Posted at 9:50 AM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
I'll get to the news items a little later in the post but I wanted to focus the top of the digest on the troubles within the GOP. It's been widely specuated that Republicans would have trouble this election cycle. There's the six year itch, President Bush's low approval numbers and the discontent over the war in Iraq. I was hesitant to write about it until this week.
Here's why the GOP's canary in the coal mine may be wheezing just a bit.
First, the NYTimes ran a story on Sunday saying the National Republican Senatorial Committee isn't doing so well raising money. That's a signal that lobbyists and their money are sensing that Democrats may wrestle control of one chamber away from the GOP. To the victor goes the spoils.
Secondly, NPR had a story this morning on a poll saying dems are doing better than the GOP. The difference between this poll and the others is that this one focused primarily on the 50 most competive U.S. House races in the nation. Here's some of the report:
In 2004, the total vote in these 50 districts went republican by about 12 points. In our current survey, voters in these same districts say they would vote for the Democrat over the Republican by about six points.
We asked the question about a generic Democrat or Republican, then we plugged in the names of actual incumbents and challengers. The numbers didn't change much and the voters seemed pretty firm about their choices.
The other interesting part of the story is that the values votes the GOP has been taking may not have the impact the GOP leadership had hoped.
On the question of which party would do a better job on "values issues," like stem-cell research, flag-burning and gay marriage, Democrats prevailed by their biggest margin in the entire poll: 51 percent to 37 percent.
"And when we list values issues like stem-cell research, flag-burning and gay marriage, these are the issues that Republicans took the initiative, used their control in Congress to get on the air to be voting on, to be talking about," Greenberg says. "What this says: By 13 points, voters say they are more likely to vote Democratic because of hearing about these issues. Which suggests that the strategy of using the Congress to get out the base is one that's driving away a lot of voters."
The other issue is that some of the GOP candidates running for the U.S. Senate aren't showcasing President Bush in their tv ads. In fact, some aren't even mentioning their parties. MPR did a story earlier this week on Congressman Mark Kennedy's ad. WCCO-TV's Pat Kessler also reality checked it last night.
Kennedy isn't the only one. Take a look at Jim Talent's ad (he's running for senate in the "Show Me State") and Michael Steele's ad (he's running for the senate in Maryland and was in the headlines for criticizing President Bush earlier this week.)
The Washington Post's David Broder also has a column saying GOP voters are disgruntled. Here's some of what he writes:
I first became aware of the spreading discontent on the right in visiting with people in the church social hall after the funeral this spring for Lyn Nofziger, Ronald Reagan's longtime press spokesman and adviser. The comments about the Bush White House people -- who were notable by their absence at the service -- startled me.
But since then I have heard the refrain over and over: They never reached out to us. They never thought they needed our help. Now they're in trouble. To hell with them.
Whether or not the complaints are justified, they are epidemic. They are often accompanied, as they were in the case of my weekend visitor, by the comment that everything the White House does seems to be aimed at pleasing only one section of the Republican coalition -- the religious right
Before you jump on all of these posts as "liberal bias" take a look at what Powerline is writing about President Bush's veto of a bill to expand funding for embryonic stem cell research:
For President Bush to use the first veto of his administration on a measure that had symbolic importance only was, in my view, a big mistake. It adds another problem for Republicans in November, and for what? The President thinks it is a matter of principle, but if that's true, then why isn't he pushing for a ban on embryonic research?
I'm not saying the GOP is dead in the water this November. The political mood of the electorate can change in an instant and it is only July. The signpost is there, however, for the GOP to be concerned.
On to the digest.
The Star Tribune keeps looking into Mike Hatch but finds nothing new.
Senator Coleman may bring up the arrest during his weekly conference call with reporters today.
Governor Pawlenty has a news conference today talking about a new proposal to fight the meth scourge.
The Grand Forks Herald has a story on Pawlenty's visit to northwest Minnesota.
Becky Lourey, a DFL candidate for governor, has a news conference today talking about the state's budget.
U.S. Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar had hip surgery at the Mayo Clinic.
Finally, the Republican National Committee released some of its calender when its members are in Minneapolis for its "Defining The Difference" meeting on August 3rd and 4th. Here's the details:
The business of the meeting is set forth by the Rules of the Republican Party. The Standing Committee on Rules Meeting, Welcome Session, General Session, and Member's Luncheon are open to the press. A schedule of the events is included below.
August third is the same time House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will be in Minneapolis to hold a fundraiser for Patty Wetterling. Maybe the GOP and Pelosi can have coffee and settle their differences once and for all.
Posted at 12:06 PM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
The Chamber is running 44 ads between July 27th and August 9th at the cost of $17,800 on KSTP-TV. I haven't seen the ads yet but the Star Tribune's Eric Black says they're thanking GOP Congressman Mark Kennedy for passing Medicare Part D. The ads will run on Regis and the news shows.
It's no surprise that the chamber is running the ads. The National Journal reported in May that they will support Kennedy in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race. Kennedy is facing Amy Klobuchar in the November election.
