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2018 DFL State Convention Day 3

by Eric Ferguson on June 3, 2018 · 4 comments

This is the day 3 live blog. Day 1 (US Senate, secretary of state, and my explanation of convention procedures for newbies) is here, and day 2 (governor and AG) is here.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

The convention hall as seen from visitor and alternate seating.

And it’s auditor day, and maybe the lieutenant governor endorsement. The filing deadline is Tuesday, so Erin Murphy will have to announce quickly if she hasn’t already. I’m not there today and trying to tune in to the livestream, but so far it isn’t working. While we’re waiting, I’d like to handicap the auditor race: no idea. No information to go on at all. When I mentioned it to anybody, no one was even thinking about it with governor sucking up all the attention. Might be well to remember that governors Mark Dayton and Arne Carlson held the state auditor position. Rebecca Otto didn’t get endorsed, but being auditor made her an immediate serious candidate for governor or whatever else she should choose to run for. So even aside from the actual job, it matters.


“My son is a vessel and a healer for the Holy Spirit!”

“There’s a whole ocean of oil under our feet!”

“There Will Be Greed!”

“I look at people and I see nothing worth liking!”

“There Will Be Vengeance!”

“I see the worst in people!”

“We have a sinner with us!”

“Get out of here Devil!”

“I have a competition in me; I want no one else to succeed!”

“There Will Be Blood!”

Pretty much sums up the upcoming Mn GOP Convention; let’s look!


If one were to base GOPer support in the race to replace deposed former Chair FEC Tony (pictured, right) by twitter traffic, one would suppose there was widespread support for GOPer Brandon Sawalich.  Mr. Sawalich released a letter announcing his run for GOP State Party Chair; he listed a 5 Point Plan for “The Way Forward” – and we’ll look at just one of ’em, bulleted “Financial integrity and transparency” – with pictures!

Before we get to ’em, I’d like to point out what I said earlier today, when I updated the original “The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same, or… how Zellers’ election demonstrates – once again – that GOP still stands for GreedOverPrinciples.”, posted back in June of ’09:

There’s a fight in the MN GOP for the Chair position – and it’s roots go back to “The Tostenson Memo” and the 2008 MN GOP State Convention in Rochester.  And it’s coming to a boil.  Why?  Because GOPers covered up their mess back then; and some of those same GOPers are doin’ their best to KEEP it covered up. (more, here)

And indeed it does go back to the GOP State Convention in Rochester MN, back in 2008!  For a quick trip back to what happened then, here’s what I wrote back then!  It’s called “Fear And Loathing In Rochester”. From it:

What everyone needs to remember is that the fact the Republican Party Of Minnesota’s financial problems have been under discussion for a year is a) the result of Republicans airing their own financial problems, and b) republiCon Ron refusing to face the problem publicly. Indeed, not only is republiCon Ron is still trying to hide this problem, he refuses to answer questions about it.

Yep – way back in 2008, financial mismanagement by the State GOP was a topic of conversation for a year!  And, 4 years later, it still is!

OK, so who was GOPer Party Treasurer in 2008, before Tony Sutton took the Party Chair position in 2009?

Yep! FEC Tony was GOPer Treasurer, before he was GOPer Chair!

Above, in “Fear And Loathing In Rochester” we touched on the GOPer Party Establishment refusing to deal with the financial reformers at the 2008 Rochester Convention; but there was another dynamic at work – Ron Paul’s 2008 bid for the GOP Nomination!  There were a bunch of Ron Paul supporters there; and the Party Establishment was none-too-happy to see them – or, even Ron Paul!  In fact,  GOPer Leadership refused to let Ron Paul address the GOP Convention.

Here’s what GOPer Blogger Martin Andrade wrote about the convention, back then:

At the MNGOP State Convention
Posted on May 30, 2008 by Marty Andrade

Notes and Thoughts from the Convention Floor:
-There are two different factions, the establishment faction called “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” and among the notable people on this list are Norm Coleman and Tim Pawlenty. The other faction, from what I can tell, is called “The Conservative Conscience Coalition” and these are partly Ron Paul supporters.
-On that contention, I will say I think the process was unfair this year.   Ron Paul people were kept off the ballot, there were no nominations from the floor allowed, people were forced to vote for a certain number of people and there was some behind the scenes stuff I didn’t see.  It is this attempt to silence dissent which upset me.
-Unfortunately, a great portion of the Ron Paul people were not allowed to speak nor were they on the ballot.

So, who was that “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” that dissed the Ron Paul people?  Let’s look!

That’s their FEC Statement Of Organization, signed 5-27-2008 and received by the FEC on June 5th, 2008 – AFTER the convention closed. Hmmm….

So, where did the “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” get their dough?  Let’s look!

