Friday, December 30, 2005


Fundraising numbers

In a relatively slow news week, I've been thinking about the year-end fundraising totals. Unless candidates start Enron-ing their numbers, it's very difficult to spin a campaign's success at raising money. While it's not a hard-and-fast rule that campaigns which raise more money than their opponents always win, having more cash on hand than the competition certainly helps.

If you're a political junkie like me, you know that is electronic crack. It's incredibly enlightening to see how a candidate or elected official's rhetoric compares to their sources of campaign contributions.

Right now I'm thinking mainly of the Gubernatorial and US Senate races, but the Congressional races could be interesting as well. In the Senate race, I'm convinced that one of the three DFL contenders has found and cultivated a money tree in their back yard. There's no other way to explain it. Amy Klobuchar has racked up big money and big endorsements from all over the state, Patty Wetterling has soldiered on by heavily soliciting small-dollar donations, but I think the wild card here will be Ford Bell's totals. His Q3 totals were surprisingly high, and while I don't think he'll contend for the DFL endorsement for Senate, I've recently heard some rumors concerning Mr. Bell in connection with a move to the CD3 race against Jim Ramstad. With a quick look at OpenSecrets, one can easily find out that while Deborah Watts may be a solid candidate on the issues, her fundraising was somewhat lacking, and this is one area where Mr. Bell has excelled. With his no-nonsense approach to the issues and Un-Ek-like actual residence in the district in question, it could be a fascinating move to make.

On the gubernatorial side, I think for now I have to keep my mouth shut, as I don't have many solid contacts in the Hatch and Lourey campaigns. All I have to go on concerning their fundraising progress is, frankly, unsubstantiated, so I'll wait until the numbers come out. However, I think a lot of people will be very surprised when those numbers are finally published. Kelly Doran adds an interesting component to the money race, spending early, often, and big to do.....not much of anything (raise your hand if you caught his cable ad buy more than once...).

For me, it's not just a matter of being able to spend whatever it takes to win - not even asking for donations from the people you need to vote for you is dangerous. Dangerous because, on a wide scale, it creates an elite governing class, which isn't really what I consider democratic, but on a small scale it totally disconnects average voters from the political campaign process. People aren't "giving" you money when they write a check, they're investing in the future of their government. Possessive pronoun "their" intended. Government belongs to the people, not to those who are privileged enough to represent them. This doesn't mean that political figures like Doran, Mark Dayton, John Corzine, and many others who run on their own dime are bad people or politicians.....just frustrating.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Clark and Hawes win in St. Cloud

MPR coverage here. The professor is correct; special elections are a complicated gauge of political trends, especially with so much non-issue, non-policy junk seeping into the races. Congratulations to Ms. Clark and Mr. Hawes - see you in St. Paul!


Peter Hutchinson on IMP

From the current update on Inside Minnesota Politics:
Peter Hutchinson likes to quote a December SurveyUSA poll that shows more people in Minnesota (38%) say they are independents than they are Democrats (31%) or Republicans (30%). He says that bodes well for his Independence Party run for Governor.

Despite that statistic, Hutchinson knows that if he is get elected Governor, he must engaged the "disillusioned" voters who are tired of politicians who are afraid to "speak the truth".

"You know the formula," says Hutchinson "Play to the extremes to get endorsed and then try to convince the middle that you really were with them all along."
Or, one might actually speak to Minnesotans about one's values, policies, and ideas, and through an honest approach to the political process, convince voters that they are a true leader for the future. There are already candidates in the gubernatorial race doing so. Note the plural - this isn't just favoritism.

I recently received Mr. Hutchinson's email update in which he quoted the poll mentioned by IMP, and it didn't resonate with me anymore than it does now. Polls like the one he mentions are useless, since he fails to mention the underlying truth in those numbers - yes, 38% of Minnesotan voters do not belong to either major political party, but that does NOT put them in the middle of the political spectrum - all it means is that they do not belong to either major party. Some are conservative, some are liberal, and some are in between, but all have voting tendencies. Some usually vote Republican even though they are not members of the Republican Party, and some usually vote DFL even though they're not members of the DFL. Very few, perhaps 10% in any given election, are truly "undecided" and "in the middle of the two parties" as it seems Mr. Hutchinson would like them to be. This is a standard feature of American elections going as far back as President Wilson and his close advisor, Colonel House.

How's that for a history lesson? Look it up, or better yet, read The Shield of Achilles, by Philip Bobbitt. Amazing book. Anyway.

The point is that the Great and Vast Middle of the Political Spectrum that Mr. Hutchinson refers to and is depending on simply doesn't exist. Yes, voters are angry with the major parties for letting the July government shutdown happen, but that doesn't necessarily translate into penalties for individual candidates at the ballot box, especially those who are running for larger offices than they currently hold.

