Posted at 7:20 AM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced the political team that will run his federal PAC.
Pawlenty will file the official paperwork to form his political action committee today. His website also went live this morning. The Freedom First PAC is aimed at providing financial support to Republican candidates, and will allow Pawlenty to promote his message across the country.
Pawlenty has some well known Washington names running the operation. Former Congressman and now lobbyist Vin Weber and Morgan Stanley vice-chair William Strong will co-chair the PAC.
Several members of former President George W. Bush's political team are also providing management advice. They include Terry Nelson, political director for the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign, Bush White House political director Sara Taylor and former Federal Elections Commission Chair Michael Toner.
The creation of the PAC is another step in Pawlenty's possible run for president in 2012. The first fundraiser for the PAC is in Minneapolis in November.
Here's the official news release:
Tim Pawlenty Announces "Freedom First" PAC
PAC's Leadership Team Includes Experienced, Respected, Diverse Talent
ST. PAUL, Minnesota - Seeking to help elect conservatives in 2009 and 2010, Tim Pawlenty today filed forms with the Federal Election Commission to create the Freedom First political action committee. The new federal PAC will offer financial support to candidates committed to putting freedom before government, and provide organizational support for Pawlenty to promote his innovative, conservative message. The new PAC will have an unprecedented approach to citizen engagement, and features a website at www.TimPawlenty.com, where supporters can add their voice to Pawlenty's message.
"Right now, our freedoms are being challenged on many fronts," Pawlenty said. "This organization is dedicated to putting freedom first again in America. By helping candidates and translating our ideas into policies that everyone can relate to and support, we can turn back the growth of Washington and renew the promise of freedom."
Freedom First PAC will be co-chaired by William H. Strong, the Vice Chairman of Morgan Stanley, and the Honorable Vin Weber, former Minnesota congressman, and partner at Clark and Weinstock.
"Tim is an authentic leader with a record of results," Strong said. "I'm excited to work with him to elect great candidates across the country. His record of fiscal conservatism in Minnesota makes him a credible voice on the issues facing our country."
"There's a big debate about the role of government and personal freedom raging at the moment, and I'm excited to help promote fresh new ideas, and new leaders." Weber said. "Given Tim's successful record in Minnesota, he's in a unique position to harness that energy and help other candidates."
The PAC's first Minnesota fundraiser will be held on November 4 in Minneapolis and will be anchored by a diverse and distinguished group of Minnesotans who will serve as the Freedom First PAC Minnesota Co-Chairs. They include:
Al & Cathy Annexstad, Shorewood, Minnesota
Bill Cooper, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, TCF Financial Corporation, and former Chairman of Republican Party of Minnesota.
Mark Davis, Chairman, Cambria
Megan Doyle, Founder, Hope for the City
Jeff Larson, Former CEO, 2008 MSP Host Committee and Partner, FLS Connect.
Susan Marvin, President, Marvin Windows
Tim Owens, CEO, Voyager Bank
Tom Stauber, President & owner, Edwards Sales
Bob Ulrich, Former CEO, Target
Providing management, strategic and political planning will be a cadre of campaign veterans serving as senior advisors, including Phil Musser, President of New Frontier Strategy and former executive director of the Republican Governors Association; Terry Nelson, Partner, Mercury Public Affairs and former RNC and Bush-Cheney 2004 political director; and Sara Taylor, President of BlueFront Strategies and former White House political director. Former FEC Chairman Michael Toner of Bryan Cave, LLP will serve as the PAC's counsel.
The PAC's communication director will be Alex Conant. A Minnesota native, Conant most recently served as the Republican National Committee's national press secretary and senior advisor. Online strategy and outreach will be led by Patrick Ruffini and Mindy Finn of Engage. Ruffini previously headed the RNC's online department as well as working with the Giuliani Presidential campaign and Finn oversaw Mitt Romney's online strategy during his 2008 presidential campaign. Liz Mair and Patrick Hynes of Hynes Communications will handle online communications outreach. Hynes served as blog outreach consultant for John McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign, and Mair served as the RNC's online communications director during 2008.
