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According to this article, Rick Nolan is considering a run to be Minnesota’s next governor. The article opens by saying “Rep. Rick Nolan is considering a 2018 run for governor, his spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday. Nolan, 73, would be a high profile addition to the DFL field. He represents the 8th Congressional District in northeastern Minnesota, winning a tough re-election fight in 2016 despite a bad year for his party, especially in greater Minnesota. This is Nolan’s second go around in Congress, now in his third term after serving three terms in the 1970s. Having endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Nolan could unite DFL progressives with rural moderates that he represents in Congress. ‘Because several people who (Nolan)& respects have urged him to run, he is giving it thought,’ said Samantha Bisogno, his spokeswoman. She added that he has not pursued the matter further and referred questions to his campaign operation.”

Rick Nolan isn’t the uniter that he’s portrayed as in this article. He’s a far left lefty who thinks Obamacare didn’t go far enough. Further, he isn’t trusted by Metrocrat environmental activists because he’s (relatively) pro-mining. I don’t know how he’d win enough votes in the DFL’s urban stronghold to win either the primary or the general election.

As a Republican, I love the thought of Nolan running for governor because it gives Republicans a stronger chance of flipping the Eighth District. The NRCC would likely think of this as a gift. Obviously, this isn’t decided. Still, it’s another possible ray of sunshine for Republicans.

Resolution 54, which is an amendment offered to the DFL state party platform, has already had a significant impact on the DFL. In 2016, the DFL sent the signal to outstate Minnesota that they cared most about the urban and suburban parts of the state. While most people who voted for Donald Trump and GOP legislative candidates never heard of Resolution 54, it wasn’t a secret to trades unions like the pipefitters and carpenters that the DFL was anti-pipeline and anti-mining.

From a political impact perspective, Resolution 54 will likely be seen, if it passes, as the final proof that the environmental activists run the DFL. It’s apparent that DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin understands that. DFL Chairman Martin understands that because he’s “tasked with winning the DFL elections, which means maintaining support in rural areas while keeping funds from far-left and deep-pocketed Twin Cities donors flowing into races.”

Let’s be clear about this. The rift between the miners and the environmental activists is significant but it isn’t the only point of separation between the environmental activists and other parts of the DFL. Resolution 54 is the high profile disagreement but it isn’t the only point of disagreement. Chairman Martin must know that.

The environmental activists that dominate the metro DFL oppose pipeline construction, too. They’re hostile towards logging and farming, too. It’s important for the outstate DFL to remember that the metro DFL gave them the high health insurance premiums of the ACA, too.

The DFL passed the MNsure legislation in 2013. The DFL has opposed PolyMet for a decade. They opposed the Sandpiper Pipeline for 5 years. Thanks to Gov. Dayton’s obstructionism and the Public Utilities Commission’s meddling in the Sandpiper Pipeline project, that pipeline won’t get built. Instead, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be built.

Until the DFL tells the environmental activists that they don’t run the DFL, the DFL’s base will continue crumbling. That’s the real impact of the environmental activist wing of the DFL and Resolution 54.

The article describes DFL Chairman Martin as “a supporter of labor.” Chairman Martin then said “the DFL needs to agree to disagree on mining.” That didn’t sit well with miners:

That’s where Range DFLers disagree, saying they want the chair to take a stronger stance against the environmental caucus. The party taking a position against the livelihood of a region has become personal and too critical to compromise on.

Chairman Martin is playing a weak hand poorly. Then again, he’s in a difficult position. (I’d call it a no-win situation.)

Regardless of today’s vote, the DFL is in a difficult position for 2018 and beyond.

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When I wrote this post, titled The DFL’s blue collar civil war, I focused my attention on tomorrow morning’s DFL State Central meeting and something titled Resolution 54. The language for Resolution 54 states “Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake Superior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in the sulfur-bearing rock of Minnesota.”

Harold Hamilton’s Friday commentary focused on those subjects, too. Hamilton wrote “The Watchdog has spoken with a number of DFL opinion leaders from greater Minnesota who have noted that the passage of this resolution means their permanent split from the DFL.”

