Archive for the ‘MNGOP’ Category

This is the time of year when hope springs eternal for legislative hopefuls. Think of it like the spring training for state politics. One pretender that’s feeling particularly enthusiastic is Ann Buckvold. She’s the DFL-endorsed candidate for House District 13B. This morning, Ms. Buckvold sent me a flurry or tweets explaining why she should be taken seriously.

In those tweets, she said “I’m running for the people of district 13A. I love hearing a Republican say, “You are a Democrat I would love to support.” Upon committing $$ to my campaign. I have Republicans and fiscal conservatives in my district who also have told me I have their vote. One guy in 14A told me he wished he and his wife could move to my district just to vote for me. Then that same guy sent me a check for more than originally committed. I also have Republicans in 13B who are supporting me. Yes, that’s plural. They’ve lived in the area a long time.”

Being the heartless, mean-spirited conservative that I am, I asked Ms. Buckvold if she’d written her concession speech yet. Seriously, I wasn’t being mean-spirited. I just saw what the 2014 election looked like. It wasn’t pretty:

In 2014, the DFL candidate won 3 of the 25 precincts in the district. Jeff Howe, the GOP incumbent, won with 60.6% of the vote. If you eliminate Rockville, the reddest precinct in HD-13B, from the vote totals, Rep. Howe would still have won with 59.5% of the vote. FYI- How won Rockville with 722 votes compared with 255 votes for the DFL’s sacrificial lamb, meaning that Rep. Howe won that district with 74% of the vote.

You know it’s a safe district when you can eliminate the reddest precinct and still win with 59.5% of the vote.

My analysis isn’t mean-spirited. It’s just based on verified facts.

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Saying that this editorial doesn’t have a pro-DFL tone to it is understatement. Let’s start with where the editorialist says “when Gov. Mark Dayton pocket vetoed HF 848 which would’ve provided significant tax relief to the citizens of Minnesota, it sort of felt like something major was lost.”

I don’t think Gov. Dayton realizes that his veto of the Tax Bill is killing the DFL. When the editorialist writes “Gone was tax relief for veterans, gone was tax relief for small business owners, gone was a tax break for farmers, gone was a tax break for the residents of Houston County who live in Minnesota but work in Wisconsin, gone was the forgiveness of interest paid on debt on the new school building.” he listed all of the groups of people who were hurt by Gov. Dayton’s veto. That’s a devastating paragraph.

It’s even more damaging to the DFL when the editorialist adds “All because the governor wanted additional monies for a light rail line in Minneapolis. Two years of hard, hard work by Rep. Greg Davids (Rep. Preston) on the bill dissolved by the governor not signing the measure into law.” This places the blame for Minnesotans not getting tax relief squarely on Gov. Dayton’s shoulders. People won’t care about the drafting error. Their response is likely to be ‘Call a special session and fix it then.’

Contrary to popular opinion, Republicans aren’t the ones at risk. The DFL is. While Gov. Dayton and the DFL whines about the end-of-session process, Republicans talk about the tax cuts that Gov. Dayton vetoed. In a messaging fight of end-of-session process vs. DFL vetoed tax relief, tax relief wins by a wide margin. If the DFL thinks that’s a fair fight, I’ll agree. It’s as fair a fight as I’d like.

Davids, when receiving the phone call from the governor of his plan to veto it, worked to appeal to their friendship. The governor chose politics.

That’s as surprising as finding out that the sun rises in the east. There’s more:

The Republicans came up from $600 million to $950 million in the bonding bill that would’ve addressed transportation needs in the state. Davids said anything over $1 billion jeopardizes the state’s bond rating. The governor wants $1.5 billion with about $600 million going towards a new light rail line in the metro.

Gov. Dayton is foolish if he thinks Republicans will cave on SWLRT funding. Like I said earlier, Republicans are in the stronger position. The DFL is sitting in a position of weakness, especially in outstate Minnesota.

People living in outstate Minnesota won’t care if SWLRT is funded. They’ll care that Gov. Dayton vetoed their tax relief. The longer this drags out, the better it is for Republicans. That’s because they’re fighting for fixing roads and bridges and significant tax relief.

That’s a winner for the GOP and then some.

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Friends, this is as close to a GOP trifecta as we’ve seen in quite some time:

Stewart Mills leads Rick Nolan
Minnesota’s Secretary of State race heats up
Westrom leads Peterson in private polling

If the MNGOP wins these three races, it’ll be a big night for Minnesota Republicans. It’s still too early to predict victories in these races but I’d rather be the Republican in each of these races than be the Democrat.

