Yesterday, the Senate Republican Majority announced the Committee Chairs for 2021-22. As expected, Senators Tom Bakk (DFL-03, Cook) and David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) were rewarded for their departure from the DFL Caucus with the Capitol Investment and Housing Finance and Policy committees respectively. Now, the question is will they be able to select their own staff or as it is the case in general, will the Majority Caucus select the staff? We also expect Bakk and Tommassoni will have new offices out of the DFL side of the 2nd floor in the Senate Office Building.
Another interesting component of this list is the movement of Senjem, Chamberlain, Nelson, Weber, Jasinski, Osmek, Lang, Draheim, Koran, Mathews, Rarick, Eichorn, Utke and Johnson to new Committee assignments. Additionally, there are new Committees/subcommittees Subcommittee on Property Taxes, Local Government Policy, Subcommittee on Metropolitan Governance Policy, Veterans and Military Affairs, Housing Finance and Policy, Technology and Reform Policy, Civil Law and Data Practices Policy, Labor and Industry Policy, Mining and Forestry Policy, Human Services Licensing Policy and Redistricting.
2021-22 Senate Committee Chairs
Rules: Senator Paul Gazelka
Finance: Senator Julie Rosen
State Government Finance and Policy, and Elections: Senator Mary Kiffmeyer
Health and Human Services Finance and Policy: Senator Michelle Benson
Human Services Reform Finance and Policy: Senator Jim Abeler
Jobs Finance and Policy: Senator Eric Pratt
Commerce Finance and Policy: Senator Gary Dahms
Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy, Criminal Law: Senator Warren Limmer
Environment and Natural Resources Finance: Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen
Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance: Senator Carrie Ruud
Transportation Finance and Policy: Senator Scott Newman
Agriculture Finance and Policy: Senator Torrey Westrom
Aging and Long-Term Care Policy: Senator Karin Housley
Energy Finance and Policy: Senator Dave Senjem
E-12 Finance and Policy: Senator Roger Chamberlain
Taxes: Senator Carla Nelson
Subcommittee on Property Taxes: Senator Bill Weber
Local Government Policy: Senator John Jasinski
Subcommittee on Metropolitan Governance Policy: Senator Dave Osmek
Veterans and Military Affairs: Senator Andrew Lang
Capital Investment: Senator Tom Bakk
Higher Education Finance and Policy: Senator David Tomassoni
Housing Finance and Policy: Senator Rich Draheim
Technology and Reform Policy: Senator Mark Koran
Civil Law and Data Practices Policy: Senator Andrew Mathews
Labor and Industry Policy: Senator Jason Rarick
Mining and Forestry Policy: Senator Justin Eichorn
Human Services Licensing Policy: Senator Paul Utke
Redistricting: Senator Mark Johnson
We did it again, 1st in the nation in voter participation. We just missed the elusive 80% mark by .05% while setting the nations standard for voting participation, but it is our best performance by raw votes in state history. Yesterday, Secretary of State Steve Simon (DFL-MN) put out the following press release on the 2020 election.
Secretary of State Steve Simon today convened the State Canvassing Board to review the canvass report for the 2020 General Election and certify the results. In addition to the U.S. Presidential election and a U.S. Senate race, the board certified the election results of eight U.S. House of Representatives contests and state legislative and judicial offices.
“The State Canvassing Board has today certified Minnesota’s 2020 General Election results,” said Secretary Steve Simon. “I’m proud to officially announce that for the third election in a row, Minnesota voters were number one in the nation in voter turnout.” The total number of voters was 3,292,997. That means 79.95 percent of eligible Minnesotans participated in the 2020 General Election. That is the highest percentage turnout since 1956, and the highest total number of voters ever.
“This election was like no other in Minnesota history. The pandemic meant administering the 2020 election using a public health and safety lens.” Secretary Simon said. “I made an unprecedented request of Minnesota voters: to consider voting from home with an absentee ballot. Those voters responded in truly remarkable fashion.” 1,906,383 million voters cast an absentee ballot – about 58 percent of those voting. The previous highest level, in 2018, was around 24 percent.
The election was a great success for other reasons. There was no lack of election judges, which other states faced. There was no report of violence or intimidation, as some had feared. There were no credible allegations of voter fraud. And there was no shortage of PPE or supplies at polling places to keep in-person voters safe.
“Even as we celebrate a third consecutive election leading the nation in turnout, I know that Minnesota can do more to make every voice heard. No matter where they live in Minnesota, or what language they speak, or what accommodations they need to cast their ballot, I look forward to continuing my mission to make it as easy as possible for every eligible Minnesotan to vote.”