The next paragraph after that commentary contained an update, which said “The Watchdog has learned that there will be a motion to ‘table’ the resolution until 2018. So what. Kicking the can down the road won’t paper over this schism. DFL candidates are already announcing for governor. You can bet that various DFL constituencies will be working hard to pin down the candidates regarding mining. There will be no place to hide.”

A loyal reader of LFR said that it’s unlikely that the motion to table Resolution 54 will pass. Further, this supporter of LFR thinks it likely that Resolution 54 will pass, though that isn’t guaranteed. Another loyal supporter of LFR sent me this Twitter picture:


I don’t know if these things are tied together or if they’re entirely random. Either situation is possible at this point. What’s certain is that tomorrow morning’s meeting has the potential for blowing up in the DFL’s face. The other thing that’s certain is that DFL State Party Chair Martin can’t be blamed if he’s drinking Maalox by the bottle tonight.

According to Mr. Hamilton, if tomorrow morning’s DFL meeting blows up, Republicans will have gotten a fantastic opportunity if they play it right:

On the Republican side, leadership must grasp the opportunity, which means making some tough choices. It’s easy to support mining and pipelines. It’s easy to support guns. But it isn’t as easy to support other issues like prevailing wage laws.

Internal polling from some construction trade union showed that over 50% of their membership voted for Donald Trump and other Republicans down ticket. Maintaining those numbers will be very, very difficult if the GOP pushes for prevailing wage repeal bills, for example. Regardless of where one stands on this issue, members of the skilled construction trades see prevailing wage laws as a protection against low-cost, low-skill (sometimes illegal) labor undercutting Minnesota’s high-skill higher-cost model.

In short, when you tell a man or woman who has put in many thousands of hours to learn and perfect a trade that they should make less money in order to be on par with crews of unskilled, illegal workers from Alabama and Mississippi, it’s not a winning message. Telling rural Minnesota that blue collar people in their communities make too much money is about as popular as telling them that mining should be illegal.

Here’s hoping that Republicans a) get this opportunity and b) make the most of this opportunity.

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Briana Bierschbach’s article exposes the DFL’s electoral dilemma going forward. She quotes Ken Martin, the DFL State Party Chairman, as saying “Clearly there were a lot of white, non-college-educated, working-class voters who were frustrated and anxious about their future and they wanted change. We have to figure out how to speak to white, working-class voters in a better way.”

Actually, the DFL’s problem isn’t messaging. The DFL’s problems revolve around geography and policies. Specifically, the DFL is dominated by the Twin Cities environmental activists that can’t relate to outstate Minnesota. What’s worse for the DFL is that these environmental activists don’t want to relate to blue collar workers.

This isn’t just a problem for the DFL. The Democratic Party nationally got routed because they ignored these blue collar workers. Democrats nationally and the DFL locally both have sided with environmental activists on issue after issue. Whether it’s on the Keystone XL Pipeline or the Dakota Access Pipeline nationally or the Sandpiper Pipeline here in Minnesota, the environmental activists always win the fight with the Democrats.

If that pattern doesn’t change, the DFL will continue to get hurt electorally. They won’t admit this in public but the truth is that Donald Trump has changed the political landscape. I’m not calling this a permanent realignment. It’s a significant shift, though, because there’s now a new option available to blue collar Democrats.

This past year, Rep. Thissen told us that the DFL would make up ground in outstate Minnesota with broadband and transit. I wrote that those things wouldn’t help them in outstate Minnesota because they weren’t important to outstate voters. The DFL didn’t identify health care accessibility or health insurance premiums as battleground issues.

Think of it this way: outstate voters that normally vote DFL are drifting away from the DFL because of health care and environmental issues. Suburban voters are drifting, too, because health care prices are expensive. The DFL’s messaging won’t change those realities.