Mr. Hutchinson is displaying a dangerous misconception of political tendencies here, and it speaks to a larger problem with third-party candidates nowadays. Start small, stick to your values and policies, and someday, if you work hard, you can make real inroads into the political system - the Populists did it. Instead of tossing barbs at both major parties, perhaps Mr. Hutchinson would be game to answer this question, without references to DFLers or Republicans: What makes you better-equipped than anyone else to lead the State of Minnesota? I've heard him try to answer this question a couple times, and I have to be honest - I haven't been satisfied with his answer. Kelly Doran may not be the ideal DFL candidate in my mind or political heart, but at least he has decent reasons for running other than "everyone else sucks".

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Is it ever *not* Election Day?

Well today certainly IS election day. If you're in St. Cloud or Haven Township, get out there and vote! Be sure to remember that Sue Ek isn't on the ballot, and Dan Ochsner has broken state campaign law. Tarryl Clark and Larry Hawes should (and will, if honesty matters) be the next state senator and state rep from SD 15 and LD 15B, respectively. Another post later today will be talking about the year-end situation in various races, check back later in the day.

Sunday, December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it for all reasons, and for those who don't, there's something to be said for holiday cheer, charity, and love. Politics pale in comparison to the good that can be wrought by helping another in a simple way - try it sometime! This world could use a bit more simple goodness. The good news is it's not difficult to accomplish.

Happy Holidays to all!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
--George W. Bush, April 20th, 2004

[The Government's position] cannot be mandated by any reasonable view of the separation of powers, as this view only serves to condense power into a single branch of government. We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the Nation's citizens. Youngstown Steel and Tube, 343 U.S. at 587. Whatever power the United States Constitution envisions for the Executive in times of conflict with other Nations or enemy organizations, it most assuredly envisions a role for all three branches when individual liberties are at stake.
--Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

The President of the United States may be the chief executive of said States, but is not above the laws enacted by the representatives elected by the citizens of those states. The law, created by the people and for the people, reigns supreme in America.

Read this. I don't have much more to say about it right now. I'm sure I will soon.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Sue Ek's mother attempts to step in

MPR's coverage here...
"This election should be about the voters having a choice. ... This is Stearns County, Sherburne County, not the Soviet Union," state GOP Chairman Ron Carey told reporters after he attempted to file papers for Kay Ek's candidacy.
Carey acknowledged that Kay Ek -- an anti-abortion activist who retired last year from her job as director of the St. Cloud Diocese's office of natural family planning -- would face tough odds, but could get a boost from unfavorable reaction to the court's ruling.

"It's a long shot -- no question about it," he said. "It may motivate people. They're concerned that the choice may be taken out of their hands."

Carey added that the lack of a Republican House candidate could have hurt the GOP candidate, Dan Ochsner, in a special Senate election also on the ballot in the special election. Kay Ek said she decided to run in her daughter's place because, "I think there was a great injustice done. ... I really feel it was a totally partisan effort on the part of the Democrats to oust Sue."
Do ya now? I believe that article mentions that Paul Anderson, one of the judges who ultimately decided to remove Ms. Ek the Younger from the ballot, was the head of Arne Carlson's campaign, and thus was (and ostensibly still is) a Republican. I'm interested to know to whom Mr. Carey is referring when he mentions negative reaction to the court's ruling. The outcome seems simple enough to me - Sue Ek signed a legal document establishing residence in St. Paul less than six months ago, thus she was ineligible to stand for election in St. Cloud on December 27th. Period. End of story. Whether it was an honest mistake or not is immaterial to the issue at hand. Political candidates and their parties are not above the law.

Partisan politics aside, I would be very surprised to see the Republican Party get a mulligan from Secretary of State Kiffmeyer and AG Hatch. With the election a week away, my best guess is that they get to tell the Republican Party that they screwed up by not thoroughly vetting a candidate, and get to live with the consequences for at least a year or so.

In any case, Mr. Carey's comments smack of covering one's rear in retreat. Soviet Union? Come on, there are unopposed candidates in U.S. elections all the time. Just who is Mr. Carey looking to motivate with this hastily-thought-up rhetoric? If the answer is "Democrats," it just might work.

Monday, December 19, 2005


Ek off the 15B ballot

It's official - the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that Sue Ek cannot appear on the Special Election ballot in legislative district 15B next week. No current news on Dan Ochsner's alleged violations of campaign law, but to date I haven't seen a ton of traction for this one in the mainstream media. Regardless, still a strong pickup opportunity for the DFL, especially given that half of SD15 will be thinking about an ethically-challenged Republican ex-candidate a week from tomorrow.


A good editorial from Duluth

From the Duluth Superior:

I don't know who Jerry Kimball is, but he's got the right idea.

