Tag Archives: Minnesota Twins

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.

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Jottings and Questions V – Tax Cuts, Frivolous Challenges and the Middle Class

Why is there such a push by Republicans to save the tax cuts that obviously didn’t help the economy?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for middle-class tax cuts, and it isn’t because it helps me, I don’t make enough to really benefit from them.  But the only thing a tax-giveaway for the rich (let’s call it what it is) helps the economy is to allow them to invest more in crooked politicians who support corporations, not individuals.  The goal for them seems to be an oligarchy where the rich can either buy or steal elections, to the detriment of the other 90% of the population.

Steal election?  What a perfect segue.  I read the first reports from the Governor’s recount.  A challenge by the Emmer camp to a ballot that had an oval mostly filled in for Dayton, but not completely, and a challenge to a ballot that had no mark for governor that the Emmer camp said should be counted for Emmer.  The judges called both those frivolous, but I think there needs to penalties for “frivolous” challenges in the recount.  Kind of like in NFL football when a coach throws the red flag.  In the NFL the coach loses a timeout if the challenge is “frivolous.”  I think for every “frivolous challenge” in this recount, the team making the “frivolous challenge” should lose a vote.  It seems fair to me.  It seems that way only real questionable ballots get challenged and the recount finishes much sooner. 

Speaking of that blank ballot that Emmer “challenged” as an Emmer vote, it is interesting to me that Republicans are so keen to get voter ID verification to prevent election “cheating.”  Counting a blank vote for your own team sounds a little like cheating to me.  I’m convinced that any voter ID programs would just reduce the number of Republicans cheating.  The problem is that it will disenfranchise plenty of poor, elderly and handicapped people from voting too, so I am willing to let a few Republicans cheat to ensure the others can vote.

Is there any excitement that the Twins won the bidding war to attempt to sign Tsuyoshi Nishioka.  I have not heard much, but I have heard he seems to be hurt every year.  Great, he’ll fit in with the Twins’ other stars…

Finally, I just want to add that half of the families in Minnesota (not individuals, families!) make under $57,000 per year.   The Chamber of Commerce and their political arm, the Republican Party, keep pushing for tax cuts.  What will a tax cut provide to much more than half the state’s population?  Very little, but the cut in education, good roads and public safety have the potential to hurt those families in ways many of us cannot comprehend.  Tax cuts for the rich do nothing but line their pockets with money, and they in turn will line the pockets of the politicians supporting that greed.  Let’s work on turning this back around in 2012 and electing people who are more concerned about individuals than corporations.

Jottings and Questions III

Nobody is going to go unscathed as political leaders try to figure out how to deal with the latest state economic news. We are all going to bear the brunt for the fiasco we have gotten ourselves into. But I am continually annoyed that the people with the least to give to solve the solution are the ones who feel it the most. I don’t believe we can solve the problem by taxing the rich, but the poorest people have the greatest need for safety and security. You are naive to think a person not taking their anti-psychotic drugs or a mother forced to leave her kids alone to make money won’t affect us financially in the future someway.

As a state we need to cut a lot of things. I am surprised there isn’t an outcry to cut the governor’s and legislator’s wages. Cut them in half and halve their per diem too. That is a few million dollars. You have to start somewhere.

I saw some (and listened to more) of the House Ways & Means Committee “Presentation about the November Forecast” online Thursday. SD36 was represented by both Pat Garofalo and Mary Liz Holberg at the meeting. The odd thing is that Pat Garofalo was wearing an Adrian Peterson Vikings Jersey instead of the standard legislator’s button down shirt. I figure either he wants to support the freedom to drive 109 miles an hour, or he is for a publically financed stadium for the Vikings despite the economic news he was there to discuss. I sent him an email making a little joke about it. I don’t know for sure, but I assume he was attending the Vikings Rally at the Capitol that afternoon.

Speaking of stadiums, did you see that Murray’s Steakhouse is going to have a concession stand at the Bull’s Eye, or whatever catchy name people are going to start calling Target Field. Mmmm. So long Famous Dave’s. Only 129 days until opening day at the Field.

129 days is more than twice as long until the caucus. Only 59 days until the caucus. I’m not exactly sure when the SD36 convention is, but probably within a month of the caucus. That means I have about 3 months to decide which gubernatorial candidate to support. I’m really flip-flopping on who to support. One day it is one candidate and the next it is another. To be totally honest though, I have eliminated Dayton, Marty, Gaertner and Rukavina from my consideration. That leaves six more to decide from. I’d gladly meet any of them at the ballpark for a Murray’s steak sandwich to discuss issues…

With 10 candidates for governor (12 if you want to count Ole Savior and Peter Roess) vying for support and money, a little edge on the money side could really separate a candidate. All reports are the Entenza already has an edge, but Wednesday afternoon he was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a Washington D.C. fundraiser. While the South Dakota and North Dakota Senators were among the hosts, it seems that neither Senator Klobuchar nor Senator Franken were present in the stories I found.

Speaking of fundraising, MN Moderate to Liberal Political Roundtable by Holly Cairns is doing a very interesting test. She is offering to sell ad space to the candidates. It is a very reasonable rate, and in return, she will work to promote the candidate’s messages. If you look to the right, I am promoting candidates. A look at my blog stats shows that in the last 30 days, DFL candidate links to the right have had 136 clicks. Over the last 3 months, there have been 797 candidate link clicks. There are a lot bigger blogs than mine out there, so bloggers are driving people to the sites. Maybe a little financial support for bloggers is a good thing.

Speaking of blog statistics, I like to look at the searches people use to access my blog. My two favorite searches in the last few weeks that led somebody to my website:

“Tom Emmer Crazy Governor”
and
“who the hell is dan powers DFL”

I think most people coming to this site know Dan Powers is running against John Kline in CD2. Down in CD1, Rep. Tim Walz is holding another town hall meeting. Walz has had two meetings in the last few months. Congressman Kline has only held two meetings in his last few terms!

Let the Real 2008 Race Begin

Well I guess the day of the Iowa caucus is as good as any day to get back into this. I’ve been pretty busy taking two classes, teaching bible school on Wednesday nights, trucking my two older boys to basketball and dealing with numerous dumb little things that seem to make our life so much more hectic than it really needs to be.

It is just over four weeks until the Minnesota Caucus, but am still undecided. I really like Al Franken, but I think Mike Ciresi is very senatorial. In the presidential race I am still leaning toward Barack Obama, but am not convinced. I’m sure I would be a strong Hillary supporter if I didn’t feel like she was hiding stuff. By hiding I mean things like not letting photos be taken until she is ready, restricting who can see her, removing reporters from interviews or conferences who ask questions that they have been told ahead of time she won’t respond to. It is all very Bush like. I like John Edwards, but he has done some stuff that annoy me, and I really like Bill Richardson, but he has no hope of winning. I am baffled by people who like Dennis Kucinich, sorry if you are one of them, I’ve heard him twice recently and he seems almost belligerent, very egomaniacal.

As for Congressional District 2, I believe a Steve Sarvi is the only candidate so far who has announced or filed to run. I’m not sure because I have been out of the loop for a while. Anyway, he is a National Guardsman and really seems to be stressing that point in the little bit I have heard about him. He seems like the perfect candidate to run against John Kline whose only positive message seems to be he served and carried the “football.”

Other than that, I am taking a marketing class and following the Twins hot stove moves, of which there are always many (that was sarcasm). Maybe I will be more active for the next year or so. Check back.