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If there’s anything that’s clear about the Eighth District race, it’s that Eighth District voters voted for a congressman who will be utterly irrelevant:

Candidates for 8th District Congress from the Brainerd Area received 254,004 votes on Tuesday, with Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan polling a mere 3,636 more ballots than Republican Stewart Mills. The result: A narrow re-election victory for Nolan in a race that drew national media attention and more than $12 million in independent groups for advertising — mostly television.

A final count gives Nolan 128,820 to 125,184 for Mills, a 48.5 percent to 47.1 percent margin. Nolan and Mills volleyed the lead for about two hours until the congressman opened about a 2 percent lead at 10 p.m., which he maintained with only slight slippage until Wednesday morning when his lead was too much to overcome.

The Eighth District just voted for a man who will be utterly irrelevant when the next Congress is sworn in. Nancy Pelosi’s caucus will have their smallest caucus since 1929. Seriously, that’s how irrelevant they’ll be.

More important, the Iron Range voted against its own self interest. They voted for a life-long environmentalist who won’t lift a finger to open PolyMet. The DFL is dominated by environmental elitists from the Twin Cities. That won’t change anytime soon because the environmental elitists write big checks to the DFL. The Range’s legislators are subjected to the Metrocrats’ agenda and always will be until the Range breaks away from the DFL.

Republicans were accused of playing the PolyMet issue for political advantage. Rangers said they’d forget about PolyMet the day after the election. To be fair, Republicans haven’t always had the Range’s best interests at heart so a certain amount of distrust is justifiable.

What Rangers are about to find out, though, is that PolyMet wasn’t just a political position taken by Republicans for the 2014 election. Rangers will see the Republicans’ commitment to PolyMet and other similar projects. The Range will find out that Republicans want people prospering wherever they live in Minnesota.

Finally, Rangers will find out that this isn’t their daddies’ DFL. This DFL is run by Alida Messinger, the woman who writes big checks to environmental organizations and to the DFL in her effort to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If Rangers keep voting for the DFL, they’ll continue to have the same shitty economy they’ve had for the last 15-20 years.

Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I disagree. Voting for the DFL again and again, then expecting the FL and Alida Messinger to change is either stupidity or political suicide. The DFL won’t change. It’s time the Range finally admitted that.

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There’s all sorts of buzz around St. Paul of post-election plans by radical environmentalists to launch an offensive to kill copper-nickel mining in Minnesota. That’s been the stated goal of environmental organizations like the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, Friends of the Boundary Waters, Conservation Minnesota and MCEA. It’s verified fact that Alida Rockefeller, one of the DFL’s biggest contributors and Gov. Dayton’s ex-wife, is responsible for much of the money that goes into these anti-mining organizations while supporting Gov. Dayton’s political activities.

Sources close to organized labor active in northeastern Minnesota say that Ms. Messinger and her allies are now prepared to fund a PR campaign to kill PolyMet. That’s certain to get these miners’ attention. Alida Messinger’s post-election agenda won’t sit well with union workers who would work on the construction of the mine or the union workers who would fill the mining positions once the plant opens. As a result, at least some of the rank-and-file might stop supporting the DFL.

Rumor has it that a prominent, talented DFL strategist is already lined up for this aggressive campaign. This strategist allegedly has been approached by Big Labor. This strategist has allegedly been quite coy about what’s coming.

The biggest question remaining is simple. What, if anything, does Gov. Dayton know about this anti-PolyMet PR offensive? Given his unwillingness to support mining projects like PolyMet even if they meet environmental standards, I think it’s a more than fair question to ask.

I still think that Jeff Johnson will win this race. If Gov. Dayton is re-elected, though, will Iron Rangers trust Gov. Dayton to not be swayed by a massive anti-mining ad campaign? Will blue collar voters in northeastern Minnesota demand answers from Dayton before Tuesday?

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Watching all the ads being run by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, the Franken campaign, the Nolan campaign and all the anti-business rhetoric coming from the Dayton campaign, DFL chairman Ken Martin and other anti-business parasites, there’s only one conclusion you can draw. The DFL and its candidates hate employers. Joe Soucheray’s column highlights the DFL’s silliness perfectly:

It’s to the point of comedy that the national Democratic Party has raced to Minnesota to help Nolan out with television ads that feature yachts and private airplanes and white sand beaches. I guess the voter is supposed to believe that Mills sits around all day and has grapes fed to him as he pages through the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog pining for a new Maserati Ghibli S Q4.

