Republicans are seeking to oust Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is up for his first reelection after his narrow 2008 win.Franken will be a tough candidate — he’s worked hard to ingratiate himself in the state, and his poll numbers look fairly solid. But Republicans hope with the right candidate they can topple the first-term senator.
Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and John Kline (R-Minn.) are two early mentions for the race.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is up for reelection the same year, giving up-and-coming Minnesota Republicans two possibilities for a statewide run.
The Campaign for 20 Million More is an effort spearheaded by Marriage Equality USA to bring together community organizations across the country to educate on the importance of marriage equality and support the four state coalitions this fall in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
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“Paul based his political leadership and career on the idea [that] you say that you believe, you believe what you say, you put that out there for voters,” explained Blodgett. “When Paul first got into politics, lots of progressives weren’t enthusiastic about electoral politics. Paul believed that it was important to integrate community organizing and electoral politics. Organizing without electoral politics could marginalize social movements. Now most folks understand that. That’s one of Paul’s important legacies.”
“Politics is not about power. Politics is not about money. Politics is not about winning for the sake of winning. Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives.”
Paul Wellstone’s Legacy, 10 Years Later by Al Franken (via - The Atlantic)
Jim Graves is a 58-year-old self-made Minnesota businessman and grandfather of seven, still married to his high-school sweetheart, running against a symbol of unhinged hyperpartisanship in the halls of Congress. Bachmann’s bizarre presidential run only highlighted what an awkward fit she is for the common sense civility that characterizes “Minnesota Nice.”
But she’s never faced a truly competitive opponent, despite a string of narrow wins—and that’s changed this time around.
“I started my first company in a basement with $2,000 in the bank, and I’ve been able to create thousands of jobs,” says Graves, who started the mid-scale AmericInn hotel chain. “I’m a person who understands the economy and has built real businesses on Main Street. Now I want to give something back. I’ll be a good ambassador for the district. And you can juxtapose that against Michele Bachmann—someone who’s divisive and antagonistic, ridicules our president, and spreads fear and division.”
“My policy approach transcends political lines,” Graves says. “I’m a centrist, a libertarian when it comes to social issues—I don’t think government should be involved with personal lives. I really believe in separation of church and state. Bachmann wants to blur those lines—she would [replace] our democracy with a theocracy … She epitomizes everything that’s wrong with Congress and this country—a lack of civility, a lack of bipartisan or nonpartisan approach to problem solving.”
Polls show the race is now neck and neck—with 48 percent for Bachmann and 46 percent for Graves and the remaining still undecided, according to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll. Crucially, independent voters now lean toward Graves by a 15-point margin. Now the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is backing Graves in his campaign, showing it is very much in play.
But this is the most conservative district in Minnesota, compounded by redistricting. Moreover, Bachmann has been a successful conspiracy entrepreneur—raising millions of dollars in campaign donation by throwing out extreme statements—such as questioning how many fellow congressmen have “anti-American” views (to use one mild example)—and then fundraising off it by playing the victim.
“She makes these inflammatory comments for fundraising purposes,” Graves recognizes. “As soon as she says something outrageous, the money spigot opens up. I was just told she’s raised more than $20 million this race—that’s unbelievable in rural moderate Minnesota district. We’re more in the $2 million range—so she’s got a 10 to 1 advantage.”
But interestingly, Graves doesn’t connect his campaign to the current president. “My campaign isn’t an endorsement of President Obama’s first term in office,” Graves says. “I would have done some things differently than he did—I’m staying focused on doing what’s right for the people on the Sixth Congressional District.”
Graves believes the tipping point in the district was the combination of Bachmann’s presidential campaign creating embarrassment for constituents and a more recent self-inflicted scandal. “I think a turning point was Ms. Huma Abedin and the whole Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy theory. And when people in the district saw that Speaker Boehner and Senator McCain said this has no basis in reality, I think that woke people up here. That’s not what a person in Congress or especially a person on the intelligence committee should say.”
Invoking a decades old law that requires any degree granting academic institution to obtain a license to operate in state (and pay a hefty fee for said license), Minnesota has banned universities from offering free online courses through education site Coursera, prompting the site to issue this notice to all Minnesota users:
Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.
Now, say you, Coursera doesn’t actually award degrees for the completion of online courses! Well, since the universities that offer their courses through the site are technically “degree granting institutions”, lawmakers are asking that they pay to register with the state.
Defending the statute, George Roedler, Manager of Institutional Registration & Licensing for the state of Minnesota says, “We regulate colleges & universities that enroll Minnesota residents. They are required to register as degree granting institutions with us.” When I pointed out that students are not actually obtaining a degree upon the completion of these online courses, he argued that, “Our statute does not exempt free and non credit bearing courses.”
