The Primary Sweepstakes

Now that the state conventions are over, the field of candidates is set and the amounts of money they have to start with is known, it helps shape the next eight weeks until the Primary August 14th. As many expected the Party Endorsed candidates are significantly less flush than their rivals because they didn’t have much money to start and what they had they invested it in the convention process.

On the DFL Side

Murphy has the endorsements of Minnesota Nurses Association, SEIU Minnesota State Council, AFSCME Council 5, TakeAction Minnesota, Women Winning, OutFront Minnesota, EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota. Each one of these organizations has a list of their contributors and those individuals can make a $1,000.00 contribution as well as any other person in the same household can. Additionally, each of these groups can make Independent Expenditures on behalf of Murphy but not coordinate with the campaign.

Lists are gold when it comes to raising money and the organizational support is platinum if the members show up to door knock, phone call and increase visibility at public events like parades.

The human capital is a significant commodity and having the DFL endorsement means the party can undertake a field campaign intent on turning out voters for not just the Primary election, but also the build the infrastructure needed for the General Election.

Now, we have heard the idea that the DFL Party is poised to spend $1 million on behalf of their endorsed candidate Murphy, which is nothing short of ludicrous. The party becomes the umbrella organization that can accept unlimited contributions for the building of the campaign apparatus, but that doesn’t mean they will shovel money to their endorsed candidate. They will build the mechanisms necessary to foster the campaign for their endorsees, but mainly candidates need to raise their own money and where possible direct it to the party. Yes, the combined campaign has a ticket to support in the Primary, but afterward if some of their endorsees fail, they will retool and continue their efforts for the fall election. To the supporters, the most important election may be the Primary Election, but to the Party, it is the November Election.

Ton the DFL side the division of organized labor is very evident this election. Walz also has a great deal of support.  He has the endorsements of the Inter Faculty Organization, International Union of Operating Engineers – Local 49, LiUNA! – Laborers International Union of North America – Minnesota & North Dakota, SMART Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 – Minnesota, North Dakota & South Dakota, North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters, Minnesota State Council of Machinists, Teamsters Joint Council 32, IBEW Minnesota State Council, Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE), United Steelworkers District 11, Minnesota Pipe Trades, Ironworkers Local 512, IUPAT – District Council 82 and Education Minnesota and all of stated they will stick with him through the Primary.

The difference is the Walz Campaign will need to do their own organizing of their field operation, which can be handled for Murphy by the DFL Party. Also, the efforts on behalf of Walz will need to occur through Independent Expenditures, which cannot be coordinated. This means we will see a lot of messages in the next two months where people will need to read the disclaimer or hear the paid for by the candidate message.

On the Republican Side

As we can see both the Republican Party and their endorsed candidate Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R-MN) lack significant funds compared to former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). With limited resources, Johnson and the Republican Party ticket will be hard pressed to get their message out to voters. If Donald J Trump embraces Johnson and rejects Pawlenty it could provide a well-needed boost to Johnson’s camapign.

But frankly, the more significant Primary election is being held on the DFL side and the challenge by Pawlenty merely hold Republicans from crossing over and playing shenanigans on the DFL side.


Entity Receipts Expenditures Cash Balance Notes
DFL House Caucus 691,824.67 414,762.01 725,245.39
DFL Senate Caucus 681,623.09 631,714.95 286,030.88
MN DFL Central Committee 2,435,616.68 1,755,667.00 1,063,020.72 (DFL Party)
Murphy for Minnesota 259,280.00 320,839.08 85,870.07
Tim Walz for Governor 888,100.65 691,129.26 685,180.96
Lori Swanson for Governor No Report No Report No Report Because of late entry.
Lori Swanson for Attorney General Pending Pending Pending
Republican Party 328,706.87 618,966.09 69,104.86
House Republican Campaign Committee 501,999.01 334,397.08 865,502.03
Senate Victory Fund 470,968.88 321,399.50 1,028,024.87
Jeff Johnson for Governor 168,698.42 162,446.33 186,015.33
Tim Pawlenty for Governor 1,696,760.47 436,632.60 1,260,127.87

On-Hand for the DFL CD05 Special Endorsing Convention

5:00 pm

Omar won the endorsement.