This article highlights how out-of-touch Gov. Dayton is. It says that Gov. Dayton thinks the 2011 government shutdown was the Republicans’ fault. It wasn’t. He said that Republicans were extremists in 2011. According to the AP article, “Though Dayton conceded Minnesota voters are divided and said he was willing to compromise when he’s outnumbered for a second time, he put the blame for 2011’s discord squarely on Republicans. ‘They were the extremists. They were unwilling to compromise,’ he said.”

During the 2012 campaign, DFL candidates insisted that they were moderates. Minnesotans voted to give the DFL legislative majorities in the House and Senate. In 2014, voters thoroughly rejected the DFL, restoring Republicans to the majority in the House. In 2016, the first time DFL senators were up for re-election since giving the DFL total control of St. Paul, voters dumped the DFL as the majority party in the Minnesota State Senate.

According to the article, “Dayton had urged voters to send him Democratic Legislature, the path of least resistance to his goal of expanding early education and metropolitan transit options for his final two years in office. Dayton said Wednesday that he knew a Democratic takeover of the House was a reach but that he expected to hold the Senate.” Think of 2016 as a total repudiation of Gov. Dayton’s agenda.
This video strongly suggests that Gov. Dayton will attempt to mischaracterize Republicans as extremists:

This portion of Gov. Dayton’s press availability lays the foundation for that belief:

GOV. DAYTON: Minnesotans are very narrowly divided. That was very clear in the vote for president, very clear in the vote for some of the contested congressional races. It was very clear in the vote for the Minnesota State Legislature. We are a closely divided electorate in Minnesota and across the nation. The question now for all of us who have the responsibility to lead is if we’re going to push those divides farther or are we going to do what we can to rise above them and to bring people together.

While this election’s results were tight mathematically, voters sent a clear message to politicians.

Nationally, President-Elect Trump tapped into what I’m calling rural frustration. Big city elitists essentially ignored people who worked in mines or built infrastructure. In Minnesota, the DFL minorities in the House and Senate are mostly from urban areas.

The DFL lost seats on the Range. Tom Saxhaug and Tom Anzelc, 2 longtime DFL stalwarts, got thumped. Anzelc lost by almost 2,500 votes. Saxhaug lost by 545 votes. The DFL lost seats in rural Minnesota in 2014. It’s indisputable that the DFL doesn’t understand rural Minnesota. It’s like the DFL thinks of Willmar, Alexandria, Brainerd and Marshall as foreign planets.

The summarization is simple. While Minnesotans are tightly divided numerically, they’re essentially divided geographically. As long as the Metrocrats dominate the DFL, that won’t change anytime soon.

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This LTE is one of the most hard-hitting, most DFL-exposing, most honest LTEs I’ve read about the DFL’s disgust with mining. It was written by Kenneth Toole, who has apparently figured out Rick Nolan. (Here’s hoping that there are thousands of Kenneth Toole voters this November.)

Mr. Toole started his LTE by saying “Last weekend in Sauk Rapids, Rick Nolan helped broker another backroom deal to help ensure his own re-election, while throwing mining families under the bus; pressuring his fellow DFLers to delay their anti-mining resolution until just after Election Day, when the anti-mining, anti-jobs, anti-working family resolution will then be passed.”

Never was the phrase ‘the devil’s in the details’ more true than in this instance. Mr. Toole wrote that “as part of Nolan’s backroom deal, the DFL has announced that Rebecca Otto, who is known on the range as anti-mining, will lead an ‘Ad Hoc Task Force’ to address the DFL’s anti-mining push. Otto is not only known on the Range as anti-mining, but according to the Mesabi Daily News, Otto previously voted ‘against awarding leases for exploration.'”

Anyone that thinks Rebecca Otto will give mining a fair shot likely thinks that Republicans will get a fair shake from the Twin Cities media or that Lori Sturdevant will actually scrutinize the DFL’s SWLRT project. Simply put, mining won’t get a fair shot from Ms. Otto. She’s as anti-mining as the DFL gets.

