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Jeff Johnson’s latest ad is causing quite a stir:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson released a new television ad today that questions the competence of DFL Gov. Mark Dayton.

Johnson’s ad is titled “Unaware.” The narrator contends that Dayton was unaware of bonuses paid to “failed Obamacare bureaucrats,” the contents of bills he signed and the legal issues facing the owners of the Minnesota Vikings.

Johnson then appears, saying Minnesotans deserve a “governor who knows what’s going on,” and promising that he will to be a 24/7 leader.


WCCO’s Reality Check on the ad provides the text from the ad:

Johnson Ad Text:
“Unaware of bonuses for his failed Obamacare bureaucrats
Not even knowing what’s in the bills he signed
Half-a billion taxpayer dollars to the Wilfs after they committed civil fraud and racketeering.
‘I was not aware at all’
What is Mark Dayton aware of?
Minnesotans deserve an engaged governor who knows what’s going on and what’s in the bills he signs. I’ll be a 24-7 leader who owns his decisions. The buck stops with me.
Jeff Johnson for Governor”

The Dayton campaign quickly reacted to Commissioner Johnson’s ad:

A spokesman for the Dayton campaign, Linden Zakula, described the ad as a “desperate attack” from a candidate who is far behind in the polls. “Commissioner Johnson offers no real ideas to improve education, create jobs, or help Minnesota families,” Zakula said in a statement.

What Zakula means is that Commissioner Johnson doesn’t have the special interest-approved pseudo-solutions that Gov. Dayton has. HINT to Zakula: That’s the point. Jeff Johnson won’t be beholden to list of special interests that Gov. Dayton has been his entire public life. The DFL doesn’t do anything that their special interest allies don’t sanction.

As for “real ideas that improves education, creates jobs or helps Minnesota families”, Zakula is lying. Jeff Johnson’s ideas will help miners on the Iron Range (PolyMet), farmers everywhere in the state (Sandpiper Pipeline) and will strengthen families by creating high-paying jobs. Gov. Dayton is a pathetic advocate for raising marginal tax rates. Jeff Johnson is unapologetic in his desire to grow Minnesota’s private sector.

Jeff Johnson will fight for a new K-12 funding formula that reduces the gap between metro schools and outstate schools. I suspect Jeff Johnson will fight to restore the Basic Skills Test for high school math and science teachers that the Republican legislature passed and that Gov. Dayton signed and that the DFL legislature repealed and Gov. Dayton signed. That’s accountability I can believe in.

Zakula’s response is predictable. Gov. Dayton’s litany of things he supposedly didn’t know about is lengthy. Gov. Dayton shut down the government because he supposedly didn’t know that the GOP had removed some provisions that he objected to right before the shutdown. When told in July that they’d been removed, Gov. Dayton acted surprised. Right before FarmFest 2013, Gov. Dayton ‘discovered’ that the Tax Bill expanded sales taxes to include farm equipment repairs, warehousing services and telecommunications. In 2013, Gov. Dayton was outraged that the Vikings stadium bill included a provision for PSL’s, which are standard in every stadium bill that’s been passed in the last 15 years.

Being ignorant might work within the DFL but hard-working families expect their governor to pay attention to the details of major bills. Gov. Dayton said that he thinks MNsure is working “phenomenally well”:

That’s stunningly out of touch. Tell that to families everywhere in Minnesota that are seeing huge increases in their insurance premiums. Tell that to the 140,000 families that had the policies they liked cancelled and replaced by “better” policies they didn’t want.

Gov. Dayton’s policies aren’t growing Minnesota’s private sector. They aren’t making K-12 education the best it can be, either. Gov. Dayton’s policies reflect Education Minnesota’s wish list.

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If this video gets the exposure it should, Mary Burke’s stumbles will continue:

The Republican Party of Wisconsin put together a website highlighting Ms. Burke’s plagiarism difficulties. It’s called Copycat Mary. This article does an effective job highlighting Ms. Burke’s copycatted jobs plan:

Madison – In an appearance on WISC-TV’s “??For the Record” today, Mary Burke was asked by journalist Jessica Arp to name one unique Mary Burke idea in her plan. After a moment of thought, Burke named three things?,? but none of them were unique: anaerobic digesters, academic career planning, and upping the number of people in Wisconsin with degrees. These examples were uncovered by Buzzfeed News as cases of plagiarism?? ?and also include some of Governor Walker’s accomplishments.?