2nd Ballot Votes %
Omar 123 68.33%
Torres Ray 44 24.44%
No Endorsement 13 7.22%
Total Votes Cast 180

4:29 pm

1st Ballot Votes %
Drake Dropped
Omar 107 54.87%
Torres Ray 59 30.26%
No Endorsement 29 14.87%
Total Votes Cast 195

We are awaiting the result of the 1st ballot. Drake survived his challenge. The ballot was cast in a Ranked Choice Voting fashion, we expect Drake will be the first person dropped. We understand Torres Ray did not have much support leading up to the convention, but with the issue of separating immigrant children from their families, she may have bolstered support which did exist much prior.3;45 pm

2:30 pm

Rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B, Minneapolis),  Sen Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-63, Minneapolis) and Frank Nelson Drake (DFL-MN05) were nominated, but Drake was challenged.

1:15 pm

Convention opens. Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN05) gave a farewell speech.

12:30 pm

Registration opened at 12:00 pm. Turnout appears unexpectedly high.

Many Sen Patricia Torres-Ray (DFL-63, Minneapolis) supporters.

Anderson Kelliher Opts Out

Former Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D-MN05) announced this morning on her Congressional Candidacy Facebook page, she will not be attending tomorrow’s DFL CD05 Special Endorsing Convention.

“As an organizer who learned from the late-Senator Paul Wellstone, I believe in the Democratic process. I believe in caucusing and the robust conversation that it produces. As I speak with caucus-goers, delegates, alternates and voters, they do not agree with this hastily put-together endorsement convention that is happening on Father’s Day. It needlessly limits discussion and debate and does not represent our Democratic values.

Instead, we should be taking our message to the voters and hearing what is important to the district. This primary is for the 700,000 Minnesotans of the 5th Congressional District and should not be decided by a small group of people. As progressives and as Democrats, this is not who we are. I am here to listen and everyone deserves to be heard. For these reasons, I have opted to forgo the DFL convention on Sunday.

As we come together as a party, I look forward to robust conversations so residents get to know their future elected officials and who will best stand up to Donald Trump and his disastrous and harmful policies that go against our progressive values.

This weekend, I will be talking to voters across the district and celebrating Father’s Day. On August 14, a primary will take place and the voters will make a decision. The candidates listed on the ballot are final and this convention will not change that. Let’s focus on getting ready for the primary by allowing voters to truly get to know the candidate. I look forward to hearing more from the 700,000 Minnesotans of the district in the coming days and weeks.”


One Clear Fact, CD05 Will Be Represented By a Woman

An understanding of CD05 warrants a look back at the Primary of 2006. When Congressman Martin Olav Sabo (D-MN05) decided not seek reelection after 14 terms of office a field of seven candidates emerged to replace him. After a successful endorsement battle Rep Keith Ellison (DFL-Minneapolis) emerged victoriously in spite of allegations of marital infidelity, which were resolved later with his divorce from Kim Ellison.

As people access the field of candidates at the DFL CD05 Special Endorsing Convention on Sunday they should notice a distinct difference from the candidates in 2006. In the field of viable candidates along with Ellison a black Muslim, there was one woman in the field, a suburban state Senator Ember Reichgott Junge (DFL-Robbinsdale), and two Caucasians with their own levels of experience Minneapolis City Council President Paul Ostrow (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sabo Chief of Staff and DFL Party Chair Mike Erlandson (DFL-Minneapolis).

Our assessment at the time was the race was a three-way contest between Ellison, Erlandson, and Junge which proved to be true because Ostrow was an also-ran. There were only 70,374 votes cast.

2006 DFL Primary Results

Gregg A. Iverson 448 votes or 0.64%

Andrew Vincent Favorite 470 votes or 0.67%

Ember Reichgott Junge 14454 votes or 20.54%

Keith Ellison 29003 votes or 41.21%

Mike Erlandson 21857 votes or 31.06%

Paul Ostrow 3795 votes or 5.39%

Patrick J. Wiles 347 votes or 0.49%

Source MN Secretary of State

The clearest distinction is this election the Congressperson from CD05 will be a woman. The three candidates with the best opportunity to fill the seat are all women, Rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B, Minneapolis), Former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-63, Minneapolis). Here voters in the DFL Primary will be able to choose on identity politics from three of which two are people of color born outside of the United States, Omar (Somalia) and Torres Ray (Columbia), which celebrates the diversity of this Congressional District. To her credit, Anderson Kelliher was also born outside Minneapolis and grew up on a farm in Southern Minnesota and became the Princess Kay of the Milky Way.