Minnesota, this is stupid. And wrong.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) swung by a Chicago-area synagogue for a worship service on the eve of Yom Kippur last week, upsetting congregants and provoking one man to mount a campaign for her Democratic challenger before the end of the night.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Rabbi Michael Siegel of Anshe Emet Synagogue observed protocol by offering a customary greeting to Bachmann during the services. While elected officials are traditionally acknowledged during such events at the temple, the presence of the conservative Minnesota firebrand prompted particular displeasure.
Some reportedly walked out of the ceremony, while Gary Sircus, a 25-year member of Anshe Emet Synagogue, voiced more active opposition to Bachmann’s attendance.
“The holiness of the room and the holiness of the evening was greatly diminished for me, if not completely destroyed,” said Sircus, according to the Tribune. “Our congregation values and embodies tolerance, compassion, respect for individual rights, intelligence, science — all of the things that I think Michele Bachmann stands against.”
Hours after storming out of the service, Sircus donated to Jim Graves, Bachmann’s Democratic opponent in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, and included a note.
“I felt that the best way to ‘honor’ Ms. Bachmann’s visit was to make a contribution to your campaign,” he wrote to Graves. “Even though I do not vote in Minnesota, please do everything in your power to take away this evil woman’s soapbox.”
The Graves campaign told the Tribune that it experienced a 400 percent growth in donations from the Chicago area last week, though it’s unclear if Sircus is to credit for this trend.
During a panel discussion about fact-checking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Jim Drinkard, the Associated Press (AP) editor who oversees the wire service’s fact-checking work, said that the AP actually had to limit the number of lies they reported during the Republican debates:
We had to have a self-imposed Michele Bachmann quota in some of those debates.
After the session, Drinkard said that there wasn’t an actual numerical quota on Bachmann at the AP. It’s just that they literally could not keep pace with the number of lies she told and were worried that if the AP had gone back and vetted all of her claims that seemed a bit dubious, the result would “overload” the debate story.
Drinkard, who is apparently fond of massive understatements, added, “Often she was just more prone to statements that just didn’t add up.”
The latest KSTP/SurveyUSA poll found 50 percent of Minnesotans favor an amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Forty-three percent oppose the amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage in the Constitution, and 8 percent are undecided.
The other amendment on the November ballot has broader support. The poll found 62 percent of Minnesotans support the idea of requiring photo IDs to vote on Election Day, while 31 percent oppose. Just 7 percent are undecided.
Minnesota, you are going to make Paul Wellstone’s spirit cry. Progressives, you’ve got some work to do.
Voter Fraud Billboard A Fraud Says Minneapolis Mayor Rybak
“Over the last six years, more than 500,000 people have voted in the City of Saint Paul. During that time, only two people have been found to commit voter fraud — one was a felon and the other was a non-U.S. citizen — but in neither case would the the Voter Photo ID amendment have stopped them from committing their crime.”
Looks like the Koch brothers superPAC money has slimed its way into Minnesota. (read more)
Mother Jones profiled Allen Quist, as of Tuesday the GOP nominee for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District, in May. Now, here’s a piece of work:
Quist’s almost singular focus on sexuality didn’t go unnoticed. “At one point,” the St. Petersburg Timesreported in 1994, “a Senate leader suggested he had an unhealthy preoccupation with sex, having devoted 30 hours to it in a single session.”
Quist was a staunch pro-lifer who once argued that abortion should be classified as a first-degree homicide. When his pregnant wife died in a car accident in 1986, Quist had the six-and-a-half-month-old fetus placed in his wife’s arms in an open casket at the funeral. A year later, he married Julie Morse, a former pro-choice feminist who had been reborn as a Republican activist. (Morse had cofounded Minneapolis’ first feminist bookstore, Amazon Books; originally based on the front porch of a women’s collective, it soon migrated to the city’s Lesbian Community Center.)
Oh yeah, and he believes that women are “genetically predisposed” to subservience.
Seriously, y’all: OCCUPY A VOTING BOOTH and cry out as one voice to repudiate this GOP crap!
Someone left a gruesome message outside a polling place one day before Minnesota’s primary election. Yesterday, a Minneapolis park employee found a dead cat that had been burned and staked to a tree stump with an American flag with an Obama/Biden 2012 lawn sign planted next to it. No arrests have been made yet, but the Secret Service and FBI are investigating the matter. This is at least the second time someone has used violence against cats to send a political message this year. In January, an Arkansas Democratic campaign manager found his child’s cat murdered and “LIBERAL” scrawled on the dead body.