Posted at 7:28 AM on November 11, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
86 of the state's 87 counties have finalized their vote totals and are sending them to the State Canvassing Board. The vote totals didn't shift much (see Ramsey County as an example) but an automatic recount will finalize the issue of vote counting. That is scheduled to start on 11/29.
The length of the recount depends on the GOP's plans. MPR quotes many who think the MNGOP and Republican Tom Emmer are preparing for a legal challenge.
Democrats are warning the Republican Party is trying to "hijack" the election if they push for a change to the recount in court.
Under the Dome
Minnesota's taxes exceeded expectations by $46 million in October.
Gov. Pawlenty's budget chief is leaving his post to become a lobbyist. MMB Commissioner Tom Hanson will leave one day before the December 2nd budget forecast.
The Met Council trims Twin Cities transit projects.
The House GOP tries to juggle its committee structure.
A panel tasked to tackle the national debt calls for cuts to Social Security and tax increases.
AP says the White House altered a drilling safety report.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann dropped her leadership bid.
GOP Rep.-elect Chip Cravaack says he's ready to get to work.
MPR takes a look at Minnesota's 8th to see whether the last race is a red blip or something more.
DFL Rep. Keith Ellison is headed to Morocco.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty calls for a freeze on federal employee salaries.
A new poll says nearly 60 percent of those polled have no opinion of Pawlenty. 28 percent view him favorably. 13 percent view him unfavorably.
Here's a press release just issued by MPR News and the Humphrey Institute:
Minnesota Public Radio and the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs announced today that they will undertake a thorough review of the methodology used in polls conducted during the 2010 election season. The process will include an internal review of the poll by the Humphrey Institute and an independent audit that will be made public. The independent audit will be conducted by Frank Newport, the editor and chief of Gallup.
MPR and the Humphrey Institute partnered this year to conduct four polls leading up to Election Day. The final poll, based on interviewing begun nearly two weeks before Election Day, showed results significantly different from the final election tally. This issue will be examined along with the raw data from other polls to determine whether there is a methodological reason for the difference, or whether external events account for the difference.
"We are committed to a transparent review of our polling methodology because we value the importance of continuous improvement in our efforts," said Professor Larry Jacobs, director of the Humphrey Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Government. "If a shortcoming is identified, we will fix it. If not, we will have third-party verification that our methods are sound."
"The review of polling methodology is a necessary step in continuing to provide Minnesotans with the unbiased information they need to make informed decisions," said Chris Worthington, MPR's managing director of News.
Dean Brian Atwood of the Humphrey Institute added, "I welcome the opportunity to conduct this self analysis and peer review, a regular process for any academic institution. Professor Jacobs is an internationally recognized expert in this field. He is a professional who looks critically at his own work, as well as at polls conducted by others. We are committed to maintaining a very high standard."
Since the 2010 Midterms are over, the political chattering class is now focused on 2012. Public Policy Polling released several polls that examined how the Republicans under consideration for a White House run will do in several states. The polls found that Mitt Romney is ahead in the critical early primary state of Florida. Sarah Palin has leads in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Maine. Gov. Pawlenty has a lead in Minnesota but it's a small one. Just 19 percent of those polled in Minnesota support his presidential prospects. Palin is polling at 18 percent.
Pawlenty's poor showing in the polls has led pollster Nate Silver to question why there's so much buzz about Pawlenty's prospects. The New York Times writer suggests Pawlenty is one of the 2012 hopefuls to "bet against."
The analogy is to a baseball team that is 7 games out of first place at the All-Star break: how likely is this team to come back and win its division?
The answer depends to a great extent on how many other teams separate them from the first-place team. If they're in second place in a two-team race, their odds really aren't so bad: they just have to get hot, or the other team has to wilt down the stretch run, and they'll have a pretty good chance.
But if they're in, say, fifth place between a tightly-bunched group of front-runners (even if those front-runners are flawed in various ways), then making up a 7-game deficit is quite difficult. There's now almost no chance that they can win just by watching the first-place team fold: the second-, third- and fourth-place teams would all have to do so as well. Instead, they'll have to get really hot - and even if they do, they'll have to hope none of the four teams in front of them get as hot or hotter. This is the situation that candidates like Mr. Pawlenty now find themselves in.
