Tag Archives: CD2 DFL Convention

The 2012 Race Is On! Three Candidates for DFL CD2 – Ganey, Obermueller and Gaylord

The race is on in the Second Congressional District.  With new boundaries that are rumored to give DFLers in the new district a little more hope, three viable candidates have emerged to challenge John Kline in 2012.

At one point a few months ago, it seemed all the Democrat’s hopes in the Second Congressional District (CD2) were pinned on the redistricting map being redrawn to include at least one of a couple of state Legislators who were ready to challenge John Kline if the lines were drawn to include them.  That didn’t happen. And when that didn’t happen, anxiety quickly grew in my mind about another inexperienced political novice challenging John Kline and his million dollar campaign cash balance.

But what ended up happening instead, was that a few people noticed the positive change in the District borders regarding favorability, and real known politician’s names were being mentioned.  Initially, Joe Atkins was in the news as a potential candidate.  I’m not sure how that rumor started, but about the time he announced he was not running I was contacted by a former legislator who asked if I would talk to a Northfield City Councilor about a potential run against Kline.


With Atkins decision, and with that conversation with a former legislator, it seemed my fears were being realized, John Kline’s political money-machine versus a first-term Northfield City Councilman, hopeless.  Then, I talked to Patrick Ganey on the phone and quickly realized he was leaps and bounds ahead of where 2010 DFL endorsed candidate Dan Powers was in his early days, and he wasn’t even sure he was running.  His communications skills were exceptional, and the fact that he raised money for a living didn’t hurt in my mind.  I invited him down to speak at our local DFL58 meeting a couple days later.

Patrick came to the meeting, had a message already, was able to respond to questions, and impressed the meeting attendees.  There was hope.  We invited him to our DFL58 convention, a couple days later, and did well there too.  He may be a political novice, but that certainly didn’t mean he didn’t have talent.  Since Patrick became a candidate, two others have announced. But, Patrick was the first to call me as a delegate to the CD2 convention and ask for my support.  He was the first to have a detailed website, and the first to have a Twitter feed @Ganey4Congress.  Being the first is a huge advantage.

So I am paying attention to Patrick.  The next Saturday after the DFL58 convention, I was sitting at Concordia University waiting for my son at a lacrosse goalie clinic.  While I waited I started scanning Twitter for a few updates on the Eagan endorsement races when I saw a tweet from The UpTake of a video of Patrick Ganey at that Eagan DFL convention.  I watched the video, and when the video was done, a video popped up from The UpTake titled “Obermueller considering a run for congress.”  I was shocked, and at the same time I made kind of a single chuckle as I smiled about the video.

See, I am a Mike Obermueller fan.  I have been impressed by Mike over the last few years, and was very disappointed when he lost his 2010 legislative race.  When I watched that UpTake video, I was really excited.  Just to be clear, I liked Dan Powers, and I thought Shelley Madore could have challenged John Kline with some money.  I volunteered for Theresa Daly, figured Colleen Rowley was a good choice, and thought maybe Steve Sarvi could pry away John Kline’s iron grip on military issues, but I was never excited about any of them.  That Saturday afternoon, I sat outside the Sea Foam Dome at Concordia College excited about a congressional candidate.


One of my favorite parade signs is Mike’s sign with the word puzzle images for his name.  Obviously it isn’t a great sign for getting his name out there, but it is fun and different.  There is little doubt that John Kline will have more money, so being fun and different is important.  Rudy Boschwitz had more money, but a hard working politician who had fun and had clever marketing beat him.

I’m not saying that sign is on par with Paul Wellstone’s green bus or his great ads, but at least it is outside the normal political box.  Mike is young and can win a tough race.  If he works hard and things go his way, he can do the same thing Paul Wellstone did and surprise a seemingly safe incumbent.

As we approached our April meeting for DFL58, I realized I should invite the new candidates to address our group too.  On very short notice, I invited Mike, and he quickly accepted.  Mike came to the meeting, showed up early, ate some pizza with us, talked with members and then spoke, answered some really great questions, and I think won over some delegates.

