Tag Archives: Dan Severson

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.


Who is the adult? Governor Dayton who is willing to compromise or the GOP (Greedy Old Party)?

In the “you have got to be kidding me” political world that we unfortunately seem to be living in right now, Republican leaders and right-wing bloggers are attacking Governor Mark Dayton for saying he is willing to compromise on the budget.  He is willing to go halfsies!  $1.8 billion in raised taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans and $1.8 billion in Republican tax cuts.  That seems like a very adult and very logical reconciliation to a budget problem that they have less than a week to solve without paying legislators more and thus costing taxpayers more for a special legislative session. 

I don’t completely agree with it necessarily, but at least Governor Dayton is being the grown up in the room trying to resolve the problems of the whiney and time wasting Republican legislators acting like selfish toddlers.    

Let’s see, one side wants to negotiate (Governor Dayton) and one side WILL NOT compromise because they are greedy and want to get their way (Republican Legislators.)  Who is the public going to blame if there is a shutdown?  I suspect it won’t be the party that was willing to negotiate and for weeks asked Republican leaders for a full budget to at least get the negotiations started (yeah, let’s not forget that Republicans still have not submitted a full budget plan.)  No, I suspect the Republican led legislature who refused to compromise will be the ones getting blamed, and they should. 

63% of Minnesotans support a budget that includes both tax increases and cuts.  27% of Minnesotans support at cuts only budget.  So who are the Republican legislators trying to please here, the majority or their base? 

Republicans who refuse to compromise will be loved by their base, what’s that 27% of the voters?  But when the campaigns kick into gear in a few months, it will be the DFL Party, the party of progressives, farmers and workers, as well as education, compassion and compromise, against the GOP, not the Grand, but the Greedy Old Party, the party of the richest Minnesotans, CEOs and pawn shops, as well as the party of taking away rights, fiscal meltdowns and selfishness.

I guess if we can survive the next legislative session led by selfish Republican legislators, it should be slam dunk in 2012 for the DFL.  Amy Klobuchar will crush Dan Severson, Chris Barden, Dave Thompson, or whichever candidate the Greedy Old Party picks.  And she along with President Obama will lead a ticket that retakes both Minnesota houses, which will be led by forward thinking politicians in Paul Thissen and Tom Bakk.  Governor Dayton, Speaker Thissen, Senate Majority Leader Bakk… I’m dreaming of a golden age of growth and improvement in Minnesota, truly a better Minnesota, but we need to get through this mess and past these selfish Republicans right now.

Spread the word about who is willing to compromise.  Now is not the time to be a timid Democrat.  Speak up.  Call Governor Dayton’s office and tell him to stand strong, and tell him you support him on the budget.  We can’t sit back and just wish or hope for a Better Minnesota, otherwise we will end up in the struggles Wisconsin is fracturing under.  Even a baby step out of the political closet is a positive step toward a Better Minnesota.  Do it!

Jottings and Questions VI

Chris Barden

Sen. Amy Klobuchar vs. Chris Barden / Dan Severson
Here is an interesting nugget for people placing bets on who might be taking on Amy Klobuchar next year.  I wrote a post about Chris Barden and Dan Severson being potential GOP nominees.  Four of the last five days, there has been

Dan Severson

some sort of search for Chris Barden that has lead to my website.  No searches for Dan Severson have led to my website since I have been paying attention.  Maybe it is because I don’t have “Doc” anywhere on the site…

Taking a Stand Against Discrimination
The following video is getting a lot of attention nationally, and I think it is deserved.  I’m including it here because I think this 3 minute video really says a lot about what is going on in our society and the major difference between the two main political ideologies right now. 

Whether we are talking LGBT rights, budget, education, taxes, social issues or whatever, the thoughtfulness expressed in the idea that history is bending “towards justice, fairness, wholeness and openness and compassion” is exactly what separates the two main political ideologies right now.

Kudos to Representative Steve Simon.  This proposed amendment is in reality a law mandating discrimination, almost exclusively based on religious grounds.  As an American, I feel like we should never again mandate discrimination in law.  As a Minnesotan, I feel like we are better than this.  And as a Christian, I have a hard time believing this is how we were taught to express love.

I have no problem with him calling out the moral force of this anti-freedom argument, or even saying the people that vote for this bill will have to live with shame in the future.  I think it is true and I think it is shameful.

