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Baird Helgeson’s article doesn’t do the greatest job highlighting the inevitable split in the DFL but it’s a start:

All sides are closely watching as Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration faces a crucial decision on the project that could come near the election.

At risk is a political coalition that has made good on a string of high-profile DFL priorities like same-sex marriage, higher taxes for the rich and expanded union influence around the state. Dayton is depending on that same coalition to help him press for a second term and keep the state House in DFL hands.

“We are going to go through some hard times,” predicted Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township. “This may be the signature event in the decades-long battle between jobs and the preservation of the environment. This battle determines what kind of a Minnesota Minnesotans want.”

Democrats are scrambling to contain the conflict and prevent another “massacre” of 1978, when Republicans capitalized on similar outrage over the creation of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Rivals divided the DFL over the issue and allowed Republicans to make historic electoral gains, claiming the governor’s office and both U.S. Senate seats.

It’s anti-climatic to say that the DFL left blue collar workers. That happened when the DFL, like Democrats nationally, decided militant environmentalists were a more important special interest group to be coddled than the miners. This paragraph is incomplete, perhaps intentionally:

A copper mine that could provide hundreds of high-paying jobs on the Iron Range also is threatening to crack the fragile alliance of blue-collar Democrats up north and the environmentalists that are an influential part of Minnesota DFL’s base.

Let’s include what’s missing from that paragraph. Here’s how it would read:

A copper mine that could provide hundreds of high-paying jobs on the Iron Range also is threatening to crack the fragile alliance of blue-collar Democrats up north and the Twin Cities-based environmentalists that are an influential part of Minnesota DFL’s base.

The so-called Metrocrats tossed the Tom Rukavina wing of the DFL under the bus long ago. Here’s what then-Rep. Rukavina said about mining just about a year ago:

I’m perplexed. I sent an email to the three who voted no, I’m awaiting a reply. Frankly, if Gov Dayton is pissed off at the DNR (hell, Ranger’s have been pissed off at them forever), he should fire some top dogs over there. But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

Perplexed and pissed off would better describe my reaction. But hey, I’m a has been but I have been wondering why I’m the only member of the Range delegation who seems concerned about this. Perhaps it’s because I’m the only member of the Range delegation who represents the real Iron Range and has never represented any other constituents in my 26 year tenure.

This sentence stood out for me:

But don’t take it out on the good people of the Range who have been mining for 130 years and playing by the rules that some folks now want to change.

The DFL is playing a game with these miners’ lives. Increasingly Republicans are coming to these miners’ assistance. Chip Cravaack’s loyalty to the miners is exceptionally well-documented. Other Republicans, including Stewart Mills, are taking up Chip’s fight.

Here’s what happens when the DFL treats this issue as a political issue:

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.”

The reaction of the those who gathered in Bohannon Hall on that Saturday afternoon is perhaps best summed up by 32-year-old Jesse Peterson, who characterized Nolan’s responses and actions with respect to HR 761 as “incredibly deceptive and reflecting a willingness to be phony.

Rick Nolan is the ultimate politician. The best way to expose Nolan’s phoniness is to tape him while he’s talking mining with the United Mine Workers, then tape him talking with militant environmentalists. The contrast would be sharp. In fact, he’d look like 2 different people.

That’s the DFL’s dilemma. It’s inevitable that something earth-shaking will happen to settle the issue once and for all. The split between the Metrocrats and the blue collar Iron Rangers is inevitable. I just hope I’m here to watch the collision.

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When Alida Messinger Speaker-in-Waiting Thissen picked Melissa Hortman to chair the House Energy Committee, he picked someone that marches in lockstep with the militant environmentalists. When Rick Nolan defeated Chip Cravaack, militant environmentalists got another mindless environmentalist. Nolan doesn’t care about school funding. If he did, he wouldn’ve have sabotaged the Mark Dayton/Tommie Ruckavina/Chip Cravaack BWCA land swap legislation:

Onions: To Rick Nolan for his comments at the Associated Press interview in Minneapolis on Nov. 18 when he said the BWCA Land Swap bill would not advance before the end of the congressional session because it lacks bipartisan support. If he wanted to tell the truth he would have said that the BWCA Land Swap bill lacks Democrat support as the bill was already passed by the Republican House of Representatives. Democrats hold a strong majority in the Senate and both Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken are Democrat, so what could stop a Senate companion bill from being passed? Only their allegiance to the Sierra Club rather than to the voters of Northeastern Minnesota.