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Whatever the outcome of Novembers’s election, KSTP’s poll has stripped away the BS from DFL pundits:

Franken clings to a six-point lead over his closest Republican challenger Mike McFadden, 48 percent to 42 percent. The poll has a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.1 percent.

“This poll is a cannon burst into the Minnesota U.S. Senate race,” says political science professor Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute.

It isn’t just that McFadden is close. It’s that Sen. Franken has a microscopic lead over Jim Abeler:

Franken has a larger lead over another potential challenger, state Representative Jim Abeler. Franken leads Abeler by nine points, 48 percent to 39 percent. “The fact that even Jim Abeler is only nine points behind Al Franken indicates there appears to be a solid base of opposition to Al Franken,” says Jacobs.

Let’s put this more succinctly. It isn’t just that there’s a “solid base of opposition to Al Franken.” It’s that lots of people haven’t seen Franken make a difference in Washington, DC. It’s like they know he’s there but the average Minnesotan, not the political activists, couldn’t make a list of Franken’s accomplishments.

The news is worse for Gov. Dayton:

The GOP-endorsed candidate for governor, Jeff Johnson, trails Dayton 46% to 40%. Dayton leads former House Speaker Kurt Zellers by seven points, 46 percent to 39 percent. Former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert is eight points back (46 percent-38 percent) and businessman Scott Honour is ten points back (47 percent-37 percent).

This time, Dayton doesn’t have a third party candidate to put him over the top. This time, Gov. Dayton can’t take the Iron Range for granted, especially after he picked Tina Smith of Minneapolis to be his Lt. Gov. running mate. This time, the DFL’s smear campaign will be responded to.

At this point, it’s difficult to tell the impact of the DFL’s tepid support for PolyMet will have on the election because that will affect both turnout and voting habits. If the DFL doesn’t get a huge turnout on the Range, Gov.-Elect Johnson and Senator-Elect McFadden are a distinct possibility.

This video provides a good perspective on the races:

Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken are in the fight for their political lives. Whether they survive depends partly on the quality of their campaigns and partly on the amount of outside money spent. In 2010, ABM spent tons of money smearing Tom Emmer. This time, they’ll have to decide which races to spend money on. It’ll be difficult for them to help Gov. Dayton and Sen. Franken while trying to hold onto the majority in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

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I’ve written tons of posts about the mining issue and its potential to divide the DFL the past 3 years. It’s nice to see people are noticing its potential. This article, for instance, notices that:

Minnesota Democrats have decided against debating a proposal to support the state’s non-ferrous mining development in Minnesota’s Iron Range as part of the state party political platform.

“The mining issue has the potential to rip up the last remaining hard-core Democrats,” Democratic-Farmer Labor Party activist Joel Holstad told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

This article certainly mentions the potential crisis too:

There’s another nagging problem that could grow into a major headache for the DFL: how to handle mining. If the environmentalists keep pushing for more and more environmental impact statements, they could push the Iron Range — long a party stronghold, into the laps of the GOP … or at least push longtime DFLers into apathy.

Throughout the day Saturday, there were meetings among Rangers and party officials over how to handle mining.

Even a milquetoast resolution party members had designed to try to please everybody was found to be offensive by the Rangers. (The resolution essentially said the DFL supports mining that doesn’t contaminate the water, etc.) “If they’re going to do a resolution like this on mining, why not on 3M, why not on every industry in the state?” asked Sen. Dave Tomassoni, who is from Chisholm and was a convention delegate.

Meanwhile, Republicans are finally starting to understand the potency of the issue:

They were one in a message that had been honed specifically for a post-convention fly around stop on the Iron Range by Republican candidates and party officials. That verbal missive: The Minnesota GOP and its candidates are 100 percent behind mining, especially proposed copper/nickel/precious metals projects, and with a commitment to do more than just talk a good game on the issue.

“The modern DFL in Minnesota has declared war on mining,” said Stewart Mills, 8th District GOP candidate to face U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan. Both Mills and Nolan are from the Brainerd area. “They (Democrats) need to do more than talk the talk … they need to start walking the walk” on copper/nickel mining, said House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt of Zimmerman, which is about 40 miles north-northwest of Minneapolis.

If the DFL won’t truly represent the miners, these candidats will. He actually did things to push the process, compared with Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar saying that they’ve talked with the Forest Service.

Cravaack held monthly meetings to push the issue with the MPCA and the federal government. Franken and Klobuchar have chatted with the Forest Service.

