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In one of the most cowardly decisions of this campaign cycle, Tina Smith refused to debate Karin Housley. According to the article, “KSTP interviewed Karin Housley who is the Republican nominee for the special election for former Sen. Al Franken’s seat as part of its day of debates. Sen. Tina Smith declined the invitation to participate due to scheduling conflicts.”

That’s code for Tina not wanting to debate. If Tina had scheduling conflicts, she should’ve eliminated them to participate in the debate. By dodging the debate, Tina Smith sent the message that her other event, if it actually exists, is more important to her than informing Minnesota voters.

In one sense, it’s perfectly understandable. Tina Smith has been a do-nothing senator. She’s done what Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and the Democrats’ special interests have told her to do. Why would Tina Smith want to defend that indefensible record?

That isn’t the question, though. The question is whether Tina Smith owes Minnesota voters an explanation of her record with her opponent asking uncomfortable questions. I think she does. I’d say the same thing if a Republican didn’t show up. Here’s the video of Karin Housley’s interview with KSTP:

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.

Tina Smith isn’t as awful as Al Franken. (We haven’t heard that she’s groped anyone.) Still, she’s a do-nothing politician who needs to be defeated on Nov. 6. Actually, the do-nothing characterization requires an asterisk. When it comes to investigating President Trump’s nominees, she’s a passionate activist for action.

There’s no disputing whether she’s pushed for investigating Judge Kavanaugh. That’s a stark contrast to her do-nothingism regarding Keith Ellison. Karen Monahan has provided this documentation from a doctor who examined her:

Tina Smith has campaigned with and endorsed Keith Ellison. Ellison is so far out there that President Obama won’t endorse him. Think about that a second. Tina Smith is farther left than President Obama. The former Divider-in-Chief steers clear of Ellison.

There’s a simple way to cut through the clutter. Vote for the candidate whose values don’t change based on which way the political winds are blowing. Vote for Karin Housley. She’s the only candidate that’s called for a real investigation into Ellison’s alleged abuse of Karen Monahan:

Ellison announced last week that he would request the House Ethics Committee look into the accusations he faces. He told BuzzFeed, “I am taking this step now because I am innocent and eager to see this entire matter resolved.” Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party is currently awaiting the findings of an independent investigation it launched two months ago.

But Housley, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in the Nov. 6 election, says those investigations are inadequate. “Recent calls for a congressional ethics investigation, made by Keith Ellison and echoed by my opponent, amount to nothing more than political cover,” she said in a statement. “Ellison will have left Congress by the time an investigation could be completed.

“These are serious, recent and substantiated allegations that deserve immediate attention and raise significant doubts about Keith Ellison’s fitness to serve as Minnesota’s chief legal officer,” Housley added.

Ellison calling for an Ethics Committee investigation is a sham. In other words, it’s like Ellison. Anyone that thinks that this would be a real investigation is kidding themselves.

Tina Smith is satisfied dragging her feet to help Keith Ellison. If she’s going to call for a full-fledged investigation into Judge Kavanaugh, she should demand the same of Ellison.

Otherwise, she’s just another do-nothing political hack.

Don’t let anyone kid you about Karin Housley’s chances for victory 5 weeks from today. Running against Tina Smith is a tough challenge. Running against Smith and her millstone, aka Keith Ellison, give Sen. Housley a better shot than just running against Smith.

I’m not overstating things when I state that Keith Ellison acts like a millstone around Tina Smith’s neck. Ellison will continue to be a millstone around Smith’s neck as long as Smith doesn’t distance herself from Ellison.

First, Housley said Smith has “been critical of Kavanaugh. Smith called Kavanaugh ‘a serious threat to women’s freedom. Yet Judge Brett Kavanaugh denied his allegations under oath,’ she said. ‘Democrats, when it’s one of their own, it didn’t happen. To use this for political power is disgusting,’ Housley said. ‘I had to call the attorney general to do an investigation [of Ellison].'”