The Proposed Rules Are Set

Last night the CD05 Rules Committee met and neither the Torres Ray or Anderson Kelliher campaigns had votes on the committee, but their campaigns were represented during the discussions. As we understand the results, the drop rule being proposed is to use Ranked Choice Voting where every candidate nominated can be ranked in order of support along with No Endorsement. There was an untraditional call for a Minority Report by the Majority to allow if opposition to Ranked Choice Voting occurs on the floor. Which we find to be strange because as a former paid staffer for FairVoteMN Omar and her team should be staunch supporters for Ranked Choice Voting in any form. The alternative discussed for a fallback Minority Report is to have a pre-prepared set of Rules with a standard but astringent drop rule, because they believe the five ballot limit will be upheld.

As the competencies and credentials of these three are assessed Omar seemed positioned to cultivate the energy of the youth vote, she is the youngest in the field and was just seen in a Maroon 5 video and trying to fill the pole-position opened by Ellison. Anderson Kelliher is well-positioned to appeal to the suburban and lakes area vote due to her legislative experience and work with the High-Tech community, and Torres Ray the Hispanic community surrounding the Lake Street area and throughout the city.

Omar may not have the cakewalk many believe because the strength of the Somali vote in Minneapolis and in the surrounding suburbs though growing but may not be as strong as the growth in the Somali community overall and is a separate and distinct faction from the African-American vote on the north side of Minneapolis. Torres Ray may be well-suited to appeal to this community if she can win support from her colleague Sen Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59, Minneapolis). We see Champion as pivotal this election and were surprised when he suspended his campaign as well as when Kim Ellison withdrew because each of them would have been clearly positioned to retain the seat for the African-American community.

But either candidate would have drawn from the vote overall and Champion’s remaining could have prevented a woman from the position.

The endorsement can be a crucial component to either Omar’s or Torres Ray’s campaigns for fundraising opportunities, but Omar’s fame may not require it. Anderson Kelliher’s work in a high-level statewide association of leading edge businesses made up of innovators and entrepreneurs maybe an opportunity to generate a steady cash flow during this nine remaining weeks.

One side note, a gadfly candidate Gregg A Iverson filed in the DFL primary for the US Senate against US Senator Tina Smith (D-MN).  

We will be keeping our eyes peeled for developments as they occur. Stay tuned.

Special Endorsing Convention in CD05

Whenever the word “Special” is used in politics people should be put on notice. Special is now becoming one of those words whose meaning has changed to the point where it is almost opposite of what it was originally intended. As people try to co-opt words and try to repurpose and own a specific term, they should know the root origin and yes there are other lower definitions, but many people who use the particular word speak to the original intent.

That said, the Special Endorsing Convention is causing a stir. We understanding there are a few groups forming in regard to the very call for a convention. One group, one we will call the Curmudgeons, are considering boycotting, which means they as delegates will not be seated, but if the Alternate is present then that person will be. This speaks to an ignorant political position because politics is about those who show up. Pure and simple. Another group is the Traditionalists, they will be present on June 17th, in spite of it being Father’s Day, because they have a responsibility to do so and were elected by the members of their respective Senate Districts to do so. The third group is one we will call the Feel Good Delegates. This group is interested in a more thoughtful and thorough vetting of the candidates and hopefully sending a message through their actions. Some are discussing turning this into a forum rather than an endorsement and then holding a straw poll afterward, which is lame.

Here are the numbers as we understand them. There are 206 Congressional District Delegate, 48 PLEO’s (Party Leader or Elected Officials) and 29 other party elected officers who serve as directors for the state party or the Congressional District for a Grand Total of 283 and a 60% endorsement is 170 votes. Many Delegates are suspected to not attend and this too is an opportunity for Alternates to be upgraded. Now the PLEO’s could become a point of discussion as they were at the Hennepin County DFL Endorsing Convention, where the elected officials were unseated unceremoniously and this has left a bad taste in the mouths of some of them.