By playing partisan politics with this legislation, he’s sabotaged any hopes the land swap could occur and the revenue for K-12 education it would’ve created.

When Nolan said that the BWCA Land Swap bill didn’t have bipartisan support, he lied. Any bill that’s supported by Tom Ruckavina, Chip Cravaack and Mark Dayton has bipartisan support. Had Nolan been interested in telling the truth, which he isn’t, he would’ve said the bill didn’t stand a chance because Harry Reid and Senate Democrats are obstructionists who don’t care about Minnesota.

This leads to another question, specifically, why didn’t the supposedly bipartisan Am Klobuchar support this bill? Might it be that she’s another unfailing ally of the militant environmentalists?

It’s time to defeat liberals that talk bipartisanship in public, then sabotage school funding while their media allies look the other way.

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The DFL started setting up a phony storyline to propel them back into the majority in the Minnesota legislature during Gov. Dayton’s State of the State Address in 2011. At a time when nobody was thinking about a possible special session to pass the budget, Gov. Dayton asked the legislature to pledge not to shut government down.

By early May, it was clear that Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen were hoping for a government shutdown. At midnight, July 1, 2011, the Dayton/DFL shutdown became reality.

Along the way, the DFL and ABM started talking about the do-nothing legislature. What’s interesting is that the DFL legislature didn’t submit a budget nor did they submit a set of redistricting maps. The DFL won’t talk about that because that cost Minnesota taxpayers $188,000 in exchange for…nothing.

Here in Central Minnesota, the goal is to go 12 for 12 in ’12. The goal is to elect Jeff Howe, Jim Newberger, David Fitzsimmons and Nick Zerwas to their first terms in the House. We expect to re-elect Tim O’Driscoll, Steve Gottwalt, King Banaian and Sondra Erickson to the House. We expect to send Michelle Fischbach, John Pederson and Dave Brown back to the Senate while adding Mary Kiffmeyer to the Senate.

While I haven’t studied the entire state, a couple of races caught my attention. John Carlson is matched against Tom Saxhaug in SD-5. I’m picking Sen. Carlson to win by 8-10 points. Carolyn McElfatrick is paired against Tom Anzelc in HD-5B with Larry Howes matched against John Persell in HD-5A. I expect McElfatrick to win by 4-6 points. I expect Howes to squeak out a victory against Persell.

When the dust settles, I expect Republicans to keep control of the Legislature, mostly on the strength of their recent candidates. The fire-breathing zealots that Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen whined about will be returned to torture Mssrs. Bakk and Thissen. Republicans will have a 71-63 majority in the House and a 38-29 majority in the Senate.

As for the congressional races, John Kline, Erik Paulsen, Michele Bachmann and Chip Cravaack will win re-election. Rumors from Tuesday night that Alida Rockefeller-Dayton-Messinger is demanding Ken Martin’s head on a platter shouldn’t be taken seriously, though understanding why nobody’s heard of his whereabouts should be taken seriously.

The quality of the GOP legislative candidates will be a major reason why Republicans did so well. The leadership at the BPOU and congressional district levels, with a couple exceptions, will be a GOP strength, too.

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During Friday night’s Almanac Roundtable of former legislators, former State Senator Steve Murphy disagreed with former legislator John Tuma about the John Carlson-Tom Saxhaug race.

Sen. Murphy is best known for pushing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. During the fight, a Strib reporter asked Sen. Murphy why he’d hidden his massive tax increases in the bill. Here’s Sen. Murphy’s response:

I’m not trying to fool anybody,” said Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, sponsor of the measure that would increase funding for roads and transit by $1.5 billion a year once it was fully implemented in the next decade. “There’s a lot of taxes in this bill.”

When Tuma talked about the Carlson-Saxhaug race, he said he thought that was one of the races to watch. At that point, Sen. Murphy said he’d be surprised if Saxhaug didn’t win that race by 2,500 votes.

I’ve stayed in contact in the Eighth District as well as any blogger. I’ve talked with numerous people. Sen. Carlson is exceptionally popular in Bemidji, the biggest city in that Senate district. Based on his campaigning in Bemidji and Grand Rapids, Saxhaug’s home territory, Carlson will run up a big margin in Bemidji, then limit Saxhaug’s vote total in Grand Rapids.

