Tag Archives: Al Franken

Why it is important for you to vote in next Tuesday’s primary

Many DFLers have not been paying much attention to the primary this year, thinking this primary is more about Republicans vs. Tea Partiers, with all the fights on the right.  And while a lot of DFLers are aware of Matt Entenza’s crazy conceited challenge of our current and great State Auditor Rebecca Otto, we need to be vigilant because every one of our big ticket candidates in CD2, except Gen. Lori Swanson, has a challenger this year.

Next Tuesday, on August 12, 2014, make sure you make it a priority to get to the polls, tell candidates like Matt Entenza and others, that the DFL is an important organization.  An organization that is responsible for helping to turn Minnesota’s economic woes around.  We are an organization that has made it a priority to invest in education, care for the young, the elderly, and those who are not able to take care of themselves.  And, the DFL is not a place to make a power grab, or a place to feed your ego looking for perceived weaknesses for personal gain.

On Tuesday August 12, I will vote for every endorsed candidate, not simply because they are endorsed, but because they are far and away the best candidates, and they deserve my vote.  I hope you will vote on Tuesday too, and I hope you will encourage somebody else to vote.

2012 Senate strategy Amy Klobuchar vs. ??? and early 2014 Minnesota Senate odds Al Franken vs. ???

So where do we stand when it comes to future elections?  For statewide elections in 2012, we only have Senator Klobuchar, President Obama and the Anti-Marriage Amendment.  In congress we are not sure about Michelle Bachmann yet.  Chip Cravaack has already moved his family to New Hampshire, and everybody else is safe with the remote exception of Rep. Collin Peterson who might be challenged by Lee Byberg.  But I’m not even sure about that being close.  At the height of the 2010 Republican wave Byberg still lost by 18% to Congressman Peterson. 

In one sense, the future is predictable.  Just like I can look at the Twins minor league teams and shudder at the future possibilities of Minnesota Twins success in coming years, political parties can look at their “minor leagues” and begin planning for the future.  Obviously you cannot account for a Tim Walz or a Chip Cravaack accomplishing the unexpected, but statistically, and realistically, we can look at the current crop and make some decent predictions.
2012 Election Amy Klobuchar vs. ???

Amy Klobuchar may be the safest bet in 2012.  Dan “Doc” Severson has stepped up to challenge her.  “What’s up Doc” is best known for losing to Mark Ritchie in the 2010 Secretary of State race and making the unfounded accusation that there was widespread fraud during the Franken-Coleman race and recount the main theme of his campaign.  I guess he should also be credited for an undistinguished career in the state legislature during the 2000s where he authored five bills, two of which were constitutional “redefinition of marriage” bills.  It also sounds like some guy named Joe Arwood is going to throw his hat in the ring and Phil Krinkie, always willing to get his name in the news is dangling ideas out there that he might get in. 

Few current or future statewide political heavyweights are willing to risk what will likely be a horrible loss on this race. Actually, those three no-names may be a blessing in disguise for Republicans in 2012.  I would contend that the worst thing the Republicans can do, at least in terms of maintaining their shaky hold in the state legislature in 2012, is to have a contested race for senate.  A contested race might draw out Klobuchar supporters who might otherwise be a little apathetic about the president or other races in their district, and maybe be willing to consider staying home if Amy is safe, especially if there is a little snow or cold weather.

It is a well known that Republicans do better when turnout is low, and a low turnout strategy has been a piece of Republican election planning for over 30 years now.  (Voter ID is one step.) If Tim Pawlenty for instance were to enter the race to lose to Senator Klobuchar, you can bet that DFL faithful would turn out in droves to make sure he has no shot at doing what he did to Minnesota to the rest of the nation, and other local races would be affected by that.
2014 Senate Odds

2014 is another story.  In 2014 Senator Franken’s seat, the Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor are all up for election.  My hope is that everything stays status quo there.  I think Senator Franken is doing a great job, Governor Mark Dayton has done the right things and Attorney General Swanson and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie are phenomenal.

But things may not remain status quo.  Governor Dayton will be 67 in 2014 and looking at the possibility of 4 more years like we just had.  Secretary of State Ritchie and Attorney General Swanson need to consider if a third term is something they want to do.

Senator Al Franken is a lock to run again, and is raising money right now.  Franken is more vulnerable than Klobuchar from a political standpoint, but many DFLers are much more passionate about Senator Franken than Senator Klobuchar.  Al Franken is somebody who will really fight for the little guy, sure he isn’t as moderate as Amy Klobuchar, but he is more passionate when it comes to issues he believes in.  I really believe Senator Franken is a Minnesota senator in the mold of Hubert Humphrey (pre-presidential aspirations) and Paul Wellstone, a passionate liberal fighter who people like because he cares, is honest and he is straightforward.

In my mind, the biggest question mark is Governor Dayton.  This year had to be really tough and stressful, and he still has another year with this current crop of legislators.  I do believe he will get a reprieve in 2013, because I think it is very possible that the House and Senate might revert back to control on the liberal side of the aisle after the 2012 elections.