Whether it’s Nancy Pelosi’s superPAC or Rick Nolan’s campaign, the hard left’s disdain for companies is unmistakable. It’s in each of their ads against Stewart Mills. What’s most appalling is that the DFL’s agenda doesn’t have a thing in it that says they’re pro-capitalism. In fact, when the DFL held their state convention, Iron Range Democrats wanted the state party to ad a simple sentence to their party’s platform. That simple sentence was to say that the DFL supports mining.

After hours of negotiations, aka Metrocrats intimidating the Iron Range delegation, that simple sentence was dropped because Alida Messinger declared that statement was too controversial. Nolan isn’t the only 1970s reject that thinks companies are evil:

The Franken camp says that as an investment banker, McFadden has brokered the sales of companies that have resulted in the loss of jobs. Well, that can be true in some cases. In other cases, there will be a gain of jobs. Besides, once a company is bought or sold, what does McFadden have to do with it? The Franken camp also insists that McFadden has been involved with companies that have committed the mortal sin of tax inversion by moving their headquarters overseas. No. McFadden’s company represented a foreign company being bought, not the U.S. company moving abroad. That’s business, however unfamiliar Franken might be to business.

In Franken’s thinking, the problem isn’t that the tax code is filled with special favors. It’s that small businesses, aka the rich, aren’t paying a high enough tax rate. The thing is that Franken and Nolan haven’t started a business that requires sound judgment. That’s why they don’t know that many of these small businesses owners work 60-75 hours/week to build a business, paying their employees first, then paying their bills before they can start funding their retirement and their kids’ college education.

After sweating through tough times before getting to the point of profitability, then idiots like Dayton, Franken and Nolan accuse them of being greedy and of “not paying their fair share.”

The truth is that Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have done more to improve middle class families’ lives in 5 years than Dayton, Franken and Nolan have done in a lifetime. Long-winded politicians haven’t paid for their employees’ health insurance or contributed to their employees’ retirement accounts or paid them a good wage that put a roof over their employees’ families’ heads. Stewart Mills and Mike McFadden have.

When Dayton, Franken and Nolan do that for a generation, then I’ll listen, not a minute before.

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This video is just another example of how Education Minnesota and the Alliance for a Better Minnesota can’t resist lying about Republicans:

The “cutting education to pay for tax breaks for big corporations” storyline was used against Tom Emmer in 2010. Back then, KTSP and FactCheck.org rated that ad as false. That’s because they’re polite. I’ll just state that they’re lying. It’s been proven false. Further, they knew it was false when they said it. That makes it a lie.

Like the DFL, ABM doesn’t have a positive agenda. Admittedly, they’ve lied about Minnesota’s economy, saying that Minnesota “is working again.” They said that despite the fact that Minnesota’s job creation has ground to a screeching halt, creating a pathetic 2,900 jobs this year. That’s right. This year, not this month. That isn’t a typo.

I wrote here that Gov. Dayton admitted that the MNsure rollout was a disaster, though he insists that it’s improving with each day. I wrote this article to highlight the fact that MNsure will be a major headache for years to come. That isn’t just my opinion. That’s the conclusion DeLoitte reached in their investigation.

Yes, Jeff Johnson voted for some unpopular things. He didn’t vote for “tax breaks for big corporations,” though. That’s part of ABM’s web of lies. If they were forced to tell the truth, 90% of their content for their ads would disappear. The best way to determine if ABM is lying is to determine if their lips are moving. If their spinmeister’s lips are moving, then it’s almost a certainty that they’re lying.

This is how bad MNsure still is:

During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected.

Two-thirds of the vital sub-functions either don’t exist or don’t work.

Gov. Dayton and the DFL can’t stand up to ABM, either. That’s because the DFL is funded by the same special interests that fund ABM. Specifically, the DFL is funded by Alida Messinger and the public employee unions. That’s who funds ABM, too.

That means Gov. Dayton and the DFL can’t call ABM out even if they wanted to. Then again, Gov. Dayton and the DFL don’t want to because the only thing they care about is winning at all costs.