When the final vote is counted in that race, Saxhaug won’t win by 2,500. In fact, he won’t win. Period. Expect Sen. Carlson to win that race by 8-10 points.

While I’m at it, I might as well predict Chip Cravaack winning by 4-6 points over Rick Nolan. Nolan hasn’t raised much money. He’s run a mediocre campaign. Meanwhile, Chip’s raised lots of money. He’s kept his promises to the miners. He’s been exceptionally solid with small business issues, too.

That isn’t to say the DFL will get their heads handed to them like 2010. There are lots of interesting races worth watching. For all of the progressive special interest money being spent on these legislative races, I suspect these organizations will be a disappointed lot come Wednesday morning.

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Moments ago, I received an email telling me that Sen. Rick Santorum endorsed Lee Byberg in his race against 11-term Congressman Collin Peterson:

“Lee Byberg is a passionate conservative and Patriot Voices looks forward to supporting his race for Congress. He is a committed fighter for life at every stage, supports free enterprise, will repeal ObamaCare, and believes we must change our burdensome tax structure.”

I’m asking readers of this blog that have time or treasure to consider helping Lee Byberg defeat Collin Peterson. I haven’t seen any polls of the district but I know people in CD-7 aren’t thrilled with a number of Collin Peterson’s votes.

To those readers of LFR living in CD-7, keep working hard. Expend as much energy on this great cause as is physically possible. Eliminating Oberstar in 2010 was a great victory for conservatives. Defeating Peterson in 2012 would definitely be a highlight for conservatives, whether they’re in Minnesota or across the nation.

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There’s no doubt that Rick Nolan’s Mining Institute helped him win the DFL primary. Similarly, there’s no question that Nolan’s Mining Institute is hurting him in the general election:

“While he gives a wink and a nod to Twin Cities-based environmentalists, former congressman Nolan is silent on solutions. Currently, the EPA threatens the vitality of Minnesota, the Eighth district, its workers, and their families. Instead, Nolan thinks research is the answer. Without doubt, Nolan’s staunch support for imminent job-killing regulations could not be further out of step with this district, and presents an unmistakable danger to Minnesota’s taconite jobs and future well-paying jobs like PolyMet,” said Cravaack.

Simply put, Nolan’s attempt to pacify miners isn’t flying with miners. The Mining Institute appeared virtually overnight after Jeff Anderson, rightly, said his opponents were too wedded to environmental activists.

I wrote here about the fight between Nolan and Anderson. Here’s what Jeff Anderson told the Pioneer Press:

“While I support the idea of doing more research into evolving mining technologies, the people seeking jobs in this district cannot feed their families with studies,” Anderson said. “They need jobs. They need good, livable-wages jobs.”

Anderson is right. Range families can’t “feed their families with studies.” They “need good, liveable-wages jobs.” Here’s something else Anderson said in the Pi-Press article:

In a hastily called news conference to counter Nolan’s, Anderson said he would support the Republican-sponsored House legislation and that he supports incumbent Republican Rep. Chip Cravaack’s amendment that would extend the new rules to projects already in the works, such as the proposed PolyMet copper mine near Hoyt Lakes.

Chip Cravaack’s efforts to improve the lives of miners is cited in the Mesabi Daily News’ endorsement, which I wrote about here:

No longer do 8th District residents have to get patted on their heads and hear “things are being done behind the scenes” on these issues, which was Oberstar’s style. We are all now a party to the debate and discussion, and that is most welcome indeed. And it also helps keep pressure, in a very supportive way, for nonferrous projects, which have been stymied by too much political indifference to government regulatory intransigence that has harbored preservationist groups and individuals at the cost of jobs on the Iron Range, revenues for the state and the mining of strategic metals for the nation.

Chip’s efforts didn’t just catch the attention of the MDN. Chip’s efforts caught the Duluth News Tribune’s attention, too. it’s important to note what the DNT said about Nolan in their endorsement editorial:

During the primary election, Nolan’s DFL opponent, Jeff Anderson, rightly blasted the proposal as wasteful government spending that would create no immediate mining jobs. Nolan defended it, calling its quarter-billion-dollar price tag “chump change” in Washington, the sort of money that “falls off the table during meetings” there. He may be right, but isn’t that sort of thinking a big part of the problem in Washington?

