Tag Archives: Tim Walz

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 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!

Looking to 2010 Minnesota Governor Race

So with less than a day gone by since the political commercials ended, what do we do now? The toilet bowl cleaner commercials are back on TV, the roadsides are less cluttered by red and blue signs, and the interruptions from quick-speaking, monotone callers have stopped bothering us at dinner time. I guess the only thing we can do now is look to 2010.

With the disappointing loss by El Tinklenberg, the expected loss by Steve Sarvi, and the likely loss by Al Franken, it is time to turn our attention to the governor’s race. Well, it may not be time, but I thought about it, so I am going to write about it.

The Declared Candidates:
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner – I listened to her and met her at a Wilder Foundation seminar I went to. She seemed very likeable, but she seemed to me to be one of those people that is always going a mile a minute, I get worried about those people getting too stressed out. That said, I like her a lot, and she is near the top of my list right now, without knowing very much about her, or knowing who else might run.

State Senator Tom Bakk – The Virginia DFLer said how he differs from Gov. Pawlenty, “I’m just not going to sit by and manage the decline of the state.” Isn’t that exactly what T-Paw is doing?

The Likely Candidates:

Senator Mark Dayton – If I can’t say anything nice about him, I shouldn’t say anything about him at all. That said, I think he announced he was running this past summer, but he doesn’t have a website.

Mayor Raymond Thomas Rybak, Jr – R.T. was the first mayor in the nation to endorse now president-elect Obama – he knows a good thing when he sees it. I like R.T., but he seems a little aloof, and it is hard for me to imagine DFLers on the iron range supporting him in large numbers at the caucuses. He seems very pragmatic when it comes to budgets and economics, and does a good job of looking at things with an eye for the future, such as pressing T-Paw for mass transit options on the 35W bridge. I really liked the common-sense approach he took when he brought about that change in thinking that future needs cannot be ignored simply because we need to rush to get something done.

The Possible Candidates:
House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher
Senate, Assistant Majority Leader Tarryl Clark
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz

Is John Kline Afraid of Little Old Ladies?

I received an email that Jim Ramstad is holding three town hall style meetings next week. It made me think how unavailable John Kline always seems to be.

I decided to look at some of our other state’s congressional representatives. Jim Oberstar is holding two meetings next week. Tim Walz is holding three meetings. Keith Ellison is holding four meetings this weekend. Collin Peterson was in Crookston for a couple meetings this last weekend.

I know John Kline comes back to the state. I’ve seen pictures. I talked to a staffer last election, Kline doesn’t like to hold meetings because “they are too partisan.” Maybe if he represented his district rather than only the Republicans of the district that voted for him, he would feel a little more welcome.

Those other congressmen aren’t afraid to meet their constituents. You would think a marine corps veteran could withstand the occasional verbal attack from a little old lady who is against the war. If he can’t, maybe he needs to think about retiring.

I suspect John Kline lacks empathy, and finds it hard to understand why people might disagree with his party- I mean with him. He probably also has a hard time relating to Minnesotans. After all, he is a carpetbagger, he has not spent much time here. Minnesotan’s have different view points and different values from Texans.

Steve Sarvi ’s parents moved a lot, but they settled in Minnesota and he grew up here going to school and college in Minnesota. Steve Sarvi has Minnesota values, Minnesota common-sense and Minnesota roots.

No Gas Price Trap

So many people seem relieved that gas prices are dropping, but we can’t fall back into the trap that happened in the 90s. We should not accept that right now, the U.S. is more dependent on oil from unstable Middle Eastern countries than we were on September 11, 2001.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there, oil prices are dropping because the oil companies want people to forget about the high cost of gas by the time the elections roll around to keep their right-wing hacks in their back pocket, or that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other oil rich nations want Bush to keep his power, along with his addiction problem.

If we want a safer and more secure country, not just in terms of terrorism, but the equally important environmental aspects, it’s time to break our dependence on foreign oil. We can do that by electing progressive candidates at the state and local level who support:

  • Investment in production of renewable, cleaner-burning ethanol so that, instead of importing oil from the Middle East, Minnesota’s farmers will produce America’s fuel.
  • Speeding up the development of new fuel-efficient vehicles such as plug-in hybrids, not hydrogen based vehicles that are years behind hybrid in technology.
  • Requiring car companies to increasing a gas powered cars fuel efficiency. According to a July 18th Washington Post article, the EPA said the industry-wide fuel economy of 2006 model-year vehicles was 21 miles per gallon. If we can increase that average to 26 MPG, our nation can reduce our auto fuel usage by 20%. That means you have 20% more of your gas money to spend on whatever you want, and terrorist supporting oil rich countries have 20% less to spend on what they want.
  • Offering tax incentives for buying hybrids rather than hummers for small businesses.
  • Requiring all municipality, county, state and federal vehicle fleets, including buses, to reduce its overall fuel consumption by moving toward hybrids or alternative fuels like ethanol and bio-diesel. 

If we can elect a majority, common-sense and progressive government, I think this will happen by the end of the decade. The new candidates in Minnesota we need to elect are Amy Klobuchar in the senate, Mike Hatch for governor, Lori Swanson for attorney general, and Patty Wetterling, Tim Walz and Coleen Rowley to congress in seats currently held by Republicans. We need to support local Democrats like Paul Hardt in my district and your local Democratic candidate so we can take back the Minnesota House.

A lot of people are kicking themselves for their votes in 2004. Together we can make sure that doesn’t happen again. I know it is hard to talk to people about political issues, but we can’t go on much longer as a nation, or even a world, if we don’t take back this country from the right-wing elite who think their 1% is more important than us.