If that means breaking the law, the DFL is fine with that. In fact, the DFL has broken the law, after which Ken Martin, the chair of the DFL, insisted that breaking the law was “a distraction“:

DFL lawmakers disagreed with the board’s ruling said that they are glad to put the matter to rest.

“Ultimately, it is best to set this distraction aside and allow our members to focus on governing,” DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin said.

It’s worth noting that Ken Martin was an integral part of ABM before Alida Messinger announced that she’d picked him as the next DFL chairman after she pushed Brian Melendez out the door.

The best way to deal with ABM is to vote for the party with a pro-growth, positive agenda. Voting for the people ABM targets won’t shut ABM up. It’ll just tell them that ABM is wrong for Minnesota.

If you want government of, by and for the special interests that raise your taxes and spend money foolishly, vote for ABM-approved candidates. If you prefer a prosperous Minnesota that works for families and the small businesses found on Main Street, then vote against ABM-approved candidates.

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This weekend, I wrote this article about another dishonest ad by the Alliance for a Better Minnesota. It’s important to remember that ABM has a lengthy history of running intentionally dishonest ads against Republicans.

Two years ago, ABM ran a series of TV ads that featured nearly identical scripts against 5 Republican senators and 4 Republican representatives. Here’s one of the transcripts:

How we solve our state’s budget problem will say a lot about our values. Rep. Woodard is choosing to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class with drastic cuts in education and health care and his plan will eliminate jobs and increase our property taxes, all just so the richest 2% don’t have to chip in. Gov. Dayton’s plan will protect the middle class and 98% of Minnesotans will have no tax increase.

That’s a blatantly dishonest ad. It makes a series of allegations without citing proof for any of their allegations.

The budget passed by Republicans and signed by Gov. Dayton increased per student spending, which means ABM’s statement about “drastic cuts in education” was intentionally dishonest. They know what was in the 2011 budget because ABM lobbied against it in the summer of 2011.

It isn’t a stretch to say that dishonesty is ABM’s specialty. Similarly, it isn’t a stretch to think of ABM as tightly connected with the DFL. In fact, Alida Messinger, the woman that writes the biggest annual checks to the DFL, writes similar sized checks to ABM.

While it hasn’t been documented that ABM and the DFL communicate and coordinate with each other, it’s clear that they operate seamlessly with each other. Their smears are often identical in their dishonesty.

What’s galling is that the Twin Cities media hasn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together, at least not in an article. I suspect they’ve personally figured it out. I’m certain, though, that they haven’t done a feature article about it.

For instance, I wrote this post showing how much influence Alida Messinger has within the DFL:

Most of the criticism of DFL state party chair Brian Melendez in the wake of Election Day has been confined to the liberal blogosphere. The three-term incumbent could likely survive those barbs.

But a much more important DFL supporter, wealthy donor Alida Messinger, is also apparently opposed to Melendez remaining as party chair. According to a reliable DFL source, there won’t be any checks arriving in DFL coffers from the Rockefeller heir if Melendez remains in the post.

Of course, Ken Martin, the person most often cited as a potential rival for state party chair, is closely aligned with Messinger. He chaired the Win Minnesota Political Action Fund, which played a key role in the governor’s race. The group’s largest individual donor: Messinger.

While it’s true that the Twin Cities media reported that story, I’m wondering why it didn’t tell people that ABM’s messaging is almost identical to the DFL’s messaging. Why didn’t they report that Alida Messinger’s influence on ABM is as great as her influence on the DFL?

Why haven’t Rachel Stassen-Berger, Brianna Bierschbach, Tom Scheck, Tom Hauser and Pat Kessler done articles showing ABM as having a lengthy history of intentionally smearing Republicans? The information isn’t difficult to find. A short trip to FactCheck.org would give any of these reporters the proof they need that ABM’s ads consistently received failing grades.

We’ve already seen how willing liberal organizations have started smearing Republicans. TakeAction Minnesota already is teaming up with AFSCME PEOPLE to smear Stewart Mills. If we had political reporters interested in connecting the dots in their reporting, Mark Dayton wouldn’t get away with his nice guy act. Instead, we’d see that he’s a willing participant in ABM’s vicious smear campaign.

