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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Goodhue County 2nd Dist GOP Debate -Zika, Volcanoes, & Cartels

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 02/09/16 14:16, Edited: 02/09/16 14:18

by Dave Mindeman

There was another MN District 2 GOP debate last night. This was in Goodhue county....kind of GOP rebel territory....Gerson territory.

But we also added a new candidate to the mix. He just filed and the event planners allowed him to participate. His name is Gene Rechtzigel...kind of a gadfly type who ran for Mayor of Apple Valley in 2014. He has "interesting" views.

But as for the debate itself, John Howe and Jason Lewis were the main source of conflict. Howe is pursuing his "carpetbagger" theme on Lewis - who does live just outside the district. And Lewis, in turn, is going to try and label Howe as a "Dayton style bonder".

But there were other issues to contend with. One of the questions dealt with whether or not humans are contributing to climate change. Of course, with this crowd the answer is no. Howe went into his science "expertise" again and said that volcanic eruptions are more of a problem than human activity. Darlene Miller thinks that our technology will save us anyway. Gerson and Reichtzigel are more concerned about the economy than any climate change problem. And Lewis just thinks we are confusing causation with correlation.

When it comes to energy, Reichtzigel has the answer - "breeder reactors". Guess you can look it up.

Darlene Miller listed the top 3 issues that she believes the 2nd District is concerned about...in this order: 1) Jobs, 2) Fear of ISIS, and 3) Mental Health. Interesting mix. Jason Lewis listed his priorities as restoring economy, (?), reform the tax code, establish a flat tax, audit the Fed, and secure the Homeland. Kind of sounds like a familiar grouping.

One of the questions was about Obamacare, but this time the question was "what would you replace it with"? Now we are talking.

Lewis: Allow competition across state lines. Repeal mandates. Get rid of allowing 26 year olds on parents insurance. And give people an option of a "real" catastrophic insurance plan.

Miller: Allow competition across state lines. Enhance small group policies.

Myhra: Make it similar to car insurance (?). Has to be portable. And also allow competition across state lines. The car insurance analogy is, I guess, about picking out the insurance coverage options you want and ONLY paying for those.

Howe: Competition across state lines.

Gerson: The same

Reichtzigel: All he would say is that the insurance mandate hurts the poor. (For some unknown reason)

Let me just point out that this insurance competition across state lines is a pretty lame solution. If we want to have the poor coverages of Alabama as our main competitive model, then health care will see a rapid decline in quality. States have their own mandates about what is required in coverage and that makes the premiums vastly different. That is why the Federal minimums are so critical.

On destroying Islamic terrorism in America.....

Myhra: Secure border. Forge a plan to destroy ISIS. She made a comment about how we are "fearful" of going to the Mall of America. (Judging by last weekend's crowds, I don't think so.)

Reichtzigel: He wants Israel to police the Middle East. (How that would stop domestic terrorism is hard to figure).

Howe: Seems to want to have the Middle Eastern countries establish a draft of their own young men. I guess a version of Arab troops on the ground.

Lewis: Wants to pressure Sunni allies. He wants Saudi Arabia to step up.

Miller: Supports SAFE act...protect the borders. And more vetting of refugees.

Gerson: Some version of "cut off the head of the snake". (OK)

I often wonder why conservatives think they can just reason with the Sunni and Shia and develop the right people fighting in the right place. None of that has worked in the past - won't work in the future.

There was also a question about a local issue - the proposed Zip Rail line to Rochester. Most indicated they were just against any Federal funding to help in this venture....although Reichtzigel had an interesting solution to our transportation problem - forget rail, just double all the lanes in the Interstate Highway System. (There you go)

There was a question about student loans as well....

Lewis: Wants to promote Trade and Vo-Tech schools for real jobs. Stop the Democrats from "subsidizing" education.

Howe: Have to get great jobs for when students graduate....and he believes that if you get government regulation out of business, those jobs will magically appear.

Miller: Thinks colleges need to be held accountable for what they teach. Need to teach what businesses need.

Gerson: "Break up the accreditation cartels." (What?)

Everybody wants to defund Planned Parenthood, but Howe used the opportunity to make a claim that when Jason Lewis ran in Colorado, he was perceived to be pro-choice. Lewis had to dismiss that in his closing statement, but never really answered the charge in specifics.

On immigration we got the usual talking points about current undocumented going to the back of the line - not much specifics on deportation, but NO path to citizenship.

Reichtzigel took the his time on this question to put out his Zika virus theory....in which he says that genetically modified mosquitos that were supposed to limit breeding capacity have actually been the source of the Zika virus. Monsanto is out of control.

Reichtzigel also gives us a new Constitutional right - the "Right to be Forgotten". Apparently a reference to google searches I guess.

When it came to closing statements, they were going to go in the same order they started and that would have been John Howe. But he pointed out that under the format, the order should be reversed and that he would go last. Which was important to him because it gave him the opportunity to rip into Jason Lewis without any chance for Lewis to counter.

When the straw poll was taken, Gerson was the winner, with Lewis second. This area is the only place Gerson actually did better than Kline, so that was no surprise.

But Reichtzigel managed to convince 3 people to vote for him. That was a major victory for the Zika virus guy!