The Minnesota Finance Director will be Trisha Hamm, who was previously the political director for Pawlenty's gubernatorial campaign. Annie Kelly, who formerly served as the deputy campaign manager for Pawlenty's campaign in 2006, will be responsible for PAC operations, and Don Stiles will serve as Treasurer.
The Freedom First PAC is located in St. Paul, Minnesota and can be reached at 651-777-3314 or PO Box 9190, St. Paul, MN 55109.
The flu leads the digest today.
134 schools report H1N1 outbreaks.
MPR says the first doses of the H1N1 vaccine will go to health workers.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Smart Politics examines whether Pawlenty could win the presidency without Minnesota.
Arizona Sen. John McCain said he's willing to host a fundraiser for Pawlenty if he visits the state. McCain recently held an event for Mitt Romney.
Under the Dome
Gov. Pawlenty is going to give broadband stimulus funds to telecoms.
Pawlenty also says the state has work to do to be more business friendly.
Minnesota and Wisconsin lawmakers want to reinstate the tax reciprocity agreement.
A study favors a high-speed rail line that goes through Rochester as opposed to along the Mississippi River.
Fox9 says hospitals are undergoing significant cuts.
140 thousand kids in Minnesota are living in poverty.
The Census says Minnesota is among the leaders in welfare spending.
Dakota County is freezing non-union wages.
The Vikings are preparing another stadium push.
Attorney General Lori Swanson is suing two out-of-state companies for selling allegedly fraudulent health insurance coverage to the uninsured.
The state's road projects are safe despite the transportation act expiration.
Minnesota groups oppose nuclear waste reprocessing.
The Minneapolis Fed picks a new leader.
President Obama is hunkering down to decide a strategy in Afghanistan.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar makes a health reform appeal to women.
DFL Sen. Al Franken offers a health insurance bill.
Franken and former GOP Sen. David Durenberger wrote an op-ed saying the status quo is costing billions.
Republicans are criticizing a Democrat who said a Republican plan for health reform is to "die quickly."
The health bill is on track for a committee vote in the Senate.
Senate Majority Harry Reid cancels the October recess to pass health reform.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz said the U.S. may do everything right in Afghanistan and still fail.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum presented her bill to target corporations that commit felonies.
A community discussion on AIDS will occur on Friday in Minneapolis. DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar wants the Senate to extend the transportation bill.
The Senate passes a bill to avoid a government shutdown.
Nike to quit a Chamber of Commerce post to protest the business lobby's climate change legislation.
General Motors will close Saturn after Penske Motors pulls out of a deal.
The AFL-CIO holds a gubernatorial campaign forum today. AFSCME will hold one next week.
Supporters of Ron Paul are lining up behind Pat Anderson's campaign for governor.
The Republican candidates for governor join a call to probe ACORN.
The President of Somalia is making a rare visit to the Twin Cities.
Posted at 12:01 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Here's the DNC release on Gov. Pawlenty's team of advisers helping him with his Freedom First PAC:
Washington, D.C. -- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) - proving that he represents more of the same failed Republican politics and policy that have bedeviled the party in two consecutive elections rather than the fresh face he'd like people to believe - formally announced the formation of his "Freedom First" PAC today. The PAC is advised and chaired by the same Washington lobbyists, insiders and former advisers to President Bush whose brand of politics and approach to policies resulted in America being less secure at home, less respected in the rest of the world and gave the United States the worst economic crisis since the great depression, including:
Terry Nelson, former Bush-Cheney Political Director; Sara Taylor, former Political Director in the Bush White House; Alex Conant, former McCain spokesman; Vin Weber, mega lobbyist and former Bush advisor; Jeff Larson, major RNC consultant and former Norm Coleman landlord; and William Strong, former Bush Ranger.
"Talk about back to the future," said DNC National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan. "Recycling advisers from George W. Bush and relying on Washington insiders and lobbyists has to be utterly disappointing for those who thought Tim Pawlenty would bring a fresh approach to the Republican Party. The fact is - Tim Pawlenty, in his recent public pronouncements and now in who he has surrounded himself with, has proven that he represents more of the same - the same failed priorities, policies and now advisers. Rather than changing the image of a tired and failed party, Tim Pawlenty is reinforcing an image of Republicans as the Party of NO and a party that has no new leadership and no new ideas."
