The Latest From Minnesota

Scott and I follow political events here in Minnesota very closely, but since this web site has a national audience, we generally only comment on them if they have national significance. Happily, Minnesota has often found itself in the national eye in recent years. So here is a quick update on several local stories that should be of interest to our readers.

This noon I attended a meeting at which there was a presentation on voter fraud by John Fund, co-author of Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk. Voter fraud is, of course, a reality, as we here in Minnesota know better than most. In November, two constitutional amendments will be on the ballot: one establishes a photo ID requirement, and the second defines marriage in traditional terms. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the leading voice of Minnesota’s Democrat Farmer Labor Party, has campaigned tirelessly against both amendments. (It has editorialized against them, too.) But currently, both are still running ahead in the polls. The results of both initiatives will be watched carefully around the country.

A local group called Protect My Vote has taken the lead in the campaign to approve voter ID. Protect My Vote put out this video yesterday to respond to the falsehoods being spread by voter ID opponents:

Meanwhile, we have some interesting Congressional races in progress. Our friend Michele Bachmann is running for re-election in a district that has been redrawn in a manner that makes it slightly more Republican. Michele has never lost a race, but the Democrats and local media never give up hope. The latest to enter the lists is a rich local hotel owner named Jim Graves. He doesn’t look too formidable, but looks can be deceiving.

The Star Tribune, in keeping with its usual practice of printing DFL press releases as news stories, headlines: “DFLers say Graves closing in on Bachmann.”

An internal tracking poll for Democrats in Minnesota’s new Sixth Congressional District shows that the Minnesota Republican, back in the hunt for a fourth term, might actually be vulnerable.

They fervently hope so!

Despite a major mismatch in funding and resources, DFL challenger Jim Graves has pulled to within the margin of error – 46 to 48 percent – up from 43-48 in June.

This was unexpected. But so was Bachmann’s foray into personal accusations of Muslim Brotherhood influence in the top echelons of the U.S. government, an episode that brought her widespread condemnation from Republicans as well as Democrats in Congress. …

True, it’s a poll funded by Democrats.

But don’t let that throw you off message! The story goes on to note that Bachmann has more than $2.2 million in the bank, compared to $351,623 for Graves, who is making his first foray into politics. It doesn’t exactly sound like an upset in the making, but let’s not take any chances: you can go here to donate to Michele’s campaign.

Another important race, and one likely to be closer, is taking place in Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. This was the scene of one of 2010’s biggest upsets. Chip Cravaack, in his first run for office, beat Jim Oberstar, the 36-year incumbent Democrat. Oberstar was one of the most powerful members of the House, but he had become detached from his district, so much so that in 2010 he received a grand total of one campaign contribution from a constituent. Cravaack, a Navy helicopter and commercial airline pilot, ran a great race and won, becoming the first Republican to represent the 8th District since 1947.

Now, of course, the Democrats are doing their best to take him out. Cravaack is one of Power Line’s “Pick Six” candidates–see the sidebar to the right–and we urge you to go here to contribute to his campaign. Cravaack had a rating of 88 on the American Conservative Union’s scale in 2011, equal to that of my own friend and Congressman, John Kline (whom you can support by going here). Re-electing Chip Cravaack is an important step toward assuring that Republicans continue to control the House of Representatives.

So that is the latest from Minnesota, where, as usual, there is a lot going on for a state that is supposed to be solid blue.