Mike talked about his family and about growing up. He cracked a few jokes. Mike talked about the stark contrast between his pro-labor and pro-education stances, and John Kline’s anti-labor and anti-education stances.  Mike presented himself as a very friendly candidate.  He smiled a lot, was quick with responses and funny.  He will be a very formidable candidate.  He still does not have a Twitter feed, and his old 2010 website is still up.

I like Mike a lot — I might have to steal some of Mike Huckabee’s “I like Mike” buttons for Mike Obermueller’s campaign if he becomes the endorsed candidate and doesn’t do his own “I Like Mike” buttons.  As I was saying, I like Mike a lot, but I am maintaining an open mind until the convention.  Patrick has really impressed me, and even though he doesn’t have the political record Mike has, I think he would be a great candidate.


There is a third candidate too, Kathleen Gaylord.  I don’t know Kathleen.  I’ve never met her or talked to her.  In fact the first interaction I had with her was my email invite to our DFL meeting last Thursday.  I invited her three hours before the meeting, but I never received a response.

I knew it was short notice, so I didn’t expect her to come, but I thought it was a little odd that I didn’t receive a response at all to my invitation, even after the fact, saying something to the effect that she wished she could have come, and maybe we could set up another meeting to get to know some of the delegates.  For the record, 8 of DFL58’s 13 convention delegates and 9 of the 13 alternates were at that meeting.

Of course, if it were me, I wouldn’t waste my time with a hit and miss meeting as much as I would be contacting the delegates one-by-one personally, so I’m not offended she didn’t come at all, I just thought it was weird not to respond.

Today I sent her another email.  Partially out of curiosity if she would respond, partially because I have no idea who she is.  I sent her an email with four questions about her campaign.  She responded in about an hour, so things are looking up.

Kathleen was the first candidate with a website.  It has very little content on it, but she has an extensive and impressive resume, and most importantly a donation page. She does not have a Twitter account that I could find.  Mike and Kathleen need to get Twitter accounts going!

I am a huge proponent of women running, and will count the fact that a candidate is a woman as an advantage over a male candidate.  I think it is a clear advantage.  I think it is doubly advantageous in the anti-women political climate the Right-wing has been forging this past year.  I think a female candidate might draw women who might usually consider themselves independent Republicans.

I’m sure I will get the chance to meet Kathleen in the next couple weeks.  With her impressive political resume, and the other two candidates, how can it not be a good year to be a Democrat in the 2nd Congressional District?

I have asked each of the candidates if they plan to abide by the CD2 convention endorsement providing there is an endorsement.  All three plan to abide by the endorsement.

I also asked each candidate if they plan to run in 2014, should they lose in 2012.  Obviously a candidate thinks they are going to win, they have to, but the only candidate to run against John Kline more than once is Representative Bill Luther, whom Kline beat on his 3rd attempt in 2002.  John Kline proved that you might need to run a few times to win, I just want somebody to try twice.  Patrick Ganey and Mike Obermueller both said they will run a second time, Mike said he would, but plans that it will be as an incumbent.  Kathleen Gaylord did not answer other than to respond that she “is in the race to win this year.”

I’m hoping for a win this year, and to support an incumbent in 2014 whoever he or she may be.

Colleen Morse and the Three DFL Candidates For Governor

On Monday, June 28th, just two weeks ago, blogger Colleen Morse at http://aprilknight.blogspot.com/ posted on the three DFL candidates for governor.  Yesterday afternoon, she passed away. 

Just two months ago, Colleen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a tumor in the brain.  On May 15th, she wrote “I have a feeling that I don’t have long to live.”  But it was a shock to get the news, and to realize her July 2nd post was her last entry.

I’d been a faithful reader of her blog for months when I met her at the CD2 DFL convention.  I was helping with registration.  She wanted a visitor pass, but when she said her name, I thought she deserved a media pass.  We struck up a long conversation on the importance of blogging and social media.  Then, just two weeks later my wife and I met her in a Duluth skyway.  We talked for a while then went our separate ways for the evening.  As we sat down for dinner, I told my wife I wished we had invited her with us to dinner.  But the next morning, I got to spend about an hour with her as we waited at the DFL State Convention for things to start.  It was one of the highlights of my convention weekend.

