Posted at 7:33 AM on November 4, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Minnesota's local elections pretty much held true to form on Tuesday night.
St. Paul voters also backed Instant Runoff Voting vote in St. Paul.
More than half of the school funding questions passed last night. You can find the results here.
The biggest surprise of the night is that a Democrat won New York 23. That was the congressional seat where conservatives turned on the GOP backed candidate.
The Republican victories deal a blow to President Obama.
A majority of those polled in NJ and VA, however, say Obama was not a factor in their decision on Tuesday.
The Hill said Democrats are headed for big losses in 2010 if the economy doesn't turn around.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty said last night's elections were a referendum on Obama.
Pawlenty was 2 for 3 last night. His PAC sent out congratulatory e-mail on the wins in VA and NJ. It was silent on NY23.
GOP Olympia Snowe said Pawlenty should follow her approach to governing. She made the comments after Pawlenty couldn't say a positive thing about her on MSNBC. The spokesman for his PAC didn't offer the warmest of embraces either (h/t Star Tribune):
"Governor Pawlenty has a lot of respect for Senator Snowe, and believes in the Ronald Reagan rule that my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy. As the Governor said this morning, he is glad Republicans -- not Democrats -- represent Maine in the U.S. Senate."
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar taps a magistrate for the federal bench.
DFL Sen. Al Franken gave his first floor speech on health care.
GOP Rep. John Kline opposes changes in the way union representation elections are held.
GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen doesn't want Guantanamo Bay detainees to get H1N1 shots before law abiding citizens.
Politifact says a statement by GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has her "pants on fire" on one of her statements.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson and MA Rep. Barney Frank are close on a deal to merge bills that makes changes to the financial services industry.
Obama named state Sen. Dick Cohen to the President's Committee on Arts and Humanities.
Under the Dome
Three state senators will introduce legislation to move up the state's primary.
We linked to a new site, Discover Politics, yesterday. MinnPost says the person who is running it was a staffer for former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman.
Allen Quist, a former state lawmaker and candidate for governor, has scheduled several health care forums in Rochester, Worthington and Mankato in November. The move increases speculation that Quist will run for Congress in Minnesota's 1st District (all of those cities are in the 1st). Quist's news release said he was holding the forums to discuss the health care bills being considered in Congress:
Former State Representative Allen Quist will be sponsoring a series of forums in Southern Minnesota dealing with the health care bills now in Congress. "The purpose of the forums," said Quist, "is to provide the public with accurate information about the health care proposals and to encourage the public to contact their elected officials and ask them to 'just say no' when they vote on the bills now on the floor." Quist will be joined at the forums by Dr. Brian Davis in Rochester and by Citizens Council on Health Care President, Twila Brase, R.N., in Mankato and Worthington.
A spokesman who sent out the release said Quist is considering "a run for Congress" with it being a likely possibility. He added more news will come next week.
Quist sent me this e-mail when I asked if he was in the race or filed paperwork with the FEC:
"The paperwork is in process. I have formed an exploratory committee, but that is on hold for the time being because I want to try to make a difference on the health care Bill (somewhat of a moving target to be sure) that Speaker Pelosi is attempting to pass."
Quist won the GOP endorsement in 1994 but lost the primary to Arne Carlson.
DFL Rep. Tim Walz is running for a third term.
The Pi Press is reporting that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will sign books at the Mall of America's Barnes and Noble store in Bloomington on December 7th. An official with the store could not confirm the details to MPR. She said she was instructed by her corporate office to tell reporters that there will be more information available on November 16th.
Palin, who was John McCain's running mate in 2009, is set to release her biography Going Rogue on Nov. 17th. The Pi Press said details of the visit are still being worked out.
The news of the event comes on the same day that Gov. Pawlenty is scheduled to hold the first major fundraiser for his PAC in Minnesota. Both Palin and Pawlenty are considered GOP contenders for the White House in 2012.
Gov. Pawlenty spoke with Iowa reporters this afternoon about his Saturday trip to Des Moines. It's standard stuff. He thinks the GOP needs to do better, he sidesteps whether he's running for president and he loves the Iowa caucuses, etc.:
"Well, I think it's a terrific tradition and, you know, we have caucuses in Minnesota. They're not as large or, you know, monitored as the Iowa Caucuses, but I've had a chance to experience the Iowa Caucuses a little bit as a surrogate speaker.
