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Minnesota Congresspeople on the environment

by Dan Burns on March 4, 2014 · 2 comments

Grasslands-mengguThe League of Conservation Voters released its annual scorecard some weeks ago.

Despite this reality, the U.S. House of Representatives continued its unprecedented assault on the environment and public health that began during the 112th Congress. Although Congress started 2013 with votes to provide disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, it’s painfully clear that far too many members failed to heed the lessons offered by that tragic storm. Indeed, this Scorecard is a disturbing reflection of the extent to which the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives continues to be controlled by Tea Party climate change deniers with an insatiable appetite for attacks on the environment and public health.
For the third year in a row, there is an unusually high number of House votes included in the Scorecard, due to the breadth and depth of anti-environmental legislation brought to the House floor in 2013. The 2013 Scorecard includes 28 House votes, which is second only to the record 35 votes included in both 2011 and 2012, the most anti-environmental U.S. House of Representatives in history. Many other votes warranted inclusion and would have been included in a typical year.

Sen. Al Franken (D) 100%
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) 100%
Rep. Keith Ellison (D) 96%
Rep. Betty McCollum (D) 93%
Rep. Tim Walz (D) 86%
Rep. Rick Nolan (D) 86%
Good stuff. I don’t freak out when someone doesn’t have a perfect score, because this is reality, not terminally embittered purity-martyr fantasyland.
Rep. Collin Peterson (“D”) 14%
That’s our Collin. His lifetime score is 38%. Just going with the flow, I guess. By the way, it very much looks like he is running again.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) 11%
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R) 7%
Rep. John Kline (R) 0%
Complete, groveling surrender to far-right orthodoxy? Really that messed up in their heads? Both? Does it matter?


DFL caucuses outdrew MNGOP

by Eric Ferguson on February 28, 2014 · 2 comments

The DFL outdrew the state Republicans at the Feb. 4th caucuses, roughly 14,500 to 14,100. That’s actually a big deal. If you’re shrugging at that because there are more Democrats, so they should have a bit bigger turnout, not really. Yes, there are more Democrats, but what draws people to caucuses are contests for public office. Caucuses, at least on the DFL side, also elect precinct officers and start the process of building the party platform — and I’m a big believer in face time for building a strong grassroots, as are apparently other people who turned out without a high profile contest. Still, let’s admit it, attendance tends to rise or fall with the contests for public office. That’s why the MNGOP should have had much higher turnout.


The DFL currently holds every statewide office, and all are up for reelection except Amy Klobuchar’s US Senate seat. The incumbents are running unopposed except Mark Ritchie, who isn’t seeking reelection as secretary of state. So we do have a contest between two strong campaigns for state reps. Steve Simon and Debra Hilstrom, and they did their best to get supporters to turn out. But still, that’s just secretary of state, which matters when a partisan SOS is trying to interfere with voting instead facilitating it, but it doesn’t get many people excited. Besides, the GOP has a contest for SOS too, and for everything else, including governor and US Senator.


As if that weren’t enough, Republicans have more contests for Congress, and I’m presuming they have more State House races since they have a minority of seats going in. Now add in that the non-presidential party is generally more motivated in midterm elections, and everything points to much higher turnout for the MNGOP. So even for the DFL to be close is really surprising.


Dayton, Franken rule in Strib poll

by Dan Burns on February 18, 2014 · 4 comments

sadelephantThis was rolled out on Sunday:

The poll found that 58 percent of Minnesotans think Dayton is doing a good job as governor, with 29 percent saying they disapprove. Those numbers come after the governor orchestrated an income tax increase on the wealthy and after the troubled rollout of the state’s health care exchange that opponents hoped would diminish his popularity…
In the poll, Dayton received far higher marks than Obama, who won Minnesota by 8 percentage points just 15 months ago. According to the poll, fully half of Minnesotans disapprove of the job Obama is doing and only 43 percent give him high marks.
(Star Tribune)

And Monday:

More than half of Minnesotans say first-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken is doing a good job, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.
The 55 percent approval rating for the satirist-turned-senator matches a high-water mark reached last June, but the latest results also show a growing dissatisfaction with his job performance.
(Star Tribune)

Rather ridiculous, how the Strib tried to spin those latter numbers (a “polarizing figure;” in fact, the increase in his unusually low disapprovals was little more than the poll’s margin of error). But, they have to do what they have to do, I suppose, to pander to their elderly, conservative subscriber base, yet without going totally Fox about it.
Mason-Dixon did the polling, and that has not been among the better outfits, in recent years. But when it comes to pollsters, Gallup’s pre-2012 election performance notwithstanding, even the weaker ones rarely totally blow it; they just don’t hit bullseyes at the rate that the best ones do. My gut feeling is that 58% job approval seems high. 54-55% is probably more like it. And that Obama’s job approval number, here in blue Minnesota, is likely more in the 45-47% range.