On the DFL side, should Governor Dayton choose not to run, 2010 gubernatorial candidates Mayor R.T. Rybak and House Minority Leader Paul Thissen would jump to the top of the list, but so do Congressman Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson.  Either of those two could bump Rybak and Thissen, who finished second and third at the 2010 endorsement convention, out of the running.

But the GOP side for Franken’s seat and Dayton’s seat is more interesting.  On the Senate side, the big names are Tim Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann.  While they have the name power, there a couple of Republicans with real political skills and followings: Senators Dave Thompson and Geoff Michel, and former Representative Laura Brod.  They might be the future big names.  Some others based on a speaking ability and overall presentation ability, however knowing very little about them personally, or about the skeletons in the closet, might include Representatives Keith Downey and Andrea Kieffer and Senators John Howe and Julie Rosen.  Those are prospects at least.  I know there are people like Zellers, Dean and Koch that might have aspirations, but to be a major candidate today people have to see you as a politician, looks, height, hair style, speaking ability, camera presentation and confidence all factor into the equation as much as political stance and political actions.  I don’t think everybody who has aspirations has thosedown.

This is how I see it playing out:

Early 2014 Republican Senate Candidate Endorsement Rankings vs. Senator Al Franken:

  1. Michelle Bachmann – She will be the odds on favorite in my book.  Her presidential aspirations, although serious, are not really serious.  She hasn’t stopped campaigning for Congress yet, but  should she, leaving the House opens up the door for her to campaign full time for Senate.  That said, I don’t think she can beat very many people in a statewide race.
  2. Tim Pawlenty – Tim Pawlenty has to decide if he wants to risk another losing battle with Michelle Bachman.  Then he has to decide if he wants to risk what would be another embarrassing loss, but this time to Senator Al Franken.
  3. John Kline – Not mentioned before this, John Kline is in my opinion the top Republican candidate in the state.  I think he could win anything he runs for.  He won’t run for governor, because he doesn’t really live in Minnesota, and he is very, Very, VERY safe in Congress, so he may never risk taking the chance on Senate.  Additionally, in 2014 he will be 67 and he would likely keep his House seat with very little work.  And who knows, maybe he is interested in House leadership.  Odds are not likely he runs, but he could win.

Early 2014 Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Endorsement Rankings:

Without ranking them, I think the favorites are Geoff Michel, Laura Brod and Dave Thompson.  I’ve never met Geoff Michel.  Laura Brod seemed a little rude to me when I had the chance to meet her once.  I was wearing a DFLer’s t-shirt, so she knew I was a Democrat, and she along with so many Republicans seem to have an automatic dislike for Democrats without knowing them.  I was going to say hi and introduce myself, but she never made eye contact and kind of walked by with her nose in the air.  Dave Thompson is the one person here that I have had a personal conversation with, and although I really disagree with his political policies, I kind of like him.  The couple problems for him that I see are that he is a little short, and sometimes I’m not sure if he is talking to me because he is interested in a conversation, or if he feels like he needs to be polite.  He did it on the radio for years, so he may be genuinely bored by conversations with people.  I feel like he may not care, he’s just waiting to be done,
which could be a negative in campaigning. I’m not sure though, maybe it is just me or maybe he doesn’t like me and is counting the minutes until he can be done. 

If all three happened to run, I think Laura Brod would be the prohibitive favorite, I think women have an advantage with independents and moderates these days.  But since she is younger and probably has a younger family than the other two, she may decide to wait a little longer.  Plus, there is that mysterious health problem that caused her to drop out in 2010.

Between Dave Thompson and Geoff Michel, I personally think Dave Thompson has a better chance, but what do I know.  I guess it depends on who the higher ups in the Republican Party want.  Either way, there are other important seats, Attorney General and Secretary of State are both very important, and stepping stones to higher office that any of them may be interested in.

Amy Klobuchar is vulnerable? Maybe a new prescription for those rose colored glasses.

I do not get why Politics In Minnesota regularly promotes blog posts from the Let Freedom Ring blog. 

Despite the statement on the “About” page that says:

“This blog is committed to being an advocate for making decisions using logic & intelligence & verifiable facts.”

It is anything but.  In a recent post regarding Tim Pawlenty possibly challenging Senator Amy Klobuchar, the following statement was made:

“Sen. Klobuchar is exceptionally vulnerable.”

WHAT?!?

Let’s use a little “logic & intelligence” here, not partisan rose colored glasses.

Amy Klobuchar handily beat Republican Mark Kennedy by more than 20 points and almost 450,000 votes in her last election.  She had the highest favorability polling numbers of any senator in the United States during 2010.  And personally, walking in a couple parades with an Amy Klobuchar t-shirt on, Amy received cheers while other elected representatives received jeers. 

Let Freedom Ring might not like her votes, but a partisan dislike does not make her vulnerable.

On the other side, Tim Pawlenty was lucky Tim Penny ran in 2002, and really lucky in 2006 that the Mike Hatch/Judy Dutcher late innings screw-up allowed him to barely beat Hatch by 1% of the vote.  He can run around the country saying he balanced the budget in Minnesota and worked bipartisanly, but we know the truth here in Minnesota.