The first consideration will be the Rules of the Convention and we hear they set a five-ballot limit and are considering using Ranked Choice Voting, now our readers may be surprised to learn we support the use of RCV in this instance. Why, because the DFL is a Private Association, mainly left to their own rules and not derisive to the General Electorate. The key factor of RCV will be if they limit the number of candidates for ranking to a specific number. We believe they should be able to rank all six candidates and No Endorsement is an available number and eligible for a vote anywhere in the ranking. The role No Endorsement plays in the process will be significant, especially if No Endorsement receives 50% +1, the contest should end, but if not, then another ballot ensues. Then, on the 2nd and subsequent ballots if No Endorsement ultimately receives 40% +1 the contest should also be over.

People should remember if the DFL Party puts forward a nominee, but this is only a recommendation which will be either affirmed or negated by the DFL Primary Voters who have the final say, but this means party resources can be spent for the endorsed candidate. It is clear the Primary will be the determining factor for this Congressional Seat and similar to a Ranked Choice Voting election all of the candidates who filed. We see this election as a two-tier race as we have structured RCV races. Originally the field included Sen Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-59, Minneapolis) but he suspended his campaign on Monday, but not by Thursday the previous week where his name could be struck from the ballot. The first tier includes Rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B, Minneapolis), Former House Speaker and Gubernatorial Candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher (DFL-Minneapolis) and Sen Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-63, Minneapolis) and their names will be put into nomination, but the possibility of including the other second-tier candidates is a possibility during the endorsing convention and if they are included it may play into a blocked endorsement strategy. The other candidates on the Primary ballot are Jamal Abdi Abdulahi (DFL-MN05) and Frank Nelson Drake (DFL-MN05), but we are unsure if their names will be placed in nomination.

There is a fear the endorsement will go to the inexperienced Omar, because she is the darling of the lunatic fringe in Minneapolis, but also the others understand they need to be seen and visible as many times as possible during this whirlwind nine-week campaign. So, the political value of an endorsement is present, because of what it brings to a candidate, money, lists, coordination and a volunteer base, but the reality of an endorsement is another matter altogether.

As the different candidates vying for the endorsement they will be doing so in a particular light. First, they will decide if they can achieve the endorsement and if so will work toward that end, if they see they are unable to obtain it then, they will try to block another candidate from receiving it, and if someone other than them does receive it, then they will work to undermine its value, by challenging the process.

Now, this convention needs to be viewed in the light of the #MeToo Movement, the surge of the Millennials/Bernie Sanders sycophants and the pure and simple fact this is the most political skewed left Congressional District in the state. CD05 is highly influenced to its own detriment by the absurdity of Minneapolis politics. The concentration of the politics of Minneapolis leaves those in other parts of the district and state dumbfounded. What is everyday commonplace activity in Minneapolis is ludicrous to others, but that’s okay just saying its Minneapolis defines itself. It would be great if Minneapolis became a literal site for a different social experiment Under the Dome, so no one could get out, but enough of this rant, which fully expresses our disdain for Minneapolis.

Read what we have to say about the event while it occurs and follow the balloting here on Checks & Balances.

Minnesota Voters Alliance Prevails at US Supreme Court

The MN Voters Alliance prevailed in the question to maintain freedom of speech privileges extended into the polling place in their case MN Voters Alliance v. Mansky. The efforts by Andy Cilek, Dan McGrath (The Republican one), Sue Jeffers, and Erick Kaardal against Ramsey County Elections Director Joe Mansky have paid off well. This should help in fundraising and maybe Cilek and company will take this new found strength and reapply it to getting rid of Ranked Choice Voting.

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A Tale of Two Erins

We hear DFL Endorsed candidate has doubled down on the name Erin and tapped fellow freshman Rep Erin Maye Quade (DFL-57A, Apple Valley). Maye Quade is an articulate, sharp debater and instrumental in bringing sexual harassment in the legislature to the foreground. She is the only member of the House to turn her district from red to blue and offers an opportunity to concentrate the focus for the DFL in the legislature to the greater metropolitan area, including the suburbs.

This will shift the DFL focus from the need to always chase the elusive Greater Minnesota vote, which tends to operate counter to the trend line of the new party establishment.