If you would like to show your support, consider giving a small donation to Representative Simon’s campaign.  But he won’t need as much money as the organizations that will be fighting this amendment will.  So also give a donation to The Minnesota DFL and Outfront Minnesota.  The best option is to give all three a little donation.  Also, take a moment and sign OutFront Minnesota’s petition against this amendment.


Amy Klobuchar vs. Slick Chris Barden 2012

The StarTribune had a short story last night that Slick Chris Barden, Lori Swanson’s opponent in the 2010 Minnesota Attorney General race is considering taking on Senator Amy Klobuchar in the 2012 Minnesota Senate race.  I say go for it.  Admittedly, Chris Barden was really nice to me at an event we both spoke at during the 2010 race, so I am biased towards him compared to other potential candidates.  The problem was the niceness was completely dishonest.  I forgot my speech, was flustered and stammered through the couple minutes I spoke.  Afterwards, he stopped schmoozing for a moment, came up to me and told me I did a good job.  I’m sure it was pity, even my wife didn’t think I did a good job.  But it was nice of him to say that, dishonest, but nice.  The problem I see in him is that he is such a stereotypical politician.  More than one person said he “oozes slime” as you watch and listen to him.  There is no doubt in my mind that he thinks very highly of himself.  Confidence is not an issue.

So I say go for it Slick Chris!  Take on Amy and give it your best shot.  Sure, Senator Klobuchar already has $2.5 million in the bank, and sure you had a tough time raising money to compete against Lori Swanson, but look at it this way, you have the experience now.  You can do the same thing.  You raised a fraction of what Lori Swanson raised, ran a statewide campaign with just over $100,000, and you only lost by 11 points.  Mark Kennedy lost by 20 points to Amy Klobuchar and he spent more than Amy, $9.5 million, not counting the special interest commercials for him that others paid for.  Experience and logic are on your side.

In fairness, according to the story Dan Severson, Mark Ritchie’s opponent in the Minnesota Secretary of State race is also mulling a run, but let’s face it, Chris Barden is a better politician.  Chris Barden ran a statewide race on a budget that wasn’t that much larger than some local state Senate races spend, and it was against one of the biggest political budgets in the state.  And he barely lost by double digits.  Severson raised tens of thousands more dollars than Barden, and Ritchie raised and spent half of what Swanson did.  I think it is clear.  Barden is the maximize here, and the future star.

Not only do I hope Slick Chris runs, I hope the GOP spends a lot of money on the race.  I want it to be competitive.  I think we all do.  If Amy is going to spend $10 million dollars, I hope Slick Chris can too, and I’m not just saying that so the GOP wastes money, honest…

It is the beginning of a new quarter.  Why wait until the urgent requests at the end of the quarter.  Click here and send Amy $5 now to ensure we have another six years of a leader with Minnesota values.


The Most Important Election in 2010

2010 is a big election year.  True, there is not a presidential vote, and without a senatorial election, turnout will be lower and the big media will likely ignore most of the state’s campaigns.  But for the DFL, 2010 is huge.  And I mean HUGE in the way Darrell Hammond playing Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live says “huge.”

Obviously, the headline grabbing election will be the governor’s office.  I expect a DFL governor to be elected.  Of course I am a Vikings fan, so I always maintain a sense of impending doom in these situations.  But also, the 2010 elected legislature will deal with redistricting while trying the wrangle in the billions of dollars needed to keep the state running.

As important as those votes are, we can’t forget about the other three constitutional officers.  2010 is an election year for Secretary of State, Attorney General and State Auditor.  The GOP has already begun general campaigns against Lori Swanson and Mark Ritchie.  I’m not sure there are any declared candidates running against Lori Swanson, but so far Mark Ritchie looks to have a challenger.  Dan Severson, State Representative from Sauk Rapids. 

Severson filed his campaign registration earlier this month.  I admit I don’t know much about Dan Severson.  There is a disturbing post I read about his previous website on a progressive blog, but all I know about him is he is for No Child Left Behind and against Stem Cell Research.  That is enough for me to see he lacks common sense. 

I’m not sure what qualifies him to be Secretary of State, but I do know I do not want Mark Ritchie to lose.  I believe Mark Ritchie has returned the honesty and integrity to the Secretary of State’s office that Minnesota has lacked since Joan Growe stepped down.

As important as the Governor’s race seems to be, the most important race is to protect the voting integrity of our state, and Mark Ritchie will do that.