It sure seems like MnSure isn’t much of a political problem. It directly affects relatively few Minnesotans. And nationally, indications are that big majorities are sick of Obamacare-bashing, and want to move on. But what else are Minnesota Republicans going to do? Remind voters of the declining quality-of-life rankings, relative to other states, during the period of conservative rule from 1999-2012? Topped off with a government shutdown and a particularly ridiculous sex scandal? That period is going to go down in the history books as easily the worst episode of governance in the state’s history, and plenty of people know it.


MN Independence Party has a Senate candidate

by Dan Burns on February 7, 2014 · 7 comments

1170770_10151809698562376_613226129_nNot much name recognition, yet.

A Roseville resident who backed former Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign for president in 2012 plans to run for the Independence Party’s nomination for U.S. Senate.
Hannah Nicollet is the first person to step forward as an IP candidate to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken…
Independence Party Chair Mark Jenkins said he hopes Nicollet is the first of several Independence Party candidates to announce a run for statewide office. He said Nicollet has a background that’s in line with ordinary Minnesotans.

Actually, ordinary Minnesotans are not Paulbots, because they’re not downright nuts.
As the article notes, her candidacy would pull votes from the Republican, most likely Mike McFadden or Julianne Ortman. In practical terms, based on the lay of the land right now, the likely effect would be to push Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) winning margin from the high single digits to 10+.
I’m not sure where Minnesotans’ heads are at, these days, regarding the Independence Party. The Jesse Ventura governorship is certainly not generally remembered as a great one. For a time, conventional wisdom had it that its candidacies hurt DFLers more. But if that was ever the case, they would seem to have since become more problematic for the GOP. I suppose that it depends on the particular race.
I got the photo from her Facebook page.


Here is what will happen in 2014

by Eric Ferguson on January 10, 2014 · 7 comments

Yes, we’re already into the second week of 2014. Too late for predictions? Why, because that first week gives away the game? I suppose it’s a bit of a game, because making predictions is hard. Actually, predicting is easy. Being right is hard. But hey, it’s a community blog, so feel free to join in.


So here is what will happen in 2014, judged by this grading system:
100% correct: Hello Nate Silver!
75%: Somebody’s been paying attention.
50%: Coin flipper.
25%: Should have stuck with the coin.
0%: Professional psychic. (if you’re a psychic, you might not find that humorous, but you should have seen it coming)


These will be predictions of a political bent, not much in the way of predicting which celebrity marriages will end. Hopefully that’s not too dismaying on a political blog, though I predict my marriage will get through the year just fine. That means that I just gave myself an extra incentive to make it work, and I have a poor grasp of the meaning of “celebrity”.


OK, first serious prediction: the legalization of marijuana will result in only a small increase in the percentage of people who use it. By small, I mean a percentage increase in the single digits. My thinking is few people wanting to try it have been deterred by illegality, and most non-users have other reasons for declining to use, like thinking legal marijuana still stinks, it tastes foul, or has unacceptable health risks. Of course, if the statistics on usage aren’t all that reliable, then maybe we’ll never know for sure, so I’ll just plan on claiming I was right.




Latest poll indicates Franken victory in 2014

by The Big E on October 31, 2013 · 0 comments

frankenThe polls remain the same
Earlier polls in the Minnesota US Senate race indicated Sen. Al Franken looked assured of victory in 2014. Back in January and May he didn’t have much opposition.
But now he has a bunch of declared Republican opposition. Apparently, this doesn’t matter.

The latest from Democratic-leaning PPP found Franken topping all potential Republican challengers by double-digit margins while boasting an approval rating of 51 percent. Forty-three percent of Minnesota voters said they disapprove of the comedian-turned-senator.
Those numbers virtually mirror PPP’s previous findings from Minnesota in January and May. Franken has drawn five potential GOP challengers thus far, including St. Paul-area businessman Mike McFadden. McFadden said earlier this month that he’s raised almost $1.5 million since entering the race in May.
(Talking Points Memo)

Romney clone Mike McFadden does have a healthy bit of money. So does Franken.
McFadden hasn’t been impressing Republicans and the ethically-challenged, flip-flopper Sen. Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) won the recent straw poll taken at the MNGOP Central Committee meeting.


JohnsonWrongforMN-233x300 Ortman

The Republican’s State Central Committee met this weekend. When they weren’t rearranging their deck chairs (or whatever it is they do at these meetings), they took a straw poll about the upcoming 2014 Minnesota US Senate and Governor’s races.
One of the deck-chair arranging kind of things they did is have their Governor and Senate candidates speak to them.

