Posted at 7:01 AM on January 26, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
Voters in Senate District 26 head to the polls today to elect a state senator to replace Dick Day, who retired to become a lobbyist.
Under the Dome
The House Rules Committee will discuss the unallotment litigation again today.
There will be plenty of discussion today about the bonding bill.
On Monday, lawmakers questioned plans to expand the sex offender facility in Moose Lake.
Teachers ended up with the smallest pay raises in years.
Several lawmakers want to impose new restrictions on drug companies.
A committee focused on nuclear waste storage.
Colleges are bracing for deep higher ed cuts.
The Star Tribune looks at Minnesota's "Made in the USA law." It said some cities are finding that it's more costly to buy American made over imports.
The St. Paul Saints want a news stadium.
2010 Race for Governor
Duluth Mayor Don Ness will back R.T. Rybak for governor this morning.
The Minneapolis Police Relief Association Political Fund and the Minneapolis Firefighters Relief Association Political Fund issues a lit piece ripping Rybak over pension issues. It appears that they got access to the DFL lists.
Here's a copy of the lit piece.
One week after taking few questions from reporters, Democrat Mark Dayton held a wide-open q and a with reporters. He discussed his tax policy, his expansion of gambling and where he stands on the endorsement. The Star Tribune, MPR, AP and Forum Communications have stories.
Here's video of Dayton's newser.
Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau is backing Tom Emmer for governor.
Here's video of Molnau's newser.
Democratic leaders begin to coalesce around the health care bill.
A new poll says most Americans applaud the Democrats losing their supermajority.
The Pay Czar is going after AIG.
The 2010 Census begins in Alaska.
The Transportation Secretary was in Minnesota on Monday and announced three more train stations on the Central Corridor line. DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar are mentioned. DFL Reps. Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison also attended the announcement.
A group calls the extra stops on the Central Corridor line "an incomplete victory."
DFL Sen. Al Franken wants to use $10 billion in bank bailout money for wage subsidies for small businesses and government contractors.
Local lawyers representing some Gitmo detainees say they see big changes. GOP Rep. John Kline is mentioned.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum's former press aide is helping with Haiti efforts.
McCollum and DFL Reps. Collin Peterson, Jim Oberstar and Tim Walz want more federal money for Indian schools.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann call for "new ground rules" in the health care debate.
Here's video of Bachmann's newser.
Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter apologized to Bachmann.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
ABC News creates a cheat sheet of the 12 candidates who could run in 2012. Here's the pro and con on Pawlenty:
Pro: The Minnesota governor is packaging himself as a conservative who managed to win and govern in a state which has produced such well-known liberals as Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone and Al Franken. "If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it elsewhere," he likes to say. Pawlenty, who has talked about the GOP as being "the Party of Sam's Club," is the personable son of a truck driver who is good at portraying the GOP as the party which delivers a better value than the Democrats. Pawlenty was as active as anyone in 2009. He has hired a large and experienced staff and he is not seeking re-election this year so that he can campaign full-time for president if he makes the final decision to move forward with a White House run.
Con: Pawlenty's weakness is that he does not enjoy Romney's personal wealth and he is overshadowed by Palin's star power. He also came under scrutiny last year when Dan Balz of the Washington Post characterized his moves to the right as being "Romneyesque."
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's campaign for governor is criticizing a campaign lit piece (read below) sent to DFL activists (the Star Tribune reports that groups are trying to figure out how the unions got the lists).
The piece, signed by five widows of Minneapolis police and fire fighters, said Rybak has "seriously damaged the livelihoods of retired firefighters, police officers, their surviving spouses and families. They are referring to a long-running lawsuit between the city and pension fund. A court ruled that the closed pension fund should reduce their claims against the city. Rybak used the money the city saved from the ruling to keep police officers on the payroll.
Rybak's campaign manager, Tina Smith, issued a statement criticizing the lit piece:
Mayor Rybak and the City Council beat the high-priced lawyers and well-connected lobbyists that represent these funds that were overcharging Minneapolis taxpayers -- so now those lawyers and lobbyists are trying to fight back by misrepresenting the facts and spreading smears.
Here's the full statement from Rybak:
Over the past few days, a letter attacking Mayor R. T. Rybak for defending Minneapolis taxpayers has hit the mailboxes of likely DFL caucus attendees all over the state. Mayor Rybak is proud of his record of standing up for taxpayers, keeping costs down and keeping as many police and firefighters on the street as possible. This sets the facts straight.
Last fall, Mayor R.T. Rybak and the Minneapolis City Council went to bat for Minneapolis taxpayers and won $10 million in tax relief. For many years, city taxpayers were being overcharged millions of dollars to contribute to two pension funds that have been closed to new members for almost 30 years. No Minneapolis police officer or firefighter hired since 1980 draws any benefit from these funds -- but all Minneapolis taxpayers contribute to it.
Mayor Rybak and city leaders stepped up to put a stop to this overcharging after the State Auditor alerted them to it. They first tried working with the pension funds to find a solution. They also encouraged the Legislature to solve the problem by merging the old, closed funds into the funds that benefit current police and firefighters, but the Legislature did not take it up.