Let’s be clear about this. Karin Housley is exactly right when she said that Democrats don’t want to talk about this when it’s one of their own. They’d rather focus on Brett Kavanaugh. At the end of the interview, though, Hannity say something that I think will be prophetic. Check this out:

Housley brought up a good point when she said that Smith is still campaigning with Ellison because Ellison “categorically denied” the charges. Then Housley highlighted the fact that Judge Kavanaugh categorically denied the charges against him, too. What’s the difference?

Expect Keith Ellison to be hung like a millstone around Smith’s and Klobuchar’s necks the rest of this campaign. At the end, Hannity replied “Karin, you can win this race. This is now a game-changing moment for the country and I wish you all the luck in the world.”

The truth is that Karin Housley isn’t running against Tina Smith. She’s running against Tina Smith and Keith Ellison. Factor in the Trump Frenzy effect, too. Tina Smith isn’t a lock by any stretch of the imagination.

Karin Housley and Jim Newberger are making a point of highlighting Tina Smith’s and Amy Klobuchar’s hypocrisy when it comes to Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

When contacted by the Duluth News Tribune, Sen. Housley said “I believe the Judiciary Committee should hear directly from the accuser so that all the facts can be known by the public. Tina Smith and national Democrats should apply the same standard to Keith Ellison, who has been accused by two victims of horrific accounts of abuse.” The Committee should hear from Judge Kavanaugh after they’ve heard from Dr. Ford. If Dr. Ford decides not to testify Thursday, then the Committee should immediately proceed to a vote on the nomination.

If Dr. Ford thinks that it’s ok to drop this uncorroborated bombshell on Judge Kavanaugh, then walk away from testifying, then it’ll be apparent that she’s afraid that she’ll be exposed as telling whoppers. Dr. Ford’s attorney apparently agrees:

“This hearing plan that Mr. Davis described does not appear designed to provide Dr. Blasey Ford with fair and respectful treatment,” Bromwich wrote. “In our view, the hiring of an unnamed ‘experienced sex crimes prosecutor,’ as Mr. Davis described in his email, is contrary to the Majority’s repeated emphasis on the need for the Senate and this Committee’s members to fulfill their constitutional obligations.”

He added: “It is also inconsistent with your stated wish to avoid a ‘circus,’ as well as Dr. Blasey Ford’s requests through counsel that senators conduct the questioning. This is not a criminal trial for which the involvement of an experienced sex crimes prosecutor would be appropriate.”

Grandstanding senators would turn the hearing into a circus. I suspect Democrat senators will deploy that strategy if Dr. Ford shows up. Having an experienced sex crimes prosecutor question Dr. Ford would eliminate the circus.

Jim Newberger raised questions about Sen. Klobuchar in a tweet, saying “Where is her call for further action regarding Keith Ellison’s repeated reports of abuse, which are now supported by medical records?”

This article has to be seen as helpful to Republicans running for the Minnesota House of Representatives.

According to J. Patrick Coolican’s article, “Recent union endorsements provide clues about the direction of both organized labor and the two parties. The carpenters and their 11,000 Minnesota members endorsed 48 DFL candidates and 30 Republican candidates for the Minnesota House, but the GOP can be happy that incumbents in key swing districts got the nod, like Reps. Sandy Layman, Jim Knob­lach, Randy Jessup and Keith Franke.”

I’m represented by Jim Knoblach so this naturally caught my attention. Jim’s running against Dan Wolgamott, the carpetbagger who got into electoral politics (as near as I can tell anyway) in 2014 when he ran for the seat in HD-14A, which is the west side of St. Cloud, Waite Park and St. Augusta. He was defeated by Tama Theis that year. In 2016, Wolgamott ran for the open Senate seat in SD-14 when John Pederson decided not to seek re-election. In 2016, Wolgamott lost to Jerry Relph, who is now my state senator.