Gov. Dayton isn’t a leader. Further,he won’t confront the environmental activist wing of the DFL. That’s why it isn’t surprising that Gov. Dayton called pro-mining Republicans “highly irresponsible”:

REDWOOD FALLS, Minn. — DFL Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday called his Republican rivals “highly irresponsible” for pledging to re-open an Iron Range mine before an environmental study is done. Republicans are “just pandering to people up there,” Dayton told reporters. “They’re like a lot of other hucksters who have gone up there saying they have jobs to offer, so vote for us.”

Dayton, who is seeking re-election, said he will wait until after an environmental impact assessment is completed before he takes a stand. “I think that’s the responsibility I have as governor,” Dayton said before giving a short address at the annual FarmFest trade show here.

Apparently, Gov. Dayton doesn’t think it’s his responsibility to fight for great paying mining jobs. Further, it’s apparent that he’s playing politics with this, albeit defensive politics. The EPA has reviewed the latest EIS. Barring President Obama putting a political stop to the project, a distinct possibility, PolyMet will happen.

The science is clear. All of the arguments that environmental activist organizations have thrown out as excuses have been shot down.

I’m thankful, though, that Gov. Dayton just admitted, again, that he won’t fight for middle class blue collar jobs for the Range. It’s the worst kept secret of his administration. That’s why he picked Tina Smith of Minneapolis to be his running mate rather than Tony Sertich of Hibbing.

I’m happy to stipulate that, throughout his administration, Gov. Dayton has put a higher priority on appeasing his environmental activist base than he’s put on creating mining jobs on the Iron Range.

As for him whining about pandering, it’s disappointing that he’s whining about it now but he engaged in pandering last year when he visited FarmFest:

In a sudden reversal, Gov. Mark Dayton says he’s open to expanding the scope of a possible special session to include the repeal of a new sales tax on farm equipment repair. Dayton shared his revised position Thursday at Farmfest, according to media reports. An aide later confirmed the shift.

Gov. Dayton apparently doesn’t hate pandering as long as it’s him doing the pandering.

Gov. Dayton’s priorities don’t make sense. He cheerfully flip-flopped on raising taxes on farmers at FarmFest last August but he isn’t willing to change his position on creating high paying mining jobs on the Range. Perhaps, that’s because he knows his ex-wife will stop writing checks to the DFL if they stop pandering to the environmental activist wing of the DFL.

Whatever the case, Gov. Dayton is wrong for Minnesota because a) he won’t fight for the hard-working people of the Iron Range and b) he won’t fight against government bureaucrats who stand in the way of creating great middle class jobs.

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TakeAction Minnesota’s fundraising email is clear proof that DFL front groups a) don’t care about the truth and b) won’t hesitate in smearing anyong they think of as a threat to their power. Here’s their latest fundraising e-letter:

Dear Gary,

In a 2013 speech, 8th district congressional candidate Stewart Mills said that all the talk about the rich not paying their fair share and corporations dodging taxes singled him out as a deadbeat, and was “personally offensive.”

But his billionaire friends at Hubbard Broadcasting won’t air an ad that uses his own words to call him out.

And here’s the kicker: the owner of Hubbard Broadcasting, Stanley Hubbard, is a major donor to Mills’ campaign and a friend of the Koch brothers. When a media station owned by someone who has maxed out to a candidate is keeping voters from knowing where that candidate stands, something’s not right.

We’re getting ready to launch a door-to-door canvass across the district to reach out to voters and give them the facts about where Stewart Mills stands and talk about what really matters to working families.

Mills doesn’t think that he and his fellow millionaires should have to pay more in taxes and he doesn’t support raising the federal minimum wage. Billionaires like Stanley Hubbard shouldn’t get to decide whether or not voters know the truth – but you and I both know that, as long as they own the media, they have an outsized voice in our elections.

That’s where you come in.

Thanks for standing with us,
Dan and the whole TakeAction Minnesota team

Mr. McGrath’s distortions are noteworthy. First, the ad was shut down because the ad, which was initially paid for by Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, is an outright distortion that I wrote about in this article. Here’s what Stewart Mills actually said:

What happened in the last round of elections, where you had folks saying that ‘the wealthy, the wealthy are not paying their fair share, that there’s all these loopholes and they don’t pay any taxes and we have to make them pay more. Well, you know what? I’m gonna speak for myself and then I’m going to allude to a few others here. We’ve paid for all of our taxes. We reinvest the money we make into our business.