I wish I could have known Colleen longer, and continued to see her at political events.  As many of you know, she spent a lot of time working to get Mark Dayton elected.  But all the time she supported Mark Dayton, she still supported the other great candidates with positive words and energy.  That example of friendliness and helpfulness, regardless of the side is an example she set of how to maintain a strong DFL core.  It is something as a blogging community we need to concentrate on.  Blogger Holly Cairns has been stressing that fact since I first got to know her. 

Blogging can be used for serious and organized promotion, and Colleen did that, although to her it was just a fun thing for her to do.  Below is her last real blog post.  Colleen will not only be missed by her family and close friends, but will be greatly missed by the entire progressive blogging community and the political campaigns she came in contact with.

Thank you Colleen.

June 28, 2010, 7:02 AM

All DFLers will have to decide very soon who they are going to vote for to be our next governor. How will each Primary voter decide? Here are the usual ways, not in any particular order.

1.  Issues
2.  Name recognition
3.  Endorsed candidate
4.  Voter contact on the campaign trail
5.  Videos and websites
6.  Personal charisma (which includes how much the voter “loves” the candidate; you hear a lot of that on Facebook and on the campaign trail
7.  Past success in political experience
8.  Whether the voter even wants to vote in the Primary, or whether the voter is too fed up with politics to do so. What the percentage is of voters who actually show up at the Primary makes a big difference in who gets elected.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher – Kelliher obviously knows all the issues inside and out. She has no problems whatsoever there. She is gaining some name recognition but doesn’t have nearly as much as Dayton. Will her DFL cohorts and supporters donate enough money for her to win this campaign? If so, they’d better get hopping.

I’ll just meander down the list for each candidate. This is better than trying to walk slowly down the hallway while holding on to the wall.

Kelliher is obviously the endorsed candidate, which does give her an edge. Will it be enough? Keep tuned…

Kelliher’s voter contact on the campaign trail does not seem to be as good as Dayton’s. Dayton is all over the place. Not only that, but everyone already knows who he is.

Videos are excellent from the Dayton Campaign…websites not so good at all.

Personal charisma is something you never heard many people talk about with regard to Mark Dayton. He’s doing something right now, though, because everywhere I go I hear people (mostly women) say “I love him!” While Kelliher’s momentum is growing, she just doesn’t have that personal charisma that people look for. Like R. T. Rybak has, for example.

Past success in political experience was exceptionally good with Margaret Anderson Kelliher. She knows an incredible amount about Minnesota politics. As far as knowledge and experience, she can definitely get the job done.

It sure seems that there are a lot of people who are disillusioned with the world of politics. The best thing to do is to get out there and get your people to vote!

Matt Entenza – Matt is very good on clean, green energy. He has some great ideas in that area. He’s also excellent on GLBT and equality issues. He’s good on creating new jobs.

As far as name recognition, I don’t see Matt as having much of that. It just isn’t there. Oh, I’m sure it is in many circles, but a lot of people still don’t know who Matt Entenza is. I don’t know how he’s going to change that.

As we all know, Matt is not the endorsed candidate. That distinction belongs to Margaret Anderson Kelliher.

I’m pretty sure that Entenza has a lot of voter contact on the campaign trail. But where are his particular campaign trails? I don’t hear much about him at all from my non-political circle of acquaintances (yes, folks, I do have a lot of friends who are not political!) When I ask if they were going to vote for him, they didn’t even know who he was.

Matt Entenza probably has the best collection of campaign videos. I would rate his website as the best of all three of the candidates.

Personal charisma is not one of Entenza’s strong points. He’s very soft spoken, which means he’s a nice guy, but not exactly your top charismatic person. Of Minnesoa politicians, that honor would definitely have to go to R. T. Rybak.

Entenza has a lot of political experience. Unfortunately, some of it is considered distasteful by many people. I wish these people would learn the truth of the matter. I stuck up for Matt when someone was saying rotten things about him. The guy called me a liar. Go figure. Some people just don’t want to listen to truth.