This means the DFL ticket will be seen in the following fashion three women at the top US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tina Smith (D-MN) and now Erin Murphy to be enhanced with Maye Quade, a lesbian, Matt Pelikan a gay male, Secretary of State Steve Simon heterosexual male, and with the State Auditor’s race pending either another woman in Julie Blaha (D-MN) or Jon Tollefson (D-MN) also a gay male.

Exclusive Preconvention Interview with Richard Painter

We had the opportunity to interview US Candidate Richard Painter (Converted D-Mendota Heights) and we are currently transcribing the information. Below you can read his responses to our first fourteen questions and we will post the rest of the answers as they come available.

Interesting factoid Painter a frequent commentator on MSNBC joined Twitter in 2014, has 475,000 followers and follows 81 people. Here are a couple of recent tweets.

Our view: Painter-for-Smith Senator swap is a much better deal if you want single payer health care, big money out of politics, and NO copper and nickel mining near Minnesota waterways!

It’s time for a common-sense approach to immigration reform. Citizenship (not just a “path to citizenship”)’for anyone who has been here at least five years. Extend DACA. Crack down on employers (the Trump Organization?) that hire undocumented workers. Fire Trump and Pence!

Painter’s name will be placed in nomination by a state delegate from the 8th Congressional District Christopher Horoshak and the campaign has secured the 50 names required for seconding the nomination. This means Painter will be able to address the convention. To listen to the interview click below..

C&B: Please tell us what you feel people should know about your biography as a candidate for the US Senate?

RP: I believe very strongly, that the corruption in government is something we’re going to have to deal with. Its destroying our country. I saw government corruption firsthand as the Chief Whitehouse Ethics Lawyer 2005-2007. Seen what campaign finance can do, PAC’s Super PAC’s, lobbying, I have seen the impact on both political parties. It’s a serious problem, I have written several books about it. What goes on in government and the financial services sector and the corruption there, and I have taught and my students, I have done it as a professor. And I think it’s time now to take action and do what I can, and I think I can do that as a United States Senator.

C&B: Why are you running for the US Senate, and what makes you uniquely qualified?

RP: Well, I am running for the Senate because I see a lot of problems that need to get fixed, particularly, in the corruption of our government, now only in Donald Trump but in the system, we had before. With campaign finance and financial conflicts of interest. I have written about these issues, published books and articles on them, taught on these issues, lectured around the country, was the Vice-Chair of Citizen’s for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, so I understand the problems and have some ideas of how to fix them, and I think the Senate is a good place to do that.

C&B: When and why did you move to Minnesota initially?

RP: Moved to Minnesota, in 2007 to be a University professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. I previously had been a University professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. My wife is a professor of music history she’s with the music department at the University of Minnesota. She wanted to come here, and I certainly wanted to come here, because I think it’s a wonderful place to live, wonderful summers we have here, we have three middle school aged kids, and we just love living in Minnesota, and we can endure the winters so it’s a very good deal for us.

C&B: it better for Minnesota to be represented by someone who was born in Minnesota, or who has a long and storied history in Minnesota?

RP: I don’t think that’s relevant. I think what’s relevant is somebody who can address the issues that Minnesotan’s care about. A lot of Minnesotans are very worried about paying for healthcare just like people all over the United States. That’s a critically important issue in Minnesota, a lot Minnesotan’s are worried about Climate Change, which is obviously an issue across the globe. Now, of course, we have our unique environmental issues, such as the environmental impact of sulfide mining up near the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area, ya, the Duluth Watershed. Those are issues you learn about when you live in Minnesota, but I have to say I have found out a lot more about what’s going on there and the potential devastating impact of those mines, than my opponent in this Primary, Senator Tina Smith, I am strongly opposed to that mining, I think it’s going to destroy our state. So, it takes some time to learn about the specifics of life here, in Minnesota and what people care about here in particular, but a lot of the issues have a global reach, certainly a nationwide reach, and those are specific to Minnesota the fact that we’re not addressing them such as the pollution from sulfide mining in the Boundary Waters and that great risk. The reason we’re not taking the right stand on that is once again is the corrupting influence of money in politics.

C&B: What made you decide you were a Democrat, and when did you make that decision?