This just adds to Burke’s problems. Though this isn’t plagiarism, it’s worse from the standpoint that she’s taking credit for her jobs plan even though it’s mostly been taken from other candidates. It’s important to remember that this was the centerpiece of her candidacy. Now it’s been effectively discredited to the point that people are rightly questioning whether she’s got any original thoughts on creating jobs.

This won’t help her, either:

Mary Burke Also Said Academic Career Plans In High School – It Might Sound Familiar Because It Has Been A Priority Of Governor Scott Walker. Under Governor Walker, every student, beginning in the 6th grade, will have the opportunity to create an academic and career plan based on their interests. Nearly $1.1 million will be provided to school districts for students in 6th-12th grade. (2013 Wisconsin Act 20)

Governor Walker Also Provided Funding For Testing To Measure Work Readiness To Ensure Students Are Ready For College Or Career While In High School. (2013 Wisconsin Act 20)

It’s one thing to lift ideas from failed candidates’ plans. It’s totally different when you attempt to tell people that you’re going to champion a policy that your opponent has already implemented. There’s no way that doesn’t get highlighted.

It’s inexplicable that she’d attempt this. Is she that desperate? Or is she betting that nobody will care what she’s doing? Does she think that nobody’s paying attention? Whichever it is, it isn’t a smart bet.

On a different note, the Republican Party of Wisconsin deserves praise for their innovative messaging and fundraising tactics. This Copycat Store is brilliant. It’s a way to contribute to the Republican Party of Wisconsin while getting Mary Burke: Plagiarized t-shirts.

Finally, the important point of this is that this video is playing off Burke’s plagiarism difficulties. That’s what tipped this race in Gov. Walker’s direction. Gov. Walker went from trailing by 3 to leading by 5 in 3 short weeks. Thanks to this website and video, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is exploiting the situation to its maximum advantage. I’d be surprised if Gov. Walker’s lead doesn’t grow in the next Marquette Law School Poll.

I think that the next poll will push this race from toss-up to Leans Republican to Solid Republican. That’s quite the jump in a month.

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Two weeks ago, I published this post that highlighted this video, which focused on education:

Here’s the transcript of that video:

I think a lot of Minnesotans don’t know what Jeff Johnson stands for. It seems like schools are not Jeff Johnson’s priority. Jeff Johnson cut early childhood spending. That really bothers me. Any cuts to that would be devastating for our family. Our kids are our future so how could you do that? I would hate to see Minnesota take a step backwards in education. Students in the state of Minnesota deserve far better than that. I trust Mark Dayton. We think Gov. Dayton is the right choice for moving Minnesota’s schools forward.

Now that ad, which is paid for by the Alliance for More Powerful Unions, aka the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, is running constantly. I said in the original post that everything in the ad was about spending. It definitely didn’t focus on teacher accountability.

I doubt that many Minnesotans object to the thought of having qualified teachers in every high school classroom in Minnesota. The only people who’d object to that are Education Minnesota, Gov. Dayton and Zach Dorholt. That isn’t a cheapshot, either. In 2011, the GOP legislature passed a bill requiring high school math and science teachers to pass a basic skills test. Gov. Dayton signed that bill. After the 2012 election, and with an all-DFL government in St. Paul, Education Minnesota called in their biggest chit. Education Minnesota told the DFL legislature and Gov. Dayton that the basic skills test had to be repealed. ASAP.

Despite their public statements, Education Minnesota isn’t about putting highly qualified teachers in every classroom. Education Minnesota is about representing the best interests of their members, nothing more, nothing less.

The tip that voters should notice is the couple saying that they trust Gov. Dayton. What they’re saying is that they’re either steadfastly pro-union or they’re totally uninformed voters who’ve bought the Dayton campaign’s spin.

Though the ad touts Gov. Dayton’s support of Education Minnesota, it could tout Zach Dorholt’s support of Education Minnesota. When it comes to supporting everything on the public employees unions’ wish list, nobody gets higher grades than Zach Dorholt. Or Gov. Dayton. Or Speaker Thissen. Or Mike Nelson. Or any other DFL legislator.

The reality is that the DFL legislature is a subsidiary of the special interests.

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Apparently, Mary Burke will continue stumbling towards the finish line a little longer:

Asked by reporters to define plagiarism, Burke said: “This, this probably, using words, exact words, from a source that doesn’t, that isn’t cited and isn’t attributable.”