This year, Wolgamott moved to the east side of St. Cloud so he could challenge Jim Knoblach for the HD-14B seat. Apparently, the unions smelled a carpetbagger in Wolgamott and rejected him. It’s also clear that they like Jim Knoblach’s history of supporting projects like the Line3 Pipeline Replacement Project and other projects vital to the construction unions.

Just recently the Minnesota Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Republican state Sen. Karin Housley against U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, and Republican Pete Stauber, a retired police officer, in his race for Congress against Joe Radinovich. The Minneapolis Police Federation endorsed Republican Doug Wardlow in his race for attorney general against U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison.

It isn’t surprising that police don’t like Keith Ellison, especially considering the fact that he’s supported cop killers. That isn’t the only thing that’s hurting Ellison.

In Part II of this series, I wrote about a mailer that the DFL sent out a mailer claiming that Republicans voted to give themselves a 45% pay raise. I wrote that KSTP gave the mailer an F rating, meaning that it was “demonstrably false.” That’s the KSTP equivalent of the Washington Post’s 4 Pinocchios rating.

Despite that awful rating, Melissa Hortman insists that the mailer is accurate. Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a woman or man in the DFL. If you’re part of the DFL, apparently, you’re expected to tell whoppers whether you’re male or female. Hortman insists “that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points.”

First, Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the funding for the legislature, which includes the funding for the Office of Legislative Auditor. It also meant that legislative staffers didn’t get paid. That meant Gov. Dayton vetoed the funding for some important audits into his administration that cast his administration is a bad light. Isn’t it amazing how Rep. Hortman omitted that from her statement?

Hortman contends that Republicans prioritized the funding measure while failing to complete other important work, including bills related to elder abuse and opioid addiction. She says the campaign material simply highlights those points. “That’s entirely fair game, the Republicans priorities, what they chose to do and the order they chose to do things in and the fact that they never got the rest of the work done,” she said.

Actually, Sen. Karin Housley took the lead on the elder abuse so the House knew that that issue was getting taken care of. Next, members of the House got after the opioid addiction crisis virtually immediately. It’s impossible to argue with House Republicans’ priorities.

Finally, the DFL voted overwhelmingly to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto of the MNLARS bill after they initially voted overwhelmingly for the bill. Thanks to the DFL’s vote to sustain Gov. Dayton’s veto, companies went out of business and families lost their homes.

What about those priorities, Rep. Hortman? Is it that lying and playing politics is more important to the DFL than saving families’ homes from foreclosure? That’s the definition of a dirtbag politician. It’s time to throw the DFL out.

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.

Karin Housley’s optimism is infectious. Reading through this article, it’s obvious that she sees her campaign as the right elixir at the right time. It’s equally obvious that she thinks that Tina Smith is Sen. Schumer’s shill. She’s right about that, BTW. Sen. Smith has opposed everything that President Trump is for. New York already has 2 senators. They don’t need another one.

In an interview with the Brainerd Dispatch Editorial Board, Sen. Housley said “I had been in the Minnesota Senate for the last six years and seen the failures of the Dayton-Smith administration and I thought, ‘There’s no way that woman represents everyone in Minnesota or what we really stand for in Minnesota.’ I decided to jump into the race and fight for Minnesotans.”

Sen. Housley is right. Sen. Smith doesn’t represent Minnesota’s priorities. Contrary to Smith’s beliefs, there’s much more to Minnesota than the Twin Cities. In her brief time in the US Senate, Tina Smith has traveled often outside the Twin Cities. Unfortunately, she’s brought her Twin Cities beliefs with her. Rather than listening to Minnesotans’ worries, Smith has tried selling the Twin Cities’ priorities. That’s disrespectful.

By comparison, Sen. Housley has met with (and listened to) lots of groups from Owatonna to Bemidji to Walker. As she says in this interview, she and her husband have had a cabin in the Walker area for several decades:

That means they understand rural Minnesota. That isn’t all. They know that Washington’s policies have made life difficult for rural residents. Then there’s this:

By replacing Smith, Housley said she hopes to help break the deadlock in the nation’s upper house—750 bills left on the debate floor, undebated and not voted upon because of rigid partisan lines. Sen. John McCain’s absence leaves the Senate in a state of limbo, a razor-thin 50-49 Republican majority.

