Tag Archives: RT Rybak

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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It’s the 2010 DFL Candidate Endorsement Bracket Challenge!

Can you tell I am excited about the NCAA Basketball Tournament?  I am only part of two NCAA bracket competitions, neither of them for money thankfully because I usually lose to the person who watches no college basketball.  Anyway, in my excitement for bracket challenges, I made my own bracket challenge with the DFL candidates for governor.

(Click on it for a larger image)

This bracket is in a way how I expected the DFL Endorsement process to go, with the expectation that my own sleeper pick would win the big dance.

The DFL State Convention is only three weeks away.  In one sense, the games have already started.  The play-in game has eliminated one team, but the number one seeds are pretty safe, at least during the first round.

Over the last year, I’ve seen all the major DFL candidate for governor, and I’ve met most of them, even if a couple might have just been an introduction and handshake.  During that time, I decided to support Paul Thissen.  I feel like he is the freshest candidate.  He seems young despite his gray hair, is articulate, forward thinking and he communicates well.  He is very intelligent, but he doesn’t have the intelligence arrogance others can have.  He impresses people with his grasp of policy and his understanding of how it affects everybody.  He is dedicated and hard working.

Those who support other candidates might say that describes their candidate too.  That is the great thing about the number of decent candidates we have on the DFL side.  But I will support Paul at the convention in a few weeks.  That said, I am also pragmatic. 

I expected more delegates to feel the way I feel about Paul.  That hasn’t happened.  I recently read John Marty has passed Paul Thissen to move into fourth place in the delegate count behind R.T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Uncommitted.  The total delegates for candidates below Paul on the delegate count wouldn’t give Paul enough to pass Rybak or Kelliher if they all supported Paul.  Granted, Uncommitted dwarves everybody else and anything can happen, but I know there are a lot of “committed” uncommitteds.  I saw it at my Senate District Convention.

So being the pragmatic individual I think I am, I feel like I need to make a decision about who to support if Paul doesn’t make it to the later rounds of the endorsement process.

I’m not somebody who is going to support a candidate come hell or high water when I know that candidate will not win.  I’m realistic.  That bracket above is pretty indicative of my final decision.  If you notice, I stopped at the final four.  I didn’t go down to a final two.  I’m having a really hard time deciding on the next best behind Paul.

Many of the candidates are good, and I could easily support any of them.  In fact at one point, I probably had decided to support each of them before finally deciding on supporting Paul.  The main factor that I think will influence my decision is electability.

Who is the next most electable of the final four after Paul? 

R.T. Rybak is the most charismatic.  Plus, he has the next most name recognition after Mark Dayton.  In recent Rasmussen Polls he beats Emmer and is tied with Seifert.  No other DFLer does.  Even Dayton’s name recognition has him losing to Seifert.  And worse, nobody else beats Emmer.  That will obviously change if Emmer starts campaigning, but still… The problem: 30 second commercials with artistic water fountains and police cuts that can stick negatively despite truly being non-issues.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Waste, the arts over safety, tax and spend liberal. 

Margaret Anderson Kelliher has an Amy Klobuchar factor about her campaign.  There is nothing flashy about her, but she is a good candidate and good communicator who will draw women, even ones that might normally vote Republican.  She stands her ground on issues.  She grew up a farm girl, but is an urban woman.  The problem: 30 second commercials centered around the voter access file flap.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Scandal, trust issues, manipulation, typical politician.

Matt Entenza… I like his personal story, I think he would do a great job, but there are a lot of negative vibes within his own party, let alone the barrage that would come from the right.  He is definitely forth on this list.

So who do I choose?  I probably won’t know until a few ballots into the endorsement process. 

Who would you choose?

Short-Sighted Reactionary Rhetoric on the Right

If you do not read The Deets, Ed Kohler’s blog, I highly recommend you check out his last few blog posts about Minneapolis’ tap water advertising controversy. 

MN Republicans are Anti-Tap Water 3/11/10
Minnesota GOP’s Short-Sighted Stance on Tap Water 3/13/10
Tap Water ROI: It’s About the Bottles 3/14/10

Cities Promote Tap Water Because It’s Good Policy 3/15/10

It is a prime example of how I feel so many Republican leaders and strategists are out of touch these days.  They concentrate on rhetoric and reaction, instead of thinking about long term solutions to issues that need to be resolved. 

And the biggest problem isn’t the Republicans, it is that there are too few people like Ed Kohler challenging that reactionary rhetoric on the right.

Whether the issue is healthcare reform, terrorism, climate change, the pre-census letter, or locally the budget crisis, GAMC and even the tap water issue in Minneapolis, Republicans concentrate on the short term effects instead of the long term gain.  And we let that short-sighted thinking dominate conversation. 

Success comes from planning for the future, not just trying to get by today.  We cannot continue to put off solutions today at the expense of the next generation or two.

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.

Rybek Reid Moment = Scooby Doo Moment – HUH?

If you have not heard, R.T. Rybak was recently endorsed by the DFL Latino Caucus.  Following the endorsement, blogger Luke Hellier at Minnesota Democrats Exposed made the post in the box below.  Can anybody tell me exactly what Mr. Hellier is trying to imply?  

I’m thinking Michael Brodkorb has to be disappointed in what his blog has turned into.  Hellier does not seem to have the skills Brodkorb had to twist some little thing already taken out of context and get people mad. 

I think Ed Kohler on The Deets feels the same way.

RT RYBAK HAS HARRY REID MOMENT WITH COMMENT ABOUT MEXICAN-AMERICANS

By Luke Hellier | January 14, 2010

Earlier today Mayor RT Rybak was endorsed by the DFL Latino caucus.  However, reports now are surfacing that Rybak has said some troubling things about Mexican-Americans in the past.

The following is an excerpt from a news article from the Saint Paul Pioneer Press where Mayor RT Rybak says this about this about Mexican-Americans:

“While we eat in our restaurants, they toil in the kitchens,” he said. “They mow the lawns in our best neighborhoods. At night when we go home, they clean our office buildings for the next day.”