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Applebaum Not to Seek Reelection




DJ Danielson (651) 296-8879


February 16, 2018


Rep. Jon Applebaum will not seek reelection to the Minnesota House in 2018

SAINT PAUL, Minn — Today, Representative Jon Applebaum announced that he will not seek reelection to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2018.

“It has been an honor to serve my hometown district, all of my constituents and the people of Minnesota for the past four years,” Rep. Applebaum said. “Thank you to my constituents for electing me as their representative. Thank you to my colleagues and the staff at the legislature for all the work they do. And thank you to my family, friends, supporters and volunteers, who helped in all my campaigns. Your support has meant the world to me.

“While I have enjoyed serving in the legislature, I am very excited to have the time to enjoy the future outside of it, including becoming a father for the first time with welcoming a daughter into our family this April, and continuing to help Minnesotans through my growing private legal practice.”

An example of a Democratic-Farmer-Labor (DFL) politician who focused on economic issues, Rep. Applebaum was first elected to represent District 44B (Minnetonka, Plymouth and Woodland) in 2014. After just one term, his DFL colleagues elected him Deputy Minority Leader of the DFL House Caucus prior to the 2017-2018 session. He has never lost an election and has been the legislature’s most prodigious fundraiser throughout each of his campaigns.

“I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish at the legislature. In particular, I was successful in creating the nation’s first student loan debt tax credit, which is expected to provide direct relief to 65,000 student loan debtors in its first year and provide nearly $120 million in relief over a four-year period,” Rep. Applebaum added. “I also was the first to provide legislation for legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in Minnesota, which effectively started a statewide conversation that will lead to its enactment in the not too distant future.”

In his final session at the legislature, Rep. Applebaum will be concentrating on passing his latest piece of bold, tax-cutting legislation, which will be introduced on Tuesday, February 22. The measure resolves many of the problems caused by President Trump’s tax bill and accomplishes one critical objective: it saves Minnesotans’ money.Rep. Applebaum has received recognition, accolades and support for his legislative work from groups as diverse as labor organizations, soybean growers, the Police Federation, Minnesota Professional Firefighters, Conservation Minnesota, Minnesota Farmers Union and the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, which invited him to speak at its 2017 State Convention.

Special Election Results Senate District 54 and House District 23B

Senate District 54

People have been walking through the door to the Cottage Grove VFW with smiles on their faces and their happy demeanor will pay-off. The final Hastings precinct has reported and former Rep and current County Commissioner is now Sen-elect Karla Bigham (DFL-54, Cottage Grove). She defeated former Rep Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) with 7344 votes or 50.72% compared to 6815 votes or 47.07%.

Sen-elect Karla Bingham (DFL-54, Cottage Grove)

House District 23B

This race is falling in a traditional fashion. The Jeremy Munson (R-Crystal Lake) carried the evening with 3943 votes or 59.22% with 2658 or 39,92% for Melissa Wagner (DFL-Crystal Lake). The rural vote continues to produce for Republicans.

Other Items from the DFL Preference Poll

When the final results of the DFL Preference Poll were made available at 5:48 Friday evening they didn’t change the narrative in any significant fashion. DFL turnout outpaced Republican by better than three-to-one and Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN01) carried the day with ten points plus over State Auditor Rebecca Otto (DFL-MN). One interesting piece worth noting is the cost/vote. We published a list of the amount spent by each candidacy in their last campaign finance report against the results of the preference poll. Click here to see the results.

Otto carried one single Congressional District MN08 while Walz prevailed in the other seven. This is a similar point Otto raised in her literature piece highlighting her strength of Congressman Rick Nolan (D0MN08) and Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) in this region of the state. By measure, this may prove Walz as having greater statewide appeal and Otto with a regional one when measuring against one another.

Again, the DFL Preference Poll is nothing more than a beauty contest, the results are not binding, meaning they have no effect on the delegate selection at the Senate District of County Unit Conventions, which will decide the delegates to the DFL State Convention in Rochester on June 1-3rd.

But, in this beauty contest Walz gets the crown then Otto is Ms Congeniality, and few would think of Otto as congenial.

