Campaigning 102

Ryan Wilson – who’s running for State Auditor, and is leading incumbent DFLer Julie Blaha in the latest Trafalgar poll on Minnesota statewide races – did a whirlwind tour of Minnesota yesterday, as recounted in this twitter thread.

Read the thread, and notice what’s missing:

At no point in the tour did he drive of the road in a cloud of White Cloud cans, like incumbent DFLer Julie Blaha and her sidekick, Melisa Franzen-Lopez. There was no need for MNGOP chair Dave Hann need to pull up to the scene in a converted Scooby Doo “Mystery Machine” and rescue Wilson from the cops.

At no point did Wilson crash and roll his vehicle leaving a trail of beer cans and ammo, like Dave Hutchinson, the retiring DFL sheriff of Hennepin County and, possibly, the only sheriff in the state that would endorse Keith Ellison.

“No driving off the road in a cloud of empties” would seem to be a low bar…

…oops.. Wrong term. Sorry.

I should say – I assume that Wilson didn’t drive off the road leaving a trail of empty beer cans. If a Republican had done any such thing, we’d have heard about it in the media. endlessly, between now and November. Sort of like when Tom Emmer’s DUI at 20 got wall to wall media coverage, Tim Walz’s at age 31 was completely ignored – that’s how I know .

Anyway – the GOP: the candidates who don’t drive off the road.


The Pioneer Press, apparently knowing (what little is left of) its audience, says:

Now, I don’t pry into other peoples personal healthcare decisions, and I’m pretty merciless to any idiot who tries to yap about mine.

But it’s worth noting that Dr. Jensen, though not vaccinated, appears to have missed zero days of work or campaigning due to Covid.

In the meantime, the people who run this state – Lt. Governor Flanagan and her figurehead, the…uh, somewhat comorbid Tim Walz – have both had Covid and been off the job in the past couple years.

Correlation – especially with three data points – isn’t causation.

But it’s a better correlation than the one data point the PiPress ran with.

The Battle/s For The GOP

Every election, and GOP primary, is a “referendum on Donald Trump”.

Just ask the Democrats and media (ptr), who want and need every election to be a referendum on Orange Literal Hitler.

Of course, as a conservative who wants to see DeSantis mop the floor with whomever the order of succession puts up against him – Harris? Pelosi? Buttigieg? Beto O’Rourke? – in 2024, I’d very much like the whole “referendum on Trump” thing to shut up and go away.

The Youngkin victory in Virginia last fall should have put that to bed – he was elected while the Democrats tried to make the vote about Trump, and still try to retroactively apply him to the race – but then, our media being dishonest about this sort of thing is hardly Man Bites Dog, now, is it?

This past week has given both sides evidence.

The primary in Pennsylvania earlier this week had Dr. Mehment “Doctor Oz” Oz winning the Senate primary – but by a narrow enough margin that Trump reportedly may start swearing off endorsing people.

On the other hand, in Georgia, Trump’s bete noir Governor Kemp cruised to a comically easy victory over Trump-endorsed Perdue in the race against Stacey Abrams, the unelected real president of the US and EU.

In the meantime, a week that saw Madison Cawthorne exit his race, saw Marjorie Taylor Greene winning her contest handily.

My two cents: The battle will center on the GOP fight against the depredations of Obama’s third term, versus the Democrats trying to stretch Donald Trump’s relevance two years beyond his exit from office.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the CD1 primary ended in a recount-worthy race between Brad Finstad and Jeremy Munson…

…and a blowout of Jim Hagedorn’s widow and, uh, controversial former MNGOP chair Jennifer Carnahan.

Who may still seek a recount, for all we know.

Game Day

In addition to a number of primaries that may or may not be referenda on Donald Trump, depending on who you ask (more tomorrow, hopefully), today is the first of four drama-clogged elections in Minnesota’s First Congressional District.