The difference in commitment is startling. DFL Chairman Ken Martin can yap all he wants about the DFL’s commitment to the Range but actions speak louder than words. Thus far, the DFL is all words. Thus far, starting with Chip Cravaack, the GOP has been all action.

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This weekend’s Republican Convention was a study in how 2 candidates handled things differently. Mike McFadden and Marty Seifert both said that they were keeping their options open on going to the primary if they weren’t endorsed at the convention. That’s where the similarity ends.

Friday’s first ballot in the senatorial campaign produced 2 stunners. Julianne Ortman finished in third. Meanwhile Chris Dahlberg came in first. While Dahlberg might’ve hoped for that, there’s no way he should’ve expected that. That result established him as a serious candidate.

It also hurt Sen. Ortman’s standing with the delegates. Had she finished with 35% and in first place, she might’ve played it positive the rest of the way. Instead, they went negative. That hurt her with the delegates.

Through it all, Team McFadden kept grinding away, staying in close contention on each ballot. Then they caught a break after the 7th ballot. The next morning, they were back at it with renewed confidence. They won it before the results of the 10th ballot were announced whe Dahlberg graciously conceded.

Contrast that with Team Seifert. They didn’t lead at any point. When the outcome became clear, Dave Thompson conceded while giving a gracious concession speech. Seifert approached the podium while Sen. Thompson spoke. It was thought that he’d concede, too.

Instead, he released his delegates publicly while telling them to leave the convention so there wouldn’t be a quorum. Without a quorum, there couldn’t be an endorsement. Activists on Twitter didn’t take that well. The convention video shows some people booing while others applauded.

This statement sums things up pretty nicely:

Delegate and Minnesota Tea Party Alliance chair Jack Rogers was blunter. “Marty [Seifert] has just galvanized every faction in this party to work for the endorsed candidate,” he said.

That can’t be what Team Seifert was hoping for. I’d think the fundraising doors slammed shut during Seifert’s speech, too.

Had Seifert accepted defeat or announced outside that he was going to the primary, he wouldn’t have upset the delegates. Instead, he essentially said that if he couldn’t win the endorsement, he’d do whatever he could to make sure nobody was endorsed.

That selfish act won’t play well with people. There’s no question that Seifert has loyal supporters. There’s no question that he’s alienated those who aren’t already his supporters.

McFadden earned a ton of political capital this weekend because he didn’t disrespect the delegates. Seifert lost whatever political capital he had by disrespecting the delegates.

As a result, McFadden’s stock is on the upswing while Seifert’s has ebbed.

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The second ballot totals for the GOP endorsement for US Senate are just in and it isn’t looking good for Julianne Ortman:

Sen. Ortman’s support dropped by 2 points from the first ballot to the second. Did this flier have that much of an effect?

This certainly isn’t what Team Ortman was expecting. It’s one thing to be trailing after the first ballot. It’s another to trail 2 candidates after the first ballot. It’s quite another to be trailing those candidates after the second ballot. It’s the ultimate slap in the face to be trailing those candidates after the second ballot and losing ground. This isn’t the script Team Ortman had written.

To steal a Yogi Berra saying “It’s still early but it’s getting later than you think.” I’d just ad that it’s getting later faster than Team Ortman would like.

With the MnGOP State Convention underway and with the delegates voting on the US Senate seat, anti-Ortman people have sent out a flier that’ll hit Sen. Ortman hard. Here’s the flier:

That’s gotta sting Sen. Ortman. Conventional wisdom said that she was the favorite for endorsement coming into this weekend’s convention but she only got 22% of the delegates. That was only good for a third place finish for the first ballot.

With questions being asked if Sen. Ortman parked some delegates with other candidates, it isn’t unreasonable to think that she might do better with the second ballot. This flier is a reminder to delegates that she isn’t the “conservative champion” that Sarah Palin called her.

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. Saying that the outcome isn’t clear is understatement. Still, Sen. Ortman can’t afford many more hits like she’s sustained thus far.

You can tell that the GOP and DFL state conventions start tomorrow. Yesterday, within a span of 3 hours, I got emails from the Hillstrom campaign on the DFL side and the Severson campaign and the Howe campaign on the GOP side.

The Mariani email announced that “the DFL African American Caucus” announced “their endorsement of Debra Hilstrom for Minnesota Secretary of State.” I take this to be an announcement to help her win the DFL endorsement to be the DFL’s candidate for Secretary of State. It isn’t the type of announcement that will help Rep. Hillstrom win a general election.

The Severson campaign’s email announcement was essentially a video presentation. Rep. Severson talked about his history in the military, including the fact that he led a team of F-18’s.

The Howe campaign’s email laid out his message while also talking a little about his fundraising. Here’s a graphic that the Howe campaign put together:

The Howe campaign’s email talked about Sen. Howe’s executive experience:

In addition, I am also the only candidate with executive experience in both the private sector as Chairman for the Sears Dealer Stores and public sector as a former Mayor of Red Wing…

before talking about dealing with election corruption:

In the last election cycle, I personally encountered Democrats violating the Minnesota Campaign Finance laws. Thirteen DFL Senate candidates were charged with violating campaign laws which prevents coordination between state parties and individual campaigns. The largest monetary violation of that law was by my opponent in Red Wing. Of the thirteen, eleven of them are now sitting Minnesota Senators that gave the DFL the majority in the Minnesota Senate, which in turn gave us the largest tax increase in the history of the State of Minnesota. All the DFL had to do was pay the board $100,000.00 as a settlement.

Then he proposed a solution to this crisis:

As your Secretary of State, I will fight for legislation for special elections and/or criminal charges to prevent parties and candidates from illegal activities. You shouldn’t be able to cheat and keep your seat.

Rep. Hillstrom won’t fight to prevent that type of corruption. She’s a Democrat first. Being Minnesota’s chief election officer is incidental.

Sen. Howe’s solution is the right solution to this type of corruption. People who knowingly cheat, which is what the DFL did, shouldn’t be able to profit from their illegal activities. If you’d told Alida Messinger that DFL control of the Senate would require illegal coordination between the candidate and the DFL plus a $100,000 fine, she likely would’ve written that check that minute.

It isn’t that I think fundraising is the be-all, end-all. It’s that I know you can’t run a competitive statewide race on a shoestring budget.

The point is that the DFL won’t hesitate in throwing the kitchen sink at the Republican candidate. That requires the Republican candidate have the fundraising ability to get his message out. At this point, there’s only one candidate that fits that description.

His name is John Howe.

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It’s been a topsy turvy day in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, After reading Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement announcing her intent to run in the GOP primary, I’m left wondering if she hasn’t already admitted she can’t win the primary. Here’s what she said that makes me question her:

“We are told we need to broaden the base of the Republican Party and a primary will help accomplish that,” she observed. “I am eager to take my record of achievement to the voters of Sixth Congressional District which will allow all voters–Republicans, Independents and Conservative Democrats, to have a say in who they think will best represent them.”

There aren’t many conservative Democrats or independents that’ll vote in this August’s GOP primary. Politically speaking, Tom Emmer’s support is a mile wide and a mile deep. They’ve passionately supported him since he ran for governor. Their enthusiasm for him hasn’t dipped since 2010.

I wrote in this post that “activists will show up en masse for the primary, too, possibly in record numbers to send the message to Sivarajah and Krinkie” that they enthusiastically support Tom Emmer.

“Voters are hungry for an accomplished conservative candidate,” she said. “My record of cutting taxes and reducing the size of government is unmatched by any other candidate in the race. People want results, not rhetoric.”

That’s been Commissioner Sivarajah’s battle cry since getting into the race. It didn’t sell during the precinct caucuses and it didn’t sell during the BPOU conventions. Even Commissioner Sivarajah admitted that Tom Emmer will win a first ballot endorsement victory.

What activists know, however, is that Tom Emmer didn’t have a prayer of cutting taxes because the DFL was the majority party in the Senate. Cutting taxes with a conservative majority is considerably easier than cutting taxes with an intransigent, obstructionist DFL majority in the Senate.

“I don’t fear the voters,” Sivarajah concluded. “People are not swayed by inevitability; I want to earn their vote. I am confident I will do so.”

That last paragraph of Commissioner Sivarajah’s statement makes me question whether she’s serious. She’s an experienced candidate so she knows how to count votes. Commissioner Sivarajah knows she lost the CD-6 Straw Poll by 50 points. Even before Wednesday’s announcement, Commissioner Sivarajah knew she was heading for a first ballot defeat at the CD-6 Convention.

That’s before factoring in her pathetic fundraising totals the last 2 quarters and Emmer’s significant name ID advantage. If independents and Democrats don’t turn out to vote for Sivarajah in historic numbers, Commissioner Sivarajah will lose the primary by 30-35 points. It won’t be that close.

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