As tortured as those words look on paper, they look infinitely worse in this video:

Burke’s biggest problem isn’t that her campaign plagiarized other people’s ideas. It’s that she’s playing into the narrative that she just isn’t that interested in policies. That’s sapping her momentum at the worst time. She started her campaign talking about her jobs plan and how she’d talked with some of Wisconsin’s brightest people in putting her plan together. Now that the campaign is in the stretch drive, the wheels appear to be coming off Burke’s campaign bus. In the video, it’s torture listening to her try and answer the question about plagiarism.

Burke’s other problem is that people are questioning whether she’s honest or whether she’s just another slick politician. Christian Schneider’s article didn’t portray her in the most flattering light:

But for Burke, this solidifies the impression that she is the pyrite candidate; her flashy bank account gives her credibility, but she lacks even a modicum of substance. Her campaign is being buttressed by a cadre of consultants and media professionals who evidently hand her a jobs plan and say, “Here, now go sell it.”

Christian Schneider is a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, a newspaper not prone to treating Scott Walker with kid gloves. If the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is saying these types of things about Ms. Burke, rest assured that more conservative papers serving places like Green Bay and rural Wisconsin aren’t casting Burke in a flattering light.

At a time when people are satisfied with how things are going, it isn’t helping that Ms. Burke is seen as a marketing specialist. Wisconsinites are looking for a policy wonk, a solutions-oriented person with Wisconsin’s best interests at heart.

Throughout this fiasco, Burke hasn’t fit that part. That’s why the wheels keep falling off the bus.

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This LTE is just another helping of DFL gibberish:

Joe Perske, who is a candidate for the 6th Congressional District, is the kind of person we need to represent us in Washington.

Joe has worked in local politics for the past 10 years and has advocated diligently for workers and families in this area. He has an incredible gift of being able to relate to people from all walks of life. He has the integrity we are lacking in Washington today.

Recently he was endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education for his positions and record on issues of importance to workers and their families. The endorsement is based on his steadfast support of working families.

The notion that a DFL congressional candidate getting endorsed by the AFL-CIO isn’t news. Based on their list of endorsees, if you had a D behind your name, you were endorsed.

Simply put, Perske is just another tax-raising liberal. His history is littered with raising propert taxes and spending money foolishly.

In 2010, I wrote that Tarryl faced an uphill climb against Michele Bachmann. Tarryl lost by 13 points, the biggest winning margin in Michele’s congressional career. If Republicans work hard this year, the DFL will look at the Michele vs. Tarryl as the good old days.

Tom Emmer is a great fit for the district. He’s fiscally conservative, which is important. Most importantly, he’s a reform-minded conservative.

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While reading the Strib’s article on Jeff Johnson’s primary victory, I came across this bit of information about Gov. Dayton’s campaign:

Dayton’s campaign says it will hit three main themes come Sept. 1: strengthening the middle class, improving education and making government more efficient.

There’s no question that Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature spent tons of money on education. Education questions arise, though, when you start asking whether we’re getting our money’s worth. Appeasing Education Minnesota isn’t the same as improving education.

In 2011, Gov. Dayton signed a Republican reform that teachers pass a basic skills test. In 2013, Gov. Dayton signed the repeal of that reform because too many teachers failed the test, then got waivers from the Department of Education that let them continue teaching.

Let’s see how Gov. Dayton defends that.

As for strengthening the middle class, I’d simply ask whether families in Hibbing, Chisholm, Eveleth and Virginia are better off now than they were 4 years ago. The answer is an emphatic ‘Hell no.’ In fact, those cities have some haves and tons of have nots.

Finally, on whether Gov. Dayton has made “government more efficient”, eliminating a few archaic laws doesn’t make government more efficient. Spending $90,000,000 on an office building to house part-time legislators definitely isn’t making government efficient. Spending $200,000,000 on a health insurance exchange website didn’t make government more efficient. Those projects could’ve been used to fix roads and bridges.

Q: What has Gov. Dayton done to fight for high-paying mining jobs in northeastern and southeastern Minnesota? A: He’s said that Republican gubernatorial candidate were “highly irresponsible” for promising to open PolyMet. He thought about imposing a total moratorium on frack-sand mining, too.

Minnesotans need to learn that Gov. Dayton doesn’t know what’s in the bills he’s signed. Gov. Dayton claims he didn’t know that the Vikings stadium bill had a provision in it that allows the Vikings to sell personal seat licenses, aka PSLs, on season tickets. Gov. Dayton supposedly didn’t know that the tax bill he negotiated included a sales tax on farm equipment repairs.

Gov. Dayton supposedly didn’t know that the Senate Office Building was in the tax bill that he signed. At least, that’s what he said.