How come we are not generating the jobs in Northeastern Minnesota that we otherwise would? Well I can tell you why. Because the overwhelming group of people that run businesses, that have the ability to employ people are taxed at that personal rate. They are the villains, they’re the bad guys. They’re the ones that quote are not paying their fair share. They’re the ones quote that ‘the 2%, the 1%, whatever percent you want.

To be singled out as a deadbeat is personally offensive.

Pelosi’s PAC took those 128 words and turned them into this 26-word sentence:

…folks saying that ‘the wealthy, the wealthy are not paying their fair share…the 2%, the 1%, whatever percent you want…is personally offensive.

Honest, thoughtful people would see that Ms. Pelosi and other Democratic front groups like TakeAction Minnesota didn’t just take Stewart Mills’ words out of context. They spliced his words together to create a sentence he didn’t say.

Minnesota has an option this November. If they vote Democrat, they’re voting for the political party that a) didn’t hesitate in smearing Republicans, b) didn’t hesitate in smearing media companies who have a legal obligation to the public and c) had to run a massive smear campaign on multiple levels because they couldn’t run on their accomplishments.

Here’s KSTP’s legal obligation:

The false ad bankrolled by AFSCME/House Majority PAC against Stewart Mills does not constitute a “candidate use.” Under Columbia Broadcasting Sys., Inc. v. Democratic Nat’l Comm., 412 U.S. 94 (1973), and Nat’l Conservative Political Action Comm., 89 FCC 2d 626 (1982), your station is not obligated to air any advertisements from third parties, such as the AFSMCE/House Majority PAC, as third parties have no guaranteed right of access to air their advertisements on your station. Thus, broadcasting stations are not protected from legal liability for airing a false and misleading advertisement sponsored by the AFSCME/House Majority PAC. Moreover, broadcast licensees have a legal responsibility to review and to eliminate any false, misleading, or deceptive materials contained in advertising.

KSTP and WDIO could’ve kept running Pelosi’s disgustingly dishonest ad…if they wanted to lose a high dollar lawsuit.

That Stan Hubbard has contributed to Republicans isn’t news any more than Alida Messinger contributing to the DFL is news. What’s different here is that this DFL front organization knows the facts behind the Pelosi ad getting tossed. Rather than admitting that Pelosi’s ad is dishonest, TakeAction Minnesota is engaging in a nasty smear campaign against a media outlet they don’t like.

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Jeff Johnson’s interview with Bill Hanna, the editor of the Mesabi Daily News, provided Johnson’s sharpest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. Here’s the heart of Johnson’s criticism:

“I believe strongly that if Dayton wins, PolyMet will not happen. He is getting and responding to great, great pressure from environmentalists. Saw it at the DFL Convention when they got a resolution on copper/nickel tabled,” Johnson said.

I think that’s accurate. Gov. Dayton’s silence is deafening, especially considering the fact that he’s called himself the “jobs governor.” It’s more like he’s the jobs governor as long as it doesn’t interfere with the environmental activists’ anti-mining agenda.

Ken Martin breathed a big sigh of relief when a watered-down pro-mining resolution to the DFL Party Platform was tabled before it came up for debate. Martin was happy because he kept the lid on the major differences between Range Democrats and the Twin Cities ‘Metrocrats’.

In siding with Twin Cities Metrocrats, Gov. Dayton sided with people whose median household income is $63,559. What’s Gov. Dayton’s justification for siding with the Metrocrats rather than siding with people whose median household income is $46,231? There was a time when Democrats stood up for the less fortunate. In this instance, Republicans are fighting for lower income people and the Democrats are fighting for Twin Cities elitists.

Those thinking that that’s just a political cheap shot should notice who serve as Conservation Minnesota’s strategic advisors. There’s no more anti-mining organization than Conservation Minnesota. Most of the people on that list are Twin Cities elitists. That’s who Gov. Dayton has fought for.

“I will do everything I can to get PolyMet and other copper/nickel projects open up here. This has been delayed far too long and the governor helping those delays by being silent. A governor’s silence on a major project like this with so many jobs is deadly.

Gov. Dayton’s leadership on this issue hasn’t existed. He’s hidden in his little cubicle and said nothing about PolyMet. Meanwhile, Gov. Dayton has fought hard for projects like Rochester’s Destination Medical Center and the Vikings stadium in Minneapolis.

