To: The MNGOP Judicial Elections Committee
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant Who Resents The Time He’s Wasted Listening To You People Over The Years
Re: Monday Morning Quarterbacking
Quick – without looking at a ballot, tell us – who was running for the other Supreme Court of Minnesota (SCOM) seat on Tuesday?
We’ll come back to that.
Some of you are giggling like schoolgirls that Michelle MacDonald, after all of the back-and-forth over her endorsement and legal issues, got 46% of the vote for Supreme Court against Darth Lillehaug (who came in at 53%). .
Hold the giggling. Did you remember who was running for the other SCOM seat that was up for grabs?
It was Mimi Wright against John Hancock; Wright won 56/42. And Hancock didn’t have the benefit of five months of media attention to his (non-existent) endorsement fiasco, party wrangling and legal travails.
And perhaps more importantly, he wasn’t running against Darth Lillehaug.
Look at every other judicial race in the state. The challengers in the (very few) races that weren’t opposed generally netted 35-40% of the vote. And why? Because they weren’t incumbents. Random noise.
So 35-40% of Michelle McDonald’s 46% were votes the GOP could have gotten by nominating Sharon Anderson or Leslie Davis or Clu Berg, my golden retriever.
So don’t go claiming any credit for outperforming the GOP as a whole.
Now, this blog has already spent plenty of time castigating the JEC for the sleazy way you got McDonald endorsed – trotting her across the stage as a convention hall full of delegates with numb asses from 20 hours of wrangling over the Senate endorsement were getting ready for another half day of untangling a 5-way Governor race, and – unforgiveably – voting to not disclose to the delegates that Ms. McDonald had a pending court case for driving while intoxicated, rushing her through an acclamation endorsement without bothering to mention that the woman had “Media Poo-Storm” written all over her.
We apparently didn’t need to know that.
She spent the next five months, camera diliigently thrust in front of her, roaming the state, trashing the GOP, getting headlines from a media whose mission is also trashing the GOP, mostly winning her legal case…
…and making people who follow these sorts of things wonder what was going on in there?
So let’s recap:
- The JEC performs a dishonest sleight of hand, and gets Michelle MacDonald endorsed.
- MacDonald spends months getting the kind of media attention no SCOM candidate ever, ever gets.
- She runs against David Lillehaug – one of the few other SCOM candidates this side of Alan Page with a media profile.
- She gets 4% better than a complete unknown running in an unknown race against an unknown opponent.
This tells us a couple of things:
- A good 30-40% of the vote in any contested judge race will be anti-incumbent, no matter who it is.
- Apparently that 30-40% doesn’t care if someone was charged with DUI, or wouldn’t know if they did.
- Either people liked Michelle McDonald, or they hated David Lillehaug.
So – how could things have gone differently?
What if you, the JEC, had tried just a skosh of honesty? What would have happened?
Maybe you’d have lost the nomination. And then again, maybe a straightforward minority report, coupled with an honest explanation of the exigencies from Ms. McDonald, would have won the delegates over.
Of course, the media would have have bellowed “GOP ENDORSES ACCUSED DRUNK DRIVER”.
Which they did anyway! Only this time the GOP would have been at her back (although that would have taken some cojones). And then it would have been off to the general election, Where 30-40% would have voted for her or Sharon Anderson or Paula Overby or Clu Berg.
And 4-6% would have voted for her because they’d heard of her.
And then Minnesota’s Second Amendment lobby, convinced they were backing a viable candidate instead of a skittery liabililty, could have called in the tribes and fired off some of their carefully-hoarded political capital against David Lillehaug, their sworn enemy. If there’s anyone who wants Lillehaug to go into retirement, it’s Minnesota’s shooters. Most of their races won; their support turned out the tribes in support of not just a few longshots. To take down Darth Lillehaug?
It could have been a match made in heaven.
Instead, you – the JEC – tried to manipulate the convention, and did it very badly.
And I haven’t the words to express my contempt for what you all did.
That is all.