Joe Mauer and his hitting stick (
by Tony Petrangelo
Jul 15, 2012, 7:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 7-15

After a week off from posting the wrap and doing the radio show, and a few weeks off from posting in general, I return not at all rejuvenated.

But an actual election (the August primary) looms just a month from now so I have no choice but to bravely soldier on in the face of a creative morass that shows no signs of clearing up.

As such, the following links, and commentary surrounding them, should be viewed as the work of a blogger who perhaps needs to descend back into the dark confines of his mothers basement and munch on some Cheetos.


After putting up a triple slash (average/on-base %/slugging %) of .287/.360/.368 in 2011 (a wRC+ of 100, meaning he was exactly league average) the baseballing gentleman pictured above is currently hitting .329/.417/.450 (for a wRC+ of 141, meaning he’s been 41% better than league average).

Some context; Joe Mauer’s career line is .324/.404/.469, and his career wRC+ is 133.

However; out of the top nineteen big leaguers in on-base percentage (Joe is number four in MLB, number one in the AL), Joe Mauer is the only one who is also slugging less than .500.

This is all very interesting, but Joe Mauer is most certainly not a Minnesota politician, nor did he make any news in the Minnesota politiking arena of late, is a thought that you, the reader, might currently be thinking.

What a nice day today, is yet another thought that you, the reader, might currently be thinking.

♣ Fundraising announcements this week:

Amy Klobuchar (D-inc): $950k ($5.5m CoH)
Kurt Bills (R): $243k

First district
Allen Quist (R): $178k ($165k CoH)

Second district
John Kline (R-inc): $428k ($1.3m CoH)
Mike Obermuller (D): $253k ($214k CoH)

Fifth district
Keith Ellison (D-inc): $260k ($143k CoH)
Chris Fields (R): $40k ($34k CoH)

Sixth district
Michele Bachmann (R-inc): $1.7m
Jim Graves (D): $413k ($404k CoH)

Seventh district
Collin Peterson (D-inc): $191 ($819k CoH)
Lee Byberg (R): $153 ($119K CoH)

Eighth district
Chip Cravaack (R-inc): $394k ($899k CoH)
Tarryl Clark (D): $232k ($259k CoH)

♣ A few thoughts on the above…

– $253k for Mike Obermuller, in just two months, is pretty impressive. He still got out raised and still faces a significant cash-on-hand disadvantage, but it looks like he’ll have the money to at least be competitive.

And he’s already used some of that cash to reserve ads for the stretch run.

– While her actual filing isn’t yet available for perusal, Michele Bachmann almost certainly has less cash-on-hand than the $1.7m she reported raising in the quarter.

– As has been the case with all the previous filing deadlines, Tarryl Clark announces a big haul, while Rick Nolan and Jeff Anderson quietly file their meager reports.

There was a fair amount of speculation about how much Nolan was able to raise this quarter, now having secured the coveted party endorsement and all. Well, I think it’s fair to infer from the lack of a press release that he will be quietly submitting yet another meager report.

♣ Aaron Brown posted an excellent piece on Friday about the state of play in the eighth congressional district race with one month to go before the primary.

This is the marquee primary race in the state and as Aaron points out, things seem a little quiet, and while there is plenty of maneuvering going on, it doesn’t seem as though anyone has been able to break through so far.

♣ As Aaron mentions in the above linked article, Chip Cravaack got the endorsement this week of the International Operating Engineers Local 49.

♣ Secretary of State Mark Ritchie has had a busy few weeks. First he changed the title of the constitutional amendment to limit marriage and now, as I speculated he would, he has announced a change to the title of the amendment to limit voting.

The title of the amendment as written in the bill:

Photo Identification Required for Voting

The title that Ritchie changed it to:

Changes to In-Person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots

The primary difference in the two, as I see it, is that the Republican title accurately describes the question that will be on the ballot, but Ritchie’s language better describes the content of the actual amendment language.

Anyway, the Secretary did not take any of my title suggestions, which is probably a good thing.

♣ OMG, OMG, OMG… Special session! Okay, it’s not really that exciting, but you know… Special Session!

Despite this:

Both sides said they will agree on an agenda before the session starts.

Some have speculated that if the “Changes to In-Person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots” amendment were to get thrown out in court, the timing of the special session, tentatively the end of August (during the state fair no less!), would allow the GOP to pass another version of the amendment that stands a better chance of passing constitutional muster.

I think that would be incredibly bad optics, using a disaster relief special session to fix your court revoked “Changes to In-Person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots” amendment.

Having said that though, if the amendment were to get thrown out in court, would the GOP be able to resist the urge to pass a replacement? In a way, I hope it’s a question that we get an answer to.

♣ I’m almost loath to link to it, but well, these are the types of stories we will be dealing with in talking about the “Changes to In-Person and Absentee Voting and Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots” amendment.

Mike Baker, of the AP, covers a story about a group that is registering voters ahead of the November election. Using a database of commercially collected names and addresses the group is sending out registration forms, with some information already filled in.

Because this information comes from a commercial database inevitably some of the names are of people who are now dead, or who are not even people. This of course will be held up as evidence of voter fraud, or at least an attempt at voter fraud.

The reality is of course, that someone would actually have to complete the form, sign it, and submit it, in order for them to commit fraud. To my knowledge, none of these types of actions are typical of dead people. Or dogs.

Anyway, the article, while explaining the issue somewhat, does so after the sensationalistic headline and lede.

♣ News came this week that the Minnesota Campaign Finance board has handed out fines to the MNGOP, and their former Chairman, Tony Sutton, totaling $30,000.

TwoPutt, of course, has all the gory details.

♣ On Monday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee filed a complaint against a Rogues Gallery of shadowy GOP fundraising groups; Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and the 60+ Association.

The complaint targets Republican-leaning “social welfare” organizations that have received or are requesting tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which allows funding sources to be kept private. Such groups are prohibited from devoting themselves primarily to political activity, but Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, for instance, has conducted a $25 million advertising campaign that attacks President Barack Obama on fiscal issues.

The idea that these fundraising committee’s are “social welfare” groups is, to be kind, laughable. But if history is any guide, there will be no consequences and the groups will continue to be allowed to operate as 501(c)(4)’s (or spooky PAC’s, as Stephen Colbert calls them).

Thanks for your feedback. If we like what you have to say, it may appear in a future post of reader reactions.