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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

NRCC Tries A Desperately Weak Attack On Angie Craig

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/29/16 14:14

by Dave Mindeman

The 2nd District Congressional race is going to be a tight one. Jason Lewis has the name recognition (although whether that's good or bad remains to be seen), while Angie Craig is relatively unknown but with a good resume.

Recently, the NRCC tried to attack Craig in an unusual way. Here is the quote:

"It is an astonishing display of hypocrisy for Angie Craig to run a campaign ad on her company's record on veterans, when that same company was forced to pay a multi-million dollar settlement for overcharging our nation's veterans for medical devices. Instead of misleading voters about her company's record on veterans, Angie Craig should apologize to Minnesota's veterans community for her company's history of ripping them off by overcharging them for their medical treatment."

First of all, Republicans have been coddling the medical device companies for years. They have been working to cut the Medical Device Tax (especially Paulsen) for several years and have managed to put a moratorium on it for now. I doubt the NRCC would be concerned about a medical device company paying a fine, except for the fact that there is the Angie Craig connection to St. Jude. She worked there.

In human resources.

Now anybody who works for a corporation knows that the human resources department has pretty much nothing to do with pricing product. Outside of attending general meetings about broad company related issues, I doubt that Angie Craig ever knew about or cared about what the company's pricing structure entailed.

But the NRCC is a little desperate since they have to try and defend Mr. Mini-Trump and anything, even a speck of dirt, on his opponent will have to be magnified as far as it can be done.

Jason Lewis has a wider array of fodder on which to work based on his talk show career. And instead of trying to run away from it, Lewis has decided to embrace it all and explain his reasoning.

As I always say, if you are explaining, you are losing.

And if the NRCC wants to go with this weak ass attack on Angie Craig...well, good luck with that.
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The Dynamics Of The 2nd Congressional District Race

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/10/16 21:50

by Dave Mindeman

There is a bit of a narrative being run by some of the Washington press analysts that spins things in the 2nd Congressional District. This narrative revolves around the Lewis vs Craig contest. Amber Phillips, one of the writers for the Washington Post blog, "The Fix" summed things up this way:

The most recent example of this (incumbent not supporting the outsider candidate) played out Tuesday night in the primary for a swing seat in Minnesota's Twin Cities suburbs -- a fall race that could be one of the most competitive in the country.

A former talk radio host who has called young, single women "not-thinking," questioned the need to have fought the Civil War and said the "white population" has been "committing political suicide" and "cultural suicide" won the four-way primary in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District.

Roll Call compared Jason Lewis to a mini-Trump. Outgoing Rep. John Kline (R) hasn't endorsed him. Despite not raising much money, he beat out a business executive with plenty of establishment support and won with 46 percent of the vote.

OK, while this narrative is mostly correct on the facts (Lewis won with 49% of the vote and was the Party endorsee), there are some things that Phillips did not take into account.

First, the turnout in this primary was historically, excruciatingly low. In a 4 way contest for this GOP Congressional race, the total district wide vote was less than 24,000 voters. Lewis won with 11,642 votes. That leads to a couple of conclusions....one, the Party endorsement, weak as it has become, did carry him through this....despite very little money and despite virtually no media spending.

Secondly, it spoke volumes about how weak the rest of the field was. We heard all of this talk about how Kline's endorsement and fundraising prowess would make Darlene Miller a contender. Well, it didn't. Miller was a horrible candidate and Kline's influence has already been greatly diminished in activist circles. Kline never was much of a party player - he reeks of Washington establishment and as he moved into a leadership role in Washington, his local ties to the 2nd District Party faded away.

John Howe was never really serious about committing himself to the race. He dabbled on the margins, but left his personal money on the sidelines. He seemed to be looking for some kind of grass roots groundswell of support - it never happened because he never attempted to cultivate it. And as for Matt Erickson, all you can say is that he was so off the wall that all he really did is give Lewis some cover on the crazy.

What is interesting about the Washington Post take on this race is that the talking points about Lewis are already in the mainstream. The things he said during his radio days have reached the national press level. Darlene Miller made a feeble attempt to make that part of the local campaign, but despite all the Kline promise of fundraising, she never had the capacity to get her message any amplification.

But Angie Craig does get to benefit from that. She can make that message stick and we will have to see if Lewis can get enough money raised to make a defense that can rise about the noise.

Most of the national media that rates these races have moved the 2nd District into a leans Democrat column. Whether that is real or not remains to be seen, but Craig gets a head start on all of that. Jason Lewis will be very easy to tie to Donald Trump - and it looks like Trump will be a real drag on Minnesota candidates. Lewis isn't running away...he's trying to put a libertarian spin on what Trump says. Whether that can work or not remains to be determined.

This race has come a long way from last year. Angie Craig has done things in the right way. She has established and entrenched herself into the Democratic Party here, and she is establishing her own business type credentials while merging it with a labor and jobs message. She has raised enough money to make that message stick.

I'm not sure the Washington types have seen enough of the underlying dynamics to make realistic judgments of what is going on in the 2nd District, but they are pretty much getting to the same conclusion.

Angie Craig starts this race with the advantage.
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It Will Probably Be Jason Lewis vs Angie Craig In CD2

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 08/08/16 16:59

by Dave Mindeman

It looks like it will be Angie Craig vs Jason Lewis in the 2nd Congressional district. It's not that Lewis is a superior candidate, it is just that the rest of the GOP field has just failed.

Darlene Miller, who is Kline's chosen one, has never mounted a serious campaign. Her name recognition has not improved and what press she has had, has been as much negative as positive.

John Howe never committed his personal wealth to the primary. He has hedged his bet in order to get the money back if he loses -- which pretty much guarantees he loses.

Matt Erickson made a feeble attempt to attract the Trump voters in the district...which, quite frankly, might not be a huge number. Saying outrageous things and being unorthodox only works when you have a public personality. Erickson doesn't have the public part and the personality part is pretty offensive.

So, Jason Lewis, kind of wins by default. He still has been disappointing when it comes to fund raising...and I don't see much evidence that the Republican House Caucus is embracing him much. Paul Ryan has enough Freedom Caucus members to contend with - I doubt he wants to encourage or promote someone who has already stated he would join them. The primary loss for Kansas' Tim Huelskamp, a Freedom Caucus leader, probably sealed that relationship as not happening.

Lewis' baggage didn't get reduced during his primary contest. He didn't really increase his name recognition much. There isn't much evidence that the GOP Party is unified around him. Jason Lewis, as a candidate, has not been very impressive.

Meanwhile, Angie Craig continues to leave the GOP behind in fundraising. Has a united party behind her. Has been working in the field since day one. And will have strong backing from the DCCC.

This is a total and complete reversal of where the two major parties normally stand heading into a November election in District 2.

This district is shading a bit to the blue side.
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