Posted at 12:15 PM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Ember Reichgott Junge issued a news release saying she will comply with the DFL Party's complaint and change her billboards. The DFL Party said Reichgott Junge was violating state law by only including the letters DFL on her billboards, website and e-mails. They argued that only the DFL endorsed candidate, Keith Ellison, could do that. Here's the news release:
(Minneapolis, MN) Former DFL Senate Assistant Majority Leader Ember Reichgott Junge, DFL candidate for the Fifth District Congressional Primary, announced today that the changes requested by the DFL party on her campaign website, emails, and billboards will be completed Monday.
Reichgott Junge said she was first informed of the problem by a “cease and desist” letter issued by the DFL Party on July 10. “Frankly, I was surprised at the strident tone of the letter,” said Reichgott Junge. “The initials DFL had been prominently displayed on our campaign website since April, and we were never notified by the party or anyone else that there was a problem.”
Reichgott Junge said they began making the requested changes upon receipt of the letter. “A simple phone call from my friends at the DFL alerting me to the problem in May or June could have easily resolved the issue,” she said.
The following changes have been made:
July 13: website (www.emberforcongress.com) changed to:
“DFL Primary—Fifth District”
July 17: E-blasts changed to: “DFL Primary September 12”
July 26: Two billboards changed to “DFL Member” at the following locations:
328-3rd Street, Minneapolis
5415 W. Broadway, Crystal
By July 28: Two billboards changed to “DFL Member” and moved to the following new locations:
1417 E. Lake Street, Minneapolis
4300 Nicollet, Minneapolis
By July 31, there will be no billboards that are unchanged.
Reichgott Junge said she has been clear from the outset that she would be on the primary ballot. “I said on the first day of my candidacy that an endorsement period of seven weeks was too short a time to properly vet the candidates for a position as important as U.S. Congress.”
Reichgott Junge said she placed the initials “DFL” on her billboards because she is a long-time DFL Senate leader and broadcast analyst, and she thought it was important for voters to know she was a candidate in the DFL primary rather than another party primary.
The DFL’s requested changes took several weeks to complete, because of timelines required by the billboard company, and issues arising from existing contractual obligations. All changes will be completed by July 31.
During this interim period, an administrative law judge issued a probable cause order, referring the matter to the next stage of an evidentiary hearing before three administrative law judges.
“These changes should end the issue,” said Reichgott Junge. “I love my party. I look forward to joining DFL leaders around the state in focusing on our key mission: changing the direction of this country and electing DFL candidates in November.”
Posted at 1:59 PM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy has his second tv ad up and running. The thirty second ad shows Kennedy talking about how he supports the GOP on issues like taxes and spending but goes on to highlight his differences with the party. He also talks about his work with Democrats.
The ad is interesting because he continues the "independent theme" that was brought up in his first ad. As many of you know, Kennedy votes with President Bush about 90% of the time.
The independent theme is a trend among GOP candidates nationwide (see earlier daily digest post). Kennedy is running for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat.
Posted at 4:18 PM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
The MN GOP issued a news release saying Tim Walz, the DFL candidate in Minnesota's First Congressional District, took too much money from Matt Entenza and 1st Congressional District DFL Committee. Here's some of the release:
Matt Entenza Contributed $4,800 To The Tim Walz For U.S. Congress Committee, Exceeding The $4,200 Limit By $600. (Tim Walz For U.S. Congress July 15 Quarterly Report)
The 1st Congressional District DFL Committee Contributed $5,994.23 To The Tim Walz For U.S. Congress Committee, Exceeding The Limit For A Non-Federal Committee Contribution By $4,994.23. (Tim Walz For U.S. Congress July 15 Quarterly Report)
Walz is challenging GOP incumbent Gil Gutknecht.
Posted at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Governor Pawlenty released a plan that would create a meth registry. Pawlenty said Minnesotans should know who is selling, making or trafficking meth in the state. Attorney General Mike Hatch, who has the DFL endorsement, called it the "Simon Delivers for meth makers" because meth users will go on the website to find where they can get their next fix. MPR's Laura McCallum will have a story on it later.
DFL Senator Becky Lourey, who is challenging Mike Hatch in the September primary, brought up the tax issue today. She also says Pawlenty and Hatch haven't been specific enough on how they'd pay for their proposals.
The University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance also has its schedule of candidate speeches:
Wednesday, August 9 "Affordability and Availability of Health Care" Mike Hatch DFL-endorsed candidate for Governor 11:30 a.m. - light complimentary lunch noon to 1:15 p.m. - presentation, audience Q&A Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Thursday, August 10
"The Price of Government: Getting the Results We Need in an Age of Permanent Fiscal Crisis"
Independence Party-endorsed candidate for Governor 8:00 a.m. - complimentary continental breakfast 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. - presentation, audience Q&A Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center
301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Tuesday, August 22
Republican-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate 8:00 a.m. - complimentary continental breakfast 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. - presentation, audience Q&A Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center
301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Wednesday, August 23
DFL candidate for Governor
8:00 a.m. - complimentary continental breakfast 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. - presentation, audience Q&A Cowles Auditorium, Humphrey Center
301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis
Governor Pawlenty and DFL Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar already spoke. You can listen to Pawlenty's speech here and Klobuchar's speech at Klobuchar's page on MPR's Campaign 2006 site. The center says Sue Jeffers, a GOP candidate for governor, has also been invited to speak.