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Traditionally speaking, Tim Walz’s running mate is Peggy Flanagan. From an agenda standpoint, though, Tim Walz’s running mate is Keith Ellison. If either of them or, God forbid, both are elected, Minnesota will become one of the worst states in terms of crime and illegal immigration.

According to a recent Reality Check by Pat Kessler, Tim Walz proudly states that he’d push for turning Minnesota into a sanctuary state:

Read between the lines of Keith Ellison’s issues page and it’s clear that Ellison supports sanctuary state status:

Minnesota has a proud immigrant tradition, from those seeking economic opportunity to those fleeing violence abroad. As Attorney General, I will fight efforts by the Trump Administration to remove protections from DREAMers who contribute so much to our economy and society. I will ensure that our immigration detention system is humane, and free from mistreatment, and will prioritize efforts to reunite families who were heartlessly separated at the border. I will stand up to the un-American, discriminatory Muslim Travel Ban. Our country is at its best when we welcome those fleeing horrendous conditions, not when we fan the flames of bigotry and division.

If Tim Walz and Keith Ellison are elected, it’s certain that Minnesota’s crime rate will head in the wrong direction. Kessler rightly highlights the fact that immigration is a hot issue for the GOP base. That’s why I expect Jeff Johnson and Doug Wardlow to highlight this issue as much as possible through Election Day. Follow this link to contribute to Jeff’s campaign. If you want a safe Minnesota, follow this link to contribute to Doug Wardlow’s campaign so he can protect Minnesota while finishing Keith Ellison’s political career.

I’m more than a little suspicious of this article. I’m suspicious partly because I’ve never heard of this politician before. I’m partially suspicious because Randy Johnson said “I still have the same fiscally conservative values, the same beliefs in limited government. The Republican party is kind of out in Never Never Land right now”, then writes in the Star Tribune that “for the first time in his life, he’s voting Democrat.”

If you’re a fiscal conservative, it’s impossible to vote for DFL politicians. DFL politicians are the opposite of fiscally conservative. According to the 2017 Taxpayers League Scorecard, the worst scores House Republicans got were 60s. The best score that a House DFL politician got was a 67 by Jeanne Poppe. That 67 is an outlier, though, because Poppe’s lifetime score from the TPL is 16.
If Johnson wants to vote for the party of rioters, that’s his option. Randy, welcome to your new party:

If Johnson wants to vote DFL this year, that’s his right and privilege. That being said, he’s kidding himself if he thinks he’s a fiscal conservative. I’d put him in the Arne Carlson/Dave Durenberger wing of the Republican Party. In other words, Johnson appears to be a perfect fit into the RINO wing of the MNGOP.

It’s apparent that Johnson enjoys the attention that this interview gives him. This is a dead giveaway:

President Trump is popular among Minnesota Republicans, but Johnson says he can’t support what the President stands for. He won’t vote for his former Hennepin County Board colleague Jeff Johnson for governor, or his friend Erik Paulsen for Congress. He says he cannot trust they will ever stand up to President Trump. “I think it’s time for Republicans, mainstream, real Republicans, to stand up and say ‘enough is enough,'” Johnson said.

Let’s compare Trump’s agenda with President Reagan’s agenda. Both cut and reformed taxes. Both cut regulations significantly. Economic growth exploded during their administration. Both rebuilt the military. Johnson approved of President Reagan’s agenda. Why doesn’t he approve of President Trump’s agenda?

In the interview, Johnson says that he didn’t leave the Republican Party. That’s BS. If he’s voting for a straight DFL ticket this fall, that’s proof he left the MNGOP. He can spin it whichever way he wants. The truth is that he isn’t a fiscal conservative. However, he might be a ‘Never Trumper’.