Mark Dayton – Mark is very good on almost all the issues. After all, he was a U. S. Senator and had to know a lot about a lot of different things. He’s big on Senior issues, of course. Remember how he took busloads of seniors to Canada so they could get the prescription drugs at lower cost? He’s always been an advocate for seniors. He’s always been a friend of GLBT, as well. He stood up on the Senate floor in favor of the right of two people who love each other to get married, no matter what their gender. Another issue that he is very interested in is education.

Name recognition? Mark Dayton? That’s almost funny. There’s probably only a handful of people in Minnesota who don’t know who Mark Dayton is, and those are no doubt under the age of twelve. They’re just too young to know.

We all know that Mark is not the endorsed candidate. Margaret Anderson Kelliher is. Still, there are plenty of examples over the years where the endorsed candidate did not win.

Mark has been all over Minnesota on the campaign trail. He drove 9,000 miles across Minnesota. He stopped in towns all over and met people in coffee shops and other interesting places. He has successfully reintroduced himself to Minnesotans.

Mark is starting to get some pretty good videos. There’s one called “9,000” miles, which you can find on his website.

Personal charisma is not an area that Mark excels at. He’s an introvert; standing up in front of a lot of people is difficult for him, especially during the question/answer portion of a forum. I give him a lot of credit, though, for doing something that doesn’t come naturally to him. I’ve also noticed that he’s made many, many improvements as a public speaker. I was surprised, proud and happy to see that he made a huge effort to improve in this area.

Obviously Mark Dayton has the most political experience of any of the candidates. He ran three Minnesota State Commissioner offices. He was U. S. Senator. The list goes on.

So now it’s up to you, dear voters. The best thing you can do to ensure we get a DFL governor is to pick a candidate and then campaign for that candidate. You can door knock, do mailings and other clerical work, attend Meet and Greets, have a house party for your candidate, or have a fund raiser for the candidate. There’s a ton of ways to help out. Call your candidate’s office to volunteer. You can also volunteer on their websites. So let’s all rally round one of these three candidates and make sure out next governor is DFL.


Dan Powers is nice, but Shelley Madore can win CD2

At the DFL Senate District 36 convention Dan Powers said something that bothered me.  It wasn’t an issue related statement or a statement I disagreed with, it was the opening statement he made saying (paraphrased because I didn’t write down the quote):

Some people say I don’t have the experience to run against John Kline.

The implication was that Shelley Madore’s supporters or campaign was saying that about Dan Powers.  The problem I had was he started out his speech with a negative about himself.  He didn’t start with a positive about how great a candidate he is, or how much of a grasp he has on the issues that are important to CD2 voters.  He started out by telling everybody that others don’t think he is a good candidate.  

At the lunch break, I immediately went to a member of his staff and told her my opinion that Dan cannot start out with a negative.  It is perfectly fine to mention it during the speech if you want to counter it, but great marketing doesn’t start by telling everybody the rap against the product.

I don’t know if they listened to me and changed the message, but I’m guessing they did because Dan’s campaign is continually improving.  I sent him an email more than a year ago pointing out a wording problem I saw on a flyer I received.  His website and literature is now very good.  Last summer I suggested to a family member that a donation might be better served going to Mark Ritchie or Tim Walz than to a candidate I didn’t think had a chance.  Now I do think he has a chance. 

Dan’s campaign has come a long way.  In fact he had risen in my mind to the point that I decided to support him for the endorsement over Shelley Madore.  I felt like he was working hard and doing the right thing.  But I still had a nagging feeling that he was not a strong enough candidate to beat John Kline.

I’m not sure trying hard and getting better makes you the best candidate.  He has never won an election that I know of.  In fact I think he lost a couple races in the city of Burnsville.  A Powers supporter told me that “there was a reason” Shelley Madore lost two of her three races in Apple Valley.  Well that must mean there was a reason Dan Powers lost his races too.

Keep in mind, Shelley Madore ran as a DFLer in a Republican district and won.  Dan Powers ran as a candidate in a nonpartisan city election and lost.  When Shelley Madore lost her house seat to Tara Mack, the Apple Valley Republicans had spent the previous two years attacking her with everything they had from semantic arguments to dirty tricks.