At what point should we aay that our CEO should know what’s in the bills he’s signing? At what point do people say we can’t afford 4 more years of reckless DFL spending? I hope it’s soon.

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This article highlights the intelligent fight Torrey Westrom will fight in Congress if he defeats Collin Peterson:

“The Keystone pipeline needs to be built, I am here to tell you, and it should have been built last year, not delayed another several months as we are seeing under this current Administration,” Westrom said. Without the pipeline, oil producers are using an increasing number of railcars to transport their supply, which is squeezing out farmers and propane suppliers.

“[Grain] elevators from the south end of the 7th District to the north tell me they are still going to have last year’s crop when this year’s crop comes in, and they can’t get enough extra cars to ship it out,” Westrom continued. “That’s unacceptable. We need to build energy and infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline. That’s something I will advocate for.”

When it comes to getting things done in DC, Collin Peterson is about as worthless as a potted plant. He didn’t stand up to President Obama and the environmental activists that run the EPA or the spineless diplomats in the State Department.

Thanks to Congressman Peterson’s spinelessness, grain elevators in Minnesota’s 7th District are hurting. Minnesota’s 7th District doesn’t need a DC insider with ‘influence’. Minnesota’s 7th District needs someone who gets things done.

Collin Peterson is rich with DC insider influence. Unfortunatly, he isn’t the type of congressman who gets important things done that help his district.

If voters in Minnesota’s 7th District dump Peterson, they’ll immediately see the difference in the number of important things that get done compared with Peterson’s potted plant routine.

The panel also asked the 7th District candidate what can be done to reduce government regulatory delays. “Indecision is very paralyzing for industry and for farmers,” Westrom said about the overregulation that effects Minnesota’s farmers. “Some sort of cap on decisions, so people can count on a yes or a no, or at least know what needs to be changed in a timely period, is something we should aim for.” Westrom emphasized that we should “not have unelected bureaucrats continue to delay processes.”

Peterson loves DC’s ineffective status quo. He doesn’t really have to do anything. All he has to do is talk about how much institutional influence he has. What Peterson can’t talk about is how his presence in DC is helping reduce regulations or improve life in Minnesota’s 7th District.

Throughout the forum, panelists expressed concern about government overreach, asking other candidates about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on navigable waters and delay on the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The EPA is a farmer’s worst nightmare. Daily, they micromanage what a farmer can and can’t do. Their new rule will get struck down by the Supreme Court because it goes far beyond the legislative language of the Clean Water Act, aka the CWA.

Not that Collin Peterson cares but the EPA can’t implement a rule that goes beyond the legislative language. That language currently says the EPA can regulate navigable waters. The EPA’s rule would allow them to regulate waters not considered navigable.

At one point, Collin Peterson was a tolerable congressman. Those days have passed. In 2009, Nancy Pelosi corrupted him. He hasn’t been a Blue Dog Democrat since. That says one thing: it’s time for a change.

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If this article isn’t giving President Obama, the DGA and the DNC heartburn, then they’ll never get heartburn. Look at the story behind the headlines:

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn has spent a political lifetime fine-tuning his image as a government reformer, but a new Early & Often Poll shows Republican Bruce Rauner may have wrested that mantle away from the governor.

The incumbent Chicago Democrat also has spent months trying to portray the multimillionaire private equity investor from Winnetka as an out-of-touch “billionaire,” yet voters in Illinois appear evenly split about which gubernatorial candidate best understands their everyday concerns.

And while Quinn again finds himself down by double digits in this latest poll by We Ask America, Illinoisans gave a decisive nod to Quinn running mate Paul Vallas over Republican Evelyn Sanguinetti as the best qualified lieutenant governor candidate to take over in the event of an emergency.

I threw that last paragraph in there to show how little running mates matter in voting for governors or presidents. This paragraph should frighten Democrats:

The poll had Rauner ahead of Quinn by a nearly-51-percent-to-38-percent spread with 11 percent undecided. The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

This race wasn’t on anyone’s radar other than in the Rauner household a year ago. Back then, most people would’ve thought that the biggest threat to Gov. Quinn would’ve come in a primary, not against a Republican.

Apparently, thousands of uppity peasants from the Land of Lincoln are demanding to be heard above the political machine. If Quinn loses, it’ll be the biggest shocker this election cycle by orders of magnitude. This race will undoubtedly tighten. Still, it’s likely that Gov. Quinn is facing a difficult fight:

“I think Rauner’s claim to ‘shake up Springfield’ may be resonating with voters,” Durham said. “It’s been in his TV ads and a big part of his speeches. Plus, it’s hard for a public official who has been around as long as Gov. Quinn to wear the reform hat when he’s been part of the system so long.”

