Thursday, March 06, 2014

SOSOS: Save Our Secretary Of State (UPDATE: Nguyen *doesn't* oppose photo ID?)

My friend Jeff Kolb opined the other day on the verification of GOP Minnesota Secretary of State candidate Dennis Nguyen's penchant for strip clubs. My immediate reaction was how can one be so short sighted as to continue such activities while running for a statewide political office? This only accentuates the narrative that Republicans are waging a "war on women." That, and several big name MN GOP state legislators endorsed Nguyen's candidacy. Does anyone honestly believe that said legislators would have endorsed Nguyen had they known he frequents such establishments? Certainly not all of them would have been willing to publicly endorse.

So does this mean a death knell of Nguyen's candidacy? The more appropriate questions is should it be a death knell? While Secretary of State is a statewide office, it's not nearly as high profile as, say, the office of governor or state legislator. Secretary of State is more of a behind the scenes role (though one may not know that given some of the shenanigans of current SOS Mark Ritchie). As such, there is no hand in crafting policy as much as there is ensuring the logistics and administration of government business.

All that said, it is up to the individual voter to decide how he/she gauges a political candidate. In the minds of some, Nguyen engaging in such extracurricular activities (while legal) is morally reprehensible and thus isn't appropriate for someone who would hold such an important office (two statewide recounts over the past three election cycles underscores the job's vitality). Please note that it's not necessarily the position I hold. I'm more concerned about the fact that someone who seeks a position in charge of ensuring voter integrity would be opposed to photo ID, as Nguyen is reported to be. That should be most concerning if you're a conservative.

If indeed Nguyen goes on to be the Republican nominee for MN Secretary of State, you better believe that Minnesota Democrats will use the strip club issue against him. However, that should be easily swatted down by throwing at the Dems their own motto of "It's just sex. Move on."



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