According to polling from a company called Change Research, which is described as a Democratic polling company, Minnesota’s top statewide races are tightening:


Jeff Johnson trails Tim Walz 47%-44% and Karin Housley trails Tina Smith by a 46%-43% margin. I can’t say that I’m surprised with those results. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the DFL loses both of those seats. I’m not ready to predict GOP victories in those races — yet. That’s similar to my position on the MN AG race, where I think Keith Ellison keeps sinking each week.

Newt Gingrich is one of the best predicters of races in my lifetime. Here’s what he said this morning:

If Democrats don’t retake the House or the Senate, that will be a crushing blow going into the 2020 cycle. At this point, it’s safe to scrap the ‘blue wave’ myth. It doesn’t exist.

Tom Hauser has put several DFL ads through the Truth Test this election. The DFL’s ratings haven’t been kind to them. This time, Hauser put an anti-Jeff Johnson ad through the Truth Test.

The narrator starts the ad by saying “The list of pre-existing conditions seems endless. Cancer, diabetes, asthma – even pregnancy. Under Jeff Johnson’s health care plan, insurance companies could deny coverage for every single one.” Of course, this isn’t close to the truth. The supposed source of this information “cites Johnson’s own website.”

That’s where That’s where “the ad from the Minnesota Victory Fund PAC” falls apart. Hauser continues, saying “However, his website says just the opposite. In his ‘action plan’ for health care, Johnson calls for ‘a new approach that drives down costs and still takes care of our most vulnerable Minnesotans and those with pre-existing conditions.'”

That isn’t a minor mistake. That’s a major, intentional, statement. Then there’s this:

His plan calls for returning Minnesota to a “high-risk” insurance pool it used to have that was eliminated by the Affordable Care Act. His website says: “I will advocate for reinstating a MCHA-style pool for those with pre-existing conditions, guaranteeing competitively-priced coverage for everyone in Minnesotan.”

It isn’t surprising to find out that this ad graded out poorly:

This ad includes a mix of false, inconclusive and dated information, some of which is based on information from when Johnson ran for governor in 2014. It gets a D-minus on the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS “Truth Test.”

Here’s the explanation for Truth Test grading:

– A “D” is the result of at least half the information being false or misleading to the point of leaving a false impression.

Here’s the video of the ad:

This isn’t insignificant because health care is a major issue in Minnesota this year, perhaps even the top issue. By lying about Jeff Johnson’s policy, the Minnesota Victory Fund PAC is intentionally attempting to tilt the election in Tim Walz’s favor with a major lie. That’s the definition of dirty politics. I can’t say that I’m surprised since the DFL has, at best, a passing familiarity with the truth.

This Duluth News Tribune editorial endorses Tim Pawlenty as the Republicans’ best shot at retaking the governorship. Normally, endorsements don’t mean that much but I think this one matters. It isn’t because I think the endorsement itself is that impactful. I think it’s impactful because Tim Pawlenty was given the time and space to explain why he’s running. In my estimation, he made the most of that opportunity.

In the editorial, Gov. Pawlenty said “People criticize me for, ‘You held the line on this’ or, ‘You cut that.’ You bet I did. When you’re in a near depression and government’s budgets have contracted, the answer isn’t to go out to the taxpayers and say, ‘We need to raise your taxes.’ We had to tighten the government’s belt, just like every family did, just like every house did.”

In my estimation, that response was what you’d expect from the adult in the room. It didn’t stop there, though. After that, Gov. Pawlenty stated “I’m 57 years old, I have no other political ambitions. I’m not running for any national office. I’m coming back to try to run for governor not because I need the title; I already have it. And I don’t need to go to sit in the office; I’ve already done that for eight years,” said Pawlenty, governor from 2003 to 2011 and a Republican presidential candidate in 2012. “I’m coming back for one reason, which is to get things done for my state and for the state that I love. And I think that at this point we need somebody who is strong enough and experienced enough and, frankly, willing to embrace enough risk to bridge the (political) divides. I am in the best position in this race to do that.”