The State Canvassing Board is called pursuant to Article VII, Section 8 of the Constitution of the State of Minnesota, which states: The returns of every election for officeholders elected statewide shall be made to the secretary of state who shall call to his assistance two or more of the judges of the supreme court and two disinterested judges of the district courts. They shall constitute a board of canvassers to canvass the returns and declare the result within three days after the canvass.
Secretary of State Simon extended his thanks to the Justices and Judges who agreed to serve on this canvassing board to certify the election results: Margaret H. Chutich, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Gordon L. Moore III, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Regina Chu, Judge, Fourth Judicial District Court; and Christian Sande, Judge, Fourth Judicial District Court.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) released the following statement.
“Today I received confirmation of my positive covid test. I have been in quarantine since experiencing symptoms last Monday and will remain in quarantine as long as my doctor advises me to. I did not attend session on Thursday due to a scheduled trip, and we extended our trip to avoid breaking my quarantine. We followed CDC and airline requirements during our travel and I’m very thankful my wife, Maralee, has tested negative for covid.
“I am not experiencing major issues or symptoms and I expect like 99% of people, I will make a full recovery. We have learned a lot about this virus and how to treat it, we must remain cautiously optimistic that we will find a way to live with it. Our future cannot be prolonged isolation, face coverings, and limited activities. Our children aren’t learning, our seniors deserve better than to die alone, and the rise in mental health concerns cannot be ignored.
“Finally, the blaming and shaming of a positive covid diagnosis has got to stop. Senate operations are an essential service and precautions were taken to prevent spreading covid; no one was put at any more risk than any other special session. The deliberate choice to use a covid diagnosis as a political tool to blame just Republicans when community spread is uncontrolled is indicative of failed leadership looking for a scapegoat. Minnesotans deserve better.”
National and Minnesota Report
There are reports out of the White House that Donald J Trump (R) is evolving to a position where he is acknowledging his lose and sees the specter of indictments looming on the horizon. He is soliciting money from supporters to assist in his post-election recount and court challenges, but is this actually where the money is actually going to go? We believe he is trying to bolster his own legal defense fund to address the legal matters he is facing.
While he says, his people deserve the fight for his reelection if he is merely using this as a Trojan Horse to pad his own pocket then the people sending him money are the true Suckers and Losers, because they are being suckered by the biggest loser, Donald J Trump.
Here is the most recent solicitation to prove the point.
You’ve always been one of my strongest supporters, which is why I’m coming to you now with an urgent request.
I’ve activated the Official Election Defense Fund and I need EVERY PATRIOT, including YOU, to step up and make sure we have enough resources to PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF OUR ELECTION.
Step up IMMEDIATELY and increase your impact by 1000%.
I need YOUR HELP to STOP the Left-wing MOB from undermining our Election.
Yesterday’s selection of Sen David Tomassoni (DFL-06, Chisholm) as the Senate President, the first time a minority member has held the position since partisan elections began in 1972, could have been done for all the right reasons, like reducing the partisanship in the Senate. Additionally, the selection should have been intended to continue into the 2021 session, but instead, it was done for purely partisan political reasons until the end of this year during the forthcoming Special Sessions.
The roll call of the vote showed 63-4 with Senators Jim Carlson (DFL-51, Eagan, Chris Eaton (DFL-40, Brooklyn Center, Jeff Howe (R-13, Rockville) and Ron Latz (DFL-44, St Louis Park) voting in opposition.
Call it Domino Theory, Conspiracy Theory or a hat tip to the House of Cards, but the choice of “Guido” for the position is cynical in two ways. First, Republicans are taking a defensive posture to prevent a loss of a seat in their majority in 2021 should US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) be tapped by President-elect Joe Biden (D) to join his administration. speculation being as Attorney General or Agricultural Secretary. As an additional consideration, it means they Senate GOP is not too confident outgoing Senate President Jeremy Miller (R-28, Winona) can hold the seat in a Special Election after he just was reelected with a 57.66% majority, but also means they think an open seat on the Iron Range is riper for the picking, Tomassoni carried his seat with 57.04%. Second, it assumes Governor Tim Walz (DFL-MN) would in turn appoint Lt Governor Peggy Flanagan (DFL-MN) to the position. This would set off the same chain of events as the selection of Lt Governor Tina Smith (DFL-MN) by Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) to fill the US Senate seat after US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) needlessly resigned.