In doing so, Housley said, she’ll look to restore a kind of representation that actually represents the interests of everyday Minnesotans—not blind dogmatism, not run-of-the-mill Capitol Hill and not an out-of-touch Democrat who favors big government and the big problems that brings.

Smith is a not-so-bright radical. Don’t forget, she’s a Berniecrat:

People can’t seriously think that Tina Smith isn’t a Twin Cities-centric socialist. Further, let’s ask this simple question: Are you better off today than the day before President Obama left office? Honest people would emphatically say they’re better off today. Business investment is improving quickly. Consumer confidence is sky-high. Unemployment for blacks and Hispanics are at all-time lows. Unemployment for women is at a 65-year low. The energy sector, which President Obama tried to intentionally kill, has turned around so dramatically that we’ve gone from importing oil to being a net exporter of energy. We’re so strong with energy that President Trump struck a deal with the EU to export Liquefied Natural Gas to them.

Tina Smith is a closet environmentalist who hates fossil fuels. She’s also (quietly) anti-mining. She has to pretend that she’s pro-mining because she needs lots of Iron Range votes but she isn’t a big fan of mining. By comparison, Karin Housley is enthusiastically pro-mining. This is the type of straight talk that Minnesotans insist on:

Since 2003, Housley has been a small business owner and is also a real estate agent by trade—though, she admitted, she almost closed up shop in 2010 because of restrictive policies by the state at that time. “It got to a point where you’re working so hard and everything you’ve earned is going to the government, but the government is spending your hard-earned money not on things you want it spent on,” Housley said. “That’s the reason I ran. We’re just starting to reverse that. People are keeping more money in their pockets, and so are our business owners, so we just have to continue that trend.”

Tina better buckle up for a tough campaign. Thanks to her mistake-riddled campaign, she’s earned a tough campaign.

Sen. Karin Housley issued this statement urging Congress to “delist the gray wolf as an endangered species.” In the statement, Sen. Housley states “I am pleased the U.S. House of Representatives included an amendment in one of its recently-passed spending bills to bypass the courts and delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. By nearly every metric, the gray wolf’s recovery goals have been exceeded and this language would return management responsibility where it belongs: with the states. Farmers and landowners are prevented from protecting their livestock against wolf attacks because of this burdensome regulation. Instead of siding with far-left environmentalists, Tina Smith should put her brand of radical, left-wing partisanship aside and support this effort in the U.S. Senate.”

By all objective measures, the timber wolf, aka the grey wolf, is no longer an endangered species. Further, it shouldn’t be listed as a threatened species, either. According to this government definition, the definitions of an endangered species and a threatened species are spelled out in simple, easy-to-understand wording. An endangered species “are at the brink of extinction now.” Meanwhile, threatened “species are likely to be at the brink in the near future.” This is important information, too:

Threatened status benefits species and people in two situations: (1) it provides Federal protection before a species reaches the brink of extinction; and (2) in the case of species that were initially listed as endangered, threatened status also allows scaling back Federal protection as they recover and no longer need the maximum protections of the Act.

State natural resource management agencies designated by the Service may “take” (kill, wound, trap, or move as defined by the Act) individuals of a threatened species in pursuit of conservation programs for the species. In contrast, those agencies are prohibited from “taking” an endangered species if the action might kill or permanently disable the specimen, move it to another state, move it beyond its historical range, or keep it in captivity for longer than 45 days.

The environmental activists to which Sen. Housley refers have argued, literally, that species that’ve been put on the endangered species list are forever at risk of extinction. In their mind, the ESA, aka Endangered Species Act, should protect endangered and threatened species alike with equal ferocity.

The thing about environmental activists is that they’re never willing to accept the fact that the ESA worked. If they did, they’d be much less rabid and much more moderate and tolerable.