RP: I, ah, I’m an independent in many ways, I am independent to the party’s political process in both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, and I make up my own mind on the issues. I’m not going to go down a platform and say I’m going to do this, this, and this, because other people call themselves Democrats, or Republicans do this, this, and this. I have looked at my positions on issues very carefully, and I am convinced that a very large segment of voters that support Democrats would agree with me on the issues.  Much more so than the voters who today, support the Republican Party, which has change dramatically over the years. Also, of course, to run for federal office, you have to swear fealty to Donald Trump, and I’m not going to do that.  I think he ought to be thrown out of office.

C&B: Can you explain the difference between the Democratic Party and the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party?

RP: Well, the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party of course, is Minnesota’s Democratic, we don’t have a separate Democratic Party, it merged with the Farmer-Labor Party to create what we now call the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. My concern is that the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party could very well be forgetting the interests of farmers and laborers as the party along with both the Republicans and Democratic Party nationwide, falls under the influence of big money in politics and most of that money is corporate money and that is a serious concern. I am happy to talk that with respect to health care and whether we’re ever going to really have single payer health care or if we’re going to kowtow to the interests of the medical device industry which is very, very powerful here in this state. And, also, of course, the environmental issues, the question is how strong a stand the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party will take in this state on environment protection how strong a stand the Democratic Party nationwide will take on environmental protection.  And that going to be a question is will it be determined on the merits or by the campaign contributors.

C&B: What does DFL mean to you and what are the core values of being a DFLer?

RP: Well, as I said, I would hope the Democratic Farmer-Labor Party would focus on the issues of farmers and laborers not just on the interests and financing of the lobbyists. We going to find out DFL means to the party. But they need to have people we’re nominating for federal office and for state office for the interests of the people That’s what’s critically important. So, let’s get, my ideas about what we ought to do on specific issues. And it’s up to voters in the Democratic Farmer-Labor Primary, and anybody can vote in the Primary, to decide if they want me or my opponent, Senator Smith. And then in November, we have another decision to make.

C&B: Minnesota is a diverse state economically, what are the significate economic interests in the state?

RP: We got everything from agriculture to education and healthcare and mining. We have a lot of different economic interests in this state. And, we’re much more diverse ethnically and economically than we were even a few decades ago.

C&B: What connections do you have with Greater Minnesota?

RP: I am very concerned about the protection of the environment in northern Minnesota the Boundary Waters and the Duluth Watershed, I share that concern with a lot of people who live in that region, who do not want to see outside foreign-owned mining come in there and get into the sulfide mining business. So, I share a lot of concerns with people on that region in environmental protection area.

In agriculture areas of the state, I am very, very concerned, I share the concerns that many farmers have about what Donald Trump is doing and his trade policy.  When he is starting a trade war and he’s just starting more of this again today. With China and Europe, and other countries, and the result is going to be retaliation again American agricultural exports. That’s going to devastate farmers. I think that a lot of people in farming a lot of farmers are going to be very, very worried about the direction of the Republican Party, as it moves away from free-trade toward not a fair-trade policy, which is what I would support, but toward a Trumpian Trade War, which could really end up in a downward spiral similar to what we had in the 1930’s under Herbert Hoover. So, this is an opportunity for opponents of President Trump’s Trade policy to reach out to the agricultural communities, to farmers, talk about the importance of a stable and fair global trade regime, and how Donald Trump isn’t doing anything to support it and indeed may destroy our global economy. And I have to say I am very disappointed in our two Senators and some other Democratic Senators around the country gave Trump some encouragement with respect to his steel tariffs. I think that is a tragic mistake to egg on Donald Trump in his bombastic rhetoric about trade.

C&B: What experiences do you have in Greater Minnesota, have you ever worked on a farm, do you hunt? Do you fish?

RP: No, I haven’t done much on farms. I don’t hunt or fish I have three middle school aged kids and I take them to soccer games and pick them up from school. That’s a lot of my extra time when I ‘m not working it’s here with the kids in the metro area, but I have gone up to Minnesota, northern Minnesota near the Boundary Waters up near Ely, with my kids we have done some hunting, fishing up there, with the kids a few times. That’s a lot of fun, but I am one of these guys that goes out fishing every weekend I don’t have time.

C&B: You have been a sharp critic of Donald J Trump what are the biggest threats he poses to America?