Apparently, the Eighth District’s newspapers are tired of the DFL’s gamesmanship.

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Last Thursday, the Duluth News Tribune surprised the political world when the DNT endorsed Mitt Romney. Anyone who predicted that should’ve immediately rushed out and bought a Powerball ticket. As astonishing as that was, this endorsement is just as astonishing:

Nolan, 68, would also be an able representative, though his reputation as an ultraliberal member of the 1970s Minnesota delegation raises questions about his own flexibility. Much has been made of Cravaack’s family moving to New Hampshire, but he’s stayed connected with his district. What matters most is the work he’d do in Washington. He’s earned another shot, but he should also face a stronger Democratic challenger in 2014.

It’s kinda funny hearing the Strib start by saying Nolan “would also be an able representative”, then see them finish by saying Chip should “also face a stronger Democratic candidate in 2014.”

The Strib is right, though, in highlighting Chip Cravaack’s availability to his constituents and the work he’s done in Washington, DC.

Cravaack has admirably bucked his party on labor and trade legislation, prevailing wage protections, the Buy America Steel amendment, that supported area industry and scored points with union members. The 52-year-old father of two is also praised widely around northeast Minnesota for his numerous town halls. He was quickly on the scene after Duluth’s devastating flood and has voted against Republican measures to cut disaster aid in general.

I predicted that Chip wouldn’t be an easy target, a prediction that was anything but unanimous. Chip’s relationship with the miners and other union workers would help him connect with his constituents.

I also knew that Chip’s unflinching support of Second Amendment and pro-life issues would stand him in good stead with Iron Rangers. Finally, Chip’s enthusiastic support of capitalism has played well with the many small businesses in the southern part of the Eighth.

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During this campaign, Rick Nolan has tried several scams to boost his popularity. He tried selling his boondoggle Mining Institute as proof that he’s pro-mining. Now he’s peddling lies that Chip Cravaack doesn’t live in Minnesota. We know Nolan’s lying because WDIO wouldn’t let the DFL run their ad with that specific lie.

Here’s what Nolan’s up to now:

When U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack hears ads by his 8th District opponent Rick Nolan saying “he doesn’t even live here anymore,” he describes them as an attack on his family and a broken promise not to get personal in the hotly contested race.

When Nolan hears that accusation, he responds by calling it hypocrisy and an odd leap by Cravaack to bring his family into the dispute over his residency.

In a week of back-and-forth sparring between the two, Cravaack said publicly for the first time this week that his son Nick has autism, and that an accident involving the 10-year-old at their home in Lindstrom spurred him to move his family to New Hampshire, closer to the Boston company where his wife, Traci, works.

It’s taboo in politics to go after another politician’s family. That’s what Nolan did when he lied about where Chip did. The despicable people in the DFL messaging machine haven’t hesitated in talking about Chip’s wife living in New Hampshire. The DFL thinks it’s a big deal with voters.

Instead, Chip stepped forward to explain why his wife and kids moved to New Hampshire, explaining that their oldest son has autism.

Faced with that explanation, decent people would apologize for lying, then pull the ads with these lies. Finally, a politician with any integrity would wish Chip’s family nothing but the best, then get back to campaigning about the issues. It’s apparent that Nolan isn’t a man of integrity:

But the Nolan camp said it could not confirm any such agreement, and that it was Cravaack who brought his family issues into the dispute.

“They’re trying to distract because they are behind,” Nolan spokesman Mike Misterek said. “There is no talk about his family in that ad.”

First, let’s state that Nolan was caught lying about Chip not living in Minnesota. Because of Mr. Nolan’s blatant lie, Mr. Misterek is sent out to spin away Nolan’s lie.

Next, it’s the worst of spin to say Chip’s trailing. He isn’t. Nolan’s getting his butt kicked with independents, trailing Chip by a 53%-36% margin.

Finally and most importantly, Chip’s done more in 2 years in Congress to create good-paying mining jobs than Jim Oberstar ever did and more than what Rick Nolan would ever do. Nolan isn’t interested in mining. He’s consistently sided with the militant environmentalists who’ve funded his campaign.

No honest person thinks that Nolan would fight the militant environmentalists if there was a fight between the environmentalists and the miners.