The difference between Gov. Pawlenty then and the conditions he’d walk into now are dramatic. When he first won the office, he inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura and a terrible economy. This time around, he’ll walk in at a time when the US economy is hitting on all cylinders. Thanks to that robust economy, Gov. Pawlenty will have the chance to reform the tax system that Gov. Dayton created.

What does Pawlenty want to do if elected again? He wants to slow down health insurance premium increases and maybe even reduce them. He wants to provide tax relief to middle- and modest-income Minnesotans, including by getting rid of Minnesota’s rare tax on Social Security benefits. And he wants to modernize and improve Minnesota schools and the state’s educational system to finally close the achievement gap and to help meet growing workforce needs.

Tim Pawlenty is the best choice to lead the Republican Party of Minnesota. He’s got universal name recognition. He’s got the funding network that’ll be needed to fight off the DFL candidate. Most importantly, he’s got a reform-minded substantive agenda that conservatives can rally around.

Jeff Johnson is touting the issues he wants to run on. That’s admirable. He’d be a fine governor if he got elected. The thing is, though, that he’d have a difficult time getting elected. You can’t govern if you don’t get elected.

Republicans have a fantastic opportunity to reform Minnesota’s economy. To do that, though, we need unified Republican control of St. Paul. We can’t get there with Jeff Johnson. He’s already lost 2 statewide races. I’m not willing to bet that the third time is the charm. There’s too much at stake to entrust to a 2-time loser.

Tim Pawlenty wants to focus on accomplishing sensible things. That’s been out of style the past 8 years in St. Paul. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Tim Pawlenty has started running an ad that takes a shot at Gov. Dayton’s incompetence in administering government assistance programs. Before we watch the ad, though, it’s important to note that Pawlenty has listed this issue as a high priority on his campaign’s issues page.

He wrote “Whether it is a driver’s license renewal system that doesn’t work, broken healthcare websites, or childcare providers allegedly defrauding the state of a massive amount of money and sending some of that money to terrorists overseas, state government needs to be held more accountable. Too often, state government is not held accountable and taxpayers are left to pay the price. As just one example, a recent audit from the Office of the Legislative Auditor found the state is paying hundreds of millions in benefits to people not even eligible because state government fails to verify income eligibility. We will properly verify eligibility and use the hundreds of millions currently being wasted to lower health care costs and provide better care to Minnesotans in need. It’s time to hold state government more accountable and put hardworking Minnesotans first.”

Here’s Pawlenty’s ad:

Rating this ad

I consider this ad to be effective. First, Pawlenty ‘narrates’ the ad, in essence telling people what he thinks is important while highlighting what’s wrong with government. Next, he closes by saying that he’d use those savings to lower health care costs for Minnesotans who work hard and obey the law.

Next up is Karin Housley’s first ad:

Rating this ad

I rate this ad effective, too. First, Sen. Housley speaks for herself, which is always the most effective way of getting the message across. Next, she explains her governing philosophy. Simply put, she wants to ‘drain the swamp’ and get government out of the average citizen’s way. She wants government “working for you, not against you.” Finally, she tells voters that she understands “that the best place for your hard-earned money is in your pocket.”

In both cases, the ads were short, concise and about things that Minnesotans care about.

UPDATE: I saw Jeff Johnson’s first ad tonight:

Rating this ad

Johnson’s ad definitely goes after Tim Pawlenty, which is what I’d expect since Johnson first has to win the primary. I thought it was gratuitous for Johnson to say that Gov. Pawlenty “gave us higher spending.” When Gov. Pawlenty started in office, Jim Knoblach chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. It’s foolish to think that there was a massive spending increase at that time because Gov. Pawlenty inherited a $4.2 billion projected deficit from Jesse Ventura. Pawlenty and Knoblach eliminated that deficit without raising taxes. It’s fair, however, to mention the fee increases.

The ad is a bit misleading in that Pawlenty had to battle DFL supermajorities in the 2007 and 2009 budget sessions. That’s when Republicans relied on Gov. Pawlenty to be our goalie.