RP: Well, this could be a long answer. Let’s start with a, let’s start with the Constitution. Cause the 1st Amendment, which guarantees free exercise of religion, he was talking about that a Muslim ban during the campaign, he sought to implement it with a travel ban. That’s a direct violation of our Constitution. We have never had a politician talk that way about a particular religion in the United States in recent memory in an election. They had that going on in the Presidential election in Germany 1932, but not here in the United States. We can’t tolerate that.

His attacks on the freedom press and the lying press are very, very similar to the attacks on the press, in Hitler’s Germany. We cannot tolerate that. And he takes specific actions to retaliate against the Washington Post, MSNBC, other news outlets, CNN. He is receiving payments from foreign governments in violation of the Constitution that’s an anti-corruption provision of the Constitution called the Monuments Clause. I’ve actually sued him over that and working with others suing him over that. But the United States Congress should be investigating it.

He has shown a complete disrespect for the judiciary. He said that a judge is dis, not qualified to hear a case against him Trump University case because the judge is somehow biased by being Mexican-American. Once again, we don’t talk about judges in the United States being bias because of their ethnic background. That’s the kind of thing that was done also 1933 in Germany, before they threw all the Jewish judges off of the courts.

So, we’ve got a lot of problems. This President doesn’t understand the Constitution. He doesn’t understand the law, he doesn’t understand or if he does he wants to violate it willy nilly. He’s guilty of obstruction of justice, we saw that in the firing of James Comey. Attempts to fire Robert Muller. Drafting false statements for his son to give to the press about a Trump Tower meeting. The list goes on and on. He’s not playing by the rules.

So, the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to have a hear and look at what’s going on and decide what to do. Same with the House.

C&B: How has Trump’s Presidency hurt Minnesota specifically?

RP: Well, it hurts Minnesota because we’re part of the United States. This country’s one union and he’s destroying our country, he’s destroying our Constitution. He’s tearing people apart too by encouraging racism and stoking hatred. You know, we saw that during the Charlotte incident we’ve seen that several times since then. His race baiting tears people apart including people here in Minnesota. As I have said before his trade war is going to be a debacle for Minnesota farmers.

C&B: How do you prevent yourself from being just another rich, white, male, lawyer in the world’s most exclusive private club the United States Senate?

RP: Well, I’ve more wealth than the average person in Minnesota, for sure, far less than my opponent Senator Tina Smith. But I am not sure that, that’s relevant. What’s relevant is whether I can serve the public interest. You now have financial conflicts of interest, I have my retirement funds are mutual funds, same as Amy Klobuchar. Senator Smith unfortunately has millions of dollars’ worth of medical device company stocks she won’t sell. So, if someone does have wealth that doesn’t exclude them from politics. I have a lot less than many people who have gone into politics, but its important to get rid of financial conflicts of interest not to hold stocks that are affected by the decision you make on the floor of the Senate. I just hope to do the best can for the people of this state, to the United States from who I am.

C&B: From your vantage point, what differences did Paul Wellstone make as a US Senator from Minnesota?

RP: Well, he urged for reform. He spoke out against corruption in government. Urged for reform of our healthcare system. He was a reformer. And, I think that made a great difference. It’s hard, to get things done given our system of campaign finance and everything else that’s going on. I wish there were more Senators like Paul Wellstone, there and more support from the White House. But it didn’t work out that way. So, he was able to get some things done, but it’s very, very hard.  We need more people like him.

C&B: What differences did Al Franken make as a US Senator from Minnesota?

RP: Well, he was very, very clear in holding people in the Trump Administration accountable. And I will say he did a lot he accomplished a lot. But the one thing I watched and followed in detail was when Al Franken was questioning Jeff Sessions in a confirmation hearing for Attorney General, and Al Franken asked specific questions about Russians and contacts with Russians and Jeff Sessions lied and his lies were later exposed, and Al Franken had the courage to say that that was perjury or very close to perjury, basically perjury. So, Al Franken called him on that on national television.

I wrote the very same week an Op/Ed in the New York Times calling on Attorney General Sessions to resign because of his false testimony in answer to Al Franken’s question. Attorney General Session decided not to resign but recuse from the Russian investigation. But, if Al Franken had never asked that question if Al Franken had never stepped forward to state the truth, which was that that was a lie that response to his question, if he had not had the courage to do that, Attorney General Sessions would have gotten a pass on that and would not have recused from the Russian investigation and we wouldn’t have Bob Muller. So, here is a direct line between that question by Al Franken, Al Franken holding Attorney General Sessions to account for his lying under oath and Attorney General Sessions decision to recuse from the Russia investigation which allowed for Robert Muller to be appointed not only be appointed but retain his office and not be fired.

