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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Prediction: Seifert For The GOP

Category: GOP 2014
Posted: 07/28/14 17:45

by Dave Mindeman

The Republican race for the GOP Governor standardbearer has been particularly tough to figure out. Characterized as anything from "sleepy" to a "yawner", it hasn't attracted much serious excitement. And there haven't been many actual debates to gain more information.

But heck, I'll go out on a limb and rank them anyway. The GOP isn't going to pay any attention to what I think, so here they are in reverse order....

4. Scott Honour - Honour doesn't strike me as much of a retail politician. His whole premise for running is that government has too many career politicians and its time for a change. But a change to what? Honour is an enigma that few have figured out. Some of his bio sounds pretty familiar:

For much of his career, Honour was a major investment manager with the Gores Group in Los Angeles, which is involved in global transactions and handles multibillions of dollars in private equity, including investment from major pensions. The company specialized in buying companies and then finding efficiencies through layoffs, closing plants and other reductions, sometimes resulting in bankruptcy.

So he's another private equity guy. Made his money in California, not Minnesota. So he is trying to tell us that a guy who hasn't really engaged in the Minnesota economy, hasn't live here for awhile, and has never been involved in politics in any way....should be elected governor? Sorry, I don't get that one at all. Honour is a bank account and that's about it.

And as for his running mate, Sen. Karin Housley. That's another puzzle. She doesn't add much for geographic help coming from Stillwater - an eastern suburb. But at least she's a Senator and won't cost the GOP anything in the legislature.

3. Kurt Zellers - Actually, I have to admit, Zellers looks more comfortable as a governor candidate then he ever did as speaker. But this idea that he is the "only one who has taken on Gov. Dayton" rings pretty hollow. He let the stadium go through and he shut down the government over a budget where Dayton gets his revenue and Zellers opts for borrowing rather than taxes. Then he takes another "no taxes" pledge after the Democrats have managed to fix the previous budget with taxes they passed in the previous session. Standing his ground? More like standing on quick sand. Zellers opted for former Rep. Dean Simpson as his running mate. Simpson was also his campaign chair - so was he having trouble getting somebody to yes? Simpson has little name recognition outside of western Minnesota. Not sure what the strategy is on that one.

2. Jeff Johnson - The endorsement moves Johnson slightly ahead of Zellers, but his cash reserves are bleak. He may have a chance in a 4 way primary but going into the general, he will be a weak candidate. If the GOP ground game apparatus has improved, it might be enough to get Johnson through an intraparty fight. However, the endorsement process left some splits out there. And the Tea Party groups have been strangely silent - another area that Johnson has been actively seeking. And his odd choice for running mate was Bill Kuisle - a former Rochester legislator. Kuisle got the ticket in trouble with comments on fracking - and although I am sure Johnson was trying to cultivate some favor in Olmsted County, I'm not sure Kuisle has much of a reach anymore.

1. Marty Seifert - This is going to be a close election, but I think that Seifert's outstate credentials will be the deciding factor. Honour and Johnson will probably split any Twin Cities vote and Zellers might be favored in the burbs, but Seifert can speak to the rural vote - its just a question of will they go to the polls. Seifert did make a strong showing at the last convention and got some brownie points by his graceful pullout after Emmer won the endorsement. However, he botched those brownie points by a very awkward end to the Johnson endorsement win. That may cost Seifert in the end. His running mate choice - Rep. Pam Myhra, was a good one. She isn't well known but will bring in some Burnsville votes and dip into the surburbs. A good geographical balance - if that is worth anything anymore.

*******************************************************

So, there is my reading of the tea leaves. Could be completely wrong, been wrong before. And, granted, I have a vastly different perspective than the primary voters...but heck, we shall see the real "polling" in a few weeks.

In any event, the "sleepy" race should be interesting.
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Stewart Mills III Should Be Running In Wisconsin

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 07/26/14 14:59

by Dave Mindeman

Stewart Mills III is running for Congress in the 8th District of Minnesota. But the impression I keep getting is that Mills is more suited for a run across the border....in Wisconsin.