The other potential flaw in the analysis of candidates like Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Thune is that some seem to think it an asset that they are bland and unobjectionable. In a primary election that isn't an asset, but a liability. A primary election isn't a reality show in which candidates are eliminated one at a time for failing some challenge. Instead, voters pick the one candidate whom they most like, rather than the one they most dislike; a candidate who has strong favorables and strong unfavorables is going to be more people's first choice than one whom everyone feels indifferent about. Someone with a more distinct and provocative brand - like Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey or Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin - might stand a better chance in an underdog role, although neither is likely to run for president in 2012.
One thing that could help Pawlenty's standing are a large number of debates. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA announced that it intends to host the first 2012 GOP debate in the Spring of 2011. Right around the same time Pawlenty says he'll announce whether he'll make a run for the White House.
Another issue that could help him is if he catches fire for opposing the federal health care law. Pawlenty filed a motion today to request filing a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit challenging the federal health care law.
Democrat Mark Dayton's campaign announced today that he met with top budget experts on Wednesday. Dayton met with several former Finance Commissioners. The group included John Gunyou, who served under GOP Gov. Arne Carlson), Peggy Ingison, who served under Gov. Pawlenty, Jay Kiedrowski, who served under Gov. Rudy Perpich and Pam Wheelock, who served under Gov. Ventura.
Minnesota is facing a nearly $6 billion projected budget deficit which the next governor (dayton or Republican Tom Emmer) will have to make a top priority.
Dayton released this statement about the meeting:
"Governor Perpich had a quote in his office that said 'none of us is as smart as all of us,' and it will take all of us coming together to solve the budget deficit we're currently facing. As we wait for the results of the election to be confirmed I will continue to prepare for the task ahead, and welcome ideas from all corners of the state. The election is now over and it is incumbent upon all of us to put politics aside and do what is in the best interest of the people of Minnesota."
Republican Tom Emmer says he won't support any efforts to keep Democrat Mark Dayton from taking office - but he is still raising questions about possible voting irregularities on Election Day. Emmer told MPR News that he thinks it's "entirely improper" to drag out the election if the upcoming recount of nearly 2.2 million votes doesn't go his way. Dayton currently leads Emmer by nearly 8,800 votes leaving some to question whether Emmer can make up the difference.
Some Democrats have said they think it's impossible for Emmer to close the gap in a recount and they fear he may file a frivolous lawsuit to delay Dayton from taking office. Emmer says he would not agree to delaying tactics just to keep Republicans in power.
"I will not be a part of that," Emmer said. "This process is going to be handled according the letter of the law. I am ultimately in charge and I will not participate in using the law just to delay things. If there are honest issues that have to be addressed, we'll have to wait and see. But at this point, we're not asking for anything. The law is being applied the way it's written."
Emmer made his comments right before Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton and the party's attorney, Michael Toner, were to give a presentation on the party's recount efforts to the Republican Party of Minnesota Elephant Club. Roughly seventy Republican donors were expected to attend the private event.
The fundraiser and comments by Emmer and other Republican Party officials regarding voting irregularities have Democrats concerned that Republicans are more concerned with delaying the election to keep Dayton from taking office. Dayton campaign spokeswoman Denise Cardinal says GOP claims of voting irregularities aren't backed up with proof or are overblown.
"There have been no major problems, as indicated by the county canvassing process and the auditing underway," Cardinal said. "To insinuate, as he did, that there are 'multiple machine malfunctions' is to try and undermine an election system that has proven itself time and again. Minnesota's elections were proven when under the microscope in the past, are doing well so far this year - and it's the very system that elected Republican majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, a decision by voters we're sure he agrees with."
Earlier in the day, Emmer did his first one on one interview with WCCO's Michelle Tafoya, who gave $120 to his campaign earlier this year. During that interview, Emmer emphasize that he's "in charge" a change when it comes to any decision regarding an election conteset. That's a change from comments he made arlier in the week. On Tuesday, Emmer told reporters that he had input in the decision as to whether a lawsuit would be filed to contest the outcome of the election.
You can listen to the full WCCO interview here: Listen