There are several credible reasons for being a political conservative. I understand these philosophies and I respect friends who espouse them, even if I disagree. Much more difficult to respect are those religious extremists who are so publicly adamant about certain social issues while wrapping their anger around politics and governance. Where is their outrage and fight for children who have no health insurance and who are hungry or sick or homeless? They should read evangelical Christian theologian Jim Wallis' book, "God's Politics." He notes that the Bible contains more than 3,000 admonitions about the requirement to help the poor, an emphasis that monumentally overshadows any reference to sexual orientation, rights to die naturally, abortions or judgeships.

Because of religious extremism and for the good of the country we should refrain from future use of the term, "conservative" and substitute it with "illiberal" which is, of course, the opposite of liberal. Webster's dictionary defines "illiberal," in part, as "intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, not generous, stingy." Webster in this case is unfair. Most conservatives are not bigoted.

During the past several years many of us have circled our wagons and become insular to protect our ability to buy, intolerant to assure our places in eternity and illiberal to justify our lack of generosity. Avarice is one of the seven deadly sins. Does this apply here? The great Christian poet Dante traveled through the Inferno. I wonder what he would have said.
Definintely worth a read.


What we're up against, Part II

What we're up against, Part II. It's difficult to take these people seriously until one realizes just how serious they are about this stuff.
Controversy over the secularization of Christmas is nothing new, but this year religious groups are publicly taking on retailers who have decided to tone down the religious aspects of the holiday in their store decorations and promotional material.

In an online petition, the American Family Association recently gathered more than 500,000 signatures asking Target to include Christmas in its promotions. Stores such as Sears and Wal-Mart are facing boycotts.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Amy Wyatt said the company has made no effort to remove Christmas from its holiday ads. She said a promotion set to run from mid-November to early January was simply misunderstood: its slogan is "home for the holidays."
About 50 protesters took part in Saturday's demonstration, organized by religious leaders. Dick Otterstad of the Church of the Divide donned a Santa Claus costume and greeted shoppers with the message: Don't forget about the meaning of Christmas.

"It is insulting that Wal-Mart has chosen to ignore the reason for the season," Otterstad said. "Taking the word 'Christmas' out of the holiday implies there's something sinful about it. ... This is a part of our culture."
You're kidding me, right? This is the same AFA which recently boycotted Ford vehicles because they alleged that Ford advertised (in the AFA's eloquent verbiage, pandered) to the GLBT community. This Dick Otterstad character dresses in a SANTA CLAUS outfit and lectures shoppers on the meaning of Christmas? Why isn't he working in a food kitchen, or better, signing OTHERS up to do so? Where are the nativity scenes? Where is the message of shared sacrifice for common good, of peace and good will toward all? Nah, Christmas is about dressing as Santa Claus for Mr. Otterstad.

So the question goes out to moderate and party-regular Republicans everywhere - where do you stand in relation to these people? They want nothing less than an evangelical Christian theocracy, flying in the face of more than 200 years of American culture and jurisprudence on the issue of religious freedom. Whether or not you believe in Christ or Christmas or Santa Claus is not at issue, what is at issue is whether you believe in an inclusive society instead of an exclusive one, as Mr. Otterstad and his friends at the AFA seem to believe.

What'll it be?

Friday, December 16, 2005


This is what we're up against

Got the image from a dKos diary by the immutable Tim Tagaris. It's from West Virginia, but the fanatical religious right-wing movement has a unique way of staying on message across the country. Even if it's a frothing, bigoted mockery of Freedom of Speech.

There are so many things wrong with this picture, I don't know quite where to start. Our colleagues on the political Right have grown fond of asking where DFLers stand on the statements of their national party's leaders, I say it's time our conservative brethren, who I fully accept as fellow Minnesotans and Americans, argumentative and disagreeable though they may be, say where they stand on this bigoted, ruthless, falsely-dichotomous filth.

Or, in laymen's terms, how do these people sleep at night?


Rochester Coverage

I could regurgitate NorthStar Politics's coverage, but why? Andy Welti is young and a solid campaigner, known for making the door-knocking rounds in his district on a bike. The guy's in pretty darned good shape. In addition, I am generally in agreement with NSP that Kim Norton makes a hard win for the GOP down there - she has the education lobby behind her and came very close to unseating Bradley last time around. It will still be a hard road - Norton has to convince a few hundred past-Bradley-voters to either change their vote to her column or not vote this time around. However, with a win coming up 15B later this month, it won't take much for the DFL to pull off a sweep and take back the House and the Southwest office in the Capitol.

I missed last night's Minnetonka School Board study session regarding Dave Eaton's ID initiative , does anyone have details, by any chance?