Special Elections in the Southeast Suburbs and Southern MN

All eyes are on the results in Senate District 54 and House District 23B this evening to see if any trends for the General Elections on November 6th can be seen in advance. Even though these are local legislative contests, the impact of the Presidency of Donald J Trump (R) and the Republican-controlled Congress are expected to be in full view and exist as a low-grade fever, that makes one feel just not right.

Republicans are pulling out all of the stops in this race. They are even spending money on cable television ads against former State Rep now Washington County Commissioner Karla Bingham (DFL-Cottage Grove). Over the weekend, anti-Bingham spots ran on Fox Sports North during the Timberwolves game.

There have been a number of interesting pieces of literature being sent out in Senate District 54 we would like to highlight, which are worth noting. Now, we are not even talking about substance or content, but something far pettier. Republicans have been sending out items which are Photoshopped to visually misrepresent Bingham in various mailings.  Because she has visible moles on one side of her face the same magically appear on another side as well, this is due to the reversing of the image to highlight the blemishes. Additionally, they have cast a greenish pallor on the images to try and paint her as eviller or cronelike. The problem is Republicans may have forgotten green is the color of the Incredible Hulk and the warning from Bruce Banner, was “You wouldn’t like me when I am angry.”

Now, these tactics may seem insignificant and sophomoric, but they may also underlie the nature of the overall Republican campaign approach. Remember the last election the Senate Republican Caucus paid $50,000 for their field operation to be run by Norm Coleman’s Independent Expenditure MN Action Network.

The DFL has seen fit to tie the demeanor of former Rep Denny McNamara (R) who avoided an Ethics charge of personal enrichment, by not seeking reelection in 2016. As you can see, the mailer they sent out over the weekend shows a Trump-like shadow and calls attention to the ethical problems of McNamara in the same piece.

Many critics of McNamara point to fact he voted aginst the transportation bill, which provided funding for the Hastings Bridge, which is a significant asset to the sommunity.

Trump carried the district by 618 votes, He lost on the A side in the communities of Cottage Grove, St Paul Park, and South St Paul, and won in the community of Hastings and the surrounding towns.

Since this election will determine the closeness of the majority in the State Senate, we will be tracking it closely over the course of the evening. We will once again point out the turnout during the Republican Primary in this Senate, the race was nearly one-third of that seen in House District 23B. We highlight this fact because the low Republican voter interest in a suburban district which is twice the size is significant.

The Race in Southern MN

The contest in House District 23B, located south of Mankato, will be the most telling if it were to change hands. Just as the Special Election in Hudson WI, last month sent tremors through the Badger State, so could the race between transplanted farmer/business owner Jeremy Munson (R) and life-long resident and Educator Melissa Wagner (DFL) may be telling.

The district includes portions of Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Waseca, and Watonwan counties and both candidates are from Lake Crystal, which is 13.2 mi Southwest from Mankato on Highway 60.

Munson is a cookie cutter Republican candidate who talks about less government involvement, free-market practices and cutting government waste. While Wagner also is an embodiment of her party as a School Social worker and Special Education Coordinator in the Minnesota Valley Education District and a legacy farmer.

Because the results of this election will not play any role in the effecting the strength of the majority, it would only be symbolic in its impact, but as an embolden force in the coming elections, it may be substantial.

Trump carried 23B with 58.98% of the vote and any erosion should be a positive message for the DFL.

Nolan Retires, Whose Next?

The surprise retirement announcement from Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN08) has started phones ringing across the state from Minneapolis to the Range Cities. Now, people are looking to find other candidates to vie for the open seat. Nolan already was facing an opponent for the DFL Endorsement by Leah Phifer (DFL) who was challenging him over his support for sulfide mining.

We understand some of the pressures on Nolan stemmed from the Congressional Democratic Conference, but also two of his daughters are involved in health-related issues.

We have exchanged words with former Rep Joe Radinovich (DFL-10B, Crosby), who is now the Chief of Staff for Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (DFL). Prior to being Frey’s Campaign Manager, Joe Rad, Managed Nolan’s last campaign against Stewart Mills III.

