Rocker Axl Rose donned a Stewart Mills costume for Halloween this year (
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 23, 2013, 12:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 11-23

♣ The Minnesota Jobs Coalition, the intrepid dark money group started by friend of the now-defunct LeftMN Radio Hour, Ben Golnik, released a polling memo, let’s take a look:

Tarrance Group (11/21, no trend lines):

Do you think Minnesota’s U.S. Senator Al Franken has done a good enough job to deserve re-election, or is it time to give a new person a chance?”
Deserves 45
New Person 43
Undecided 11

Do you think Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has done a good enough job to deserve re-election, or is it time to give a new person a chance?
Deserves 45
New Person 45
Undecided 10
(MoE: ±5%)

First of all, you can’t compare these numbers to recent public polling numbers concerning job approval ratings, as these questions are not about job approval, but rather re-elect preferences. This may seem like a minor difference, and it may be, but it may also not be. There can be large divergences between approval and re-elect numbers, meaning it’s usually folly to infer one from the other.

There’s an additional problem with using a generic “do you think this person should be re-elected” framing, this isn’t the question that voters will face. The question that voters will face is “given this list of candidates, who do you think should be elected.”

And while neither of these results are good for either candidate, they are also not dooming.

♣ The newest GOP candidate for Governor, Marty Seifert, ended the protracted “toe-dipping” part of his campaign and has begun the “Cannonball!” stage of his campaign.

He said he wants to reduce taxes, regulations and the size of state government. He proposed a halt to the Southwest light rail project to focus instead on roads and bridges. Seifert said he would prevent the release of any dangerous sex offenders. He’s also calling for big changes in public education, including expanded school choice options.

“The number one issue in this campaign is leadership, and we’re sorely lacking that in the state of Minnesota right now, and I’m here to offer that for people,” he said.

And by leadership, he of course means going backwards in time. Let’s scrap light rail transit in favor of strengthening our petroleum based transportation infrastructure. Let’s keep people in prison perpetually. And the most dangerous idea of all, lets privatize our public schools.

The path that Marty Seifert is offering to lead us down ends badly.

♣ It was revealed this week that former State Senator Ray Vandeveer is on the dole:

Vandeveer, a Republican, has been a paid consultant to the Minnesota Senate Victory PAC, the state Senate Republicans’ federal campaign arm, since early this year.

According to federal records, Vandeveer was paid $1,500 a month for consulting services through May. Sen. David Hann, Senate Republicans’ leader, said the consulting is ongoing.

Hann said that as a former member of the state House and the state Senate Vandeveer, whom he considers a friend, has a good political sense of the Minnesota electorate. Hann said that he talks to Vandeveer, who did not run for re-election last year, “fairly often” and he has taken on various tasks to prepare Senate Republicans for the 2016 elections.

At least one Republican Senator, Karen Housley, didn’t know about this arrangement or have any idea what it was that Vandeveer was doing for the money:

I don’t believe that most of the caucus members are aware of Senator Vandaveer’s work with the Senate Caucus and that additional information would be helpful to clarify the work he is doing.

Shades of Dave Thompson?

♣ GOP Senator Torrey Westrom (12) is considering a bid for US Representative against incumbent seventh district DFLer Collin Petersen.

“I am giving serious consideration to this,” Westrom told the Times.

Westrom, an attorney and small-business owner, declined to reveal a timetable for his decision but said it’s a “fair assumption” it will come in 2013.

Since the Senate will not be up for election this cycle, Westrom gets to take a shot, if he decides to do so, without relinquishing his seat. In a sense, it’s like a freeroll, Westrom can run and if he loses, well, he’s still got his state Senator gig. But if he wins, well, then he’s a US Congressperson.

♣ DFL Representative Michael Paymar (64B) announced that he won’t be running for re-election in 2014. This district is in St. Paul, and as such the DFL is almost assured to hold onto it. Paymar won re-election in 2012 with over 72% of the vote and the districts hPVI is D+21.

The serious action here will all happen on the DFL side and the positioning has already begun as there are two candidates already:

Melanie McMahon

Melanie McMahon was Representative Paymar’s Public Safety administrator and his campaign manager. McMahon practiced law in the private sector. She also serves on the Long Range Capitol Improvement Budget Committee of St. Paul and on the Highland District Council.

Matt Freeman

Matt Freeman is the son of Hennepin County Attorney, Mike Freeman, and former campaign manager for Chris Coleman.

♣ Some two weeks ago GOP Representative Andrea Kieffer (53B) announced that she would not be seeking re-election to her house seat, at the time Blois mentioned the name Kelly Fenton as someone who would be interested in running for the seat. Last week the aforementioned Kelly Fenton announced that she would in fact be running for the seat.

This week Blois says this:

Another GOPer is looking at a possible run for Andrea Kieffer’s open House seat: Davin Fischer, a 1st LT in the National Guard. He was deployed to Afghanistan for a year as part of the Guard’s Agriculture Development Team in Zabul Provence. Davin’s homecoming was featured on Almanac last year He lives in Woodbury with his wife and three daughters.

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