As the Strib notes, there are twenty candidates in the running. The DFL (8 candidates) and GOP (10) ones are vying for a significant shot on the ballot in a special election coming up on August 9.

You can fairly feel the media, practically begging for a strong performance by Jennifer Carnahan, widow of the late Rep. Hagedorn and controversial former state GOP chair. It’d guarantee a couple months of soap-opera drama before a DFL victory – a win-win for the DFL and media (pardon the redundancy). Matt Benda has the money; State reps Jeremy Munson and (to a lesser extent) Nils Pierson have the political name recognition.

Tomorrow’s going to be a fun one.

How Can You Tell The Strib Is Lying About Republicans?

The Star Tribune continues to earn its keep as the DFL‘s “unpaid “ PR machine:

For those of you who weren’t paying attention to the GOP convention last weekend – it hardly needs to be said, but nothing of the sort of happened.

A move to disaffiliate with the “Log Cabin Republicans” (to be fair, led by someone who has never been a fan of the notion of LGBTQ Republicans) wrapped up in a procedural motion to vote on the affiliation of each and every affiliate with the party (there are quite a few) led to the clock literally running out on the State Central Committee meeting on Thursday. For the evening, it left the affiliates unattached, and their delegates not credentialed to be seated in the convention.

The body of the convention itself reversed that action on Friday.

This squabble – largely led by a representative from the first congressional district – mirrors in large part a similar fracas a few years ago, when a group of Central committee representatives and convention delegates tried to introduce rules that would bar Muslims from holding Republican Party positions.representatives and convention delegates tried to introduce rules that would bar Muslims from holding Republican Party positions.

It’s the position of this blog that, whatever your personal beliefs about homosexuality and/or Islam, that there is very little that is more aggressively American than “coming out“ as a Republican. Not even buying a house in Burnsville, with a literal freaking picket fence surrounding your front yard.

Indeed, in many of the communities served by these affiliates – Somali, Latino‘s, African-Americans, mong and LGBTQ Dash “coming out“ as a Republican carries an affirmative social risk these are not people to be pushed away; they are frequently the toughest, most resilient Republicans there are.

People may disagree. Let’s disagree.

But let’s also focus on the things we do agree on; for example, the Star Tribune are a bunch of partisan hacks..

From Deep Moldy Blue

Voters in Kenosha County – which has been voting Democrat for literally decades – threw out Democrats for county executive and school board in county elections this week..

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, a Republican candidate for governor, endorsed 48 school board candidates. Of those, 34 won including eight incumbents, based on preliminary results. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, a former teacher, school administrator and state superintendent, did not endorse in any race…

Conservative candidates picked up school board seats in Waukesha, Wausau and Kenosha, but lost races in Beloit and the western Wisconsin cities of La Crosse and Eau Claire.

The Republican-backed candidate for a state appeals court seat in southeastern Wisconsin, Maria Lazar, also defeated a sitting judge who was appointed by Evers.


Huh. Where have I heard of Kenosha.

I wonder why a habitually Democrat county seems to be swinging red?

Why could that be?

am a small-town Scandinavian at heart, and have spent decades involved in Minnesota and Metro Republican politics, so optimism doesn’t come easily. I’m waiting to see how the MNGOP screws this potential wave up.

Let’s not screw this potential wave up.

Not Our Kind, Dear

Victor Davis Hanson, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, explains why he longer works for the magazine of William F. Buckley:

I think there were certain people in the Republican movement, or establishment, who felt it is their duty to internally police their own, and that’s kind of a virtue signal to the left.

We are just part of your class, we share the same values as you do, and we keep our crazies. And they are not empirical.

Empiricism is hardly a growth industry, but clinging to tradition has its charms, especially if doing so allows you to strike down your rivals. There’s a long history of keeping crazies at National Review. During his long reign at NR, Buckley famously put paid to the Birchers and anarcho-capitalists like Murray Rothbard, casting them to the outer darkness. Later on, Buckley cast out writers he had championed, including Joseph Sobran and Pat Buchanan, both for anti-Semitism. My father subscribed to NR and I would read it cover to cover in my youth. Once I set up my own household, I subscribed for over a decade, but after a while the value proposition wasn’t there.  

