Notes on Minnesota races

In a nearby post John comments on Republican state senator Karin Housley’s race against appointed incumbent and metro liberal nullity Tina Smith. I have no sense of how that race is going, but it is only one of two Senate races on the ballot. Incumbent Democrat Amy Klobuchar is running for reelection against Republican Jim Newberger. I do have a sense of how that race is going. Running a campaign of characteristically misleading vacuity, Senator Klobuchar holds a prohibitive lead. Newberger is a state representative and a worthy candidate. This race is nevertheless mission impossible. Senator Klobuchar has the people of Minnesota thinking she is the greatest things since yellow margarine. Everyone except her former employees and members of the press who have had to deal with her thinks she is “nice.” She may be a near exception to the proposition that you can’t fool all the people all the time. She even has some of her Republican colleagues in the Senate drinking her Kool-Aid.

It’s enough to make one think Minnesota is a lost cause. In the House races, however, Minnesota has presented the GOP with its best pickup opportunity in the country. Running for the open Eighth District seat north of the Twin Cities — the huge district runs from the area north of the Twin Cities up to Hibbing (where Bob Dylan grew up), Duluth and the rest of the Iron Range — Republican Pete Stauber is going to defeat Democrat Joe Radinovich. I’m not in the prediction business, but I can read the tea leaves. The DCCC has pulled out of this race. Formerly a Democratic stronghold, the Eighth District has become Trump country.

The First District (southern Minnesota including Rochester) also features a contest for an open seat. Republican Jim Hagedorn has a good chance to prevail over Democrat Dan Feehan. He seems to hold a small lead, though Feehan inarguably leads in the fundraising department.

Republicans could therefore flip two of Minnesota’s eight House seats. By the same token, however, Democrats threaten to flip two Twin Cities suburban districts with incumbent Republican congressmen. These districts reflect President Trump’s poor favorability in such districts nationwide. Breitbart accurately covers these races here. Disclosure and personal note: My cousin Dean Phillips is the Democratic challenger to Erik Paulsen in the Third District race. I love Dean and his family. I haven’t covered the race because of the personal conflict and have also asked John to refrain.

All four of Minnesota’s constitutional offices — governor, attorney general, secretary of state and auditor — are also on the ballot. All four of the Republican candidates appeared at our packed meeting of the Twin Cities Republican Jewish Coalition at the Sabes Jewish Community Center in St. Louis Park this past Sunday. I was blown away by the quality of the candidates. They made me proud to be a Republican. Chapter president Mark Miller presided with his usual enthusiasm, in this case richly justified. Each of these candidates deserves to win his or her race. Here I want to note them and encourage Minnesota readers to give it up and contribute to them:

For governor: Jeff Johnson. Jeff is a solid conservative. In 2014 Jeff ran a strong uphill race against incumbent Mark Dayton, losing 50-44. Jeff is a Hennepin County Commissioner, but he has a lot of goodwill among Republicans around the state. Heavily outspent, he nevertheless defeated Tim Pawlenty in virtually every precinct in the Republican primary. He would be a great improvement over Dayton and Dayton Democratic wannabe successor Tim Walz. Walz is a phony moderate who buys the radical Democratic agenda in every jot and tittle. Contribute to Jeff’s campaign here.

For attorney general: Democratic candidate Keith Ellison is a national disgrace. Has any statewide candidate even been sighted with him yet? Ellison’s hustle should come to an end right here, right now. Republican Doug Wardlow is an excellent candidate. Although no Republican has won this office since the election of 1966, this is a winnable race. Contribute to Doug’s campaign here.

For secretary of state: John Howe. John is the former mayor of Red Wing with an impressive background in business. He is a public spirited man. His motto is “Integrity Counts.” John is running against incumbent Democrat Steve Simon. Four years ago, the secretary of state race was the closest of all the statewide races, with Simon winning by just 22,400 votes out of 1.8 million or so cast. And he did that while Dayton was beating Jeff Johnson by 5.5 points and Al Franken was burying Mike McFadden by double digits. Since then, most of Simon’s publicity has been negative – defying a court order to turn over information on ineligible voters. Footnote: John’s son was accepted for admission to all five service academies. Contribute to John’s campaign here.

For state auditor: Pam Myhra. Pam had me laughing Sunday night. She emphasizes that she is actually qualified for the job. She is a CPA with work experience as a KPMG audit manager. Not unreasonably, her motto is “An Auditor for State Auditor.” This isn’t her first go-round in electoral politics either; she also served two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Pam’s superiority over her DFL opponent is almost comical. Her opponent is a middle school math teacher who has served on a Dayton task force seeking to raise taxes. She even brags about it. Contribute to Pam’s campaign here.