Hmmm…  from, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics – a list of “major donors ($200+)” to the Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team… hmmm….

Brandon Salawich, 5-22-08: $3,000
Michael Vekich, 5-22-08: $1,000
Michael Brodkorb, 7-2-08: $500

I recognize those names!

As a matter o’ fact, Vekich just made the news, earlier today! From Minnesota Public Radio:

Vekich will advise state GOP on finances
Posted at 12:57 PM on December 12, 2011 by Tim Pugmire

The Republican Party of Minnesota has turned to businessman and accountant Mike Vekich to help clean up its financial problems.

The party’s acting chairwoman Kelly Fenton announced today that Vekich, who is CEO of Vekich Associates, will provide voluntary assistance until Dec. 31. That’s when the party’s state central committee is scheduled to elect a new chair.

In a news release, Fenton said Vekich may enlist others in his evaluation of party finances, if necessary.  (more, here)

OK, so what did this “Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team” do?  Well, let’s go to and get their take, o’ what was done unto them!!!

Minnesota GOP: “Vote for McCain and Shut Up!”
20 Responses
by on May 28, 2008
In Minnesota, John McCain got only 22% of the vote in the state’s caucuses on February 5, compared with Ron Paul’s 16%. The Minnesota party establishment is concerned enough to send out an unsigned letter to GOP members, signed only as “Friends of the Minnesota Conservative Delegate Team”.

In a chilling attack on free speech and open discussion among Republicans, the missive exhorts GOP members to attend the State Convention this Friday and assist the party establishment in stifling the growing number of dissenting voices:

And goes on to reprint the “misive” sent out to GOPers.  Want to read it?  Go here.

Want to find out who produced it?  Go to the FEC reports!!!

Well, based on the sketchy FEC Reports, it has to be these folks:

OK, let’s review:  the 2008 GOP State Convention in Rochester was notable for 2 reasons – Chair Carey and Treasurer Sutton shouted down those that dared question Party Finances that ultimately resulted in a $170,000 FEC fine, and they shut out the Ron Paul Supporters.

Prior to, and at that Convention, Establishment GOPers passed out lit dissing Ron Paul supporters (at that time, many “establishment” GOPers were dissing those same Ron Paul supporters as “PaulBots” and “Ronulans”).  Current Candidate for GOPer Chair, Brandon Sawalich, tossed down $3k to the group that prepared the lit before the convention, AND BEFORE THE GROUP filed their FEC paperwork.

And with a hat tip to deposed GOP Chair Tony Sutton, apparently the “Minnesota Ceonservative Delegate Team” didn’t bother paying off the bill to the vendor until months later.  

And a few years later, Sawalich is running on a platform with a key bullet point, and I quote:

“Financial integrity and transparency”

Yeah, “right.”  Only if “integrity” means “sweep it” and “transparency” means “under a rug.”

In Minnesota’s Greed Over Principles party, the more things change, the more they stay the same.


A Few Thoughts On Duluth

by TwoPuttTommy on April 27, 2010 · 13 comments

I got up to Duluth on Thursday, to play Enger Park Golf Course.  Sure, it was in rough shape, what with Duluth being a couple of weeks behind the metro (greens were REALLY rough), but it was a great time with great weather and I really enjoyed playing with one of the Cadets from the Air Force ROTC at UMD.

Friday was a lot of fun; expectations were high and it was great seeing friends and meeting new ones.  A highlight was hanging out at the booth for; a picture of their button, that a whole bunch of folk were wearing, is below the fold!  Of course, Friday night was a blast; simply too many parties to attend but the ones attended were unforgettable.  It was great to go to Ruk’s party, and hear John Marty give the intro to Ruk!  Two old friends, competing, but still staying friends – that’s what it’s all about.  Plus, Ruk had Paul Metsa playing!!!  
Saturday brought the honor of attending the UMD Air Force ROTC Spring Awards Ceremony for luncheon.  It’s always moving, watching the Cadets perform the POW/MIA Table Ceremony before dining; for the significance, link here.

Back at the Convention, State Senator Mee Moua called all the veterans on the floor to join her on stage – and the stage was soon packed with DFL Veterans!

And MAK won – congratulations to her and her team; they had a great plan, worked smart and worked hard, and locked up the convention in a lot fewer ballots than I expected.

Sunday brought breakfast at Uncle Loui’s Cafe (best hangover breakfast in town, according to college kids!) and the slow ride back to the cities – and strangely (appropriately?) enough, Pink Floyd’s “A Momentary Lack Of Reason” was bein’ played.