"I think it's a wonderful demonstration of democracy at the grassroots level. I think the people of Iowa, you know, take it seriously. They take time to learn the candidates and their positions. There's a great fidelity that they attach to the process and I think it's a terrific and helpful tradition. I have great respect for it and I think Iowa should retain that status."
You can read the transcript here.
The key question is whether Pawlenty will speak with Minnesota reporters tonight before or after what he calls the "inaugural event tonight, a kick-off event in Minneapolis which is kind of our first significant event relating to the PAC."
Michelle Marston, who had roles as GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's Chief of Staff and her campaign manager, has quit, a spokesman confirms. Bachmann spokesman Dave Dziok declined further comment about Marston's departure. Politico, which first reported the story, said Marston declined to say why she was leaving:
"I'm just not talking about it, and frankly I don't think there's a story here," Marston wrote. "Now, the thousands of people calling our office to tell us [they're] coming to Capitol Hill tomorrow - that's a story."
The Center for Responsive Politics analyzed the financial disclosure forms for all of the members of Congress and ranked them by wealth. The analysis found that DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is ranked 514th of the 538 members of Congress in terms of wealth. The report says his average net worth -$-21,497. The maximum net worth is $5,999. The minimum net worth is $-48,993. The Center has to create high. low and average assets/liabilities because the disclosure reports deal with broad ranges.
Dave Levinthal, with The Center for Responsive Politics, said the organization tries to get the best estimate of wealth that they can from the disclosure forms. He said they add up the listed assets that a lawmaker has and subtracts the liabilities from that.
"Is it more likely than not that he's [Ellison] in the red, based on the assets and liabilities? Yes," Levinthal said. "Is it possible that he's a shade above? Yes."
Levinthal also said that the financial disclosure forms do not include government salary or personal residence, which can either be an asset or a liability.
DFL Sen. Al Franken is the wealthiest member of the delegation. His average range is $6,213, 028. The low end of his assets is $3,793,056. The upper end is $8,633,000.
DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is the wealthiest House member of the delegation. His average wealth is $5,479,538. The range is $3,202,076 on the low end and the upper hand is $7,757,000.
For the record, GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California is the richest member of Congress. He has a maximum net worth of $337,400,002
DFLer Jim Meffert is throwing his hat into the ring in the contest to unseat Republican Erik Paulsen in Minnesota's 3rd Congressional District in 2010. Paulsen is in his first term in Congress.
Meffert, a lobbyist for the Optometric Association from Edina, filed his official campaign paperwork earlier yesterday. Meffert says people in the 3rd district are frustrated by partisanship and politics as usual on both sides of the aisle.
"This district as we have seen from Congressman Ramstad and Congressman Frenzel looks for people who are conscientious paticipants in the system. They are not safe votes, they were not safe Republican votes. They want people who are good public servants and understand public policy that is what we are missing right now."
Meffert will have at least one challenger for the DFL endorsement -- Dr. Maureen Hackett, a physician and forensic psychiastrist from Minnetonka. DFL State Sen. Terri Bonoff is also considering a run.
(h/t MPR's Jess Mador)
Posted at 9:29 PM on November 4, 2009
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
About 300 people attended last night's kickoff fundraiser for Governor Pawlenty's national political action committee. The guests got to listen to speeches by Pawlenty, former Congressman Vin Weber and actors Jon Voight and John Ratzenberger. Pawlenty told the audience that he's launching his Freedom First PAC to build on Tuesday night's victories in New Jersey and Virginia
"We have a great country that's built on tremendous values and principles, but we're adrift and we need to launch this comeback and we know that if we have individuals in leadership positions who don't appreciate that when you expand government, you crowd out other activities and then you begin to stifle some important elements of the American economy and the American spirit."
You can listen to Pawlenty's entire speech to donors here:
Actor Jon Voight is helping out two well known Minnesota Republicans this week. He spoke at a a fundraiser for Gov. Pawlenty's national political action committee tonight.
Tomorrow, he says he'll speak at GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann's health care rally in Washington D.C. Bachmann is urging the public to storm the Capitol to protest the health care bill that's being considered. Voight told reporters he doesn't like the bill:
"If this thing passes, it's disastrous to our country. Both economicallly and health care. It's going to diminish everyone's health care and it's going to be a huge beuracracy that people are going to suffer under."