Gov. Dayton didn’t hesitate about pushing for those projects. Why hasn’t he shown the same enthusiasm in fighting for the PolyMet project? Is it because the Vikings stadium and DMC were high priorities but PolyMet isn’t one of his priorities? If that’s the case, Gov. Dayton should just admit that jobs in northern Minnesota just aren’t the high priority for him that Twin Cities jobs are.

That’s political suicide but it’s the honest thing to do. Unfortunately, doing the right thing isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL. They’re worried about doing what will keep them in office. Doing what’s right for all of Minnesota isn’t a priority with Gov. Dayton or the DFL.

This was Jeff Johnson’s stiffest attack on Gov. Dayton yet. He’s been the candidate who’s put together a statewide organization. He’s leveled the sharpest criticism against Gov. Dayton. That’s why he was the GOP candidate who did the best against Gov. Dayton in the latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll.

In this interview, Jeff Johnson didn’t shy from criticizing Gov. Dayton on an important issue. Republicans are looking for a candidate that will take the fight to Gov. Dayton. Jeff Johnson certainly fits that requirement. If miners are paying attention, they’ll know that he’s fighting for them. If they’ve paid attention, they know that Gov. Dayton hasn’t fought for them.

The evidence is clear. Gov. Dayton has been silent on PolyMet. He’s shown that he’ll fight for Twin Cities projects but he won’t fight for the biggest jobs project on the Range. If the Range wants 4 more years of getting ignored, they should vote for Gov. Dayton. If they want high paying jobs, their only choice is Jeff Johnson.

It’s that simple.

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Gov. Dayton attended a rally in Virginia Monday but that doesn’t mean he’s committed to mining.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton urged iron miners to step up the fight against foreign countries illegally dumping steel in the U.S. and threatening the local mining industry.

“The story of the Iron Range is one of standing strong against exploitation and oppression, and too often of a government that will not stand with them,” Dayton said to a cheering crowd of 1,500 iron miners. “Today’s enemies are not the companies, but the countries that dump their steel in the U.S. market, depress the prices and take away your jobs.”

It’s interesting that Gov. Dayton will rally with miners who work at existing mining companies but won’t support new mining projects like PolyMet and Twin Metals-Minnesota. I didn’t say that Gov. Dayton’s behavior is inexplicable. It’s quite understandable.

When it comes to taking a stand on jobs or the environment, Gov. Dayton is a wimp, always siding with environmental activists like his ex-wife Alida Messinger. This year, despite loud protestations from the Range, Gov. Dayton has insisted that he won’t take a position on PolyMet until the reviews are done.

That isn’t leadership. That’s what spineless wimps do.

Republicans are capitalizing on the PolyMet issue:

GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour’s running mate, state Sen. Karin Housley, drove up to attend the rally. “Scott Honour and I support the mining jobs in northern Minnesota,” Housley said. “We are all about mining jobs.”

After the rally, Housley toured the proposed copper-nickel mine in Hoyt Lakes, where PolyMet Corp. is seeking approval for a mine that could bring hundreds of jobs and millions in new investment. But the 20-year mine would also require environmental clean-up that could stretch 500 years.

Housley said she has a long connection to PolyMet. She is a member of a small group of hobbyist investors who first invested in PolyMet about eight years ago and even toured the facility.

“There is room for common-sense growing jobs and protecting the environment,” she said. “We are all over creating jobs up here.”

GOP-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson issued a statement saying Dayton is not leading on job-creation issues on the Iron Range.

“Attending rallies is not leading – it is standing,” Johnson said. “When I am governor, I am not just going to stand with people who are losing their jobs, I am going to do everything I can to ensure that mining jobs aren’t just protected, they are expanded.”

Of course, the DFL doesn’t like the possibility of losing support on a long-time electoral stronghold:

Dayton and other Democrats took direct aim at Republicans at the rally, saying that the GOP has repeatedly tried to raid special Iron Range funds whenever the budget got tight. Democrats said the Republican’s sudden interest in the Iron Range is a fleeting political ploy.

First, Gov. Dayton’s support of mining is questionable at best. He hasn’t said a positive word about mining since becoming governor. Second, Democrats sound defensive now that GOP gubernatorial candidates are fighting for Iron Range votes.

