Posted at 6:18 AM on December 7, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
President Obama and the GOP reach a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts.
The apparent deal also extends jobless aid. GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann says the GOP could scuttle any such deal because it includes an extension of jobless aid.
Great Britain arrested the founder of WIkileaks in a sex inquiry.
Two Supreme Court cases test corporate interests.
There's a noon deadline to withdraw any challenges in the recount in Minnesota's race for governor. The Emmer campaign withdrew 2,600 ballots as of Saturday. The State Canvassing Board begins looking at disputed ballots on Wednesday.
AP takes a look at Republican Tom Emmer's statements regarding the Statewide Voter Database.
Former Gov. Al Quie says he laughed heartily when he heard GOP delegates voted to penalize him and 17 other Republicans for supporting the IP's Tom Horner. Listen to his interview here. The Star Tribune also interviewed other Republicans who were on the list.
Democrat Mark Dayton sent an e-mail to supporters saying he hasn't offered anyone a job yet.
Under the Dome
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson sues Discover.
Minnesota's Demographer says "it's very close" as to whether Minnesota loses a Congressional Seat. The U.S. Census will announce the numbers in the last week of the year.
The U.S. Census shows the U.S. has cracked 300 million people.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty was in Florida on Monday.
Pawlenty will make a farewell visit to Rochester on 12/14.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling say 68% of those polled think Democrat Mark Dayton was the rightful winner in Minnesota's race for governor. The same number also think Republican Tom Emmer should quit the race.
The protracted fight over who won the Governor's race isn't doing Emmer's image any favors. 49% of voters in the state have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 37% with a positive one. It's no surprise that Democrats are pretty universally negative toward Emmer, giving him a 4/86 favorability rating. But independents are overwhelmingly negative as well with only 30% saying they have a positive opinion of him.
"Tom Emmer is likely hurting his future political prospects by drawing out the race for Governor," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. "Voters in the state, including many who voted for him, think that Mark Dayton was the rightful winner of the election."
The poll comes just one day before the State Canvassing Board meets to review any disputed ballots that were flagged by the campaigns during the recount. Emmer says he wants to let the process take it's course. He is also waiting for an updated Statewide Voter Registration System and a MN Supreme Court opinion on why his petition to match the number of ballots with the number of signatures on the Election Night roster.
You can read the full results here.
There's a bit more political catnip coming tomorrow. PPP says it will release a poll looking at the 2012 Senate race.
DFL Rep. Betty McCollum says she's opposed to a deal that would extend the Bush tax cuts for top earners. President Obama and Republicans reached a deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for two more years. The deal also includes an extension of unemployment benefits.
McCollum says she's opposed to the deal because it extends the tax cuts for the top income earners and would increase the deficit by $900 billion.
"This is a deal that will continue to explode the deficit while the rich get richer and struggling middle class families get crumbs. The Republicans successfully held unemployed Americans hostage to give even more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. This plan is irresponsible, and I will oppose it."
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., issued a statement on the tax deal reached by President Obama and GOP congressional leaders.
The statement doesn't say whether she'll vote for the plan. Her office says she wants to see a final version of the legislation. But Bachmann does express some concerns about the deal.
She says she would prefer a permanent extension of the tax cuts, but a two year extension will help provide more certainty and will "at least offer a foundation for job creation for the immediate future."
But Bachmann's biggest concern is the cost of extending unemployment benefits. Here's what she says:
"As part of the compromise, the President wants to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 months. Unemployment benefits are already at a historical length of 99 weeks, and the President's request would push benefits to three years. The President hasn't indicated any other spending offsets or reductions to pay for these benefits, even though he claims to be committed to reducing the deficit. Our economy doesn't have a moment to waste and it's vital that we stop these tax increases now, but we cannot overlook the consequences of another unfunded extension of unemployment benefits. Along with the American people, I anxiously await the final version of the bill that will bring certainly to our nation's taxpayers."
The Minnesota Supreme Court issued the reasoning behind its decision to deny Republican Tom Emmer's petition to force counties to reconcile the number of voters with the numbers of votes cast on Election Day.
The court quickly denied Emmer's petition a few weeks ago but didn't offer the reasoning behind it. The court issued an eighteen page opinion explaining why Emmer's push to require elections officials to count the number of ballots with the number of voter signatures should not be granted.
The opinion said "Minnesota's election laws have not relied exclusively on documents signed by voters to determine the number of ballots to be counted in the election." The opinion added "It is clear the legislature intended to permit..either signatures..or voter's receipts..to count ballots."
The opinion, which was written by multiple judges anonymously, makes it more difficult for Emmer to sue on this issue. He said last week that he was waiting for the opinion before he decided to sue in court.
The ruling also comes one day before the State Canvassing Board will review several hundred ballots that were flagged by the campaigns in the recount. Democrat Mark Dayton is expected to be declared the winner when the recount is over.
Attorneys for Republican Tom Emmer have withdrawn the vast majority of challenges to ballots they made last week during the recount of votes in the governor's race.
The State Canvassing board now has just 181 ballots to review, 91 from Democrat Mark Dayton's side, 90 from Emmer's side.
The number dropped dramatically after Emmer withdrew 671 challenges and Dayton pulled back 88.