In general, not much new - and I fully understand why John Kline in not endorsing in this race.
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The Financial Data In CD2

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 02/03/16 11:58

by Dave Mindeman

Some of the financing reports have been released and the comparisons are worth noting.

In the 2nd Congressional District there are some noticeable numbers for Angie Craig. She raised the most, for the period, of any 2nd District candidate. She has the most cash on hand of any 2nd District candidate (even if you subtract loans to the campaign, she would still be ahead). She is positioned very well.

John Howe has obviously made a serious commitment to the race by loaning the campaign $600,000. Jason Lewis raised a significant $102,000, but I expected him to raise more. Right now, Howe can swamp him in the cash department. Gerson actually raised slightly more than Lewis, but his debt to cash on hand ratio is pretty bad. Pam Howe trails way behind in all departments.

Now that Craig is the only Democrat left in the race, she is rapidly consolidating district support around her. She is active in local functions. Has done well in debates and interviews. I think the Democrats do have the best candidate in the race right now.

The Republicans will begin to shuffle around. And we will have to see how Darlene Miller's addition to the race changes the dynamics...if any. John Howe and Jason Lewis still look like the odds on frontrunners. And I have little doubt that some heavy negative campaigning is in the offing. Lewis is one of those scorched earth conservatives and judging by the recent debate, John Howe is not going to let that go unchallenged.

The wild card on the Republican side would be if John Kline decided to endorse a candidate prior to the party Congressional endorsement. That could send a signal that would be noticed.

The 2nd District is going to be a close contest. How Democrats do in this Minnesota race could be a key to how they do nationally.

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Re: Today's CD2 GOP Congressional Debate

Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 01/21/16 16:40

by Dave Mindeman

The 5 Republican candidates that are in the District 2 race to replace John Kline had a debate today at the U of M Humphrey Institute.

I watched it via the Uptake and got these impressions....

1) David Gerson - Gerson makes a lot out of his challenges to John Kline during the past couple of cycles. I guess he is trying to make a case that he should be sent to Congress so that he can add to the disruption of the Freedom Caucus. He pledged to join them if elected and also made a point that the House of Representatives should use its "power of the purse" to make things happen. In other words - bankrupt the country.

2) Former Rep. Pam Myhra - Myhra has improved her presentation quite a bit. Now, instead of sounding clueless, she sounds rehearsed. She made several points over and over again...and seemed to repeat her opening statement via her closing statement. She is trying to emphasize the trust issue, but when it comes to abiding by the endorsement (which she absolutely says she will), it stands in contrast to the fact, (as Steve Sviggum, the moderator, pointed out) that she ran as a Lt. Governor candidate against the GOP endorsed ticket. When talking about foreign policy, she went into a strange allegory about when she was picked on in school, that a tall boy would walk her home and she felt safe. Apparently a reference to America being strong enough to discourage foreign "bullies". She talks conservative ideology but she hesitates to join the Freedom caucus, because she says they require unified votes and she thinks she may disagree with them. Kind of confusing.

3) Former State Senator John Howe - Howe is clearly staking out a more middle of the road position. He emphasizes his legislative successes while still claiming some "common sense" conservative credentials. In today's angry GOP, will that play well? When asked about endorsement, he seemed to be indicating that he would be in the primary...It helped that Darlene Miller had already pretty much guaranteed she would run in the primary, so Howe's entry has less impact. Lewis and Howe had a couple of exchanges on this - Lewis said Howe wouldn't abide because he knows he can't win it.....and Howe noted that Lewis was making the endorsement pledge because it would ease the fallout of his non-residency. Could get nasty between the two.

4) Darlene Miller - She is a Burnsville business woman with no political experience. She will proudly wear that badge. She talks a good game when using business as her metaphors on the budget - she emphasizes deregulation as some kind of magic bullet for economic woes (all evidence to the contray, i.e. Wall Street). But it was pretty clear that she has a big learning curve to climb when it comes to foreign policy. She won't be mistaken for an ideologue - she criticized the Freedom Caucus, but she will take up the description of strong conservative. She had weak foreign policy answers and was totally contemptuous on climate change. In fact, she still goes by the old school argument that climate change is in a war with economic growth. Thought we had gotten past that one. Her only memorable line was that she "was all for climate change, if it makes Minnesota warmer." Yeah, funny.

5) Jason Lewis - "Mr. Right" was in his usual fine form. He certainly runs circles around the rest of them on conservative policy. He seems like a pretty good communicator, but he went into a policy black hole when he trotted out a number of tax ideas in response to a budget question. I would imagine he had some head scratching going on, on that one. He has a modified Rand Paul view on foreign policy...agreeing on the Trump concept that Syria's Assad and ISIS should just duke it out, without US intervention. Lewis is the purest ideologue in the field, and has to be the favorite for endorsement. How he plays to a wider electorate??? I don't have a clue.


Steve Sviggum, the former House GOP speaker, was asking most of the questions and he didn't hesitate to give long, opinionated editorials before getting to the actual question. He decided he wanted to frame the questions in an image of his own making, and that influenced the answers in my opinion.

With Angie Craig appearing to be the DFL endorsed candidate, this election will have a pretty stark contrast - no matter who is on the general election ballot. The GOP will be having an expensive primary.

Let the games begin.
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