[UPDATE] PZ Myers was there, and has a great post on the proceedings. Sounds like the Minnetonka science curriculum is safe for now. In any case, Pharyngula should be on everyone's daily reading list. This guy is great.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Yet another post today - but this one's somewhat juicy

Now, I know that no one reads MDE these days....(pfft. I dunno what I'd do for that guy's readership) but once again partisan hackery seems to rule the day over there. MDE recently posted a commentary in a Duluth newspaper about the so-called "controversy" surrounding a truthful sign counting the casualties of the war in Iraq posted by a veteran in the window of Steve Kelley's gubernatorial campaign office. This editorial was written by one Randy Wanke, who sounds in the commentary like just another concerned Republican.

Only he's not. He is the Communications Director for the Center of the American Experiment, a well-known super-conservative think tank here in Minnesota. On their Speakers Bureau page, he is listed just above everyone's favorite conservative ass-rocket, John Hinderaker of PowerLine. From his bio page on AmExp's site:
Prior to joining American Experiment in March of 2005, Wanke served as the Communications Director for the Republican Party of Minnesota. He has also served as the Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation in Washington, DC, and as Press Secretary for United States Senator Rod Grams.
Not exactly what I would call a balanced view on how moderate DFLers running for statewide office are. I wouldn't mind so much if we had some inkling of who this guy was before I started reading his commentary on MDE. But trying to pass this guy's carefully-worded conservative propaganda off as the thoughts of a mere concerned citizen borders on dishonest. At least try to give readers some clues as to who's writing the material you're putting before them.


Follow-up to Trillin's research

In follow up to this: On Sue Ek and her website extolling her non-politician virtues but apparently showing her discussing who-knows-what with non-St. Cloud police officers.

While it's not solid proof that these are indeed St. Paul officers and not St. Cloud's finest, check this out:

Then carefully examine the paint job on the car behind the officer in photo 15 on Ms. Ek's website. Given the placement of the St. Cloud seal on the StC cruiser, as well as the placement and design of the stripe along the rear quarter, there is no way they could have the same paint job.

Now of course, the questions are 1) Does the St. Cloud PD has more than one paint job in service, and 2) What does the standard St Paul PD paint job look like? Someone get some photos up here! I'll be looking forward to an update on this from Tony of Always Right Usually Correct....

[UPDATE] Publius has some updated info on this matter - the officers in Ek's photo may be from Sauk Rapids. Nearby, but most definitely not in 15B. Not as serious an offense as we first thought, but next to Ms. Ek's residency issues alone, it was small potatoes anyway. Regardless, good job guys.



Am I the only one who finds it somewhat ironic that Minnesota Democrat Exposer, who is very evidently an avowed Republican, thinks it's possible from their position to determine what will or won't affect the opinions and voting patterns of DFL delegates?

Just a thought.


Question for my visitors

If you happen to work for any of the following employers, or have simly somehow been accessing my blog from their computers, please email me:

State of Minnesota (
US House of Representatives (
Minnesota Public Radio (

By no means am I calling anyone out, nor am I trying to expose anyone. I've simply been poking around my Google Analytics dashboard, and I noticed some interesting domains in my list. I'm interested to know what everyone's connection to the races I discuss might be, and am always interested in networking :)

So yeah. Email me.

PS: One interesting thing that Analytics shows me is that my traffic goes up about 40% when MDE links to me. Sad, but true. I really should fights with that dude more often.


Why Fight over Creationism Matters

From MN Political Guru....well, I'll let you read for yourself. Right on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


SD15 Republican leadership in trouble?

If I were Ron Carey, I would be fuming right now, and considering some severe spankings for SD15 party leadership, over the gaffes being committed by Republican candidates in the upcoming special election (December 27th, St Cloudians). (Is it St Cloudians? Cloudites? St. Clouders? What? Educate me.)

First, Carey's party somehow endorses Sue Ek, a St. Paul resident whose claim to residency in St. Cloud is tenuous at best. Not good, but not a huge loss - she's running for a seat being vacated by a DFLer, after all. Lose the special, at least you forced the Dems to spend some money supportin their candidate.

But now that Dan Ochsner, the self-proclaimed "voice of integrity" has been caught with his pants securely around his knees. Did he think that the election's timeframe dictated that no one would find out that his campaign had doctored photos from a Bush-Cheney 2004 rally to make it look like Ochsner had real support? Or that no one would notice that big, family-friendly picture of him, his wife, and a baby that isn't theirs on the campaign website? (I admit, I was fooled by this one. Shame on me for not reading his lit carefully enough). Voice of integrity, my left foot. If he's got the lock on integrity voters, why not stand up and declare his support for the bigoted Bachmann Amendment instead of burying it on his website? If the mainstream media picks up on this, it will be bad, and will cement an already considerable DFL majority in the Senate.

I've only met Tarryl Clark once, very briefly, so I can't directly speak to her quality as a legislator, but come on. Ochsner's a radio host, and apparently a sleazy one at that. Can't the MN Republican Party do better than that?