Overall, the ad is somewhat effective because it’s somewhat misleading.

Deep inside this article are 2 paragraphs that makes me wonder about Commissioner Jeff Johnson.

In them, he says “Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, also running for the Republican nomination for governor in the Aug. 14 primary, said Pawlenty’s immigration emphasis is a poll-tested play for the GOP electorate. ‘If [Pawlenty] is talking about it, that means it’s polling well,’ Johnson said, citing $96,000 the Pawlenty campaign spent on polls in recent months, according to state campaign filings. Johnson said in a news conference last week that one of his first actions as governor would be to fly to Washington to tell the Trump administration that Minnesota is no longer accepting refugees.”

One of the first official communications, if not the first, from the Pawlenty campaign was a criticism of Tim Walz, who wants to turn Minnesota into a sanctuary state. This statement was published on May 2. It’s difficult to think that Gov. Pawlenty is simply pandering to primary voters.

I don’t make much of Commissioner Johnson finally addressing the issue until 2 months later. I don’t think Johnson is weak on immigration. What I think is that Johnson is employing a double standard. Apparently, when Jeff Johnson talks about refugee resettlement or immigration, it’s done for the purest of reasons. Apparently, he thinks that when Tim Pawlenty talks about immigration, it’s because it’s polling well, nothing more.

This might be news to Commissioner Johnson:

But in response to e-mailed questions from the Star Tribune, Pawlenty said it’s not a new issue for him. “I have traveled around Minnesota and addressed many issues and immigration is one of those issues,” wrote Pawlenty, who declined an interview request for this story. “This is not a change in focus. In fact, cracking down on illegal immigration was a key priority when I ran in 2002, 2006 and during my time as governor. Illegal immigration is a big problem and it needs to be strongly addressed.”

I don’t recall immigration being a top priority while Pawlenty was governor but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a priority for him. Whatever the case, it’s clearly a problem this time. One thing that’s always been true of Gov. Pawlenty is that he’s a pragmatic, problem-solving politician.

It’s apparent that he’s recognized immigration/refugee resettlement as top issues this cycle. There’s little doubt that he’ll address those issues. Of course, Gov. Pawlenty’s enemies are critical:

DFL critics say Pawlenty’s focus on immigration, then and now, are attempts to distract voters from his record on issues like education, health care and the $6 billion budget deficit that existed when he left office. “This is the Pawlenty playbook,” said Javier Morillo, the president of Service Employees International Union Local 26. Morillo supports U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the DFL race for governor. “Whenever his poll numbers would go down, he would come up with something divisive,” Morillo said. In the Trump era, Morillo said, Pawlenty is using the same approach “on steroids.”

One thing about Javier is that you’ll never hear him say that a Republican has done anything right, except if it’s to make another Republican look terrible. It’s part of his playbook. With the DFL as with the SEIU, enforcing the law is a divisive topic. (This is also the case with Keith Ellison, who is now running to be Minnesota’s top law enforcement officer.)

At the end of the day, Jeff Johnson’s complaining comes across as whining. It diminishes him. That’s a shame because he’s actually a pretty good guy.

Pawlenty tweaks Johnson

The Republican nomination race for Minnesota governor took a contentious turn Thursday with a hard-hitting TV ad from former Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

After months of Pawlenty ignoring his primary rival, he unloaded on Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson as part of a six-figure ad campaign, the first commercials he has run during the race. Johnson responded with his own swipes but probably won’t be able to match Pawlenty’s reach, given the relative cash positions of their campaigns.

Johnson is the tiresome gnat in the race. He tried firing back but this is the best he could do:

Johnson took the sudden attention as a sign “that the race is close. It was a good day in the campaign. I said the day that he attacks is a day he knows he might lose. Obviously, we got there earlier than I thought we would,” he said.

