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Otto Vote Had No Sulfide Mining Effect

by Grace Kelly on August 13, 2014 · 9 comments

Even though Matt Entenza never talked about the sulfide mining issue, there was a suggestion of sulfide mining advocates voting against Otto. Otto had recommended that sulfide mining companies put up the equivalent of rental deposit on the risk of harm to health and environment. The sulfide mining effect would show up in Congressional District 8. Dayton’s percentage between state wide and CD 8 drops by 3%. Simon’s percentage between state wide and CD 8 drops by 10%. So Otto’s drop of 6% is between those two numbers. I conclude that there was no effect based on sulfide mining.


Steve Simon was having a name recognition problem against two perennial candidates, so he has lower numbers and more variation. Simon was considered safe although I must admit those numbers were closer than I felt comfortable with.


This table was generated with a 93% of the precincts counted.


otto analysis

Disco August 13, 2014 at 9:06 am

GOP primary governor votes = 183342
GOP + IP = 189125
DFL = 190664

That right there is a good sign in my opinion. The DFL had no real competitive primaries, yet we outvoted the GOP in every race.

Disco August 13, 2014 at 9:57 am

The lack of intensity in the GOP primary for governor is unbelievable and should be concerning for the GOP.

Disco August 13, 2014 at 9:59 am

GOP had low turnout at precinct caucuses, a state convention that wasn’t full and now more DFLers voted in the primary. Big warning signs.

Dan Burns August 14, 2014 at 8:06 am

I saw Brodkorb’s remarks, too. Of course he still has a major beef with a good deal of the MN GOP’s leadership. But I hope he’s right. That will be hugely demoralizing for Minnesota Republicans, if they win nothing this cycle.

Eric Ferguson August 13, 2014 at 11:02 am

The DFL race outdrew the MNGOP in all statewide races. That’s no surprise in auditor and that turned out a bunch of Democrats, but there were more DFL votes for governor than auditor. On top of having higher caucus turnout without any contests, good sign for us regarding enthusiasm. Maybe Simon has a greater vulnerability than previously realized, but otherwise we know the Republicans are going after the state house.

Dan Burns August 14, 2014 at 7:24 am

This was shared on social media by Aaron Klemz:

How did Rebecca Otto do last night in CD8 and on the Range? After all, the conventional wisdom was that her no vote on state copper-nickel exploration leases and reasonable concerns about financial assurance for copper-nickel mining was political death in NE Minnesota, right?

- Otto won 75% of the vote in CD8, same as in CD1
– 80% of Duluth and 84% of Two Harbors voted for her
– 93% of Finland/Crystal Bay, the epicenter of the leasing issue, voted for Otto
- 66% of Hibbing, a town that was literally moved to make way for an iron mine voted for her
– 66% of Silver Bay, an iron mining company town with the “Rocky Taconite” statue voted for her
– Even in the heart of supposed “Dump Otto” territory, she came within 20 votes of winning a majority in Ely and the surrounding townships (Fall Lake, Eagles Nest, Stony River, and Morse)
– And she won majorities in Virginia (home of the Mesabi Daily News that endorsed Entenza), Mountain Iron (home to the largest taconite pelletizing operation in the U.S.), and Eveleth.

Archer Dem August 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm

To say there was no mining effect is to ignore more granular data. When you look at the CD level her performance in 8 is the same as in 1 (home to Matt Entenza’s “home” of Worthington). But as Dan Burns points out, while she might have won some places on the range, she uniformly did so with considerably lower margins than her statewide margin. While I believe his effort was to show she still won these places, it shows that there are obviously Democrats on the Range that aren’t happy with Otto.

Also, she wasn’t running against an ideal opponent. Entenza has all his faults (almost too many to count) and he didn’t take an aggressively pro-mining stance to court those folks. Even so, he performed at least 20% better on the range than he did in the rest of the state.

This post isn’t a stance on the mining issue (which is larger than just PolyMet), but just a check on the use and interpretation of data.

Dan Burns August 15, 2014 at 6:56 am

Your points are valid. I didn’t mean to suggest no mining effect, just that it was far, far short of what pro-mining forces and their media allies clearly hoped for.

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