Here’s hoping that lots of Kenneth Toole voters show up on Nov. 8. It’s time to retire Rick Nolan once and for all. He’s nothing more than a backstabbing career politician who won’t hesitate to stab miners in the back if it’ll help him get elected.

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It almost seems impossible that Gov. Dayton might call a special session this year but that’s what Don Davis is reporting in this article. He’s reporting that “Gov. Mark Dayton said at the Minnesota State Fair that if local money could be found to support a southwestern Twin Cities light rail project, and the Legislature did not need to take action on the issue, he would talk to key lawmakers about calling a special session to take up a tax bill and funding public works projects.”

Let’s be clear about this. Republicans shouldn’t let the DFL off the hook if a special session is called. There’s no disputing the fact that the DFL was perfectly prepared to throw rural Minnesota under the bus to shove the SWLRT project down rural Minnesota’s throats.

Republicans put together a strong bonding bill in the House that included $700,000,000 worth of funding for improving Minnesota’s most dangerous roads and bridges. DFL senators, in a last night hissy fit, said no to those highway improvements by insisting that SWLRT funding be included in the bonding bill. The DFL did that despite the fact that DFL senators refused to include $135,000,000 in SWLRT funding in their $1,800,000,000 (that’s $1.8 billion) bonding bill. If SWLRT was a high priority to DFL senators, why didn’t they include funding for it in their bill? Further, if it’s such a priority to them, why did every DFL senator vote for their bonding bill even though it didn’t have a penny of funding for SWLRT?

These are questions that the DFL hasn’t answered because the DFL can’t answer those questions. The DFL is playing political games, which is what politicians do when they can’t run on what they’ve accomplished. The DFL has shown that they care about the Metro than they care about all of Minnesota.

The last night of the session, the DFL didn’t hesitate in putting a significantly higher priority on funding light rail than they put on tax relief for farmers, veterans, small businesses. The DFL didn’t hesitate in putting a higher priority on a project that won’t get built for at least another 5 years than they put on making the most dangerous stretches of highway safer.

Is that really the types of priorities we want the legislature to have? If citizens want priorities that fit all of Minnesota’s priorities, defeat the DFL. They’ve shown what their priorities are. They aren’t Minnesota’s priorities.

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After reading this article, the first thing I thought was ‘can we get that in writing’? Specifically, I’m referring to this statement, which reads “About 20 rail transit projects in development across the country are in a queue for Federal Transit Administration grants through the agency’s New Starts program, and a delay in securing local funding commitments could cause SWLRT to lose its place in line, the Met Council has repeatedly warned.”

Starting from scratch on SWLRT would be a dream come true. It’s a project whose time will never come, at least not in Minnesota. What can SWLRT do that multiple bus lines can’t do better? Bus lines can adapt to changing transportation needs. Bus lines aren’t expensive, either. Installing new bus lines wouldn’t require settling ongoing litigation that SWLRT is tied up with, either. Then there’s the overall cost of SWLRT, which is orders of magnitude more expensive than buses.

Why does the DFL think this project is such a high priority? Is it because it’ll improve the lives of the masses? Not likely. Is it because it’ll play well with the special interests and big government types? BINGO! We’ve got a winner.

The statement noted about 45 staffers would be laid-off if the project office shut down. The project office runs out of cash to continue operations Sept. 30, and the cost of delays beyond that date is estimated at $1 million per week.

If the project is scrapped, I don’t care if costs pile up. The government shouldn’t have made such a foolish decision. Further, I don’t care if companies lose money because they trusted crooked politicians. That’s their fault. Let them pay the price for their decision-making. Nobody put a gun to their head and said ‘build the SWLRT.’

Capitalism isn’t about guaranteeing profits. Capitalism is about guaranteeing opportunities to make profits. Guaranteeing profits has a different name — public-private partnerships, aka socialism, aka crony capitalism.

This op-ed, co-written by Sen. Gary Dahms and Sen. Bill Weber, should be published throughout Minnesota. It should be published throughout Minnesota because it exposes the DFL’s plan for victory this November.