Buckley has been gone for over a decade now, and while his beloved NR is still in operation, it hasn’t been a serious enterprise for a long time. Back in 2016, NR tried to cast the Bad Orange Man to the outer darkness, marshaling dozens of arguments against the Dread Pirate Drumpf, but all their sound and fury signified, well, nothing. Why was that? No one really took NR seriously any more.

While Victor Davis Hanson doesn’t need a particular platform to be heard, his departure from NR means the cupboard is bare. It’s not surprising, truth be told — Republicanism generally signifies nothing. Hanson knows why:

I think there’s an image that a lot of Republicans have, both in politics and they sort of represent a sober and judicious way of looking at the world, and we are the adults in the room.

And it’s more about a culture than it is an ideology.

I’m not convinced it’s even a culture. From our perch in flyoverland, the conservative movement NR embodies is a pose rather than an attempt at understanding, let alone defending, a culture. Back to Hanson:

The original Republican conservative movement, I thought, was going to go back and look at the Constitution, when Jefferson said it won’t work if you pile up everybody in the cities because they will be subject to mass hysteria. Or de Tocqueville, and you look at certain ideas, I thought that’s what we were.

I thought they would be champions of the middle class, but I don’t think they were. I don’t think they wanted to be.

Hanson is clearly disillusioned, but he had to know the truth — any classicist of his erudition understands that grandeur and the trappings of the elite are powerful intoxicants. And currying favor with our betters is lucrative. 


I went to the GOP headquarters last night, with a small group of activists and with what seemed for a while to be an even bigger group of media

And there, we waited for the puffs of smoke for the chimney (that none of us could find):

Do buildings even have chimneys, anymore?

Gradually, some of the members of the executive committee started showing up:

Bobby Benson Dash executive committee man from CD6, and one of the first to publicly break with Carnahan.

And then, things settled into negotiation. Which was when I left. It was hot out there.

And, apparently, it got a little hot in there, too:

Carnahan started the evening demanding ten months of severance – likely over $100K, which is probably triple what the MNGOP has in the bank at the moment.

After a 2-3 hours of hammer and tongs, it came down to a 7-7 vote for a $38,000 severance deal. Aaaand, under the rules, Carnahan got to break the tie. Which she did. Basically skipping out with the MNGOP’s bank account.

Not, naturally, without leaving the DFL and media (ptr) a natural punch line:

I mean, on the one hand, it’s so obvious, even Jennifer Brooks got it.

And it’s not wrong.

Anyway – between the upcoming audit, the election for party chair in the next 45 days, the gut-shot this likely provides the Hagedorn race in CD1 (presuming his health permits a re-election bid), and Carnahan’s stated intent to run for that congressional seat (which has to be described as “dead on conception”, at this remove), not to mention the inevitable drama of the Lazzaro trial (or, more likely I suspect, guilty plea and showing where the financial bodies are buried, likely followed by the inevitable and justifiable clawback lawsuits on behalf of the victims, which will lead back to the party’s currently nonexistant coffers), the drama’s not over.

To say nothing of the that will attend the next year in MNGOP internal politics. Of the 14 non-Carnahan members of the Executive Committee, seven voted against the severance:

The rest of ’em need to have a short, sharp conversation with their voters. Hopefully leading to some down time, in many cases (although I can be convinced).

It’s not the end of the drama. It’s not even, as Churchill said, the beginning of the end. It’s onlyh yet another end of another frustrating beginning for the MNGOP.


During her first campaign for #MNGOP state chair, I supported Jennifer Carnahan. It wasn’t a slam-dunk – Keith Downey was very capable. I thought she told a good story, and had a good plan.

The vote made sense at the time.

But a lot has changed during Carnahan’s administration.

