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Mark Dayton

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

This is the promised follow up to Changing how the DFL endorses gubernatorial candidates where somehow I had a long post and didn’t get to what the title implied. So, the primary is over, and we have another data point. A gubernatorial endorsee lost again.
The main reason Erin Murphy lost should be obvious, at least if you looked at the results by CD: she did terrible outside the Twin Cities metro area. She did win CDs 4 and 5, but not by much, whereas Tim Walz cleaned up in his district, CD1, and got right around 40% everywhere else. Murphy needed to do that well in her central city base, and she didn’t.
Murphy did catch a break when the Lori Swanson campaign imploded. I noted, as the results came in, how if Murphy’s percentage went up, Swanson’s went down by the same amount, and visa-versa. The preelection polls had massive numbers of undecideds, and Murphy and Walz went way up from their poll numbers as undecideds decided, but Swanson actually went down. I’m convinced Murphy was the big beneficiary of Swanson’s problems (self-inflicted — I don’t think Murphy pulled something) but that wasn’t enough to overcome the perception she was too metro-centric. That gets us to the error in choosing a running mate.


The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

I’m writing this prior to the August 14th primary, and you might wonder why I’m writing this now, in the heat of the primary campaign when DFLer-on-DFLer campaigning is at it’s thickest (though just how negative depends a great deal on which specific race is the subject). There are two answers: one, passions about whether the endorsements made this cycle and regarding the process actually spikes right after the primary; two, this is in my mind because of recent conversations with DFLers in the last week or two with a couple connected points: the DFL has not had an endorsed non-incumbent win the gubernatorial election since Wendell Anderson, and a consensus is forming that Erin Murphy is toast. That latter opinion is based on a couple polls that are at least two weeks old by now and have other issues — not to go into a tangent, but I refer for example to the huge number of undecideds and the polling of registered voters instead of likely voters — so that opinion is premature. Not wrong, but premature, and many Murphy supporters seem in denial about the big trouble the Murphy campaign is in. By no means all, but plenty haven’t come to terms with Murphy’s situation yet.

Erin Murphy is the DFL endorsee, and if she doesn’t pull it out, we’re going to have our usual, and usually heated, discussions/arguments about how we endorse and who we endorse and whether to endorse. So I suppose I’m getting a jump on that.


When our non-incumbent gubernatorial endorsees keep losing, that begs several questions:


Philander T. Overman: The State of the State

by JeffStrate on April 14, 2015 · 0 comments

Shortly after the midterm election in November, Philander T. Overman shared his thoughts about where the State of Minnesota was headed with a divided legislature and DFLers holding down the constitutional positions of Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Auditor.  Mr. Overman did so on Democratic Visions, the no budget community access, cable TV show provided by lefty volunteers out of the SW ‘burbs.  Mr. Overman, dear possums, is not the kind of conjecture oozing pundit on the blandly safe Almanac, nor is he the kind of tart, informed blogger that propels Minnesota Progressive Project.  Philander T. Overman is a rank-and-file, average Minnesota citizen.  He’s the kind of guy that crowded into Menard’s yard and garden section this weekend to buy potted petunias for the patio and wishes he had purchased tickets for the Twins home opener.    You may find a reconsideration of his post-election thoughts to be of interest.  My link to Overman is through Jon Spayde, his St. Paul based agent and mentor.




grinch_santaRepublicans just love Christmas. They defend it to the edge of insanity and then over the edge. But the truth is their Christmas spirit and Christian charity only go so far. The truth is they are closer to the Grinch.
Hence the ghosts of Republican legislatures past is coming back to haunt Minnesota.
Republicans and then Governor Tim Pawlenty passed a bill so that starting in 2014, many seniors would lose their assistance for in home care and nursing care. But let the Minneapolis Star Tribune push the MNGOP talking points that Medicaid spending was running away instead of the truth:

The changes, which were adopted by the Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2009 as part of a broader effort to rein in soaring Medi­caid spending, would have made it more difficult for low-income senior citizens with more limited needs to qualify for government supports that help them stay in their homes.
[my emphasis]

The truth is Republicans are happy to hurt kids, the poor, the mentally ill and seniors if it means protecting the magical job creators, i.e., the wealthy, from paying their fair share of taxes.
DFLers went along with this because at least the cuts weren’t going to happen immediately as Pawlenty and the MNGOP legislators forced through many immediate and draconian cuts to social services in 2009.
Thankfully, those bad days are gone and Gov. Mark Dayton comes to the rescue:


Marty Seifert, 2013 GOP central committee meetingFormer legislator and failed 2010 Governor candidate Marty Seifert is going to give running for Governor another shot. Surely this time he won’t fail nearly as badly, right? He has a chance since his arch nemesis Tom Emmer is running for another seat.
In 2010, Seifert was supposed to win the MNGOP endorsement, but the teabaggers and Ron Paul minions conspired against him and nominated Tom Emmer. Emmer turned into an epic fail of a candidate. Seifert pouted on the sidelines.
Seifert joins Mitt Romney clone Scott Honour, Rob Farnsworth, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, candidate-for-hire Sen. Dave Thompson and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers. Sen. Julie Rosen is considering running.

