Categories

Archive for the ‘MNGOP’ Category

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

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.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.