I left activism in 2018 – but heard the stories about the goings on at the GOP HQ. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt – and politics tends to draw big egos and hair-trigger tempers (much like radio) – so like a lot of grassroots voters, I paid them little mind.

But the tsunami of stories this past two weeks hasn’t left a lot of room for rational doubt. It’s time for Carnahan to go.

It’s not even really about the allegations about Tony Lazzaro, awful as they are. I think it’s entirely plausible Carnahan didn’t know that her close friend, guest at her small wedding, and primary campaign donor was involved in the activities for which he now faces Federal criminal charges; it’s not like sex traffickers advertise it in polite company.

I said plausible. But while rumors abound that Lazzaro’s side hustle was an open secret in inner party circles about (including from Andy Aplikowski’s letter this morning), let’s just leave that, noxious as it is, to the FBI and the DOJ.

The allegations against Carnahan and her staff, though? It’s impossible to read the credible, against-interest allegations of sexual harassment on the parts of various staffers and not get outraged at the “bro” culture that seems to have erupted in *our* party’s HQ.

As a conservative, a Republican and a father and grandfather of young women, I see these stories (none of them *completely* news to me, even outside the party) and wonder, not just why any woman would *work* there, but why they’d vote for the GOP?

Are they merely allegations, not court verdicts? Sure.

So what about when the “allegation” go to court? With discovery, testimony under oath? Imagine the anger every parent will feel at a party that’d foster that kind of depravity, when allegation turns to judgment? When that revulsion goes to vote?

Do you, loyal GOPer, feel lucky?

As to the allegations about Carnahan’s HR style, and her staff’s dubious HR practices, and the allegations four former Executive Directors made? Those just bounced the rubble.

It’s time for Carnahan to go.

And maybe others are reaching that conclusion:

And if Carnahan doesn’t? The Executive Committee must relieve her of her duties.

And if for whatever reason they don’t? The State Central needs to do it. Not just because the alternative is electoral disaster – although it is. No – because either way it’s the right thing to do.

It should go without saying – the GOP needs an independent investigation of the HR and financial allegations, including the out of control spending and tens of thousands in hush money purportedly paid to departing staffers.

Minnesota Republicans – the heart and brains of this state – may nor may not “deserve better”, but we had best demand better.

As Expected

I’d like to say the MN GOP Executive Committee took at least a half-measure at its emergency meeting last night.

To be honest? It was maybe more of a quarter-measure, voting for a financial audit.

The party really needs an independent legal review over the sex harassment charges, on top of the financial audit…

…and of course, Carnahan, whose financial and personal relationship with Lazzaro remains the elephant in the room.

Rebecca Brannon was able to watch the Zoom meeting – which, apparently, was itself a subject of a fair part of the meeting, by her account (read the whole thread):

So the party apparently plans to go into the State Fair with this as its status quo.

I may just have to go to the fair, if only to see how that works out.

More constructively? Anyone leading a petition effort to get signatures to force a Central Committee emergency meeting can have time on my show. Have your people call my people.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

There are three weeks [as this was written. Currently a little under two weeks, Ed.] until the legislature adjourns. Republicans continue working with Democrats to keep Dictator-for-Life Walz in power and to enact Democrat agendas in police reform, tax increases, and legalizing marijuana.


Shut everything down until Walz ends the Permanent Emergency and the law
is changed to say he can declare another only with consent of both houses.

Or else drop the masks, change parties and come clean with us. You’re
not staunch conservatives standing up for what’s right. You’re
Republicans in Name Only working hand-in-hand with Democrats to pass
their agenda.

Joe Doakes

It’s high time the MNGOP stood for what’s right, here.

Trimming The Fat

It’s reapportionment time. And Minnesota – which held onto its eighth US House seat just about the lowest possible margin ten years ago – finally stands to lose a Representative.

California and New York appear to be in line to lose 2 or 3 seats apiece, with Florida and Texas the big winners so far, by all appearances.