Here is what we learned from Radinovich himself. He says he is meeting with consultants today at 3:00 pm and will decide by Monday morning.

Another candidate we think could easily step into this race is former Rep Carly Melin (DFL-06A, Hibbing). She served for 3 terms in the legislature, is an attorney, and maintained her life on the Iron Range. She is an attractive candidate in many ways, who has experienced her own issues. She is divorced, the mother of two, and recently, she has been experiencing attacks on Facebook from a Troll, who has been using a picture of one of her children who was squirming while being held by Vice President Joe Biden (D).

The Republican Candidate is Pete Stauber (R). He is a Lt in the Duluth Police Department and is the brother of U of MN goalie Robb Stauber.

We will be following the developments in the 8th Congressional District closely.

Thissen Ends Campaign

Rep Paul Thissen (DFL-61B, Minneapolis) ended his campaign for Governor after the DFL Precinct Caucuses. He posted the following on Facebook.

I am ending my campaign for Governor today. I have been incredibly blessed and honored to have had the opportunity to serve the people of Minnesota in the State House for fifteen years and look back fondly on the amazing people I’ve met and the many good things we’ve been able to accomplish together that have improved the lives of Minnesotans. Not many people get such a chance and I’ve done my best to do all I could with that opportunity. But I know from experience that so much of life is not just working hard, but is also being in the right place at the right time. Now is not the right time for my candidacy.

To all who have helped in so many ways, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your willingness to step up will be something I carry with me for a long time.

As always, a lot of work remains ahead. Above all, Minnesota is commonly ranked as the second most racially unequal state in the country. The greatest legacy we could leave in the next decade is to adopt the focus and policies needed to make us the most equal state. I hope that discussion forms the heart of the 2018 campaign.

All my best.

2018 Precinct Caucuses

Tuesday night’s activity in the Precinct Caucuses starts the 2018 election cycle in earnest. The culmination of activity occurring in communities across the state is a testament to the vibrancy of Minnesota’s participatory democracy.

On the DFL Side

We attended Senate District 66, held at the Roseville Senior High, which comprises the communities of St Paul, Roseville, Falcon Heights Lauderdale. This district is the highest DFL index in the state. This was a hotspot of the evening because both DFL Gubernatorial Candidates Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN01) and State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D-MN) were on-hand greeting the delegates and spoke in each of the twenty-four precinct caucus rooms for their allotted one-minute, prior to the closure of the DFL preference balloting in the which, is a nonbinding beauty contest. Upon the conclusion of the event, we saw former St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (DFL) greeting caucus attendees upon their departure. We understand he was in Hopkins earlier in the evening.

We saw little signs of campaign activity for US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) or Tina Smith (D-MN) other than some literature and nothing from recently announced challenger Nick Leonard.

The results in SD66 tracked slightly different than the statewide totals showing Walz carrying the night with 228 votes or 27.27%, Otto garnered 156 votes or 18.66%, following closely Rep Erin Murphy (DFL-64A, St Paul) with 153 votes or 18.30%, then Coleman with 119 votes or 14.23%, Uncommitted cared the 5th position with 106 votes or 12.68%, then Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester) 58 votes or 6.94%, and Rep Paul Thissen (DFL-61B, Minneapolis carrying the rear with 16 votes or 1.91%.

The final numbers were finally posted at 5:48 pm yesterday. The total number of attendees increased to 34,112 and even more significant participation rater when compared to the Republican Party. The positioning of candidates remained the same and the number shifted slightly. showed the same order Walz with 9890 votes or 30.26%, Otto 6465 votes or 19.78%, Murphy 4447 votes or 13.61%, Uncommitted 3645 or 12.87%, Coleman 3326 votes or 11.74%, Liebling 1739 or 6.14% and Thissen 1338 votes or 4.72%.