This race isn’t close. The Outstate.US poll shows Pawlenty leading by 34 points. Even if the margin of error was high, Johnson would still be miles behind.

The Pawlenty campaign replied:

Pawlenty’s campaign said Johnson threw the first punches months ago and they’re ready to respond in kind. “The Pawlenty campaign is not going to take anything for granted, and we want to ensure that Republican primary voters know exactly where Jeff Johnson has been on these important issues,” said Pawlenty adviser Brian McClung.

It isn’t that Johnson is being competitive. It’s more likely that Pawlenty has decided it’s time to all-but-officially end the primary.

Housley’s impressive fundraising quarter

Karin Housley’s campaign just reported “In Minnesota’s special election for U.S. Senate, the campaign of Republican-endorsed candidate Karin Housley announced a fundraising total of just over $1 million during the second quarter of 2018. Of the 6,209 total campaign donors to date, nearly 73 percent gave donations of $50 or less.” While it’s likely that Tina Smith has raised more, that’s irrelevant because Tina’s message is essentially Obstruct and Resist. Meanwhile, Karin’s message is “Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state. Minnesotans want a senator who will fight for them – but Tina Smith has shown us again and again that her marching orders come from the radical left, not the people she represents. Over the next four months, we’re going to work as hard as we can traveling the state, hearing Minnesotans’ stories, and making a case for why I’ll be a new voice in the U.S. Senate for the people of our state.”

At this press conference, Sen. Smith sounded like a past president of Planned Parenthood, which she is:

The difference between Tina Smith and Karin Housley is that Tina Smith serves the special interests. Karin Housley serves people. Sen. Housley proved that by vigorously attempting to fix the elder abuse scandal in Minnesota. Rather than just hold a press conference, Sen. Housley put together legislation that would’ve fixed many of the problems. Unfortunately, Gov. Dayton, who Tina Smith served with for 3+ years, vetoed the bill.

After reading this article, I’m certain that the DFL doesn’t have any visionaries running for governor. In fact, I’ll say one more thing. It’s clear to me that the DFL candidates aren’t top tier candidates.

I started wondering if the DFL had any top tier candidates when I read “Erin Murphy, who’s represented her St. Paul state House district since 2007, said she grew up around politics “that were about improving people’s lives” and said she wants to return to that if elected. ‘We should be doing all that we can to make sure that we’re building a future for the people of Minnesota,’ she said. But lately, ‘I see us moving in a direction more toward a Washington, D.C.-style of politics where we’re thinking too much about how to beat the other side, how to get to the next election and the things we need to do together are falling behind.'”

This was confirmed when I read this:

Walz too talked about changing political culture. And just as Murphy often references her nursing profession, Walz often cites his time as a social studies teacher. “We believe in education and we do it in that classroom because it doesn’t have to be a pejorative to talk about government,” said the six-term member of Congress from Mankato. “It’s us. It’s the people who make decisions in communities. But we have to make sure those most impacted by decisions are at the table.

“The behind-closed-doors thing is undermining our basic faith…we’re a very polarized nation and that is holding us back,” he said.

Perhaps Walz is complaining about what happens behind closed doors because he’s never been invited to closed-door negotiations. That’s because he’s never been a committee chairman. That’s because, for 12 years, he’s been a nobody in Congress.

Quick rule of thumb: Nobodies in Congress aren’t visionaries.

Thankfully, there was a visionary at the debate:

Johnson complained of “arrogance” in state agencies and said he seeks to change “the very culture in St. Paul. I got into this race almost 14 months ago and I got in for a very simple reason: to give people more control over their own money and over their own businesses and over their own kids’ education and over their own health care and, frankly, over their own lives,” Johnson said.

With Johnson, at least you know there’s something substantive that he wants to accomplish. There’s no question that he has a number of goals in mind.

This video is worth watching:

It’s worth watching even though they don’t poll the match-up between Erin Murphy and Tim Pawlenty, which is the likely match-up this November. Murphy is the DFL favorite because, in my opinion, she’ll dominate the Twin Cities vote while Lori Swanson and Tim Walz split the rural vote.