These series of assumptions preclude Biden’s decision, Klobuchar’s decision, and Walz’ decision. Not to mention the possibility Biden might consider a selection of Flanagan for a position in her own right, or choice comes to Walz why whether or not he would pick Flanagan, or why not Franken or someone else?
With the GOP Senate Majority returning to a 34-33 vote this means Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-09, Nisswa) will be tasked with wrangling all of the votes in his caucus.
Minnesota and National Report
One of the reasons certain voters, read Trump supporters, are legitimate is their distrust of the news media, is because of the polls they continue to report. The reason news organizations do polling is to manufacture a story or a series of stories about the poll they did. The problems with polling have been evident since the advent of cellphones and also because of the distrust of media, by Trump voters, they participate in polls to a lesser extend and we don’t doubt why they do the follow Donald J Trump (R) and lie in their response so they can create a self-fulfilling prophesy when the polling comes out and doesn’t square with election results.
Today, there is a column in the New York Times that takes this issue full on and is worth a read Nate Cohn Explains What the Polls Got Wrong. To those of us in the political sphere these answers are logical and somewhat obvious, but like Trump voters it always go to have a news source that reinforces your own opinion.
People tracking the 2020 election returns all know the impact of the Absentee Ballots this election. The weight of those votes is not something visible on the Secretary of State’s website, but the information is available from many Counties if it is asked for. We have obtained the first three Supplemental Election Reports from Ramsey County and are providing them for you to observe the changes in results in both the Presidential and US Senate contests over the course of the last two days. The first report was at the end of the Election Day and we will add today’s report after we receive it at approximately 4:00 pm.
There were nearly three times as many Absentee Ballots cast for former Vice-President Joe Biden (D) than there were Same Day Ballots and better than 80% over Donald J Trump (R).
Just as is occurring nationally, here in Minnesota the Absentee Ballot counting has a possible impact on close elections in the legislature. Already in Senate District 14, Aric Putnam (DFL-14, St Cloud) has moved past incumbent Sen Jerry Relph (R-14, St Cloud) by 277 votes. We have listed other races in both the House and Senate where similar impact might occur. This could play a significant role in the Senate, because if Putnam’s margin holds that means the Republicans retain a one vote majority. Now granted not all of the Absentee Ballots will likely arrive and if so the bias does heavily favor the DFL candidates, but it is hard to make up a 1000 vote margin.
Yesterday, Secretary of State Simon (DFL-MN) held a press conference that provided a number of pieces of information stemming from yesterday’s election. Our current turnout figure, which is expected to grow as more Absentee Ballots are received in the forthcoming days, is 3,216,814 from an eligible amount of 4,118,462 people or 78.1%. There are 240,346 Absentee Ballot outstanding which may arrive over the next ten days. These will be segregated, processed and added to the overall vote totals. Simon Press Conference
The Secretary of State’s website lists the number of Absentee Ballots that remain outstanding by County, Senate District and House District. This means the potential for ballots to be received that exceed the number of vote margins in a many of the race results from Tuesday. We will show any changes in these races if they occur over the next few days.
The current results are:
|+Republican Margin of 1487 votes with 2371 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|+Republican Margin of 47 votes with 1727 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|Democratic-Farmer-Labor||Jeff Brand||11,491 49.67%|
|+Republican Margin of 112 votes with 2323 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|+Republican Margin of 697 votes with 1126 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|Legal Marijuana Now||Ryan Martin||1,705||7.40%|
|+Republican Margin of 560 votes with 1573 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|Legal Marijuana Now||Jaden Partlo||3,115||7.91%|
|+DFL Margin of 277 votes with 3145 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|Republican||David H. Senjem||25,001||51.20%|
|+Republican Margin of 1229 votes with 3939 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|+Republican Margin of 906 votes with 4217 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|Legal Marijuana Now||Tyler Becvar||2,552||6.53%|
|+Republican Margin of 1567 votes with 4568 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
|+Republican Margin of 902 votes with 3523 Absentee Ballots outstanding|
One factor is clear and DFLers should take notice, as anticipated the Pot Parties only affected DFL candidates even though only the Legal Marijuana Now party fielded any candidates this election. Now, ignorant voices are being raised and calling for Ranked Choice Voting to solve this problem. Problem is RCV comes with its own spate of problems. The only real solution is to forgo the partisan primary process and shift to a California style “Jungle Primary” where all candidates can vie even multiple candidates with the same party label and the two highest vote total winners advance to the General Election.
It is not conspiracy theory to recognize the discussed recruitment of Pot Party candidates by the Republican Party to be a mischievous candidate to help undermine the DFL base vote.
