkie can’t be happy that he finished almost 60 points behind Emmer.
I’d be surprised if CD-6 delegates will be impressed with Commissioner Sivarajah’s or Rep. Krinkie’s showing. At this point, I’d argue that both face steep uphill fights to win the endorsement. I’d also argue that the odds of Tom Emmer winning a first ballot endorsement victory seem more likely this morning than they were a week ago.
In other straw poll news, Marty Seifert, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson appear to be heading for top 3 finishes in the gubernatorial straw poll. With 96% of precincts reporting, Seifert had 28% of the vote, followed by Dave Thompson with 26% and Jeff Johnson with 17%.
That’s got to put a smile on Sen. Thompson’s face. With a strong finish like that, Sen. Thompson can credibly tell potential contributors that his message is popular.
Marty Seifert has to be pleased, too. He can credibly tell potential contributors that he’s got the experience, organization and name recognition it’ll take to defeat Gov. Dayton.
While this wasn’t the strong showing the Johnson campaign was hoping for, Jeff Johnson must still be considered a top tier candidate. He’s got a solid fundraising team. He’s managing his resources well (he’s got the most cash-on-hand of the candidates) and he’s got a terrific record of being a fiscal conservative.
This couldn’t have been the night that Kurt Zellers was hoping for. Finishing a next-to-last 6th place with 8% can’t instill confidence in potential campaign contributors or in potential delegates.
Based on the results of last night’s U.S. Senate Straw Poll, it’s looking like it’s down to a 2-person race. With 96% of precincts reporting, Julianne Ortman led Mike McFadden by a 31%-22% margin. Finishing in third place was Undecided with 16%, followed by Jim Abeler with 15%.
With that many undecideds and soon-to-be undecided delegates, this is another race to watch.