Negative implications like the election loss talking points that are meant to hurt the other candidate are flying from each campaign’s supporters.

I don’t think Dan used union labor when he was a contractor…

I’m hearing Shelley won’t abide by the endorsement…

Dan has no political experience…

Shelley isn’t liked by people who used to support her…

Dan is just getting better because he is copying Shelley’s campaign…

The fact is that neither campaign is doing a great job here to win the endorsement.  Dan is working hard to get better, and Shelley hired a new campaign manager to get better. 

I’ve been struggling with the idea of do I choose the safe candidate that I know and like, or do I choose the candidate I don’t know, but who I know has the experience and toughness to win. 

I think a campaign staff change is exactly what the Madore campaign needed.  I feel like I need to choose the candidate I think is going to win.  I feel like I need to support Shelley Madore so the 2nd Congressional District finally has the representation it has been missing out on since January of 2003.

Reasons why I am supporting Shelley Madore:

  • Her involvement in the community of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Her commitment to doing “the right thing” for people even if it hurts her politically
  • Her knowledge of healthcare issues and her ability to challenge others on it
  • Her willingness to go toe-to-toe with John Kline and other Republicans to prove they are full of it
  • I think she can win, even though she is not the safe choice.  Read a blog post about that at mnpACT!
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Powers and Madore going down to the wire

This official press release (below) from Shelley Madore’s campaign was issued four days after The Big E at MPP announced it and wrote:

 “campaign changes this close to a convention is not a good thing and not a sign of campaign strength.”

 We’ll see if he is right. 

 The endorsement, provided there is one, is only 11 days away.  I’m thinking both candidates will be active.  I know Dan Powers will be.  He has a meet and greet scheduled tonight for 5:30 at the Dunn Bros in Apple Valley, and at 7:00 at Perkins in Burnsville.  Then tomorrow the 31st, he has a meet and greet scheduled for 7:00 at the Perkins in Lakeville.  Shelley Madore does not seem to have anything scheduled, at least that I know of.   

 This is going to be an interesting endorsing convention.

For Immediate Release

Veteran Campaign Staffer Dave Griggs joins Madore for Congress Campaign

Mar. 30, 2010 (Apple Valley, Minn.) – Shelley Madore is proud to announce that veteran campaign staffer Dave Griggs has joined Team Madore as Campaign Manager.

“Dave brings vision and experience that will benefit the campaign through the endorsement on April tenth and to victory on November second against John Kline,” Madore said.

Griggs, a native of St Louis Park and 2007 graduate of the University of St. Thomas Law School, recently finished working with the Bakk for Governor campaign. He has worked three election cycles for DFL campaigns with extensive experience in field organizing. His first job after graduating from New York University was as a Second Congressional District field organizer with U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone’s 2002 re-election campaign.

With just a few days until the first quarter fundraising deadline and less than two weeks until the Congressional District endorsing convention, Dave spent his first few days on the job reaching out to staff, delegates and donors.

“I am looking forward to working with a dynamic candidate who has the experience, passion and commitment to beat John Kline in November. Shelley will be a tireless advocate for the people of the Second Congressional District, something that has been sorely lacking the past eight years,” Dave Griggs said.

For more information about Minnesota Congressional District 2 candidate Shelley Madore, please visit www.madoreforcongress.com or call 952-232-0649.

Both Shelley Madore and Dan Powers Will Abide by the DFL Endorsement

There has been a lot of speculation in CD2 that the contest between Don Powers and Shelley Madore would continue past the endorsement at the convention to the primary in August. 

Dan Powers had said he would abide by the endorsement.  Shelley Madore had not answered the question.  She has now.  I received an email last night that simply says Shelley Madore will abide by the endorsement. 

To me that means, the endorsement which seemed to be leaning heavily toward Dan Powers, is up for grabs again.  People like Dan Powers.  He is working hard to win, and I can tell he will work hard right up until November 2.  Shelley Madore has tough campaign experience and can influence people with a single speech. 

We will see what happens.  I’m just glad we will have one person to get behind starting on April 11.  An in-party fight from April to August would have likely been counterproductive to the point of conceding the race the John Kline.  That will not happen now. 

Great news.

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