As a last result, the City Council unanimously backed Mayor Rybak in taking the pension funds to court -- and they won. A Hennepin County judge ruled that these pension funds had violated the law and overcharged Minneapolis taxpayers more than $50 million over several years. City taxpayers won back $10 million of the $50 million that they had overpaid.
Mayor Rybak and the City Council put every penny of the $10 million they won for taxpayers straight into property-tax relief.
Mayor Rybak takes seriously the City's obligation to make sure that people who worked hard for the City who are owed a pension, as well as their families, get the pension they deserve. But if Mayor Rybak hadn't taken on these closed pension funds, the funds would have continued to overcharge Minneapolis taxpayers. That would have meant more cuts to police, firefighters and other city services and higher property taxes for everyone.
Mayor Rybak and the City Council beat the high-priced lawyers and well-connected lobbyists that represent these funds that were overcharging Minneapolis taxpayers -- so now those lawyers and lobbyists are trying to fight back by misrepresenting the facts and spreading smears. But Mayor Rybak and City Council have always been prepared to take on waste and mismanagement in City government so that taxpayers save money and get better results. That's how they've balanced eight budgets in a row and kept spending down -- while investing in the future and making Minneapolis work better.
State Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, is ramping up his campaign for governor in the week before Minnesota's precinct caucuses.
Rukavina announced today that his pre-caucus activities include a TV ad and a direct mail campaign. The ad, which uses a cereal theme to contrast Rukavina with Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, will have a limited run on metro cable channels. Rukavina's son Victor helped create and produce the ad.
"It's a little jab at the last eight years of the Pawlenty administration, and how his style of governance has left a bad taste in peoples mouths," Rukavina said.
DFLer Tom Bakk, who also serves as the Tax Chair of the Minnesota Senate, released his fundraising totals for 2009. The campaign reports raising $208,682 in 2009 and had $137,830 in the bank at the end of 2009. That's the most of any candidate who disclosed those figures before the February 1st deadline.
Bakk's spokesman said Bakk did not contribute to his campaign or loan his campaign any money.
Here's the release from Bakk's campaign:
With $137,830 cash on hand, Sen. Tom Bakk said he is in a solid financial position to win the DFL endorsement for governor in April. A legislator from Cook, who represents the Arrowhead Region of the state, Bakk is chair of the Senate Tax Committee.
"Between raising $153,245 in 2008, $208,682 in 2009, and meeting the fundraising goal for January 2010, I will have $400,000 to spend on the endorsement process," Bakk said. "Throughout my campaign I have focused on the economy and my determination to create jobs. I've had an honest conversation with Minnesotans about the serious financial challenges we face. I've stressed that by working together we can rebound the economy, create jobs, and make the tough choices necessary to build a stronger Minnesota.
"In these difficult times people are looking for a proven leader with the right experience to get the state back on track. Through their financial support, Minnesotans have indicated that I am that leader."
Bakk is very grateful to the 1,278 individuals who have donated to his gubernatorial campaign.
"I've been touched by the donations I've received," Bakk said. "From the out-of-work carpenter who contributed $5 to small business owners looking for a leader to strengthen Minnesota's economy to resort owners in my district impacted by the recession, every dollar donated has a story behind it. I cannot thank people enough for believing in me."
Leading up to the April DFL convention in Duluth, Bakk said he will continue to talk about why the election is about jobs and why he is the candidate who will win in November.
"On January 9 a record number of Minnesotans received an unemployment check," Bakk said. "As a carpenter who has been on unemployment, I understand the stress those 240,398 people and their families are experiencing. Minnesota needs a leader who will make job creation the top priority.
"Until Minnesotans are back to work, we cannot end the devastating budget cuts that have led to fewer opportunities for our children, higher property taxes for home and business owners, and denied care to our most vulnerable citizens. We must get the economy going so we can invest in the areas, such as education, that will provide individuals and the state long-term prosperity."
Bakk said too many Minnesotans are struggling and he will not rest until they are back to work.
"As governor, I will work tirelessly to create jobs and improve Minnesota's economy," he said. "I will get Minnesotans back to work with a significant investment in public works, which will jumpstart our construction economy and create long-term jobs; incentives to banks to loan again; and I will use my tax policy experience to create programs to aid small start-up businesses, help existing businesses with sales tax exemptions on capital equipment, and give communities assistance to attract and retain businesses.
"From personal and family security to having the resources necessary to maintain our state's cherished quality of life, everything flows from people having a job."
Posted at 10:57 AM on January 26, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Here's a handy cheat sheet of where the candidates stand in the 2009 fundraising race. Some of the candidates haven't released their full figures. Others didn't release any at all. The reports are due on February 1st.
Matt Entenza (Democrat) - raised a total of $300,000 from contributors in 2009. He also made a $10,000 contribution to the campaign and loaned the campaign $70,000. The campaign would not release his cash on hand totals.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher (Democrat) - raised a total of $254,000 from contributors in 2009. She made a direct contribution of $250 to her campaign. She has $81,000 left in the bank.
Paul Thissen (Democrat) - raised a total of $233,000 from contributors in 2009. He also loaned his campaign $20,000. He has $85,000 left in the bank.