Five candidates who want to challenge incumbent DFL Gov. Mark Dayton next year spoke to party insiders today at a State Central Committee meeting in Blaine. Six U.S. Senate hopefuls spoke in advance of the balloting.
[Henneping County Commissioner Jeff] Johnson received 143 of the votes cast by delegates and alternates. He was followed by state Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville, who received 111 votes. The third place finisher as a write-in was former state Rep. Marty Seifert of Marshall (75). State Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove came in fourth (31) , followed by teacher Rob Farnsworth (26) and businessman Scott Honour (16).

With the Ron Paul supporters and Tea Party crazies in control, I’m not surprised that Seifert and Zellers did so poorly.

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Chris-DahlbergAt this point four notable Republicans are seeking the nomination to face Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) in 2014. Ethically-challenged, flip-flopper Julianne Ortman (R-Chanhassen) has a decent chance as she’s quite far to the right. Mitt Romney clone Mike McFadden’s chances are probably fading as he can’t seem to take a position on anything or attend any events. Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) remains rather anonymous.
But what about Duluth native and St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg?

Dahlberg portrays himself a candidate with broad appeal, capable of winning votes among Independents and Democrats.
“The Republican Party cannot continue to put forward candidates that can win only in staunch Republican areas,” he said.
(Star News)

If this were 2004, it’s possible that Dahlberg would seem like a formidable candidate. But it’s not. In 2013, the right wing nut jobs control the MNGOP and the endorsement process is more of a Crazy-Off than anything that resembles politics.
Here’s where Dahlberg dooms his chances:

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Hubbard News goes after a Republican?!

by Dan Burns on October 22, 2013 · 0 comments

Radio_Tower_Lamesley_Hubbard Broadcasting is currently the province of Stan Hubbard, who has been for a long time one of the most prominent movers and shakers and, especially, donors, in the Minnesota Republican Party. Its news operation, “5 Eyewitness News,” (KSTP, the ABC affiliate) has a Fox-ish conservative slant, which is particularly apparent in its “investigative” pieces. Nearly all are aimed at public employees, alleged “welfare cheats,” and the like; corporate shenanigans are rarely noted, and as for “investigating” prominent Republicans…well, search something like “5 eyewitness news tony sutton,” and see for yourself.
But a Minnesota GOP House member was indeed pegged in a recent piece: Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka), who is running for the GOP nomination to take on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), in 2014. Other Republicans currently running are Mike McFadden, Julianne Ortman, Chris Dahlberg, and Monti Moreno. (Two DFLers are also identified as miscreants, though not lawbreakers, in the segment, which is about jaunts to Germany.)
In other words, Stan and his minions seem to already be trying to use his “journalists” in order to influence a GOP endorsement/primary race. It’s pretty overt, as these things go, for what is purportedly just another gang of unbiased reporters – though of course few political observers buy that, any more.
Hubbard is supporting Dahlberg. It will be really interesting to see whether he has KSTP go after Ortman, who has a higher public profile than Abeler.


Mitt Romney clone seen leaving on plane

Mitt Romney clone seen leaving on plane

Mitt Romney clone and 2014 Republican Governor candidate Mike McFadden can’t be bothered. He’s an important and wealthy man. It’s simply too much to expect him to appear before the unwashed masses at a forum. Think about it, man. He might catch one of those plagues that infect poor people.
So far McFadden’s campaign hasn’t gone very well. First, his roll-out got scooped. Secondly, he embarrassed himself trying to not take any positions. Third, he’s not been impressing the unwashed RWNJ activists.
Since McFadden seems to be more of a parody of Romney than an actual candidate, this isn’t particularly unexpected:

In August — nearly two months ago — the Sun Patriot reported that McFadden was “scheduled to appear” at an Oct. 14 candidate forum hosted by Carver County Republicans. But today, Politics in Minnesota broke the news that candidate McFadden has now “chosen not to participate.”
Other candidates competing in the highly-contested Republican primary — State Sen. Julianne Ortman, State Rep. Jim Abeler and County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg — are attending the forum.
“Sadly, investment banker Mike McFadden’s pattern of avoiding voters is all too familiar,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. ” For more than four months now McFadden has gone out of his way to avoid telling Minnesota voters where he stands on the issues. Next week’s forum would have been another chance for him to answer questions about issues in front of voters, but apparently that’s not really who Mike McFadden’s interested in having a conversation with.”
This is the second time in two weeks that McFadden has backed out of a debate. Last week, McFadden opted to attend his own campaign fundraiser instead of a candidate forum in Kanabec County.

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