But what’ll happen in Minnesota?

You can wager money that “combining the 4th and 5th CDs” won’t be on the table. Don’t even bother.

To my mind, it looks a little like this:\

  • The 4th and 5th are sacrosanct. They’re not going anywhere.
  • The 1st, 7th and 8th are associated with large, socially and geographically distinct areas.

But the 2nd, 3rd and 6th are all mixed bags. Now, I don’t think there’s much case to be made to dissolve the 6th, much as the DFL would love to send Tom Emmer back to private practice.

But getting consolidating either the 2nd or 3rd, and expanding the neithboring districts to fill in the gap, makes a lot of sense.


Future Alternative

Minnesota legislature passes bill to help victims of state government, unless someone else does.

That’s not how they worded it, of course. The state legislature adopted a bill to give aid to small businesses closed by Governor Walz and to extend unemployment benefits for workers laid off by Governor Walz, but the aid is conditional. If the federal government adopts an aid package, then we use the federal money and the state does nothing. So it’s conditional virtue signaling, based on gaslighting the public that the Covid pandemic is a force of nature, not a product of arbitrary and destructive rule-by-executive-order.

I award Republicans one point for at least voicing the objection that Walz is the problem, not Covid. But I penalize them 10 points for going along with business as usual. Acquiescence is approval. Let the Democrats try to pass laws without a single Republican vote, until Walz relinquishes power to the Legislature, where it belongs. Otherwise, what do we need Republicans for? Just let Walz run everything forever and save the per diems.

In a state as Great-Sorted as Minnesota is, voters who are swingable are going to need a reason to choose GOP in 2022.

The Senate GOP has given them some little reasons. They need big ones. Stat.

Jackpine Snipers

After a session of being neutered and stripped of their leadership positions by the increasingly metro-dominated DFL, there’ve been rumors bouncing around CD8 circles that Senators Bakk and Tomassoni were going to bolt the DFL.

And according to Tom Hauser, that may be in the near offing…:

…although not quite to the point of joining the GOP.

Rumors are bouncing about as to which party the “Independent Caucus” will work most closely with – but either way, Bakk and Tomassoni are going to be the most popular guys on Capitol Hill when the session starts.

It doesn’t seem a stretch that on issues of mining and gun rights – and, likely, a few more – the Senate has gone from 34-33 GOP to 34-31-2, and the DFL agenda just got even farther out of reach.

What’ll it mean for Governor Klink’s emergency powers?

My guess – and it’s only a guess – is that the House DFL will dig in harder and get more extreme.


Not The Best Look

I’d like a list of the 25 former GOP members who crossed the aisle to keep Governor Walz’ one-man-regime in power, in exchange for endorsements from trade unions who will benefit from the spending bill.

Please include home addresses, so I can send fruit baskets to thank them for selling out the people of Minnesota.

Joe Doakes

Not gonna lie – and if you are a MNGOP staffer, by all means feel free to pass this on to Jennifer Carnahan, Paul Gazelka and Kurt Daudt – but the whole “acting like DFLers” thing wasn’t amusing even before the state got swallowed up in a DFL coup.

It’s not been an easy few weeks to be a Minnesota Repubican.

The Line That Needs To Be Drawn In The Sand. Stat.

Republicans agreed to police reform bills in the second special session.  This is a mistake.

There should be NO legislative action, on ANY proposal, until Dictator Walz relinquishes his totalitarian control over the entire state back to the peoples’ elected representatives in the legislature.

Otherwise, it never ends.  Ever.  And in that case, why do we need the Legislature at all?

Joe Doakes

Couldn’t agree more.

Not one bill.

And if the GOP caves on the bonding bill – or any bill while the emergency is in effect – I’m going to have to reconsider why I vote GOP at all.