The cost/Vote

Candidate Money Spent Votes  $/Vote
Coleman 498540.00 3326 $149.89
Thissen 193732.00 1338 $144.79
Murphy 350723.00 4447 $78.87
Walz 627105.00 9890 $63.41
Liebling 82013.00 1739 $47.16
Otto 158841.00 6465 $24.57


The DFL initial statewide results everyone began talking about were reported as of Tuesday 11:47 pm and showed the same order Walz with 8753 votes or 30.91%, Otto 5969 votes or 20.11%, Murphy 3727 votes or 13.16%, Uncommitted 4360 or 13.34%, Coleman 3873 votes or 11.85%, Liebling 1999 or 6.12% and Thissen 1517 votes or 4.64%.

On the Republican Side

The turnout is showing less nearly 3,000 fewer participates than in 2014, the last Gubernatorial election. During that election Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R) carried the party’s mantle and he carried the evening with 4995 or 45.42%, with Undecided holding 2nd place 1706 or 15.64%, former Republican Party Chair Keith Downey (R) 1590 or 14.58%, Phillip Parrish 1507 or 13.81% and Woodbury Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens (R) 1298 or 11.90%.

The cost/Vote

Candidate Money Spent Votes  $/Vote
Downey 77,482.58 1590 $48.73
Guiliani Stephens 31,422.28 1298 $24.21
Johnson 112,359.62 4995 $22.49
Parrish 5,068.73 1507 $3.36


If there exists an “Enthusiasm gap” as we pointed out in the Special Election Primary results in Senate District 54 on the Republican side, then this could be a banner year for the DFL. Just viewing the preference ballot results and see only 72% of the precinct reporting the DFL outmatch the GOP with nearly three times the participation rate.

The underlining question is what consequence Donald J Trump and the Republican Controlled Congress has as a dampening effect.

The biggest variable in the Republican Party is whether or not former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) enters the race. He has announced he will be leaving his position as Executive Director with the Financial Services Roundtable in March. He has a scheduled meeting with supporters next week and the question is does Johnson’s result in the caucuses have any impact on his decision. If Pawlenty joins the field and selects Stephens as his running-mate, he could give Johnson a run for his money. Since, he is not an announced candidate his name didn’t appear on the caucus ballot, which is a benefit to his potentiality because he is undefined, but it there was a wellspring of support waiting for Pawlenty, we believe the Undecided block would be larger. That would have sent a clearer sign.

No matter who the Republican Gubernatorial candidate is they will still need to campaign with Trump in their peripheral vision.

Takeaways from the 2018 DFL Precinct Caucuses

It is clear State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D-MN) principal opponent is Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN02). He is undoubtedly the front-runner. He leads in all categories, fundraising, money on-hand and now in the preference balloting.

Otto’s campaign obviously knows these facts and in response put out a literature piece with a direct comparison between herself and Walz. The reception of this items was mixed, amongst Walz supporters it was viewed as a below the belt hit piece, trying to paint Walz as a conservative, and as an aggressive pro-Woman, pro-Environmentalist, Progressive candidate promotional item. It sets the stage for a robust debate.

Additionally, the single digit showing by Rep Tina Liebling (DFL-26A, Rochester) may show the weakness of the Our Revolution forces and their ability to carry forward momentum from the 2016 election and their support of US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). This in spite of their organizational efforts last month with a conference call from Sanders to supporters across the nation. DFLers may be getting wise to the fact, Sanders is an Independent for a reason and if he is a candidate for President in 2020 it will likely be as an Independent. Read: Progressive Push: Statewide Impact of Our Revolution

Because the DFL Preference ballot is non-binding, the next battlefront will be at the Senate District and County Unit Conventions, because that is where the state delegates will be selected. Those conventions start in March with the State Convention set for June1-3rd in Rochester.


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 one-time money to fill the budget hole created by outgoing Governor Jesse Ventura (IP) administration rather than raise revenue to offset the problem.

DFLers are well positioned to prevail in a contest against any Republican challenger, especially Pawlenty if they hold strong to their values of putting people before politics and telling the truth, Republicans help the wealthy first and leave debt in their wake. This is consistent here in Minnesota and nationally. As we now know the federal tax bill has created another fiscal challenge the Debt Ceiling is now coming earlier because of the loss of revenue in the federal budget. Again, Republicans are poor fiscal stewards. They take for their friends, leave others to fix the mess and call themselves fiscally responsible.