It’s possible, too, that people just don’t trust Democrats. It isn’t like Gov. Blagojevich is a picture of virtue. Gov. Quinn’s served in government for quite awhile so that hurts his image as a reformer.

It’s especially worth noting that this was a large sample of likely voters. Further, only 11% of likely voters haven’t decided who to vote for. The further you read into the poll, the more daunting the task is for Quinn.

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This year is the first time in seemingly forever that I’ll be voting in a GOP primary. That’s why this i the first time I’ve written a post announcing who I’m voting for in the primary.

The biggest reason why I’m voting for Mike McFadden is because he’s an unapologetic capitalist. While Al Franken was a mediocre comedian, a mean-spirited talk show host and a rubberstamp US senator, Mike McFadden was creating jobs. Mike knows the importance of regulation reform and tax reform.

Mike’s also been steadfast in calling for starting over on health care reform, this time implementing a patient-centric system rather to replace the government-centric plan that’s an outright failure. Mike wants a system that gives the federal government the authority to tell people the coverages their health insurance policies must have.

That’s because Mike knows that families, working in consultation with their physicians, know what’s best for them. Mike understands that distant bureaucrats can’t possibly know what’s bet for your family or your co-workers’ families.

Mike’s worked with enough small businesses to know that compliance costs, whether they’re tax or regulation compliance costs, hurt small businesses more than they hurt big corporations. The vast majority of manufacturing companies started as small businesses. Regulatory reform is essential to growing the economy.

While Mike McFadden has advocated for regulatory reform, his opponent this November has voted for the biggest federal regulatory overreach in 50 years.

Finally, I’d like to take time to say a little something about Jim Abeler. Most bloggers know him as part of the Override 6, a small group of GOP legislators who voted to override Gov. Pawlenty’s veto of a massive transportation tax bill. While it’s fair to remember that about Jim, it isn’t the only thing we should remember about Jim.

Jim worked with Steve Gottwalt to produce real health care reform before the Affordable Care Act wiped out their reforms. We’d be far better off if their reforms hadn’t been toppled by the ACA’s top-down, government-centric plan.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Jim a couple of times. He’s a man of faith who’s had to endure what no parent should be forced to deal with — the tragic death of a child. Through that tragic event, Jim leaned on his faith, which helped his family persevere.

Jim, I personally wish you nothing but the best. I hope God blesses you in the days ahead.

When Congress passed the bill reforming the VA hospital system, it became the first bipartisan reform bill passed during the Obama administration.

The Senate gave final approval Thursday to sweeping legislation aimed at fixing the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, marking a rare moment of bipartisan accord triggered by the widespread treatment delays veterans faced at agency facilities.

The legislation passed 91-3 a day after the House overwhelmingly approved the package. It now goes to President Obama’s desk.

The $17 billion measure is intended help veterans avoid long waits for health care, hire more doctors and nurses to treat them, and make it easier to fire senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department.

As with any bipartisan bill, this isn’t a great bill. It definitely is flawed. With that being said, Republicans got Democrats to include the Republicans’ top priorities in the bill.

First, the bill includes a provision that lets vets opt out of the VA system. Those opting out will get a voucher giving them the right to go to a private clinic or hospital. This provision isn’t available to all vets, though it’s available to a significant number of vets.

It’s also a great first step towards demolishing the corrupt VA hospital system.

The other major concession Republicans won was a provision that gives the VA secretary the right to fire employees who aren’t doing their jobs. Again, this is a major concession from Democrats, mostly because this gives Republicans the impetus to pass legislation that gives all cabinet secretaries this right.

Democrats will find it difficult to argue that only the VA secretary should have that authority, especially considering how popular this provision is with taxpayers. They’re tired of hearing about people like Lois Lerner committing crimes, then getting put on paid administrative leave while the department conducts their investigation. Taxpayers want heads to roll.

It’s pretty pathetic that the first truly bipartisan reform bill didn’t pass until the sixth year of this Democratic administration. It’s quite the indictment against President Obama’s administration and Harry Reid’s my-way-or-the-highway leadership. It’s the best proof that Washington, DC needs a Republican majority in the US Senate. Without a GOP majority, there won’t be another bipartisan bill passed during this administration.

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