Rick Nolan isn’t a man of integrity. The last thing Washington, DC needs is another bought-and-paid-for politician who doesn’t have an ounce of integrity. Secondly, if Nolan was elected, he’d do whatever the special interests told him to. That’s because that’s what he’s always done. Third, Nolan has shown great interest in conning his would-be constituents. In fact, Nolan hasn’t shown any interest in doing what’s right for his constituents, especially with respect to mining.

That, more than anything else, is why Eighth District voters should reject the slick-sounding empty suit known as Rick Nolan. Instead, they should re-elect Chip Cravaack because Chip’s committed to making life better for the blue collar workers of the middle class throughout the Eighth District.

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Just a short 3 years ago, political pundits thought it was foolish to think that Jim Oberstar wouldn’t retire on his terms. Then Chip Cravaack defeated him by 4,000+ votes. Immediately, the DCCC figuratively painted a bright red bulls-eye in the middle of Chip Cravaack’s chest. This was the DFL’s seat, after all.

The unthinkable happened when the 49ers union endorsed Chip. Now the unthinkable has happened again. When the DFL tried running a dishonest negative ad against Chip, the TV station it was scheduled to run on pulled the ad:

DULUTH — A second anti-Chip Cravaack ad has been pulled off the air by a television station.

WDIO TV of Duluth reported on air Tuesday evening that the state DFL Party is not going to run an ad scheduled to run that claimed the Republican 8th District congressman “does not live in Minnesota,” which is false. Cravaack lives in North Branch, in the southern part of the vast district that stretches from the Canadian border on the north to butt up against the northern Twin Cities suburbs on the south.

Cravaack also has a home in New Hampshire, where his wife and two sons live most of the year because of her work several days each week with a pharmaceutical company in Boston. That allows her to be close to the boys every day, one of whom has special needs. She had previously been commuting on a weekly basis between Boston and Minnesota, while Rep. Cravaack served in Congress in Washington.

WCCO television of Minneapolis previously had blocked a Super PAC ad from being broadcast. The ad had claimed that Cravaack had charged constituents to meet with him at a gathering. However, the event was a business group luncheon where the congressman was asked to speak and it was the group that charged for lunch.

Yes, a Duluth TV station is pulling a DFL ad against Chip. That was unthinkable 3 years ago. Add to that the fact that the North Country’s two biggest newspapers endorsed Chip for re-election. First, the Mesabi Daily News endorsed Chip, then the Duluth News Tribune endorsed Chip for re-election.

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. As the metrocentric DFL teams up with the environmentalists to prevent new mining projects from opening up, the miners will increasingly abandon the DFL.

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Rick Nolan’s problems kept mounting during his debate with Chip Cravaack. Mr. Nolan was hit hard on 4 different exchanges, each leaving him vulnerable as the candidates make their closing arguments.

One vulnerability was exposed when Chip Cravaack talked about cutting tax rates for everyone, then eliminating or limiting deductions frequently used by higher income earners, noting that that would help small businesses.

Nolan immediately launched into an attack on how this was about Chip Cravaack was trying to “cut taxes for the super-wealthy.” I’m betting that most small businesses, especially those that are just getting established, think of themselves as “the super-wealthy.”

Another vulnerability for Nolan was exposed on the topic of Medicare. Nolan started with his saying that Medicare was good enough for his parents and it should be good enough for future generations. Chip Cravaack immediately pounced on that, saying that it isn’t good enough for anyone because it’s going broke within the next decade.

Nolan, sensing his vulnerability, responded by saying “We’ll fix it. We’ll fix it.” It’s amazing that Nolan went from “it was good enough for our parents” to “We’ll fix it” in less than 2 minutes.

Another major Nolan vulnerability was exposed when the topic of trade came up. Specifically, he touted his experience as the president of the Minnesota World Trade Center. Cravaack immediately highlighted the fact that Rudy Perpich, the man who hired Nolan to be the president of the MnWTC, didn’t attend the ribbon-cutting of the Minnesota WTC.

The WTC was originally funded by the state. The minute they stopped supporting it, it went bankrupt. That’s the last type of leadership we need in DC.

The other vulnerability exposed during the debate was Nolan’s insistence that the ACA was needed. That means Nolan supports hundreds of billions of dollars worth of middle class tax increases because the ACA is filled with middle class tax increases.

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