Posted at 1:56 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announced a friendly wager over the Gophers-Badgers and Vikings-Packers games.
Doyle bet a slate of sausage and cheese to Pawlenty's Hormel pork tenderloin and Minnesota wild race over the college football game. The NFL wager will be a selection of Minnesota beer vs. Wisconsin beer.
Since Gov. Pawlenty announced that Minnesota will end its tax reciprocity with Wisconsin, it may have been gutsier for the two to bet $131 million. That's the amount Minnesota will gain as a result of the decision to end the tax reciprocity.
Posted at 2:54 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
GOP state Rep. Marty Seifert issued a news release today announcing a list of his top supporters. Some are fundraising heavyweights. Others are party activists.. The list includes Bill Cooper, CEO of TCF Bank, Micro Control CEO Howard Hamilton, former and current state representatives and a long list of GOP activists.
I'll post the link to the news release on the Seifert website once it's available. Here's the list.
Posted at 2:59 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tim Pugmire
Eleven gubernatorial hopefuls made a case for their campaigns and emphasized their support for organized labor during the AFL-CIO sponsored event. Several candidates explained that they had been union members.
One common thread among the DFL candidates is their apparent support for some form of tax increase. State Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, said the next governor cannot avoid the issue.
"Any candidate up here who thinks that we don't need to raise revenue has their head in the clouds or someplace else, because we need to raise revenue," Rukavina said.
Former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton said he wants to raise taxes in order to increase funding for public schools and eliminate the need for local operating levies. Dayton says the money would come from an income tax increase for the top 10-percent of earners.
"So you can read my lips," Dayton said. "Tax the rich. They can afford it. I know that. And if they don't provide the revenues that that tax increase will entail, we cannot restore the funding cuts to education. We will not be able to restire the funding cuts to anything that's essential to make Minnesota the state we want it to be again."
Former state rep. Matt Entenza said a new clean energy economy, including the building of wind turbines and solar heating systems, could provide part of the revenue needed for investments in education and human services.
"Those are good manufacturing jobs," Entenza said. "And the installation and maintenance of those will create thousands of high-paying union jobs across this state.
Later in the forum, state Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, a union carpenter, took issue with Entenza's use of the phrase high-paying union jobs.
"That's not true," Bakk said. "This notion that somehow union people are high paid people, we need to get over that. Those benefits were worked for very hard. People died for those benefits."
Bakk and other candidates stressed the need for job creation. Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner said the development of green jobs should be balanced with traditional energy sources. Gaertner also wants nuclear power on the table.
"If we can solve the storage problem, we absolutely need to move forward and at least talk about a role for nuclear energy in this economy," Gaertner said.
Several Democrats also took shots at the man they want to replace, Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Former state senator Steve Kelley, who now teaches at the University of Minnesota, blamed the Republican governor for the state's budget woes.
"I teach public budgeting, and I have thought about inviting Tim Pawlenty to take the class," Kelley said. "But I didn't do that because I really hate to flunk students."
The 11 participants included mayors R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis and Chris Coleman of St. Paul, who have yet to officially enter the race for governor. Both mayors are also seeking re-election this fall.
Problems with the hotel sound system made much of the recorded audio unusable. But here are the closing statements of 10 candidates:"
(Steve Kelley had another obligation and left early).
Posted at 2:57 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is warning that a health bill that includes school based clinics would allow schools to give their students abortions without the parents ever knowing.
The Hill reports that Bachmann warned that the plan could bring Planned Parenthood into schools. You can watch the video here:
Media Matters (which posted the speech on YouTube) also posted her full comments here.
For the record...
Minnesota already has a law forbidding what Bachmann is talking about. The state's parental consent law (see page 56) says both parents have to be notified or seek judicial approval for the procedure. NCSL also has a list of where other states stand on parental consent.
Posted at 8:48 PM on October 1, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner has been running for governor the longest of any of the candidates (2 years!). She finally made her campaign "official" tonight when she formally announced her bid for governor.
Here's her speech to supporters:
Thanks to MPR's Jess Mador for gathering the tape.