Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXI (MNGOP edition)

- After very little noise on the GOP front to provide opposition to Minnesota's junior U.S. Senator Al Franken, there was actually some rumblings Tuesday.

After giving serious consideration to running for Senate in 2014, conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis cited the "Establishment Party" as the reason he is not entering the fray (translation: I won't be able to raise the money needed to run a competitive campaign).

Also on Tuesday morning, MN House member Jim Abeler (who happens to be my representative) announced he is forming a start-up committee to oppose Franken.

In my opinion, Abeler would be a tough sale amongst Republicans. Despite endorsing Ron Paul for President in 2012, Abeler is notorious for supporting bigger government in the form of mass transit subsidies, the new Vikings stadium and the MN Health Exchange. However, Abeler may appeal to some social conservatives since he voted "yes" on the MN Marriage Amendment two years ago and then, in one of the more passionate defenses of traditional marriage, voted "no" to legalize same-sex marriage last month. Again, given that history as a state rep, it seems an odd juxtaposition that he endorsed the libertarian Paul.

Abler now joins businessman Mike McFadden as the only Republicans in the race. Never heard of McFadden? Well, there's a legit reason for that. You see McFadden happened to declare his candidacy on Wednesday, May 29. That was also the day Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann garnered not only local but national headlines when she announced early that morning she would not seek a fifth term in the U.S. House.

- Speaking of being lost in the shuffle, a Republican challenger to Minnesota CD1 Congressman Tim Walz has emerged.

MN State Rep. Mike Benson announced Monday that he would seek to unseat Walz. Benson made the announcement outside a Ramada hotel in Rochester. Andy Parrish, who will apparently be working on the Benson campaign, tweeted a photo of the announcement locale, a tweet which elicited a classic zinger from Michael Brodkorb.

- I live in MN Congressional District Six, the same CD represented by the outgoing Bachmann. I am a delegate in said district and consider myself "in the know" when it comes to potential candidates lining up to replace Bachmann. 

With that in mind, the following announcement was made recently:

(MN State) Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) will run for Congress in Minnesota’s 6th District. It is the seat currently held by Michelle Bachmann who has recently said she will not be seeking re-election.

Pederson said, “I have practically lived the sixth Congressional District my whole life and I have good understanding what working families and their employers are experiencing in this current economic environment.”

Pederson, a Wright County native, was born in Glencoe and raised in Buffalo on a farm in Maple Lake Township where his parents still live today.

Seems like a standard, run-of-the-mill declaration of candidacy. One problem: the time stamp on the article was this past Friday just before 2:00 pm. Even in a normal summer season, many folks in these parts are out of town and off the grid for the weekend by early Friday afternoon at the latest. As such, Pederson's intentions weren't even widely known until Monday.

Again, a couple of well-known Minnesota political observers had this exchange on Twitter:

Look, it's been very well documented over the past couple of years the difficult financial issues within the MN Republican party. It's unlikely they'll be able to lend a lot of support to GOP candidates who are in difficult races. So with that said, it's probably a good idea that the aforementioned candidates cease with the self-inflicted wounds since they're likely to have to be more self reliant over the next 16-1/2 months of campaigning.


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