As an aside, you may notice the Google Ads on the right sidebar. Haven't tested the format in all browsers yet, so there may be occasional funkiness on that issue. I also don't know yet how the actual ads will work, but if you see anything over there from time to time that interests you, throw a click (and thus a penny or two from Google's moneybags) my way. A guy's gotta eat, right?


A larger issue than Sue Ek

From the online 15B debate, in response to a question about the Bachmann Amendment, which seeks to repeat already-existing legalese preventing gay marriage for the sake of placating gay-despising conservative religious interests:
Sue Ek - I support the constitutional amendment and would vote YES to allow voters in Saint Cloud and Haven Township the opportunity to decide if THEY believe the state constitution should recognize marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This is a key difference between me and my opponent.
I have a world of respect for citizens who vote. The concept that people can decide what's best for them and their communities by choosing their own government representatives is the core of our democracy. I firmly believe that voting not only empowers citizens to make the change they want, but also exclusively gives them the right to complain about the wrongs they see in government; or, alternately, those who don't vote don't get to complain.

But what Ms. Ek says here is downright dangerous, and is a local manifestation of a larger movement on the Right toward marginalizing the concept of a Constitution-with-a-capital-C. The United States Constitution is not intended to limit the rights of any citizen, whether that citizen is black and trying to vote circa 1960 Alabama, or those men are gay and trying to marry circa 2005. The Constitution protects the people against the government, and defines what that government can do for the good of ALL citizens under its jurisdiction.

Of course the Constitution protects the Majorities (in this case, Christians and heterosexuals), because those majorities, by the nature of our democracy, have the power to vote into office representatives who agree with their views. The health of our democracy is defined by what we do for and how our government treats the minorities among us.

Of course it's possible to change a Constitution, whether state or national, but there's a very good reason why it's so difficult to do, why it requires such a huge level of support both in the legislature and in a referendum: to prevent temporary, notional passions like Temperance (oops) or gay-hating from warping the very nature of our self-governance.

But Ms. Ek, her ultra-conservative supporters, and indeed, people like them across the country - influential yes, but no less bigoted - seem not to care about the health of our democracy. They would rather that each municipality were able to decide for itself what to do to ethnic and sexual minorities among them. "Liberty and justice for all" be damned. That is not democracy, that's not Minnesota, and that's not America. That's bigotry, and represents an active re-interpretation of the high-minded thinking behind the Constitution. Perhaps Ms. Ek should answer more questions specifically regarding who she thinks the state Constitution protects: All, or Some-with-Whom-She's-Comfortable?

Look, I'm not gay. I'm happily straight, thank you very much. But I'm a minority in other ways, and it frightens and infuriates me when people like Ms. Ek wrap themselves in the flag and say they're merely protecting an age-old institution from attack, and doing so by keeping couples within a vibrant and loving community from expressing their love for one another legally. If the Bachmann Amendment, or worse, a Federal Marriage Amendment were to go through, what's to prevent these same forces from affecting my rights down the road?

The only possible solution is to make sure that all rights, for all citizens, that do no harm to others, must be permitted and protected. I think Ms. Ek and her ultra-conservative friends would have a hard time proving that allowing homosexuals to marry causes any individual or community harm. Perhaps they're not comfortable with gays - that's fine. Say so. Learn. Keep an open mind. That's what America is about. But not being comfortable with someone's lifestyle does not make them any less human or less eligible for the same rights and privileges you are allowed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Where we stand

We're approaching the home stretch of 2005...Let's see where we stand. Perhaps this is an excuse to fill space, perhaps not - we(I) report, YOU decide.

Kelly Doran has a lot of money.
Mike Hatch has very long position papers.
MDE has started attacking Steve Kelley in earnest.
Becky Lourey's website isn't very content-heavy yet.
Tim Pawlenty may be getting an Independent right-wing challenge. Bad position to be in for Mr. Pawlenty.

Amy Klobuchar still racking up endorsements, money, and support from DFLers while Rightie bloggers try to throw the old "unpatriotic because she doesn't support the President on the war" rag on her.
Publius has done some amazing digging on Kennedy and found that his campaign manager was a high-level Enron lobbyist. Kennedy's campaign has been thrown a financial lifeline by President Bush, but how much higher on the fundraising totem pole can he go?
Ford Bell isn't going away.
Patty Wetterling has some extremely low fundraising totals, but is soldiering on.

Sue Ek is in big, big trouble. Serious pickup opportunity in 15B for the DFL, and a potential equalizer in the House. Fireworks to come in the next legislative session. Clearly the crack has gotten to me. Replacing a DFLer (Opatz) with another DFLer will not lead to a pickup. Nice catch, Luke.