Amy Klobuchar is practically at superhero status from a strength standpoint.  She is a moderate Democrat, evidenced by the dislike of her on the far left and she is liked by moderate female Republicans.  Tim Pawlenty’s record in Minnesota has no chance against Amy Klobuchar, and I’m not even sure he is a top challenger for Al Franken.  But I welcome him entering the race.  Then Amy can put the nail in his political coffin so I can finally stop having to listen to him or anything about Tim Pawlenty, and just concentrate on fixing the problems his administration will be causing in Minnesota for the next two decades.

Progressive Picnic in the Park SD36

There are 96,000 people in what is right now Senate District 36.  And despite its recent record of being solidly Republican, more than 40% of the voters are generally reliable Democrats.  With that base, and the real political fight moving to the outer metro suburbs, it is no wonder that first Senate District 36 fundraiser in years is garnering a lot of attention. 

Senate District 36 is having a fundraising picnic on Friday, August 19, 2011 from 5:30 to 8:00 with a very low suggested donation of $5.  We will be grilling hot dogs and having a good time at Antlers Park Picnic Shelter A on the east bank of Lake Marion in Lakeville.  Besides food, the district is hosting a silent auction with items ranging from signed books by Thom Hartmann and Al Franken, to sports memorabilia and golf balls.

Today I received word that Franni Franken will be at the picnic.  Add to that Attorney General Lori Swanson who is tentatively planning on coming, and we have a couple great DFL leaders joining us.  And with hits on our website (just updated with the latest on the picnic) way up since a few great volunteers started delivering invitations, this is looking live a really positive event for the district.

We can always use more volunteers for food or to help grill, even though we have had a great response for volunteers, if you would like to volunteer.  We are planning for between 50 and 100 people attending at some point during the evening, and with the silent auction items really coming in, most recently golf balls from Tom Bakk, a Sec. of State Joan Growe mug from former Sec. of State Joan Growe, and a Mark Ritchie donation in the mail, we are looking at some really great items. 

I’m both excited about hosting this picnic, and a little nervous because I really want to have a good showing in terms of attendance.  We are planning to make this an annual event, and an event like this that campaigns can plan for with big crowds during an election summer can really bring in a lot of people.  With increased attendance comes the annual financial boost that is much needed for DFLers in the South Metro. 

If you are free on August 19th, please stop by and have a hot dog, bid on a silent auction item and say hi to me and our other guests.  If you can help monitor the auction, bring some food or grill hot dogs that would be a bonus.

We’ve got one week to go, and the weather outlook for picnic day is Sunny and 80.  It will be great!  If you are coming, shoot me an email or text in case the numbers are higher than I expect.  Thanks.

Steve Quist
Chair, Senate District 36 DFL

Adopting Haiti’s Orphans

On Monday mornings, I meet a few friends, most of them in some way associated with River of Joy Lutheran Church, to have a little fellowship and a Bible study.  This morning we didn’t crack the Bible.  Instead we talked a lot about Haiti. 

The pastor at River of Joy recently visited Haiti, I think it was with the group Love A Child.  He met people, visited a few orphanages and food distribution centers, and saw firsthand how his efforts are impacting the children of Haiti.  His visit made an impact, not just on him, but on those of us who heard his stories and learned more about Haiti.  (Here is one of the blog posts from his trip)

I was shocked by the poverty, the starvation, the orphans, and how little each of us would have to do to support our neighboring country.  And those recent feelings were fresh in my mind when this earthquake happened.

This weekend my wife and I discussed whether we would be interested in adopting a child from Haiti.  We’ve had this discussion before.  We’ve talked about adoption, but it has never been a realistic option because we can’t afford to pay a few thousand dollars, let alone the tens of thousands of dollars foreign governments require to adopt a child.

There are a lot of orphans in Haiti hoping to be adopted.  The population of Haiti is nearly 10 million, and upwards of 40% are children.  Loving parents are forced to give up their children simply because in an orphanage, at least the children have a chance for a meal.  I heard that many children in Haiti don’t live to be five. 

Think of the impact that would happen if the world responded by taking those kids.  Provide them steady meals, good education, and return them to loving families.  Not only would the children be better off, the new families would be better off.  It would allow more resources in the country to go to supporting the people there.  And one more thing, think of the connection, the investment, with Haiti that would be built among families who live outside of Haiti.

Today at our Bible study Pastor Steve mentioned that there are at least three families at River of Joy who have brought up adoption of a child from Haiti.  With us, it is four, and I bet more, despite the small congregation. 

So what can we do?  There needs to be a frank discussion between a couple of governments.  Rules, and bureaucratic fees need to be lifted.  I’m guessing if a boat full of Haitian orphans docked in Miami, there would be more than enough families willing to adopt a child, even if that meant driving across the country to get there.

I am going to send Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and John Kline a quick note to make sure they know we are ready.  I hope you do to.

By the way, if you are interested in joining a friendly and casual Bible Study group, that is half Lutheran study and half just getting together to talk, we meet Monday mornings at 6:30 a.m. at the Lakeville Caribou Coffee on 185th just off of 35.  Stop by, don’t be shy, or email me if you want more information.