Marty Seifert (GOP) - raised a total of $222,000 from contributors in 2009. He also loaned his campaign $20,000 and transferred $20,000 from his now defunct MN House campaign. He has $133,000 left in the bank.
Tom Bakk (Democrat) - raised a total of $208,682 in 2009 and has 137,830 cash on hand at end of '09. He did not loan his campaign any money nor contribute to his campaign.
Tom Rukavina (Democrat) - raised a total of $135,000 in 2009. He has $60,000 left in the bank.
Tom Emmer (GOP) - raised a total of roughly $105,000 from contributors in 2009. His spokesman said he loaned the campaign and gave in-kind contributions that amount to roughly $10,000. The campaign didn't release the cash on hand totals.
State Sen. Tarryl Clark, DFL-St. Cloud, announced today that she raised $293,953 in the fourth quarter of 2009 for her 6th district congressional campaign.
A campaign news release said the number of donors for the quarter were 2,906. Clark's total for the the year topped $600,000. She ended 2009 with just under $389,000 cash on hand.
Clark is one of two DFL candidates trying to unseat Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Bachmann has not yet released her campaign report. The other DFLer, Maureen Reed, released her numbers last week.
Gov. Pawlenty will deliver his final State of the State address on Thursday, February 11th at 11am. He'll make his comments from the chamber of the Minnesota House.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Duluth city council members Jeff Anderson, Dan Hartman and Patrick Boyle announced they're backing Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak's bid for governor. Ness said he decided to back Rybak over two northeastern state lawmakers, Tom Bakk and Tom Rukavina, because he felt like Rybak would be the best person to lead the state in difficult times.
"These are times when we have to look beyond parochial interests. We need leadership in Minnesota," Ness said.
Here's the news conference: Listen
Side note: I've been itching to use that headline for a long, long time. Bonus points to the first person who can name the rapper who coined a song title that is somewhat similar to that headline.
Can you tell that precinct caucuses are getting close? The campaigns are ramping up their communication with potential delegates. It also appears that campaign folks are sharpening their elbows.
Democrat Paul Thissen's campaign manager, Gia Vitali, issued a statement tonight alleging that Margaret Anderson Kelliher is lifting their campaign message. Thissen and Kelliher are two of the 13 Democrats (yes it's up to 13) currently running for governor this year.
In a written statement, Vitali said "she did a double take" when she read a Kelliher e-mail blast to supporters. Vitali alleges that Kelliher's campaign lifted one of Thissen's key messages. Here's part of Thissen's speech when he officially kicked off his campaign in July:
And the answer that our current governor and his allies have given to Minnesota families is simply to say 'No'. 'No' to education. 'No' to affordable health care for everybody. 'No' to the kind of investment we need to make in innovation and technology and science, to compete in this global economy. 'No' to hardworking families who are losing their homes and losing their jobs.
I am running for governor because we need a leader who is going to be willing to stand up and say 'Yes' to Minnesota and its extraordinary promise. 'Yes' to all the solutions that we know will work. 'Yes' to the long-term investments that will stand the test of time. 'Yes' to rebuilding the Minnesota that we've always known and loved and making it even better. More just, more fair, more prosperous for everybody.
And here's part of Kelliher's e-mail blast from today:
For too long, Republican leaders in our state have been the party of no. No jobs, no recovery, no solutions. I'm running for governor to lead Minnesota on the road to economic recovery. I've been traveling to every corner of the state as I build a people-powered campaign for governor. Together, we can say yes. Yes to opportunity, yes to ideas, and the future.
Vitali, with Thissen's campaign, was none too pleased with the e-mail. She said with so many candidates in the race, similarities are bound to pop up. She said, however, that her boss doesn't say "Jobs, jobs, jobs" (a Tom Bakk line) when talking about the economy.
"While we are glad that Speaker Kelliher agrees with Representative Thissen," Vitali said in the statement. "It's sad that she hasn't defined her own message and vision for Minnesota's future."
Kelliher campaign spokeswoman Allison Myhre said she's "bewildered" by Vitali's criticism. "I don't think 'yes' is a copyrighted statement or term," Myrhre said. "We're not coopting their message."
What do you think? Is Vitali's criticism fair or not?
From MPR's Elizabeth Baier:
The Minnesota GOP will retain its seat of nearly two decades in District 26, after voters elected Republican Mike Parry on Tuesday. Parry won the special election to fill the seat of longtime State Senator Dick Day. He beat DFL-endorsed Jason Engbrecht and Independence Party candidate Roy Srp.
Parry says he's ready to start working on balancing the state budget and creating jobs.
"I'm feeling really good. The citizens of District 26 who have talked to me and have told me they wanted to control state spending and wanted to make sure that the funds that we are generating are used in the proper way, and that's been my message straightforward."
Parry will fill the remaining 11 months of Dick Day's term for the seat that covers parts of Rice, Steele and Waseca counties.
The State Canvassing Board will meet on Feb. 1 to certify the results of the special election.
With 100% of the precincts reporting, here's the vote count:
DFLer Jason Engbrecht: 4,192
I-P member Roy Srp: 2,334