Wonderings of who Dan Becker will steal more votes from, Tarryl Clark of the DFL or Dan Ochsner of the GOP. Ochsner has been extremely quiet so far about his previously proclaimed support for the Bachmann amendment. Short-term message moderation is wonderful, isn't it?.

Monday, December 12, 2005


We're right at the end of The Two Towers

You know, the bit where Gandalf chimes in "The battle for Helm's Deep is over; the battle for Middle Earth has just begun."

Maybe it's not that dramatic. Anyway. MDE is mad at me. With good reason; over the last couple weeks I've lit into MDE's claims about Steve Kelley and his campaign on a regular, frequent, and rapid basis.

So how about a little point-counterpoint, eh old chap?

MDE: I write a post that Kelley's campaign has a reporter writing op-eds for the campaign, but Minnesota Campaign Report says "MDE Wrong Again." If Matthew Thomas wasn't doing anything wrong, why did he remove the post discussing his work on Kelley's campaign from his blog?

MNCR: I believe my exact words in that post were "
I haven't met Matt Thomas...don't know him from a hole in the wall.....Perhaps asking either him OR the campaign about it might shed a bit more light than MDE is willing to lend to this piddling matter." In laymen's terms, ask Matt Thomas about the removal of the blog post, since neither I nor the campaign had anything to do with its removal. My point was that MDE was wrong about the circumstances under which Mr. Thomas was writing for the campaign.

MDE: I write a post that Kelley's campaign used taxpayer resources for campaign purposes. Kelley's campaign later admits using taxpayer resources for campaign purposes, but Minnesota Campaign Report defends Kelley.

MNCR: Umm......the Kelley Campaign didn't admit anything. The circumstances of that incident were laid out clear as day, and there was nothing inappropriate about them. A mistake in the age of "gotcha" politics in the blogosphere, but that incident fell far short of an "ethics violation".

MDE: Minnesota Campaign Report then posts that my blog is being used to do something called "freeping." I had never heard of the term or the act until I read about it on Minnesota Campaign Report. I know Minnesota Campaign Report had no responsibility to e-mail me about his/her concerns, but it would have been appreciated.

MNCR: Fair enough. I will endeavor to do so in the future. But this is something all of us in the blogosphere should be doing and protecting ourselves and our colleagues against. Politics gets stupid very quickly if we don't have at least some accurate information to go on, and that includes preventing Freeping.

The Duluth Budgeteer publishes an op-ed disagreeing with the decision by Kelley's campaign to put a sign in the window of their campaign office which lists the number of U.S. soilders killed and wounded in action. Minnesota Campaign Report than posts a comment on my blog claiming the op-ed was not accurate and had a "right-wing bent."

MNCR: Well, it did! I thought there was something wrong with Blogger initially, I couldn't tell that that comment actually posted. Anyway, that op-ed was inaccurate by virtue of not having all the facts - namely, that the geographic location of the campaign office was pure happenstance, and the fact that the sign did not simply appear in the window, but rather was put there by a concerned and active Vietnam veteran. That op-ed, in my most humble opinion, was more about politics than it was about supporting our troops. Again in my opinion, there is a large divide between supporting our troops and supporting the President and the war he decided to send them into on faulty, if not grossly misused, intelligence. It is possible to support the troops and not the President or the war. It may be a narrow line, but it's one that Democrats like Senator Kelley walk every day.

know the blogger behind Minnesota Campaign Report is a former paid campaign staffer of Kelley's campaign, but he/she should at least try to be credible.

MNCR: It's "he". And as for credibility, I don't try to be credible or incredible. I believe credibility comes from one's opinions, positions, and facts one uses to formulate them. Throughout this matter, going back to the bogus claims about that press release, when I need to know what happened, I've gone to the source instead of speculating on what "probably" happened, or what "I'm sure" happened. I don't defend Senator Kelley or his campaign simply because I worked for them, but rather because, to date, they've done nothing that I can honestly call "wrong" or "ethically challenged" or whatever negative term you like. I defend the Kelley Campaign from MDE's attacks because not to do so would let those attacks sow seeds of doubt about a man who can, should, and will lead the DFL and Minnesota past Tim Pawlenty, through 2010 and beyond.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Duluth sign conflict

At least as far as the blogosphere is concerned, I'd call this little snafu over. Erik has corrected the errors in his post on the matter, the Duluth paper has been notified of their error (silly non-techies and their easy-to-break polls), and I'm willing to give Erik a mulligan.

As for Steve Kelley himself and his campaign, his response to the matter is one more reason why I'm supporting his bid for Governor:

...It is important for me to hear from all points of view. As the media has, I hope, reported, a Vietnam veteran who does volunteer work for the campaign asked to put the sign up. He assured me that it would be accurate and I believe he has worked to make sure it is. It is an accident of timing and availability that my campaign office is next to the recruiting office.

