Monday, February 24, 2014

Sticky wickets

Phil Krinkie, current board member of The Taxpayers League of Minnesota and U.S. House candidate in the Sixth Congressional District, has some splainin' to do.

I'll come back to that.

But first, a recap of a high profile endorsement battle in one of the Minnesota state House Districts.

State Rep. David FitzSimmons, one of four Republicans to vote in favor of gay marriage last session, has decided not run for re-election, making the announcement over the weekend at his party’s endorsing convention.

Of his situation, FitzSimmons said in an interview: “It was very evident that the forces that wanted to force me out had solidified people in their opposition to me.”

Instead, House District 30A
(actually it was HD 30B - ed.) endorsed Dayton City Council Member Eric Lucero, who made FitzSimmons’ gay marriage vote the linchpin of his campaign.

FitzSimmons had been expected to lose the GOP endorsement, despite being considered a party leader in Wright County and having the support of such stalwart conservatives as Tom Emmer, a congressional candidate in the 6th District.

In my opinion, the delegates in 30B chose not to look at the bigger picture. FitzSimmons only voted "yes" due to the fact he wanted to be part of the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate versions of the gay marriage bill. This was to ensure that an amendment FitzSimmons authored, one that would essentially protect churches from lawsuits for refusal to perform same-sex weddings, would not be stripped from the final version. One could make a strong argument that FitzSimmons made the same-sex marriage law (which was going to pass anyways given complete Democrat control of state government) more palatable for social conservatives. Nevertheless, the delegates in 30B were well within their rights to do what they did, regardless of how shortsighted they appear.

But perhaps the most egregious actions were displayed by Krinkie. He penned the following letter (photo courtesy of Walter Hudson), which was distributed to the delegates at Saturday's convention:

For those not familiar with the Taxpayers League, they're an organization who rate legislators based on their voting record on fiscal issues. One of the methods they use in an attempt to hold state candidates accountable is to request that they sign the "Taxpayers Protection Pledge." This pledge is a commitment to always vote "no" on any legislation that would result in increasing taxes. Krinkie writes in this letter that Lucero signed the pledge whereas the incumbent FitzSimmons did not. What was conveniently left out of this letter is that of 201 state legislators, FitzSimmons was one of only thirteen who last legislative session received a 100% score in terms of voting against what the TPL deemed "wasteful spending."

That begs the question of why would Krinkie pen such an outright misleading letter? Is this personal? Well, FitzSimmons is an unabashed supporter of Tom Emmer who, like Krinkie, is vying to be the GOP nominee in MN CD6. Since Emmer is pretty much a lock to get the nod, perhaps Krinkie allowed vindictiveness to overtake him. If that's the case, Krinkie comes off as incredibly petty.

But the biggest problem Krinkie faces is his unauthorized use of Taxpayers League stationary to enact what looks to be a personal vendetta. It's been verified that neither Krinkie's fellow board members nor TPL President Ted Lillie authorized this letter. With that in mind, the Taxpayers League needs to publicly admonish Krinkie and/or remove him from the board. Anything short of that likely results in their brand being irreparably damaged.

So is it safe to say that Krinkie is no longer a viable candidate in CD6? Yes. Then again, his viability has pretty much been non-existent since the day he announced his candidacy.


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