This isn’t surprising. The DFL is led by Gov. Dayton, who frequently acts like a spoiled rich brat, and Rep. Thissen, who consistently acts like the world stops a mile beyond the Twin Cities city limits. For instance, every rural voter should know that “when the DFL majority presented their first bonding and cash bill in the State Senate in early May with a combined expenditure of $1.8 billion, not a single dollar was included for light rail — yet every DFL Senator voted for the bill” and that “they add a light rail amendment to the compromise bonding bill just before deadline. Every DFL senator voted for that and now don’t want a bonding bill without it, effectively derailing the whole bonding bill.”

What’s clear is that the DFL isn’t interested in governing. It’s clear that the DFL prefers the campaign talking point over doing what’s right for Minnesotans. How can you vote for a $1.8 billion bonding bill that doesn’t mention SWLRT, then insist that they won’t agree to a special session because funding SWLRT is a high priority — which they forgot about in a bill almost twice the size of the bonding bill they sabotaged. And, yes, sabotaged is the right word, especially in light of this information:

With lawsuits still going on over routing of Southwest Light Rail etc., there was no immediate rush to fund this. The feds have indicated they want the lawsuits settled before funding is committed.

In other words, Gov. Stomp-His-Feet-And-Hold-His-Breath sabotaged the bonding bill and the Tax Relief Bill over a provision that was, at best, an afterthought to the DFL in their bonding bill.

This is good advice:

We ask all voters in Greater Minnesota to keep this in mind in the 2016 elections.

I’ll go a step further. All voters should ask themselves if they want to turn power over to a bunch of morally bankrupt politicians whose allegiances are to an endless parade of special interest organizations and to the goal of doing whatever it takes to regain the levers of power. If that doesn’t sound like a bunch of trustworthy politicians, it’s because they aren’t trustworthy politicians.

It’s time to vote for politicians that will do what’s best for your families, not do what the special interests tell them to do. If you aspire to voting for citizen representatives who care what’s best for you, then you can’t vote DFL this cycle. This cycle, the DFL are nothing but dishonest politicians who have an ideological agenda that’s counterproductive to what Minnesotans want.

St. Paul Chris Coleman is asking for another major property tax increase. This is likely the first in a lengthy list of mayoral sob stories set to be published.

Mayor Coleman, it seems, expected a “$3 million boost in state aid” that isn’t coming. The sob story will sound something like this: We passed a budget that expected an increase in LGA but House Republicans killed that. Now we’re stuck with a $3,000,000 deficit, which means we’re going to have to cut “up to nine police officers.”

Actually, the entire paragraph reads “The breakdown of talks over a potential special legislative session means the city isn’t going to get an expected $3 million boost in state aid, and simply cutting that money could cost the city up to nine police officers, force one of the city’s recreation centers to close and trim the city’s racial equity initiatives, Coleman wrote Wednesday in a letter to the St. Paul City Council.”

Start cutting, Mayor Coleman. Forcing “one of the city’s recreation centers to close” isn’t a tragedy. Losing 9 police officers at a time when BlackLivesMatter activists are throwing cement blocks and rebar at police offices is a tragedy. This paragraph sums it up perfectly:

“This is not acceptable,” said council member Dai Thao. “We spend millions of dollars on the Palace Theater. Some of the folks targeted by these cuts would never experience the Palace theater,” said Thao, saying the cuts wouldn’t be fair for many St. Paul residents.

The first question that isn’t being asked is this: why did St. Paul spend “millions of dollars on the Palace Theater”? Here’s why they spent millions on it:

Enhancing the vibrant downtown entertainment district is at the core of this project. Expected to attract more than 100,000 people downtown annually, the Palace Theatre will fill a need in the current entertainment venue market by offering a contemporary music venue twice as large as Minneapolis’ First Avenue.

In other words, St. Paul just pissed away millions of dollars to compete with Minneapolis? Now they want to raise taxes because they’re spending like a bunch of drunk sailors at a strip club. Imagine spending millions of dollars on a building like this: