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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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One of my weekly highlights is reading Glenn Reynolds’ columns for USA Today. This week’s column focuses on “the America that works”:

Thanks to the fracking revolution, the air is cleaner, gas is cheaper, and petro-state dictatorships have less geopolitical influence. But this happened not as a result of some big-government program, but as the result of individuals staking their lives and fortunes on a risky venture, one that, as Zuckerman notes, made some rich but left others near bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, the America that destroys wealth keeps plodding along, doing what it ‘does best’:

The America that doesn’t work was very much in evidence this past week, as the Obamacare roll out continued to be — in Democratic Sen. Max Baucus’ memorable phrase — a “train wreck.”

I’d add that HealthCare.gov isn’t the only example of government sloth destroying wealth. Last week, I wrote that MnSure, Minnesota’s state-run health insurance exchange, is the first website that gets weekends and holidays off:

Service Notice

The Contact Center is closed today, Veterans Day. In addition, federal account and application services are undergoing maintenance and are unavailable, 8 pm Saturday – 6:30 am Tuesday. You can still view plans.

I told Ox about this, too:

Seriously? I just tried to login to the site to view and apply for plans at 10:33 pm on Saturday, Nov 9, 2013 and I got this message:

the system is available monday through saturday, 6 am to 10 pm please visit us during those hours to apply and enroll Thank you for your interest in MNsure

Thanks to the fracking revolution, America is inching closer to energy independance that doesn’t rely on Middle East tyrants. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, Americans a) will pay higher premiums at a time when we’re becoming a Part-Time nation, b) will have fewer choices for health care, c) won’t always be able to keep the doctor or team of doctors treating them for cancer and d) will have to worry about doctor shortages.

Neither the state or federal government has the requisite skills to run health insurance exchanges. There’s plenty of proof that they’re pretty much worthless at it.

Thanks to the government’s failed attempt to get HealthCare.gov running, a new poll out today shows that, if the 2012 election were held today, Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama:

As more bad poll numbers continue to pour in for President Barack Obama, a new survey finds that if the 2012 election matchup were held this month, Mitt Romney would hold the edge with the voters.

Romney topped Obama 49 percent to 45 percent among registered voters in the Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday. Among all Americans, the 2012 rivals would be tied, at 47 percent.

I think that signals the end of the HopeyChangey Express. I think it might also signal the start of President Obama’s lame duck status.

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Last fall, a dispute arose about judicial elections. Specifically, the dispute arose over whether judicial district conventions had the authority to endorse candidates for appellate court judgeships. This post won’t deal with that matter, mostly because a hearing was held in February, 2013 at the State of Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings on the matter. Additionally, this post won’t defend anyone’s actions.

Rather, I’ll focus this post on settling disputes between Republican Party activists. This past Saturday, a resolution was approved at the CD-8 convention. Here’s the text of that resolution:

Minnesota 8th Congressional District Republican Party of Minnesota

Annual convention, Saturday, March 16, 2013

Whereas:
GOP insider Harry Niska filed a legal action against GOP Judicial Chair Bonn Clayton over differences of opinion in the interpretation of the MNGOP Constitution and;

Whereas,
This legal action was heard February 7 & 8, 2013 and;

Whereas,
Complainant Niska was represented in court by recent MNGOP employee David Asp before a three-judge panel convened by the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and;

Whereas differences of opinion within the party are best resolved first within the party and;

Whereas,
There is reasonable evidence that MNGOP, Chair, Pat Shortridge, at minimum approved of this extraordinary legal action;

Now, therefore be it resolved that we strongly condemn the GOP activist complainant, appropriate MNGOP leadership and the Executive Committee for enabling the legal action against Judicial District Chair Bonn Clayton instead of resolving the matter within the State Central Committee.

According to the text document, the document was “prepared and paid for by Terry Stone on his own behalf and not done by any candidate or candidate committee.” When I contacted Mr. Stone, he stated something emphatically to me. Here’s what he said:

This resolution isn’t about who is right or who is wrong; it’s about the dignity of being a Republican activist and the correct way to resolve intramural disputes. This complaint was filed November 7, 2012. Any alleged harm was already resolved by the election. There was no timeliness and the issues should and could have been resolved by the Central Committee at its next meeting.— Terry Stone

Before anyone thinks this is a split within the RPM that can’t be repaired, they’d best think again. I know both Mr. Stone and Mr. Niska. They obviously have different points of view but their commitment to defeating DFL legislators and congresscritters is indisputable.

It’s apparent to me that Mr. Stone simply thinks this issue should’ve gotten resolved at a State Central Committee meeting, not at the Office of Administrative Hearings.

In my humble opinion, I think that’s the right way to resolve disputes between committed party activists. If, after that attempt is made, things still aren’t resolved, a hearing at the Office of Administrative Hearings is still available as an option.

Yesterday, former Rep. Keith Downey announced that he is a candidate to replace Pat Shortridge as chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota:

A former state representative says he wants to be the next head of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Edina’s Keith Downey told fellow Republicans on Wednesday that he’ll vie for the party chairmanship in early April. Current chairman Pat Shortridge is stepping down.

Downey was a two-term House member before he tried to move up to the state Senate. He lost that race in November. Downey says the Republican Party is due for a turnaround with a critical 2014 election cycle looming. The governor’s office, a U.S. Senate seat and many more key offices are on the line.

First, this isn’t an endorsement, mostly because I won’t have a vote on RPM Chair. This post is merely this activist’s opinion on what Rep. Downey brings to the table.

It’s bound to sound corny that Rep. Downey is one of the great thinkers of the GOP and the conservative movement. If Rep. Downey is elected to be the next chairman of the Minnesota GOP, the GOP’s message discipline would significantly improve. Keith Downey is a great conservative who knows why he believes what he believes.

In his letter to state convention delegates, Rep. Downey said something that’s sure to resonate with the activists:

As a businessman and recent State Representative, I hope to earn your confidence with the right combination of principle, skill and experience, and a concrete plan for the gains we need to make.

As a legislator, Rep. Downey earned a reputation as a reformer and strong fiscal conservative. I suspect he’ll have a plan to transform state GOP operations. That’s been his history as a legislator.

Good luck to all the candidates. This is a crucial time in Minnesota’s history. If the GOP doesn’t turn this state around soon, the DFL will significantly damage Minnesota for a decade or more.

This LTE contains a disturbing scene:

I attended both Voter ID public hearings in the city of Rochester during this election year. I went there hoping to learn more about the proposed amendment, along with hearing more from the opposing point of view.

I didn’t realize I was in for such a rude awakening. Most of the hearing consisted of people shouting and talking over the representatives from both sides on the issue.

I completely respect the idea of the First Amendment and the freedom of speech. Unfortunately, people seem to believe it applies only when the speaker’s point of view agrees with their own.

When speaking with Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer after the hearing in Rochester, she stated this was the worst reception she had ever received. One lady verbally attacked her right in front of me, along with a young man grabbing her arm on the way out of the forum.

I decided, with a group of like-minded individuals, to escort her out of the building.

This is the face of DFL activism. Though this incident involved the proposed Photo ID constitutional amendment, this isn’t the only time DFL activism has gone way past the line. I wrote about another incident where the DFL activists’ behavior was disgusting. This is a firsthand report from a legislator:

What became unnerving was that last night as we moved closer to the vote they got louder and faster. There was one woman who screeched every time the main doors opened. Made me long for a pair of socks. It was an experience I will remember a long time. Especially seeing the backs of the state troopers–as they lined up shoulder to shoulder to keep the crowd from touching us. And the screaming, “Shame! Shame!” at us. Doesn’t really go with earlier in the evening when they were singing Amazing Grace, and shouting “No Hate”. Of course, they seemed to think it was perfectly loving to scream “Bigot” 10 inches from my face and spit on one of the other reps. (By the way, he has MS, walks with a cane and is a little slower. No hate, right?

This past session, the DFL spoke in public about the need for compromise. They spoke of it as the political Holy Grail. The DFL’s hypocrisy was exposed because they took a my-way-or-the-highway approach when they were the majority party in the legislature. From 2007-2010, there weren’t calls for civility and compromise. Those words were quickly forgotten.

Thanks to ABM’s lies and the Twin Cities’ media’s unwillingness to call them on their disgusting pattern of lying, progressive fascism has displaced Minnesota Nice. Here’s hoping that Republicans take principled stands against the DFL’s bad policies.

More importantly, here’s hoping the GOP articulately explains why they’re opposing the DFL’s counterproductive policies. Only through clear articulation of our principles will we win debates. We won’t win elections if we don’t win the debates.

The good news is that positive solutions will quickly discredit progressive fascism’s chalking points.

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During Friday night’s Almanac Roundtable of former legislators, former State Senator Steve Murphy disagreed with former legislator John Tuma about the John Carlson-Tom Saxhaug race.

Sen. Murphy is best known for pushing the biggest tax increase in Minnesota history. During the fight, a Strib reporter asked Sen. Murphy why he’d hidden his massive tax increases in the bill. Here’s Sen. Murphy’s response:

I’m not trying to fool anybody,” said Sen. Steve Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, sponsor of the measure that would increase funding for roads and transit by $1.5 billion a year once it was fully implemented in the next decade. “There’s a lot of taxes in this bill.”

When Tuma talked about the Carlson-Saxhaug race, he said he thought that was one of the races to watch. At that point, Sen. Murphy said he’d be surprised if Saxhaug didn’t win that race by 2,500 votes.

I’ve stayed in contact in the Eighth District as well as any blogger. I’ve talked with numerous people. Sen. Carlson is exceptionally popular in Bemidji, the biggest city in that Senate district. Based on his campaigning in Bemidji and Grand Rapids, Saxhaug’s home territory, Carlson will run up a big margin in Bemidji, then limit Saxhaug’s vote total in Grand Rapids.

When the final vote is counted in that race, Saxhaug won’t win by 2,500. In fact, he won’t win. Period. Expect Sen. Carlson to win that race by 8-10 points.

While I’m at it, I might as well predict Chip Cravaack winning by 4-6 points over Rick Nolan. Nolan hasn’t raised much money. He’s run a mediocre campaign. Meanwhile, Chip’s raised lots of money. He’s kept his promises to the miners. He’s been exceptionally solid with small business issues, too.

That isn’t to say the DFL will get their heads handed to them like 2010. There are lots of interesting races worth watching. For all of the progressive special interest money being spent on these legislative races, I suspect these organizations will be a disappointed lot come Wednesday morning.

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Monday night, Michele Bachmann celebrated the grand opening of her St. Cloud Victory Office with 75-100 of her most passionate supporters. After Rep. Bachmann’s brief speech, several veteran activists were asked about the growing storyline that Rep. Bachmann is losing support.

The Bachmann supporters unanimously said that they haven’t seen proof that that’s happened. They did say, though, that they’ve seen the stories. One supporter said that he enthusiastically supported Rep. Bachmann because “she’s never abandoned her principles.” Another supporter said that it wouldn’t surprise anyone if this was part of a DFL whispering campaign.

Another supporter identified himself as a local businessman. He said Mr. Graves hurt himself badly by attending a fundraiser hosted by Barney Frank. This businessman said that that event would probably cost Graves 5 points of support with Sixth District voters.

The businessman said that Graves’ biggest selling points prior to the Frank fundraiser were his claim that he isn’t a cookie-cutter Democrat and his business background. Those vanished when he attended Frank’s fundraiser because Franks, in the minds of most businessmen, is the man who caused the credit crisis that’s still hurting the housing market.

He’s also seen as one of the most liberal congressmen in DC.

Neither of those things will help Graves with Sixth District voters. Bachmann defeated a liberal Tarryl Clark in 2010 by a 53%-40% margin. This year, Jim Graves is portraying himself as a moderate, just like Sen. Clark did. This year, the Sixth District is more conservative than in 2010, keeping this an uphill climb for Michele Bachmann’s opponent.

That was a plausible argument prior to his fundraiser with Frank. Now that argument isn’t plausible.

During her brief rally speech, Bachmann touted the campaigns of local legislators like Sen. John Pederson, Rep. King Banaian and House District candidates Jim Newberger and Jeff Howe. Howe is a retired military veteran running in an open seat created by Rep. Larry Hosch’s retirement. Newberger is running in a new district created by this year’s redistricting.

Rep. Bachmann wasn’t bashful about her goal of making the Sixth District a “DFL legislator-free district.”

Newberger and Howe are expected to help with making Rep. Bachmann’s goal a reality.

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Minnesotans face a clear choice when they vote for state legislative candidates 5 weeks from now. They can vote for a DFL candidate whose loyalties lie with the public employee unions or they can support conservatives whose first loyalty is with their constituents and whose next loyalty is to policies that promote economic growth and sustained prosperity.

This PIM article illustrates where the DFL’s loyalties lie:

The DFL-aligned independent expenditure landscape will once again be dominated by three financially linked organizations: Alliance for a Better Minnesota, Win Minnesota and the 2012 Fund. Those organizations played a vital role in helping DFL Gov. Mark Dayton win the gubernatorial contest in 2010 and are poised to play a similar role in this year’s 201 legislative contests.

Win Minnesota and the 2012 Fund have taken in nearly $2 million so far this year. That money came primarily from wealthy individual donors, most notably $500,000 from Dayton’s former wife, Alida Messinger, and labor unions. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Minnesota State Council kicked in $225,000, for instance, while the Minnesota AFL-CIO contributed $100,000.

So far roughly half of that money has been funneled to Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) for campaign efforts. The group, headed by executive director Carrie Lucking, has spent roughly $640,000 on television ad buys targeting legislative Republicans, split between cable and the broadcast networks. In addition, ABM spent roughly $13,000 each on lit pieces attacking four GOP incumbents: Reps. Keith Downey of Edina, David Hancock of Bemidji, and Doug Wardlow of Eagan, and Sen. Ted Lillie of Woodbury. (Downey is running for an open Senate seat.)