And there are fewer than 30 other ballots still contested by Emmer even though local officials called the challenges frivolous. The board has not yet decided whether it will look at those.
Even if Emmer won all of his challenges, including the ones ruled frivolous, he would remain more than 8,500 votes behind Dayton in unofficial results.
The canvassing board is set to begin ruling on ballot challenges tomorrow. It had set aside three days for the task, but likely won't need that much time, since so many ballot challenges have been withdrawn.
The board ruled on more than 1,300 challenges in four days during the 2008 Senate recount.
Posted at 2:57 PM on December 7, 2010
by Tim Pugmire
Filed under: U.S. Senate
Public Policy Polling says Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the most popular of the 66 senators it has measured this year.
A recent survey of state voters found that Klobuchar is running 10 or more points ahead of several potential GOP challengers in her 2012 re-election bid. Klobuchar would beat outgoing Governor Tim Pawlenty (53 to 43), Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (56 to 39), former senator Norm Coleman (54 to 40), gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer (56 to 38) and Congressman Erik Paulsen (52 to 34).
Here's the full news release:
Amy Klobuchar is the most popular of 66 senators PPP has measured in
2010, and she won her first election to the Senate four years ago by 20 points. But that
was in a Democratic wave. With the closeness of the still-contested 2010 gubernatorial
race, and a generally more conservative electorate in the Midwest this year, Klobuchar
could draw a strong challenge in 2012. But even emptying the GOP bench, and in an
electorate in which Democrats barely outnumber Republicans, no one can come within
ten points of defeating Klobuchar in PPP's first test of that race.
Outgoing Governor Tim Pawlenty comes closest, but Klobuchar still beats him, 53-43.
She could breathe easy if the Tea Party grassroots elevate one of their firebrands to the
nomination, leading Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, 56-39. And she would give
two victims of a recount a bigger run for their money than did Mark Dayton or Al
Franken. She is ahead of former senator Norm Coleman, 54-40, and likely defeated
gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, 56-38. Finally, she tops Congressman Erik
Klobuchar almost literally has the unanimous support of her party, getting 93-98% of
Democrats and losing only 1% to every one of the Republicans except Coleman, to
whom she only loses 3%. She also has leads of 17 (against Pawlenty) to 26 points
(versus Bachmann) with independents, and takes 6% (Pawlenty) to 11% (Bachmann and
Emmer) of Republicans.
At 59-29, Klobuchar's job approval rating and margin are the highest by six points over
those of the next most popular senator, Scott Brown of Massachusetts. By comparison,
colleague Al Franken sits at 45-42, and her most popular potential Republican opponent
is Coleman, at 43-42. Klobuchar earns the favor of 26% from the opposite party, very
unusual in this polarized climate. Bachmann is the least well liked overall, with a 37-51
favorability rating, just a hair worse than Emmer's 37-49. Paulsen breaks even at 22-22,
but 57% have no opinion of or have not heard of him.
"Amy Klobuchar is so popular President Obama may want to ride her coattails in 2012,"
said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
PPP surveyed 949 Minnesota voters on December 4th and 5th. The survey's margin of
error is +/-3.2%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may
introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.
Dayton Recount Director Ken Martin issued a statement on the Supreme Court opinion:
"We thank the Supreme Court for issuing this opinion in a timely manner as we wrap up the last step in the election and recount process this week. The Court deserves a great deal of credit for considering and resolving this matter so rapidly, thoughtfully, and decisively.
The Court's opinion makes it clear that Minnesotan election officials across the state acted appropriately by utilizing official voter receipts to reconcile precinct returns and to ensure that this election was accurate, transparent and reliable. This also makes it clear that any effort to file a legal contest on this matter would lose in court.
We look forward to the rapid conclusion of the Canvassing Board process and prompt certification of the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election."
Benson, R-Ham Lake, is expecting her third child on March 23, right in the middle of the session. Turns out the pending delivery is rare but not unprecedented. Retiring Sen. Mee Moua, DFL St. Paul, gave birth to her third child in April 2006, about a month before the end of session.
Still, it means some extra preparations for the incoming freshman. Benson said she still plans to do all the work needed to represent District 49 and the state.
"There are probably going to be times I'm going to have to slow down but I will do my very best to get through that," Benson said.
Benson said she learned of the pregnancy during the campaign, but at age 42, she decided to hold off sharing the news for a while.
"I am older than the average mom and so the risk of loss is higher the older you get," she said.
Republicans are taking control of the Senate for the first time in 38 years. Benson is among 21 new members of the GOP caucus. Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, will be the first woman to serve as majority leader, said she learned of Benson's pregnancy last week.
"I've had a baby, but I've never had a baby in the middle of session," Koch said. "I won't have a ton of advise for her, but it's very exciting for the caucus."
Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton tonight issued the following statement regarding today's ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"While we are disappointed in today's decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court, we will continue to take this process one day at a time. As the next step in this legally mandated recount, we look forward to tomorrow's State Canvassing Board meeting."
Republican Tom Emmer will concede the governor's race to Democrat Mark Dayton tomorrow. A person with knowledge of Emmer's plans says Emmer will make the announcement at 10:30 in his hometown of Delano.
Democrat Mark Dayton's spokeswoman Katherine Tinucci said they have no comment at this point.
"We have not heard from the Emmer campaign this evening," Tinucci said.