We owe a lot to Al Franken.

C&B: What differences does Amy Klobuchar make as a US Senator from Minnesota?

RP: She is a good Senator. She, I think she for example opposed the Trump tax cuts, if we there had been a hand full Senators like Amy Klobuchar, we wouldn’t have that tax cut, a hand full more. And she’s another one and Senator Flake, but it is critically important that we stand firm against what President Trump is doing. So I admijre Amy Klobuchar for the stands she has taken. There are issues I disagree with her on like sulfide mining, but she been a very good Senator from Minnesota.

Remaining Questions

C&B: What’s the most important thing about being a US Senator from Minnesota, specifically?

C&B: What do you seek to accomplish as a US Senator?

C&B: Would you support removal of caps on FICA and Social Security making sure every dollar is taxed as a dollar?

C&B: What is your path to success in the DFL Primary for US Senate?

C&B: What are your criticisms of current US Senator Tina Smith and is she qualified for the position?

C&B: How many debates would you like to have? Would you support eight debates one in each Congressional District? If given the opportunity to debate Tina Smith what questions would you want to ask her?

C&B: Is the anything else you would like to offer?

Fishbach Finally Takes the Oath

Last week, Sen Michele Fischbach (R-13, Paynesville) finally agreed to take the oath of office as Lt Governor. Afterward, she announced she would not be a candidate for reelection to her Senate seat. This quickly led to speculation she would be running for Lt Governor with former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN). This maneuver has the fingerprints of former Pawlenty staffer Brian McClung all over it. McClung prior to his stint with Pawlenty was Senate Minority Communications Director, while Fischbach also served.

If the Republicans fail to endorse a candidate for Governor in Duluth this weekend, then the Pawlenty/Fischbach ticket should have the wind at their back. If Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R-MN) is able to repeat his performance from 2014, then the candidates with the greatest appeal to Trump voters will be the order of the year.

NPR Censors Opposition Comments on RCV

The NPR show 1A ran a program on Ranked Choice Voting today, and Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle sought a spot on the panel. When called back by producer Andi McDaniel he was informed the panel was full but could submit a comment through the voicemail which...

The Two Realities of Tim Pawlenty

During his administration, Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) created consistent deficits. Each year he controlled the budget the numbers didn’t add up. In response to the first deficit, his fiscal wizardry decided to rob the Tobacco Settlement and use the endowment, as...

CD08 Adds a Pornographer to the Field

Soren Sorenson (DFL) is not very notable, but he did have stint producing pornography. We have spoken to him about this throughout the years and he is relatively proud of the fact. We will be waiting and be watching for this issue to come to the fore.

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Political Filings, My Piece of the Pie

2:43 pm Rep Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B, Minneapolis) now has filed for the 5th CD, Mohamud Noor, one of Omar's other Primary opponents in 2016 has filed for 60B, we spoke with former Rep Phyllis Kahn (DFL-60B, Minneapolis) and she will not be filing for her old seat. Also,...

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On-hand at the DFL Convention

Sunday 2:56 pm Julie Blaha was endorsed. 2:25 pm The State Auditor's endorsement is underway. 1st Ballot Julie Blaha 617 votes or 55.7% Jon Tollefson 487 votes or 43.9% No Endorsement 4.5 votes or 0.4% Total votes cast 1109 Saturday 5:47 pm Walz withdraws Murphy...

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We Will Be Live from the DFL State Convention

If you are interested in the blow-by-blow coverage, traditional Checks & Balances here at follow our time stamped format and hit refresh frequently, to gather the most recent information. At the DFL State Convention in Rochester will be a three-day event...

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Hackbarth Files to Regain His Seat

Former Rep Tom Hackbarth (R-31B, Cedar) has filed to challenge Rep Calvin Bahr (R-31B, East Bethel) to recapture his old seat. Bahr, a Tea Party candidate, defeated Hackbarth by 308 votes with a margin of 56.96% to 43.04%. The question is where will Bahr and...

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