Sure, there were SNAFU’s at the Convention, some things were completely FUBAR (“hey, is the WIFI on yet?”), some folk said some incredibly stupid things (“activists are a dime a dozen” being one that particularly stood out), and some folk did some incredibly stupid things (is it really possible that Ole Savior was allowed to speak, but former Minnesota Department of Energy and Economic Development Commissioner; former Minnesota State Auditor; former US Senator Mark Dayton wasn’t even allowed on the floor??!?) but overall, it was a great convention and filled out the roster for the DFL team for November.

Well, except for that pesky little primary MAK has to survive, that is….

Here’s that button:

OK, I know the image is a little blurred, so:  here’s what that button says: –

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

Which, of course, is an appropriate quote to put on a Bachmann button.

And since we’re on quotes, and the GreedOverPrinciples party has their convention this weekend, here’s two more:

_ Tom Emmer quote:  “I don’t think you can call yourself a freedom-loving American and be a Democrat.” Marshall Independent, Sept 2009

_ Tim Pawlenty quote:  “Children who are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem for our government.”  — Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, April 2001 – as quoted in the Aitkin Independent Newspaper


2010 DFL State Convention photojournal

by The Big E on April 26, 2010 · 0 comments

The 2010 DFL State Convention is over now.  We’ve all slept it off and driven home … some farther than others.  Margaret Anderson-Kelliher came away with the endorsement and faces Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza and Susan Gaertner in an August 10th DFL primary.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to blog in the convention center as the wifi was spotty on Friday and completely down on Saturday.  Some of you were able to folow me on twitter.

Instead, here’s my photo journal of the convention.

The view out my hotel window.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto addressing the convention.  She was endorsed via acclamation.

Rebecca Otto’s son played keyboards and his band rocked the DECC.

Rep. Jeremy Kalin (North Branch) introduced MN Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.  Mark was also endorsed via acclamation.

Rep. Bobby Joe Champion and Rep. Jeff Hayden at the Latino Caucus and African-American Caucus’ party at Pizza Luce.

Joe Bodell and I were strolling toward the Friday night parties at the Holiday Inn when he remarked snarkily about this sign.  Being from Boston, he doesn’t understand the scandinavian sauna customs.  Actually, I’m part Swedish and I don’t understand sweating hard in a incredibly hot, steamy room and then running and jumping in a lake.

Thomasin Franken vamping.  All we asked for was a picture with her.  This is what we got.  How awesome is this?

How many opportunities do you get to have your picture taken with your US Senator.  And how cool is it to have Al Franken as your Senator?

We saw RT Rybak at the reNEW.MN Friday night party.  The room was really dimly lit.  This was the only pic that turned out even reasonably decent.

This is the floor demonstration for the Margaret Anderson-Kelliher nomination.

Peggy Flanagan introduces RT Rybak for his nomination speech.

RT Rybak giving his nomination speech.

Was Ole Savior threatening to hit people with his hammer?  I wasn’t entirely sure.  Also, what’s with the Randy Moss jersey?

Paul Thissen accepts his nomination.

Rep. Jeff Hayden introduces Margaret Anderson-Kelliher.

MAK addresses the convention.

More MAK.

Let the Q & A session begin!!!

Some Team Thissen folks evaluating some delegate data they’d compiled.

Out-take from the belated, special live convention edition of Fridays with Franni.

The turning point of the convention.  Tom Rukavina concedes.

reNEW MN delegates get together to consider consolidating behind one candidate.

DJ Danielson.  Working hard or hardly working?  Hmmm … since I saw him working at entry all day, I’ll choose working hard.

Floor demonstrations.

RT concedes.

MAK accepts the DFL endorsement.

Left is a very happy, relieved and exhausted MAK Campaign Manager Jaime Tincher.  On the right is Kristin Sosanie, DFL Communications.


Yes on Single-Payer, Yes on #50

by MUHCC on April 20, 2010 · 2 comments



Be it resolved that we support and work to enact a universal, single-payer health care plan on the federal level and the single-payer Minnesota Health Act at the state level.

The federal reform bill was only step one. Help us continue to take those necessary steps toward a BETTER solution. Vote YES on #50 and make sure Single-Payer health care remains a legislative priority for the DFL Party in Minnesota.


All MN residents are covered
-Permanent coverage regardless of health status, employment, or income

Comprehensive coverage
-Prevention and primary care, hospitalization, mental health, dental, home health care, long term care, prescriptions, medical equipment, and more

Choose your own provider
-All licensed providers covered in one statewide network. You choose who you see

Premium based on ability to pay
-No co pays or deductibles

Run by an independent health board
-Regional representatives, including consumers, accountable to the public

Help spread the word at the State Convention too! Let’s continue to show our support moving forward and eventually make the MN Health Plan…Single-Payer for ALL Minnesotans…A REALITY.