For Scott, the sign is a tribute to the soldiers who are casualties in this war. For me, it is also an issue of protecting the freedom of speech that so many Americans have given their lives to defend. A free and democratic society should not be afraid of accurate information being displayed in a quiet way anywhere in our country.

I did not approve the posting of the sign for political purposes. I did it because to do otherwise would have conflicted with my principled belief in free speech and honest debate....

It's really that simple, folks.

Now, if only some other candidates in other races would make some news so I can chime in on that too!

Saturday, December 10, 2005


More MPR on Sue Ek

Here's the article.....

No candidate wants to deal with these issues during a campaign. Kay Wolsborn, a political science professor at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, says even if Sue Ek hasn't done anything wrong, its going to be hard to keep her campaign on track.

"Even if in the final analysis -- a close reading of the statute the way it exists -- a candidate could be meeting the technical requirements, but find themselves discussing that instead of their reason for running," said Wolsborn.

Hey! I said that first (sort of)! Darn that mainstream media and their plagiarize-the-bloggers ways!


More on 15B Special/Sue Ek Troubles

Wow. I'm sure other states have local bloggers this voracious in their investigative reporting....but --Wow--.

From Clever Peasantry:
CP has learned that Sue Ek was at one point in time the Vice Chair of the 4th Congressional District Republicans. Along with MN Publius, we are still busy gathering information on this point, but here is a picture of a Google cache that shows her listed on the 4th Congressional District's site as late as mid-November.
We have heard rumors that she left this post sometime during June or July. However, it is interesting that the website was not updated until at least mid to late November. Here is what the website looks like now.

By no means do we think this is a conspiracy, but surely the folks in the 4th Congressional District Republican group would have told the MN GOP that...well, Mrs. Ek wasn't exactly a St. Cloud resident. Stupidity is much more fun than conspiracy.
And then from Publius:
On July 9th, Sue Ek offically declared that she was a resident of St. Paul. As this is within the six month residency requirement, she is not eligable to be a candidate for the State House from district 15B.
With MPR on her case, I'm positive the mainstream media is covering this story as well, but it's still heartening to see local bloggers digging for information. These guys have done a hell of a job. And the comments in the CP post linked above are especially funny, and worth a read. In any case, Sue Ek is in BIG trouble. At this point both state parties would be silly not to sit up, take notice, and do something, especially with the extremely close numbers in the House.

Friday, December 09, 2005


MDE, "Erik", and Freeping.

From Wikipedia: Freeping is ... the act of directing the members to influence an online poll. See Influencing polls.

Don't know if you've been keeping up with MDE lately; however, I just wanted to inform everyone of an interesting little side note in his recent attacks against Steve Kelley. In
this post "Erik", a commenter, has his own blog with a link to the poll in the Duluth Superior. Under normal circumstances, one thinks "oh, a link to the poll...I'll go vote." Warning - don't use this link.

The link above, which "Erik" so kindly provides, automatically votes for taking down the sign. Take a close look at the querystring, and where you see "vote=2".... 2 = "Take down the sign." So while you technically *can* change your vote, most readers are going to click to the poll, see that they've already voted, perhaps wonder "hmm, why did that happen" and go away. This is an underhanded and slimy way of spiking polls.

I'm not saying that MDE had anything to do with this. However, getting this backhanded Freep into this poll is pretty low, and I'm of the opinion that this comment should be removed. If MDE claims to have reality-based information about Minnesota Democrats, the least MDE could do is provide a clean link to the poll to let true opinions show through instead of allowing commenters to sleaze their way to unscientific poll victories. Slimy.

As it stands, the newspaper is being informed of this error, and hopefully their poll security will be a bit better in the future.

[Update]: Erik has changed the link in his blog to something a bit more benign, in response to a comment. Frankly, I'm inclined to believe that it was more than a simple and honest mistake - if you want people to see a poll, it's neither difficult nor uncommon to link them to the initial poll page instead of the complete page which happens to contain a "Yes" vote in the url. Weak.


As the comments say....

"Pass the popcorn" indeed.

In the long run, I don't think it's going to matter whether or not Sue Ek really does or doesn't live in St. Cloud. The fact is, she has an extremely short period of time to bury this storyline and actually get some kind of message out about why she wants to represent 15B. Joe Opatz (DFL) got around 65% of the vote in 2004, so it doesn't strike me as an incredibly GOP-friendly area for Ms Ek (though 15A is), but I'm quite sure this isn't the start to the campaign she envisioned when she filed her paperwork.

Hat tip to Publius on the continuing coverage.


Our Illustrious Leader... in town today for a $1,000/plate fundraiser dinner for Mark Kennedy. It will be very interesting to see the fundraising and cash-on-hand figures for the Senate candidates next time those numbers come out.