Many Republicans may see Pawlenty as their political messiah because he is the last Republican to win a statewide race.  When looking at the realities of election returns, Pawlenty has only won when there is not a two-party race. Now, granted his margins were greater in his first race, but when facing a challenger with a statewide base, he prevailed more due to the failings of his opposition than he did on his own merit.

Additionally, Pawlenty has been out of the local limelight for quite some time, and when he ran for President in 2008, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN06) scared him out of the field after the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll.  

In the era of Donald J Trump (R), especially with his recent experience in Washington DC, Pawlenty will have to embrace or reject Trump and each choice has its own consequences.

In 2002, Republican State House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty (R-38B, Eagan) gained the seat by a comfortable margin over Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (DFL-02, Erskine), but fell over five-points below a majority victory.

Tim Pawlenty (R)                             999473                  44.37%

Roger Moe (DFL)                              821268                  36.46%

Tim Penny (IP)                                  364534                    2.25%

In 2006, for his reelection, Pawlenty again failed to secure a majority and won with a plurality. Many attributed the loss by Hatch to his overreaction to running mate Judi Dutcher’s fouling up on her response to a question on E-85.  

Tim Pawlenty (R)                             1028568                46.69%

Mike Hatch (DFL)                             1007460                45.73%

Peter Hutchinson (IP)                    141735                    6.43%


Reading the numbers is like reading tea leaves, they can tell you a lot if you know what you’re looking at.

2017 End of the Year Campaign Finance Reports

The 2017 End of the Year Campaign Finance Reports are out and we have listed the candidate in order of Total Receipts. This is the first hurdle in the political contest called the “Money Primary.” As Precinct Caucuses approach on Tuesday, February 06th, the first step in the endorsement process for both parties, caucus-goers will be able to see the separation between the various candidate.

DFLers are in a far better financial position than are there Republican opponents. Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN01) clearly leads the DFL field in all categories. He raised the most with $1,115,299.83, spent the most at $627,105.26 and has the most remaining having $488,194.57.  While the best performing Republican, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson (R), the 2014 Republican nominee raised $262,923.55, spent $112,359.62 and has $179,763.24 on-hand.

This may be why the buzz about a savior is so to paramount Republicans.

Today, the biggest discussion on the Republican side is whether or not former Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) enters the race. Since he has not yet declared, he has no report and remains a blank slate, but he is the last Republican to gain statewide office.

Walz attended a number of events last night, ending in St Paul at the home of Roy Magnuson and Mary Drew, before heading to Duluth. During the event, Walz placed his sights on Pawlenty and is clearly preparing for his opposition.

Walz has been gaining ground leading into the caucuses, and we will argue mainly because the issues he addresses in Congress are not the same as those here in Minnesota. Because he is removed from the day-to-day interaction of attempting to address issues here, he has the luxury of railing against failings in the system and speaking in broader terms.


Tim Walz

Total Receipts                   1,115,299.83

Total Expenditures             627,105.26

Ending Cash Balance          488,194.57

Chris Coleman 

Total Receipts                     602,248.35

Total Expenditures            498,540.17

Ending Cash Balance         294,417.59

Total Debt                                     500.00

Erin Murphy

Total Receipts                   377,048.01

Total Expenditures          350,723.47

Ending Cash Balance       147,429.15

Rebecca Otto

Total Receipts                   320,207.47

Total Expenditures          158,841.12

Ending Cash Balance       182,357.38

Total Debt                             23,391.03

Paul Thissen

Total Receipts                   301,132.02

Total Expenditures          193,732.12

Ending Cash Balance       108,135.38

Total Debt                             71,550.00

Tina Liebling

Total Receipts                   101,143.72

Total Expenditures            82,013.22

Ending Cash Balance         20,973.19


Jeff Johnson

Total Receipts                   262,923.55

Total Expenditures          112,359.62

Ending Cash Balance       179,763.24

Keith Downey

Total Receipts                   129,345.45

Total Expenditures            77,482.58

Ending Cash Balance         52,580.21

Mary Giuliani Stephens  

Total Receipts                     71,095.00

Total Expenditures            31,422.28

Ending Cash Balance         39,727.72