-Senate File 118 | House File 135
-Chief Authors: Senator John Marty & Representative David Bly
-Co authored by over 1/3 of the MN Legislature

For more information, visit:

MN Universal Health Care Coalition –

Greater MN Health Care Coalition –

Thank you for your support!


Watching the GOP’s state convention on Saturday, I heard the name “Craig Westover” during some debate from the floor.  “Craig Westover”?  The “Craig Westover” that bloviates at the right-leaning Pioneer Press?

Yep!  THAT Craig Westover; the Craig Westover that has the following at the bottom of his columns in the Pioneer Press:

Craig Westover is a contributing columnist to the Pioneer Press Opinion Page and a senior policy fellow at the Minnesota Free Market Institute (

Does anyone see anywhere in that “inComplete Disclosure” that Craig Westover is not only involved in republiCon party polics, he’s managed to make his way to the rarified air of the State Central Committee?

I don’t, and I remember that in 2006, Craig “Firmly Embeded” Westover was not only “contributing” at the PiPress, Craig Westover was part of the PiPress’ candidate endorsement screening process.

Hmmmm…  I remember from back in the day, when I was a GOPer, how hard it was to get elected just from BPOU to District; I can’t imagine that these days it’s any easier to go from District to State (especially what with all that ideological purging for purity’s sake in the GreedOverPrinciples party) and I really can’t believe some newbie – say, since December 2006 – goes from bein’ NOT involved in party politics and goes all the way to State Central Committee participant.

Bottom line?  I guessed Craig Westover was up to his neck in partisan party politics when the Pioneer Press had him involved in its endorsement process.

So, I asked the PiPress the pointed question:


How aware of Craig Westover’s party activism was the Pioneer Press back in 2006, when the Pioneer Press involved Craig Westover in its endorsement process?

Here’s the thoughtful and complete answer I got:


Aware enough.


The Pioneer Press was aware of Craig “Firmly Embedded” Westover’s partisan political activism, and let him participate in candidate endorsement anyway ??!?

No wonder “journalism” is held in such low esteem, these days.

I thought I’d give the PiPress another shot, so I sent in reply:

(redacted)you want to make an official, “for quote” statment before I start writing?

How about you, Craig?

Craig’s in there, because I started out asking Craig about his involvement in partisan party politics, and CC’d the PiPress.  Mr. Firmly Embedded seemed to get a little nervous as my questions became more pointed, at which point I switched tacks and asked the pointed question, above, to the PiPress and cc’d Craig.  

Here’s what I got back, from the PiPress, after asking if they wanted to give a “for quote” statment:


Nope. Write whatever you want. First Amendment’s a beautiful thing.

Apparently, the PiPress knows that “journalistic integrity” isn’t incorporated in the First Amendment – because it isn’t.

And neither is “inComplete Disclosure.”

Those of you reading this, that are involved in campaigns, may want to remember this sordid little story next year, during endorsement screening time.

The Pioneer Press is going to ask you to be open and honest.

Remember that they weren’t.

Oh, and For The Record – here’s Mr. Firmly Embedded’s response to the request for quote:

“For the record, Prior to the 2008 election cycle, I was a casual GOP caucus attendee. I got active in the 2008 cycle so I could go to the state convention as a Ron Paul delegate and really got active after the 2008 convention. I have not written anything for the PiPress promoting a partisan issue other than the principles I have always pushed.”  —  Craig Westover, 15 June 2009

Yeah, “right.”  Go with that, Craig.  I have no way to verify it, but:  it sounds like Fishsticks to me.

Oh, speaking of Fishsticks:  apparently, I wasn’t the only one that noticed Mr. Firmly Embedded’s party activism – Spot over at The Cucking Stool noticed, too.  Spot takes a look at Mr. Firmly Embedded’s backing Michele Bachmann’s “Gangster Government” rantings, and – most appropriately – includes pictures of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff.

I’m guessing Craig “Firmly Embedded” Westover didn’t do much writing about Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, nor The K Street Project.

Come to think about it, the Pioneer Press didn’t publish much about those three, either.

Well, to the Pioneer Press and Craig “Firmly Embedded” Westover, I’m sure it was the “right” thing to do…..



DFL Convention open thread

by Joe Bodell on June 9, 2008 · 3 comments

I have a couple of audio clips chopped up, and am working on writing up my interview with State Sen. Tom Bakk — in the meantime, what have your impressions of this year’s DFL State Convention been? Attendees or home viewers welcome.



The UpTake will provide the first ever live video streaming coverage of the Minnesota State Democratic Party Convention.  The convention starts on Friday June 6th with an address from National Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean.  Saturday is the main event of the convention as delegates decide who to endorse for US Senate, either Al Franken or Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.  Point your browser to to watch.  We’ll have several ways you can participate in our live coverage!