The importance of the party endorsement system will remain intact and it’s likely candidates from the two major political parties, DFL and Republican will emerge, but also in certain areas the inter-party factionalization can be exposed and progressive or conservative candidates can stand against more mainstream representatives of their respective parties and sort themselves out.
We had the privilege to interview Secretary of State Steve Simon (DFL). Additionally, we will be on a Zoom Press Conference with him at 4:00 pm and report what we learned then as well. Stay tuned keep coming back through out the night to see what more we glean.
C&B: What do you predict the turnout will be in its entirety for the 2020 election?
SoS Simon: I think we have a good shot of breaking the 2008 modern day record of 77%. The next barrier after that would be the crash the 80% threshold, I’m not sure about that. But I’m pretty confident that we’ll do better than last time which was just shy of 75% so
I’m thinking high 70s.
C&B: Okay. do you consider the acceptance of a voter registration card and a request for an absentee ballot to be a contract between the state and a voter contract?
SoS Simon: That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought about that is it a contract. Some might interpreted that way. I’m just, I’m not sure I’d have to think about that a little bit. And it’s certainly an agreement of some kind, whether it’s a formal contract I’m not sure.
C&B: Well, the reason I ask is whether or not you argued that concept from your office or did the Attorney General do so in the eighth District Court ruling.
SoS Simon: Well, that wasn’t so much about voter registration. It was about just the date that stuff can come back So know that there was no argument like that in there because the issue hasn’t been raised yet, it could be raised as opposed mostly to get a post-election litigation.
C&B: And the reason I say that again comes this way as the same as the same day registrations state shooting a registered voter be able to vote by absentee ballot on election day. And if it’s duly postmarked to reflect this wouldn’t then be accepted as a legally cast vote.
SoS Simon: Well, yes under the circumstances of what we agreed to and what the court in Minnesota blast the district court. Yes, they should be able to post market and have it arrive one week later.
C&B: Okay, because the US Constitution leaves elections to be determined by the state isn’t the intercedes of a federal court, a direct overstep to the constitutional provision, meaning the even have jurisdiction?
SoS Simon: They do. And, I mean, the argument in this particular case was that these plaintiffs have standing to sue because they are electors and they are implicated federal elections, because there is a federal election process to elect the president united states that’s how they got in the door of the courthouse was to use that hook. So, I mean there is a role for federal courts, but our view is they should defer to state processes particularly where state courts have blessed certain rules changes
with the, with the ruling by the eighth district panel.
C&B: How will you treat any ballots that arrive after 8 pm.
SoS Simon: Today, we will count every ballot, and every office on every ballot.
C&B: Do you anticipate that any ballots could arrive between 8pm and midnight?
SoS Simon: You know, any I’m not sure. That’s a good question. I don’t know how that would happen. I mean polls close at eight so regardless we’re told to segregate after 8pm so even if they did, they’d be subject to the segregation order. But that’s an interesting question I’m not sure how many if any do, it’s possible.
C&B: With the directive for those votes to be set aside, will you have a separate result for that group. And have that made available to the public or will they be commingled in undistinguished undistinguishable from other votes cast?
They will be commingled all absentee ballots along with all in person ballots along with all same day ballots are always commingled and that will be the same this year. The only difference will be that we’ll have a report based by today’s Tuesday well obviously election night we’ll do a ton of reporting tonight and then at the end of the day, the day tomorrow and Thursday and Friday and so on, we’ll also have a supplemental report, where we’ll say what the report was as of that day it’ll be a rolling total.
C&B: So, then will you segregate the results of these separate balance between the US presidential race and all down ballot races.
SoS Simon: Nope, we will not.
C&B: Okay, once opened won’t those ballots also be subject to possible public information or data requests.
SoS Simon: That I’m not sure about, I don’t know the answer to that, um, you can’t, the same rules would apply. You can’t generally see ballots, unless there’s cause to do so a particular procedure or recount something like that. So, the same rules would apply.
C&B: What are the consequences of disobeying the Eighth district panel?
We don’t intend to disobey, we’re going to do what they said all they said was to do was segregate, and we’re going to segregate the balance. We’re just going to have the way we count them as a running total but you’ll be able to trace which ones, capable we were very clear about what they wanted and we will of course honor that which is going to be segregated but they didn’t say anything about how they’re reported or counted, but we will segregate them you will be able to tell which ones came in after certain time, so then if someone seems to invalidate them you’ll be able to do that so no we’re not going to disobey the court.
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