In other news, Mr. Bush's approval rating in Minnesota has fallen to 33%. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but that says to me that pretty much everyone but hardline Republicans is either not sure or disapproving of his job performance right about now. Kudos to the DFL leadership for staying on message and wrapping Mark Kennedy up with his voting record, which, according to Brian Melendez, goes with the President almost every time. Good plug for Terri Bonoff in the article linked above, but I tend to agree with Ms. Bonoff that state and local political feelings tend to be a bit more personal. I'm not sure how much effect Bush personally had on the SD43 race, but the larger narrative of Republican-Party-in-disarray-and-corruption may have had an effect.

Speaking of disarray, last time I checked "Ox" still didn't have a website up for his special election bid in SD15, while his opponent, former DFL Associate Chair Tarryl Clark, is already well-organized, with a decent website up and field activities underway.....three weeks. Yikes, that's a short timeframe.

[UPDATE]: Ox for Senate is up, apparently.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


MDE Wrong Again

Come on. Seriously. Weak sauce, MDE.

I haven't met Matt Thomas...don't know him from a hole in the wall. But I have spoken to the campaign about this, and in the same vein as MDE's previous error regarding the Kelley campaign, this is a non-issue. Matt Thomas is not being paid by the campaign, has been asked by the campaign to write some editorials for local media, and happens to have his own blog. So what?

Perhaps asking either him OR the campaign about it might shed a bit more light than MDE is willing to lend to this piddling matter. Clearly this is a somewhat-organized attempt to smear DFL candidates at all costs, and a weak attempt at that. Weak.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


SD15 Coverage

As usual, Lloydletta has some solid info on the three candidates running for Dave Kleis's state Senate seat. This looks like another solid pickup opportunity for the DFL; Tarryl Clark lost in a down year for the DFL (2002) by a very small margin. St. Cloud is still a tough area for DFLers, and the result will likely be closer than SD43 was, regardless of the election's timing two days after Christmas. Good one, Tim.

On a somewhat partisan note, I have to disagree with Eva's jab that Clark "hasn't met a spending program she doesn't like." This is a continuing issue in state politics, but it's not an insurmountable one. The core of the problem is, what are we willing to pay for? Flat roads? Good public schools? Health care coverage and cheaper prescriptions? These things are part of a public infrastructure that every one of us has a responsibility to support. It's not spending for the sake of spending, it's spending to invest in our state, our kids, and our future.

That didn't sound too overdramatic, did it?


MN Publius vs. KvM....Round 1: FIGHT!

If you haven't read either of these blogs, go there! Now! These guys have been at each others necks for months, and it's a really interesting read. As far as I can tell, a sizeable chunk of the back-and-forth consists of Kennedy vs. The Machine smearing Amy Klobuchar, and MN Publius hitting back (with support from DFLSenate) by slamming Mark Kennedy - the main difference being that Publius actually has a congressional voting record (Kennedy's) to work from, where KvM is putting words in Klobuchar's mouth and trying to tell us what she "really means" when she expresses support for our troops overseas. All in all, it's an extremely entertaining ; the recent cartoons of Mark Kennedy alone are worth the click.


Senate: Ceresi in?

Never one to miss a chance to take a contrarian tilt at campaign issues, I'm not sure that Mike Ceresi's impending entrance into the US Senate race is the deal-breaker it's been made out to be recently. Certainly Mr. Ceresi brings solid state-wide name recognition and a big sack of money to the race, but these alone don't turn immediately into a win, in the endorsement or in the primary. His three opponents have been campaigning for months, and have now generated their own bases of support within the DFL heading toward caucuses in March. Interested observers have already seen three candidates together on stage several times, and a new face might be seen as an outsider to a group of qualified candidates already in the race.

In short, I don't think Ceresi changes the status of the race; Amy Klobuchar still has to be considered the frontrunner. Not quite sure where Ceresi slots in behind the leader though - solid second? Trailing Patty in hypothetical matchups? Let's wait for those Zogby battleground polls to come out :-)

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Campaign Finances

From Holly Ladh at the MN Daily (
Just because the rallies, debates and fliers for the 2006 state elections have not appeared yet, that does not mean the campaigns have not started — the race for money is already on. Potential and current candidates are dialing up for dollars, hosting fundraiser dinners and groveling for money to finance their statewide campaigns. All of this became very apparent with the recent announcement that both Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and DFL candidate Kelly Doran will most likely opt out of Minnesota’s partial public financing system. This decision is a terrible precedent because it will lead to a race saturated in money, leaving voters out of the decision process.
No word yet on Becky Lourey's fundraising efforts, but the Kelley and Hatch campaigns have both had good success in early fundraising. I wouldn't exactly call either one "worried" just yet, especially with an election year and its concurrent increases in fundraising limits just around the corner.

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