The poll shows that Tim Pawlenty leading Jeff Johnson 54%-20%. That isn’t a position Johnson is likely to rebound from.

Jenny Berg’s article about Dr. John Palmer’s decision to run for the St. Cloud City Council highlights something important. It is best highlighted when Dr. Palmer is quoted as saying “I’ve chosen consciously to talk about ‘we the people’ because I really think the current council and the person I’m running against has forgotten that they are servants to the people. In our republican form of government, it’s the people who are in charge.”

What Dr. Palmer implied, I’ll state explicitly. The men who represent the citizens of Wards 1, 2 and 3 don’t listen to the people of their wards. Jeff Johnson, who isn’t seeking re-election, is the only member of the City Council that consistently listens to his constituents and who sees what’s happening in this city.

Of the candidates running for the City Council, I’m confident that Dr. Palmer, Liz Baklaich, Paul Brandmire and Mike Conway will listen to the people. I’m confident of that because I know each of them and I’ve seen how good of listeners they are. It’s possible that the other candidates are decent listeners. I just can’t vouch for their listening skills.

Nobody should like the direction that St. Cloud is heading. The Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Kleis and the incumbents have told us that the city is heading in the right direction. Unemployment is low but Electrolux is moving. Herbergers is closing. Our airport is on life support. What part of that sounds like we’re heading in the right direction?

Palmer said his goals, if elected, are to grow the economy of St. Cloud and ensure citizens’ voices are heard. “We can no longer rely on simply increasing fees and sales taxes, increasing hotel and motel taxes and increasing property taxes. What we need to do is grow the economy in able to have sufficient revenue,” he said. “What you want more of, you certainly don’t tax.”

Palmer said the council needs to be open to differing opinions. “My main goal is to reform the council in such a way that the primary orientation is to listen to the people and to conduct the affairs of the council in such a way so that the people’s voice is not stifled,” he said.

“Let me give a concrete example — by having a public hearing two weeks before they are going to have a vote, and by excluding the public from participating in the debate at the time they are going to vote, you stifle public input. You stifle the quality of the debate.”

That’s what principled leadership sounds like.

In her speech during the open forum portion of the City Council meeting, Liz Baklaich said that the Council is irreparably damaged and couldn’t be fixed. In my opinion, she’s right. Dave Masters, Steve Laraway and John Libert aren’t suddenly going to start listening to the people. That isn’t who they are. I don’t often agree with Vice President Biden but he once said something that’s inescapably true. He said “A leader without followers is just a man out for a walk.” Masters, Laraway and Libert are just people out for a walk.

Frankly, Masters is a disgrace. When Dr. Palmer tried making a point at last Monday’s meeting, the Council President told Dr. Palmer to sit down. When he refused to sit because sitting would’ve violated a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling, Masters said “Personally, I take offense with Dr. Palmer not following the rules and standing before the Council after being asked numerous times to sit down please. You have your time when you can speak during the Open Forum.”

I have a problem when elected officials ignore state Supreme Court rulings:

I feel like justice was finally served,” said Robin Hensel, whose refusal to move her chair at a 2013 Little Falls City Council meeting was at the heart of the court’s decision. Hensel, a grandmother and peace activist who frequently protests at Camp Ripley, said she never thought she would actually get charged when she moved a folding chair to the open space between the public galley and the City Council’s dais.

In its ruling Wednesday, the Supreme Court sided with Hensel, saying: “The statute is broad and ambiguous, prohibiting any conduct or speech that ‘disturbs an assembly or meeting,’ whether expressive or not. An individual could violate the statute by, for example, wearing an offensive t-shirt, using harsh words in addressing another person, or even raising one’s voice in a speech.”

Masters is part of the problem. In my opinion, Dr. Palmer is part of the solution because he’s a principled leader.