Third and most importantly, Democrats talk about budget tightening while they’re causing the tightness by not letting the Iron Range economy flourish. Their history of creating jobs on the Range is awful. That’s why the MHI for Eveleth is $35,500.

Dayton and other Democrats fought for projects and jobs “that would improve your quality of life on the Iron Range, across Minnesota and across the country.”

On that front, Gov. Dayton and the DFL failed. One in 6 people living on the Range live in poverty. That isn’t the definition of jobs that “improve your quality of life.” That’s the definition of failing the Range while leaving them in misery.
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Allison Sherry’s article in the Strib is yet another article highlighting the tensions within the DFL. While things look normal on the outside:

things are anything but normal on the inside:

That has DFL state Chair Ken Martin fretting.

“I’m worried about the Eighth,” Martin said. “The rank-and-file union members showing up and supporting the Democratic candidates, I’m worried about environmentalists in Duluth showing up and supporting our candidates. I’m worried about college students throughout this district and young people showing up. We have to win big. We have to run up the score here.”

Here’s why Martin’s worries are legitimate:

Increasingly, the Eighth is cleaved by forces difficult for any one party to address. PolyMet Mining Corp.’s plan to extract copper and nickel from the long-closed LTV mine in Hoyt Lakes has pitted out-of-work but union-loyal miners desperate for decent wages against preservationists, who say the mine could damage the watershed and poison the landscape.

Even after loyal DFLer and Aurora City Council Member David Lislegard lost his job at the mine in 2000, he canvassed for DFL candidates, fighting to get fellow miners to the polls.

No more. “The party is starting to change in direction to the point where I don’t know if it necessarily aligns itself with northeast Minnesota anymore,” said Lislegard, 41. “I’m going to support those who support our way of life.”

Former state Rep. Tom Rukavina, who lives here, was more brusque.

“I just wish one day that our good DFL senators, both of them, you know, would tell the environmentalists to quit crying wolf, you can’t be against everything,” he said. “You can’t want a broadband if there is no copper. You can’t want windmills if there is no nickel. You can’t want a medical device industry if there aren’t stents made of copper, nickel and stainless steel. So cut the crap and grow up.”

There’ve been tons of times I’ve disagreed with ‘Tommie the Commie’ when he was in the legislature. This time, I wholeheartedly agree with him. In the aftermath of the DFL State Convention, a DFL activist made a similar statement, saying that environmental activists walked the convention floor with cell phones and iPads. This DFL activist then asked “do they think that the minerals in those phones and iPads magically drop out of the sky”?

Both nationally and here in Minnesota, Democrats are at a tipping point. Will environmental activists continue to dictate their agenda or will they be abrupt like Tom Rukavina and tell these environmental activists to “grow up”?

Lislegard still favors Nolan in the upcoming election, but he is wavering on whether to support Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken’s re-election bids. He senses that the DFL has taken his and other blue-collar votes for granted, and he is particularly disgusted with the carefully parsed answers he hears about the idled mine that once was his livelihood.

Mindful of the different factions, both politicians are careful when talking about PolyMet.

“What they [miners] want is sustainable mining, that’s what they always wanted,” Franken said. “That’s what we’re doing with the process, and I think the process has improved the project considerably. … There is never anything without risk, but we have to make sure the risk is as minimal as possible.”

That’s slippery language from Sen. Franken, which isn’t surprising. The mining issue wasn’t controversial because of what the miners wanted. It was controversial because environmental activists were steadfastly opposed to precious metals mining. In fact, Alida Messinger, who has written some of the biggest checks to the DFL, vehemently opposes precious metals mining.

Dayton makes no apologies for staying neutral until more is known about one of the most environmentally sensitive projects the state has embarked upon.

“I’ve said before and I’ll say again, my position is I’m not going to take a position,” Dayton said. “I’m going to remain intentionally neutral until all the reports are done, all the comments have been made and filed and responded to, until there is final information. When that will be, I’m not entirely certain. Some people jumped in already pandering to one group or another … before the final analysis came in. I think that’s irresponsible.”

Gov. Dayton, it’s time you stopped walking the tightrope. Tons of information is already known about PolyMet. Alida Messinger and Becky Rom won’t support PolyMet. Get over it. No amount of information will change their minds.

If the DFL won’t tell the environmental activists to sit down and shut up, lots of Rangers will vote for the MNGOP’s pro-mining candidates. It’s that simple.

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