Tag Archives: Margaret Anderson Kelliher

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.


My Experience at the 2010 DFL Convention

I guess it is about time I leave a little note on my 2010 DFL convention experience.

My wife and I left for Duluth Thursday morning, sans kids, to spend a little time together exploring the North Shore, a place that rates among our favorite places on earth.  We got a late start, but enjoyed the time alone. 

We have been visiting the North Shore on a regular basis since we got married, sometimes, several times a year.  But this was the first time we have ever stayed in Duluth proper.  My sister works for the company that owns the Inn on Lake Superior, and she was able to get us a very reasonably priced room.  

I enjoyed the location, the convention, the atmosphere, and the people I was there with.  Outside of my district, I ran into a few people I know, like a couple of my favorite bloggers Dave Mindeman and Colleen Morse.  I reintroduced myself to several legislators, this time as a candidate, and got some good advice.  Especially from John Doll, Will Morgan, Kevin Dahle and Larry Pogemiller.

I went to the convention as a strong Paul Thissen supporter.  I tried to convince other people in my district (mostly unsuccessfully) to back him as their second choice, but I knew it was an uphill battle when most of the delegates in SD36 supported Rybak or Kelliher.  Thissen was strong on the first ballot, and continued to be strong on several of the ballots.  I voted to endorse him on the first five ballots.

Before the fifth ballot, the handwriting was on the wall.  Rukavina had just withdrawn and endorsed Kelliher, and I thought it might be over.  I was quickly approaching the moment when I would be forced to make a second choice, but I voted for Thissen on the fifth ballot. 

As we approached the sixth ballot, I realized the Thissen campaign workers were not on the floor.  Moments later, the Chair announced that Paul Thissen would like to address the crowd.  After listening to Thissen’s concession, I looked up at the first alternate, Bill, an IBEW member who had supported Kelliher since the caucuses.  He was up and ready to come down to the floor, we made a few gestures and head nods and he ran downstairs as they announced “1 minute until the floor is frozen.”

I was happy to let Bill take my credential for what would likely be the final vote.  I moved up with the alternates and watched from above.  I hope Bill had a good time, and I think it is worth sending out a little appreciation for the delegates who waited there all day, but didn’t get to go down on the floor.

I had a great time, and would love to do it again someday.  Maybe next convention as a super delegate, a senator representing the 36th district.

Highlights of the convention:

Tom Rukavina!

How great 99% of the campaign workers and supporters were in all camps.

Ross Dybvig, the Thissen floor captain I worked with.

Being one of the 20 or so people to nominate Paul Thissen during his five minute floor demonstration

Letting an alternate and a Kelliher supporter take my place on the floor for the final vote and the endorsement celebration with Kelliher.

Lowlights of the convention:

Ole Savior – I’m not sure people were laughing with him…

I lost my expensive mechanical pencil.

A pretty rude Rybak supporter who didn’t like my answers

The great speeches that so many delegates ignored.

And the pizza that LeAnn in our delegation ordered that looked and smelled good, but I couldn’t eat because of this gluten-free thing.  Gluten-free crackers, mmmm…

I will be posting a lot less as I work on my campaign to become a State Senator.  But, keep checking back, I’m sure things will come up that I will want to blog about.  In the meantime, visit my campaign page at www.SteveQuist.org, become a fan on my Facebook fan page and follow me on http://twitter.com/Steve_Quist.

The Farmington Caucus

I convened the Farmington, Castle Rock, Empire and Eureka caucuses last night. Between the nine precincts, only 29 people attended. The voting results were:

Rybak – 7 – 24.1%
Kelliher – 6 – 20.7%
Marty – 5 – 17.2%
Thissen – 5 – 17.2%
Uncommitted – 3 – 10.3%
Bakk – 1 – 3.4%
Entenza – 1 – 3.4%
Gaertner – 1 – 3.4%
Kelley – 0
Montez – 0
Rukavina – 0
Savior – 0

I was surprised how low the turnout was, but I am not surprised by the results for the most part. Statewide, I expected the race to be between Rybak and Kelliher, and that proved true.

Statewide numbers with almost 80% reporting:

Rybak – 21.9%
Kelliher – 20.1%
Uncommitted – 14.6%
Marty – 9.6%
Rukavina – 7.2%
Thissen – 7.2%
Entenza – 6.7%
Bakk – 6.2%
Kelley – 4..2%
Gaertner – 2.1%

A couple of negative observations:

Entenza’s number seemed surprisingly low. I expected him to finish third or forth. That looks bad. Now I see why Dayton didn’t include his name in the straw poll.

Rukavina put out a statement saying he was humbled by the support. I assume he felt humbled in a positive way. Finishing in the middle of the pack with 7% does not seem like it should be humbling to me.

Gaertner has decided to run in the primary. Why?

Thissen’s results were disappointing. I expected Paul to compete with Entenza for third or forth.

As much as I like Steve Kelley, the endorsement will not fall into his lap with this group of candidates like it almost did a few years ago. Kelley should consider dropping out too.