First of all, Mills has fessed up to being a villainous Packers fan. That would be a deal breaker for me from the get go.

But, in addition to that, Mills seeks out his political hires from Wisconsin's Scott Walker team.

...his pollster is Tarrance Group, a large national firm that also did polling for Walker. His media consultant, FP1 Strategies, has run pro-Walker ads for the Republican Governor Association....according to FEC filings, the Mills campaign has paid Wisconsin-based Connectivist Media more than $10,000 for "online services"; Connectivist has done online work for Walker this cycle. Mills' direct mail firm, SCM, helped raise millions of dollars for Walker's recall campaign. And Mills has outsourced his FEC compliance duties to a Wisconsin firm, Aspect Consulting, run by Walker's campaign treasurer, Kate Lind.

Really? Minnesota politicos don't work for ya?

Mills doesn't seem to care about the background of some of these Wisconsites either....(or maybe intentional?)

For example. Milles hired Keith Gilkes as a general political consultant. Seems like a vague job description, but maybe it is more about the connections Gilkes has than about what he does.

Gilkes has been mentioned in Walker's "John Doe" investigation. The details of which keep getting leaked in drips and drabs but no charges ever seem to make it to the public domain. But let's get back to Gilkes....

Prosecutors said Walker, his chief of staff Keith Gilkes and top adviser R.J. Johnson were discussing illegal coordination with a number of national groups and prominent figures, including GOP strategist Karl Rove.

Not a bad character to have on your team....if your goal is to utilize a fudgy way to get around the illegal use of coordinating with outside groups. After all, Gilkes has already done it and is getting away with it.

Mills seems to be seeking a Scott Walker Lite campaign....which you can characterize and interpret anyway you want.

As I stated at the beginning - Mills is running in the wrong state.
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Cong. John Kline - The MVP for For-Profit School Exploiters

Category: John Kline
Posted: 07/25/14 18:25

by Dave Mindeman

The brazenness of John Kline is incredible.

Earlier this month. legislation which would close an exploitative loophole in Federal student aid died without a hearing. Its intention was to block For-Profit colleges from violating the 90-10 rule. And what is that you ask?

At issue was the so-called 90/10 rule, which bans for-profit schools from receiving government funding if they draw more than 90% of their revenue from federal student aid programs. The rule excludes tuition assistance from the GI Bill for veterans and from the Department of Defense, which funds education for active-duty military.

The legislation proposed to include the exempted Veterans student aid in the GI bill....which has been a large amount of exploited funding in these For-Profit colleges.

One man shut it all down and allowed the For-Profit debacle to continue.

Congressman John Kline.

As Chairman of the Committee he quashed the bill by ruling it non-germane to the topic of financial aid being discussed at his July 10 hearing.

GI Bill for Student Loans -Not germane?

Here is an example of what is happening....

Critics say the loophole leads for-profit schools to aggressively target veterans to draw additional federal funding. Many analysts believe closing it would push some for-profit college chains over the 90% cap, gutting their support system. The University of Phoenix, for instance, receives 83% of its funds from federal programs, according its most recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That figure doesn't include the nearly $1 billion the company received from the post-9/11 GI Bill over the last five years.

And why is this a problem?

The (Univ. of Phoenix) San Diego campus' overall graduation rate is under 15%, according to the federal Department of Education, and more than a quarter of students there default on their loans within three years of leaving school. No one from any state or federal government agency knows how many veterans who go to school on the GI Bill graduate or find jobs.

These students and veterans are "recruited" to these campuses with promises they do not deliver. The loans are guaranteed by all of us-the US taxpayer. With those kind of default rates, we are losing huge sums of money.

And we have one person to thank for this debacle.,,,

Congressman John Kline.

FLIP THIS DISTRICT!
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