Downey, Hancock, Wardlow and Lillie are fiscal conservatives so it isn’t surprising that ABM would target them. The DFL/ABM (they’re both owned by Alida Messinger) hate principled fiscal conservatives like Downey, Hancock, Wardlow and Lillie because the DFL’s racket would dry up if fiscal conservatives wrung the replications and inefficiencies out of state government.

Anyone thinking that the prospective legislators that ABM’s/Alida Messinger’s money would buy would first be loyal to their constituents, then to the special interests is either naive or dishonest.

But public sector unions, most notably AFSCME Council 5, Education Minnesota and the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), are almost exclusively backing DFL candidates. “AFSCME’s top priority is to elect a better Legislature that can work with Gov. Dayton to create a better Minnesota for working families,” said Jennifer Munt, AFSCME Council 5’s public affairs director. “Our message is quite simple: Dump team extreme.”

What political party cared so little about Minnesotans that they didn’t bother proposing their own budget? What party didn’t care about their once-a-decade responsibilities that they didn’t even bother putting a set of redistricting maps together? What political party shut down the state government, then tried blaming it on the other party?

The DFL.

Whether it’s called extremist or whether it’s called laziness is for voters to decide. Personally, I’d argue that it’s proof they don’t want their fingerprints on a budget that reflects their priorities.

The DFL’s proposals that were part of the negotiations included the biggest tax increases in state history.

The GOP should run against the PEUs. They aren’t popular with the folks and they’re relatively tiny. Framing it as a vote for selfish, self-centered PEUs and their agenda of tax increases, government-centered health insurance ‘reform’ and unfunded pensions will win votes in most districts.

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My representative, King Banaian, was named one of the elite freshman legislators the past 2 years. King issued this statement in response:

ST. PAUL—State Rep. King Banaian, R-St. Cloud, recently was named to a list of the Top 10 “Best of the Freshman Legislators,” as compiled by the Politics in Minnesota publication.

Banaian entered the Legislature in 2011 as one of 60 freshmen (36 representatives and 24 senators), one of the largest freshman classes since 1970.

“I am honored by this recognition,” said Banaian, a professor at St. Cloud State University. “It is humbling to see things I’ve worked on at the Capitol produce results. I am pleased to share my perspective as an economist to put Minnesota on a more sustainable course.”

Banaian remains influential in improving the state’s budgeting process. He played an integral role in establishing the Sunset Commission to bring greater efficiency to state operations and make better use of revenue. Banaian also successfully authored a bill which promotes financial literacy, helping people in poverty achieve financial stability.

According to Politics in Minnesota, the Top 10 list is based on facts that are compiled from publicly available data and subjective input from Capitol insiders.

PIM’s Best of the Freshman Legislators list

1. Rep. Kurt Daudt, R, Crown-Stanford Township
2. Sen. Michelle Benson, R, Ham Lake
3. Rep. Carly Melin, D, Hibbing
4. Sen. Ted Daley, R, Eagan
5. Rep. Dan Fabian, R, Roseau
6. Rep. Deb Kiel, R, Crookston
7. Sen. John Pederson, R, St. Cloud
8. Rep. King Banaian, R, St. Cloud
9. Sen. Roger Reinert, D, Duluth
10. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, D, Minneapolis

King is being modest in the sense that he didn’t mention his bill to lower the price of textbooks for students. That legislation was signed into law by Gov. Dayton.

One of the important provisions in HF2213 is the creation of the MnSCU Textbook Task Force, which contains this important language:

The board of trustees shall establish a task force to study methods that result in lower textbook costs for students. The task force must examine and evaluate the effectiveness of existing state and federal textbook legislation that increases the amount of information on textbooks provided to faculty, bookstores, and students and limits bundling of textbooks and course materials, including how this legislation has impacted textbook costs for students. The task force must also explore alternative textbook delivery methods, including a cross-campus shared delivery system for textbooks, the expansion of electronic text books with an assessment of effective methods for delivering e-books to students, and other technology-based, innovative, or best practices methods to bring real cost-savings to students.

This isn’t like the infamous blue ribbon commissions of the past. This task force is given specific instructions on what they’re instructed to do. The words shall or must are used 3 times in that section of the legislation, each time in assigning the task force an important responsibility.

The winners are the students and/or parents in the form of less expensive textbooks. It essentially forces universities to make things less expensive for their students.

King’s impact in the legislature has been significant. He’s definitely one of the freshman who hit the ground running in 2011.

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10. Alternative teacher licensure.
9. Keeping no new taxes promise to constituents.
8. Downsizing government, Part I Keith Downey’s 15 X 15 legislation.
7. Downsizing government, Part II King Banaian’s Sunset Advisory Commission.
6. Balancing budget without increasing taxes.
5. Creating surplus without raising taxes.
4. Passing real health care reform.
3. Passing budget reform.
2. Passing permitting reforms.
1. Creating jobs with the right policies and right priorities.