Rep. Keith Ellison makes me stop and think about my 2010 choice for Governor

I know I am a little jealous of DFLers in CD5.  They have Keith Ellison as their Representative, while those of us in CD2 cope with John Kline as our Congressman.  Representative Ellison is a true representative of his district.  He is not just a congressman from the district.  Ellison strongly advocates for what he believes in, and he works hard to support both his district and the state.
As far as I know, Representative Ellison is the first congressperson to endorse a candidate.  I recently saw a video posted on Facebook that featured Rep. Ellison talking about endorsing Matt Entenza.  Something occurred to me as a watched the video.  It wasn’t why is Keith Ellison endorsing Entenza?  It was why didn’t he endorse somebody else? 
“Minnesota Central” made the comment on a recent poll blog that maybe we shouldn’t ask who we would vote for, rather we should ask who we feel should terminate their campaign.  Rep. Ellison has already done that and answered the final question.  He has eliminated at least nine other candidates, three of which he served with in the house, Kelliher, Thissen and Rukavine, and his mayor, Rybak. 
It is interesting that he didn’t do the “safe” thing by stepping back and waiting to see who emerges.  He is confident enough in Entenza that that he already has endorsed him.  Ellison must knows something I don’t know — let me rephrase that, Rep. Ellison knows a lot more than I know, and he knows most of the candidates.  He has decided to back Entenza. 
Does it make you stop and think?  I have narrowed my field down to a few candidates by eliminating candidates.  I have eliminated those candidates based on superficial reason. I don’t really know any of the candidates.  Why have I eliminated anybody?  I know these candidates politically, through seeing them on TPT or reading about them online or in the paper.  Everything I know about the candidates is second hand, or based on a politically “clean” presentation.  I don’t know them at all.
I’d love to invite them over for dinner, or watch a game with them.  But that isn’t feasible for the candidates, nor would they likely be their true selves.  Candidates are always on stage.  Being a good actor is important in an election, but being a good person is important to being a good governor.  How do we know who the good people are  if we don’t know them.  So I’ll ask the question that won’t be answered — what does Keith Ellison know that I don’t know about those other candidates?



mnpACT! Governor Speaker Series Observations Part 2 – Tom Bakk

Tom Bakk spoke at the mnpACT! meeting a couple Friday nights ago in Burnsville.  It was the second to the last meeting in the ongoing series featuring candidates for governor.  R.T. Rybak and Margaret Anderson Kelliher closeout the series on December 11th. 

Tom Bakk spoke at a meeting that also featured Matt Entenza.  You can read my observation on Entenza in a previous post.  As I said in that previous post, I am not going to reinvent the wheel when it comes to talking about the meeting.  There is an excellent synopsis of what Entenza and Bakk talked about posted by Dave Mindeman at mnpACT!.

My opinion of Bakk’s presentation was initially very positive.  I continue to like him more every time I see him.  He isn’t the most exciting guy, but he seems real and honest.  He seems like the type of guy you could have a beer with and watch the game.  We learned how important that is in 2004.   

Tom started out by talking about being a first-time grandpa.  It was nice to see the proud smile.  Mentioning little things like that are important connecting tools.  I don’t want to make assumptions about the people in attendance, but in the small group that was there, a majority of people seemed to be of grandparent age.  I’m sure a couple of them could relate to the proud smile of the first grandchild.

Soon the smile of being a grandpa disappeared as he talked bluntly about Minnesota’s future.  There was no sugar coating and no hopeful outlook.  Bakk plainly spoke about a financial crisis on the horizon that we won’t solve using the ideas other candidates are proposing.

While it is refreshing to hear an honest response to the impending crisis, it was also a significant downer for the people listening.  I heard a woman behind me say “makes me want to commit suicide.” 

While it was a little depressing hearing about the state’s finances, he does have a plan.  I’m not sure it is that different from other candidate’s plans.  I think what is different is how blunt he is.  It is a plan that involves significant cuts that will be “uncomfortable” with additional revenues raised through taxation.  Bakk made it perfectly clear that a responsible candidate cannot take a “no new tax pledge” during a crisis like Minnesota is facing.  All options need to be on the table to ensure future financial viability.  And Bakk seems very well suited to taking in a GOP candidate who does take that “pledge.” 

There was one issue that has been bothering me a little bit about that evening.  I hesitate to mention it because I don’t recall the details, and I didn’t make a note about it.  At one point Bakk was talking about his ideas versus the House’s ideas and specifically him versus Margaret Anderson Kelliher.  If the race was between him and Kelliher, it wouldn’t bother me, but there are ten candidates.  Unless he is going to illustrate differences between himself and all of the candidates, I think it is way too early to single one other candidate out, even if she may seem like a frontrunner.

In Bakk’s Thanksgiving email, he stated:

     “One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life is that nobody wins when you tear others down.”

Going forward we can’t tear other DFL candidates down.  If I had to bet, I would bet at least four other candidates have a better shot at winning a primary than Tom Bakk.  I like him a lot, but we do need to consider that he only has a one in ten shot of making it to the general election.  Bakk needs to be the person we want to have a beer with, not the person disregarded by a group of people because he attacked their candidate.

Tom Bakk will be a force at the convention.  I think he is going to have a lot more support than people here in the cities might think.  He is tough and ready to take the lead.  There are some very charismatic candidates out there.  Tom Bakk may not be one of them, but he will compete based on his honest and blunt approach to what’s happening.