Kriesel for Governor, but will it be in 2014... or 2018?
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 30, 2012, 5:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 11-30

♣ As expected Mary Franson was still ahead of Bob Cunniff after all the votes were recounted. Franson added two votes and Cunniff added one, so Franson’s lead actually expanded by a vote.

The new legislative session will begin with 73 House DFLers and 61 House Republicans. The DFL will control 55% of the seats.

♣ There was a Senate race that necessitated a recount as well, the Senate district 20 race between DFLer Kevin Dahle and Republican Mike Dudley in which Dahle has a lead of 78 votes prior to the recount. Suffice it to say that since Mary Franson’s 11 vote lead going into the recount was basically insurmountable, a 78 vote lead is whatever more than insurmountable is called. Really insurmountable.

As of this writing only 70% of the votes had been recounted according to the Secretary of States website. But barring some sort of massive error in the original count, this one will stay in the DFL column.

The new legislative session will begin with 39 Senate DFLers and 28 Senate Republicans. The DFL will control 58% of the seats.

♣ Will John Kriesel run for Governor? was the topic de la semaine. It all started with this tweet:

— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) November 23, 2012

And then continued when Kriesel himself played coy:

I would never rule out a run for governor, and the encouragement and support that I’ve received has been flattering, but I absolutely love my new job working for Anoka County Veterans Services and I’ve enjoyed being able to spend more time with my wife and sons now that I’m out of politics.

For what it’s worth, this is what I wrote about Kriesel not running for re-election back in May:

While his district didn’t change much, the election environment certainly did, and no one expects the GOP to have the same advantages in 2012 that they did in 2010. Mary Kiffmeyer might call it cowardice, she has the luxury of not needing to worry about re-election in her crimson red district, I call it good political instincts.

In a situation like this, where you have a guy who possibly has ambitions beyond the state legislature, the downside of losing a state house race is much greater than the upside of winning it.

And what happened in house district 54A on November 6th? DFLer Dan Schoen defeated Republican Derrick Lehrke by over 18 points. Would Kriesel have made it closer? Probably. Would it have mattered? Almost certainly not.

Kriesel’s decision to not run for re-election doesn’t mean he will seek higher office, but as his statement suggests, he is keeping his options open.

Kriesel is a unique candidate being a vocal advocate of gay marriage, fireworks, and the Vikings stadium. He’s not a populist exactly, more like bro-ulist. There’s almost no way he could win an endorsement, but in a Republican primary I think it’s possible he could expand the electorate with some of the disaffected bros.

I question whether he would want to take on Mark Dayton in 2014 though.

♣ A small group of DFL legislators have discussed forming a *gasp* progressive caucus:

Hornstein said the idea is still in the early stages and isn’t fully formed yet.

“It’s really kind of a theoretical idea,” Hornstein said. “We haven’t discussed leadership, mission, agenda of any kind.”

I actually think the money quote comes towards the end (as they usually do) from Representative Phyllis Kahn:

I think part of the problem we had in 2010 was the disappointment that people had with the promises of Obama compared to what he tried to deliver and I think people have to understand that that’s a possibility here, too, [with] the Legislature.

♣ I don’t have much of an opinion on media fact checking either way, but this is ticky-tack.

♣ Surprising exactly no one, Champion of all Minnesota voters Mark Ritchie is endorsing early voting in Minnesota.

♣ What happens when a Tea Party activist becomes a State Legislator? Cindy Pugh is what happens:

Cindy Pugh has optimism despite the election. Cindy listed the threats we face: (1) An illiterate, disengaged and lazy electorate. (2) The physical size and scope of our government. (3) The media. (4) The progressive movement – on both sides of the aisle. (5) The infiltration of the Muslim brotherhood.

Cindy encouraged us to bounce right back, be proud of 2010, to wake up as many people as possible. What we can do: (1) Set sights on 2014 with confidence. (2) Focus locally. The campaign starts now. Promote freedom and liberty. (3) Arm ourselves with knowledge, definition of terms, the treaties in which the Senate may vote away our sovereignty, Agenda 21. (4) Look into the other side’s narrative – what their talking points are. (5) Look into the Social Studies Standards at Education Liberty Watch and how our history is being rewritten in textbooks. (6) Pay attention to what the coalition of 57 Muslim nations is doing to promote law through the UN.

It’s hard to know where to start with this. One could dedicate an entire post to dissecting the almost beat level of stream of consciousness crazy. Instead, I’ll present Cindy Pugh, beat poet:

threats we face… illiterate… disengaged… lazy… electorate… government… media… progressives… Muslim brotherhood…

bounce back… be proud… wake up… set sights… focus locally… start now… promote freedom… liberty… knowledge… definitions…  treaties… senate… sovereignty… agenda 21… talking points… social studies… history… textbooks… pay attention… 57 Muslim nations… promote law… UN…


♣ This article from The Atlantic shows how much better Barack Obama did in densely populated counties compared to Mitt Romney. The differences are really rather striking, but probably not very surprising.

Not discussed in the article, but what I couldn’t help but think about, is that this is as much of a reason for Democrats difficulty in recapturing the house as much as gerrymandering is. Probably more so.

The problem for Democrats nationwide is the problem for Democrats in Minnesota as well (to the degree that they face problems right now). The vast majority of their voters live right next to one another while Republicans have spread themselves out.

What we need is a good Democrats-to-the-Suburbs program where we encourage progressives to move out to the suburbs. The problem with this plan of course is that no one in their right mind wants to live in the suburbs.

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