Former Minnesota House of Representatives Minority Leader Marty Seifert is brimming with confidence just days after entering the gubernatorial race on the Republican side.
Seifert announced his candidacy in late November. His candidacy has been well-received, he said.
(Princeton Union Eagle)

Well-received by whom, exactly? Tom Emmer haters?
Seifert lost the endorsement last time because he wasn’t conservative enough for the delegates. Seifert’s problem is the base of his own party, the teabaggers and Ron Paul minions, won’t support him. He gives the reasons himself:


Zellers tries his own version of Willie Horton

by Eric Ferguson on November 10, 2013 · 1 comment

zellers-beerFormer State House Speaker Kurt Zellers, now a candidate for governor, decided to do a little grandstanding outside the AG’s office in hopes finding his own Willie Horton. Zellers was hoping to get after Gov. Mark Dayton over the Thomas Duvall case, a repeat rapist who may be released from the state facility for sex offenders. Ostensibly Zellers was delivering a letter to State Attorney General Lori Swanson supporting her opposition to releasing Duvall, apparently forgetting the Postal Service is still functional despite GOP efforts. As it turns out, Zellers was looking to make an attack on Dayton, blaming him for a dangerous person being released, though not directly. He’s letting some anonymous person do it with Zellers conveniently not correcting her, “One of the hockey moms said to me at practice on Sunday, ‘Why the hell would the governor let this guy out?’ And that’s the problem.”


In case Willie Horton is too far in the past to jump readily to mind, and it’s not clear what Zellers hopes to accomplish with his own version of that attack, Horton was an imprisoned criminal in Massachusetts who received a furlough, and committed a murder. Gov. Michael Dukakis wasn’t governor when the furlough program was started, nor did the governor run it, but Dukakis was governor when Horton committed murder while furloughed, and he was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. The Bush Sr. campaign, knowing Dukakis wasn’t involved but unable to resist the convenient timing, ran the infamous “Willie Horton ad”, accusing Dukakis of letting criminals run loose. Dukakis decided to respond with a variety of the “I won’t dignify that with a response” defense, meaning no defense at all, so Bush Sr. made Horton the central issue of the campaign. Bush Sr. won.


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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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EPA warns Minnesota on water quality

by Dan Burns on June 18, 2013 · 0 comments

imagesqtbnANd9GcRORdjmczW59x3XD3e1dhkl3qzVbdnJxhWhMjpubNJkTxQ0f-P3From last week:

Federal regulators have ordered Minnesota to impose more stringent limits on pollutants discharged into the state’s lakes and rivers, an unusual step that could threaten state authority to enforce the nation’s clean-water laws.
The order, the first of its kind for Minnesota, was issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to a petition from a nonprofit environmental law firm that for years has accused the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) of lax enforcement in protecting the state’s waters.
The petition focused primarily on municipal wastewater treatment and phosphorus, a damaging contaminant that causes noxious and sometimes toxic algal blooms in lakes and rivers. But some say it also could require the state to tighten up on a wide range of pollutants.
“The direction is pretty clear,” said Kris Sigford, an attorney for the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, which asked the EPA to intervene. “Now we’ll have limits that are designed to protect water quality going into permits for all dischargers.”
(Star Tribune)

Rather interesting, two of the state’s prominent political figures have been ripping on the EPA, over a couple of issues up north (here and here). There’s no reason to posit that this move by the EPA is in the nature of a brushback pitch. But it will be telling, to see where everything goes from here.


Public Policy Polling is out with (what I think is) the final round of results from their May poll: Governor Dayton’s approval rating is still hovering near 50%, the DFL in the Legislature is, while unpopular, a whole lot better-looking than their GOP counterparts, and Minnesotans appear to be coming down on the DFL side on most issues.


Money quote:


“Mark Dayton’s approval numbers have declined over the course of this legislative session,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But he still looks like a pretty clear favorite over any of the Republicans contemplating the race.”


Voters support the legalization of same-sex marriage by a 49%-45% margin. Only 46% approve of the job DFL legislators are doing to 49% who disapprove. Minnesotans dislike Republican legislators even more, at 23% positive to 59% negative. The DFL leads the Republicans on the general legislative ballot by 47% to 41%.


Minnesotans favor paying back the school shift as soon as possible by a margin of 50% to 13%. However, 44% think not raising taxes is more important than quickly paying back the school shift. 50% of Minnesota voters oppose allowing in-home child care providers to unionize, to only 31% who support letting them do so. A majority, 54%, support raising the minimum wage to $9.50 per hour, compared to 37% who are against that proposal.


The care provider unionization vote effort has always been a touchy issue, with lots of cross-cutting concerns. It’s doubtful that it’s going to be a major campaign issue come October 2014, though. More important are going to be the DFL’s efforts on education (all-day kindergarten funding), economic opportunity (raising the minimum wage — ARE YOU LISTENING, SENATE LEADERSHIP?), and marriage equality, all of which are supported by fairly huge majorities of voters in this poll.


Interestingly, check out those numbers on the school shift — 50-13 in favor of paying it back, but 44% say not raising taxes is more important than paying it back. On the original question, 47% of 2012 Romney voters said they weren’t sure, but on the second, that number dropped to just 12% while the “low taxes > school payback” number jumped to 71%.


…Meaning that this group of voters don’t know what the school shift is all about, but they just know that it can’t be more important than keeping taxes on the very richest Minnesotans low.


Even Republicans and Libertarians agree that a flat rate income tax would be fair. Because we want out-of-state contributions (3.4%) and other goals, there will be a diversity of taxes. So Minnesota has added up all the local and state taxes and calculated the equivalent income tax for different income ranges. This study has been done for years. When Republicans were in power, the equivalent income tax went down for the richest and up for the poorest. Now the Democrats are bringing the the rate closer to a fair income tax rate. Click here for a larger image.

From the Governors Office:

The budget passed by the Governor and the majorities in the legislature creates a new 4 tier income tax bracket at 9.85% that will be paid only by the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans. This new tax bracket will apply only to taxable income over $250,000 for married joint filers and taxable income over $150,000 for single filers.


$1.1 billion in New Revenue. This new tax bracket will help solve our budget deficit and invest in property tax relief for all Minnesotans,a better education system, and crucial economic development, measures to strengthen Minnesota’s middle class.


98% of Minnesotans Will See No Income Tax Increase.