In Re The Collapse Of Civics Education

He’s mad so he’s suing because the primary election ballot has limited choices.  Party officials decide who we get to vote for. 
You’re just figuring this out, now?  Never heard of the smoke-filled back room?
The entire point of a political party is so that voters won’t have to study every candidate’s slate of ideas.  Instead, if some is endorsed by the Marijuana Reform Party, voters can be assured the candidate will support reforming the laws governing marijuana.  
There isn’t a penny-worth of difference between all the Democrat candidates so running all of them makes no difference to eventual party success.  “Vote for [insert name here]” would work just as well because in the end, they all vote in lock-step for the same things. 
The Republican party has come around in the last three years.  They now want Trump to win so naturally, they’re not interested in other candidates stealing his donations of time or money.  They don’t have a serious primary challenger and don’t want one.  That’s the party’s choice.  If you don’t like it, join a different party or form your own.
The Supreme Court ought to throw out the lawsuit as meritless but since it’s a chance to bash Republicans in general and Trump in particular, I could see the court ruling that Republicans violated the spirit of the intent of the concept of democracy by restricting voter choices and therefore all Republican candidates must be stricken from the primary election ballot.  And since that means Trump can’t win the primary, he can’t be listed as the candidate in the general, so Biden wins Minnesota by default.
Joe Doakes

I started laughing – until I remembered Berg’s 21st Law: “When it comes to “progressive” policy, yesterday’s absurd joke is today’s serious proposal and tomorrow’s potential law.”

I’m’ not laughing any more.

An Idea Whose Time Should Not Come

When you’re a Republican, especially in a bluish-purple place like Minnesota, you hope you can vote for Republicans who’ll hold the line on taxes – even to the minimal level of not proposing new ones.

Sadly, we’re disappointed – as I discussed with Liz Mair on the show over the weekend. Senator Howe is proposing a tax on electric vehicles.

Here’s the interview:

I get the logic, sort of – it’s to replace some of the gas tax revenue lost by the increasing efficiency of cars the greater number of people driving electrics, and the people dropping out of the commuting force as telecommuting picks up speed.

But a Republican should be proposing fewer, not more, taxes.

And if we could see to some of that unsustainable spending, that’d be a cherry on the sundae.


Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A friend complains that the Republican Congress has accomplished nothing worthwhile in the last two years and as Democrats take the House, gridlock is the best we can hope for.  He blames Trump Derangement Syndrome and says it truly is disgusting that a boorish, childish, selfish egomaniac is the best example of conservative leadership we have.

First, he’s judging the President by the wrong standard.  A wise, mature, gracious statesman was not on offer in the last election.  The alternative to Trump was Hillary. The correct standard to apply is: “Has Trump become Hillary yet?”  No?  Then he’s good to go.  Carry on.  

But he’s right about Congress.  We can’t have a border wall, we can’t confirm conservative judges, we can’t fill executive branch positions, because of people like Senator Never Trump And To Hell With The Nation Flake, to name just one.  

If Trump announced today he’s not running in 2020, which nationally prominent Republican would you pick to replace him?

Sorry to say, with Scott walker out of office and never nationally problem to begin with, I’m already out of ideas…

Open Letter To Paul Gazelka

To:  Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
From:  Mitch Berg, Ornery Peasant
Re:    Line In The Snow

Senator Gazelka,

This morning on the lesser talk station, the host – Drew Lee – asked you about the approach your caucus, with its one-vote majority, was going to take regarding gun control in the coming session, given incoming Speaker Hortman’s statement that gun control is going to be her first priority.

(In a state with a muirder rate among the lowest in the nation – truly the extremist tail wagging the dog).

Your repliy seemed to indicate the proper response was to work with the opposition to find “a solution”.

I’ll make it simple;  the solution is fight crime.   Take everything that burdens the law-abiding gun owner off the table.

End of sentence.

The DFL – beholden as they are to millions of dollars in Bloomberg money for their wins in the election – will fight you on it.

We – the good guys, the law-abiding gun owners – will fight you a lot harder if you screw us.

Don’t screw us.

That is all.