According to Larry Schumacher’s Democracy at Work blog, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie will be the featured speaker at a DFL fundraiser for SD-14 & SD-15 Democrats. The fundraiser will be held on Sept. 16, 2007 at St. Cloud’s Ace Bar, which is about half a mile from my house. Ritchie has made some statements in the last couple of years that are less than credible once you know more about Mr. Ritchie’s past roles. Here are the statements I’m specifically referring to:

“…the office of Secretary of State must operate in a non-partisan manner.” Source: Mark Ritchie press release, June 7, 2005

“I will protect your vote by restoring trust and nonpartisanship to the secretary of state’s office…” Source: Pioneer Press, November 1, 2006

While Ritchie says that the office of Secretary of State should operate in a non-partisan manner, it should be noted that he’s listed as a founder and advisor to the Campaign for America’s Future, one of the left’s most partisan organizations. CAF shares office space in Washington, DC with Americans United for Change, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq and USAction. Americans Against Escalation in Iraq is run by Tom Matzzie, who also chairs This office space is located on K Street, the lobbyist capitol of the nation’s capitol. That information alone should send up red flags.

Americans United for Change is targeting this list of Republicans for defeat in 2008:

Michelle Bachmann (MN-6), Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1), Steve King (IA-5), Scott Garrett (NJ-5), Bill Sali (ID-1), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), John Doolittle (CA-4), Roy Blunt (MO-7), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Tom Davis (VA-11), Thelma Drake (VA-2), Vernon Ehlers (MI-3), Mike Rogers (MI-8), Dean Heller (NV-2), Jon Porter (NV-3) and Peter Roskam (IL-6).

If that doesn’t shred Mr. Ritchie’s statement about restoring nonpartisanship to the Secretary of State’s office, there’s more. During a debate last fall, Ritchie said that he didn’t believe in requiring voters to show their ID in registering to vote:

Democrat Mark Ritchie, who in 2004 led a nationwide voter registration initiative, said requiring photo identification would disenfranchise poor citizens, seniors and college students who might not have access to documents required to get a picture identification card.

Mr. Ritchie’s position isn’t unique in the Democratic Party. In fact, it’s the DNC’s official position. With voter fraud running rampant since 2004, you’d think that requiring a picture ID to register would be the common sense approach to preventing voter fraud. Obviously, that approach doesn’t interest Mr. Ritchie or the DNC. It isn’t coincidence that Democrats have been the only political party who’ve been convicted of voter fraud. If Mr. Ritchie won’t discourage voter fraud, how can he restore “trust and nonpartisanship to the secretary of state’s office…”?

This raises several questions. Here are the questions I most want answered:

  • Shouldn’t St. Cloud voters of all stripes distance themselves from a secretary of state that won’t act affirmatively to prevent voter fraud?
  • Shouldn’t Minnesotans demand that the legislature pass laws that prevent voter fraud?
  • Why should we believe that a man that’s attended more DFL fundraisers in his first eight months in office than his predecessor attended in eight years is interested in bringing a nonpartisan approach to his job?

Isn’t it disingenuous for Mr. Ritchie to say that he’ll restore nonpartisanship to the Secretary of State office on at least several levels?

Most importantly, wasn’t Ms. Kiffmeyer known for her nonpartisanship? Only a few far left bloggers have alleged that Ms. Kiffmeyer was partisan. Those allegations aren’t worthy of consideration since those bloggers never cited any specific partisan actions that Ms. Kiffmeyer took.

Secondly, as noted earlier, Mr. Ritchie is a longtime liberal activist. That’s certainly his constitutional right but I find it difficult to believe that a longtime DFL activist can turn a light switch and become nonpartisan.

Mr. Ritchie was president of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. It was while he served as president of that organization that he was named as an advisor/founder to the Campaign for America’s Future.

If that isn’t enough to convince you that he’s a liberal activist, consider this information:

Mark Ritchie, who heads the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, which played a critical role in getting farm and food safety groups into the Seattle coalition, is even more blunt. “If Seattle is the high point of this movement, we’re in trouble,” he says. “Everything that happened in Seattle has to be seen as a prelude to a much larger, much more effective movement to change trade and economic policy in the U.S. and around the world.”

‘Nonpartisan’ Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was an organizer for the tumultuous protests at the 1999 meeting of the WTO in Seattle. Other than the immigration protests of March, 2006, the 1999 WTO protests were the biggest protests since the Vietnam era.

Based on this information, it’s impossible to think that Mr. Ritchie suddenly turned a light switch and became nonpartisan. In fact, it’s insulting for him to suggest that he isn’t a highly partisan liberal activist.

I wonder how St. Cloud voters would react if they knew that Mr. Ritchie was a longtime DFL activist. I wonder how they’d react if they knew he didn’t think that preventing voter fraud was part of the Secretary of State’s job description.

I don’t think they’d think too highly of him if they knew that about him.

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3 Responses to “‘Non-Partisan’ Mark Ritchie to Speak at DFL Fundraiser”

  • David Baker says:

    Big deal. Voter fraud is non-existent. It’s a pretty thin thread you use to tie Ritchie to groups such as MoveOn. Same applies to your attempt to go from heading the IATP to “organizer for the tumultuous protests”. Find something real to alarm us about.

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