The new Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, Paul Thissen
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 9, 2012, 3:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 11-9

What a week.

As a reminder, you can check out all of the Minnesota results in detail at the LeftMN Election Results page(s).

And now, on to the The Wrap™.

♣ The new DFL majorities have already elected their leadership. It comes as absolutly no surprise that Tom Bakk has been elected Senate Majority leader and Paul Thissen Speaker of the House.

Also elected in the Senate; Katie Sieben will be the assistant majority leader and Sandy Pappas will serve as Senate president. The House elected Erin Murphy Majority Leader.

♣ Soon to be former Minnesota Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers and soon to be former Majority Leader of the House Matt Dean were gracious in defeat.

Did I say gracious?

From Zellers:

If you’re the owner of a business, look forward to higher taxes.

Well, that’s what Minnesota voted for. Here’s another one:

We don’t have fat-cat donors.

Which is just pure comedy. Two things; 1) yes they do, 2) it didn’t help the GOP to spend gobs of money nationally. Why would Minnesota have been any different.

But that’s not even the best part:

Zellers repeatedly said the amendments weren’t “our message.” The GOP campaign message he said was balancing the budget without raising taxes and in making the Minnesota business climate more competitive.

There seemed to be this idea among Republican leadership that they could put the amendments on the ballot, but not have to take any responsibility for doing it. To say that they weren’t your message begs the question, why even put them on the ballot then?

The thought process on the GOP side (backed up by Michael Brodkorb statements) seemed to be this; let’s put the Marriage amendment on the ballot to gin up the fundy vote and let’s put Photo Voter ID on the ballot to consolidate our gains in the future.

What they seemed to not realize is that as the party who passed the amendments, they would have to defend them. The idea that they would just say, “it wasn’t our message,” is absolutely ridiculous.

Kurt Zellers legacy as Speaker of the Minnesota House is passing an amendment to discriminate against gay people and an amendment to restrict access to the ballot box for many different types of people. And the Vikings stadium.

♣ With 2012 in the books (almost, see next item), we can now turn out focus to 2014!

Two years from now Senator Al Franken, Governor Mark Dayton, all three constitutional offices and the newly minted DFL House will all be up for re-election. On the DFL side Franken and Dayton will almost certainly run again.

The question now becomes who the Minnesota Republican party chooses to run against them. It will be some time before the field shakes out, but a few possible candidates are already dipping their toes in the water.

– Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has indicated he might run for Governor.

– After a whole timeline of sporadic tweeting, Marty Seifert has been quite active over the past few days.

– Senator Julie Rosen and Rep. Sarah Anderson’s names have also been mentioned as being possible candidates against Dayton.

I think it’s probably safe to rule out runs by Tim Pawlenty or Norm Coleman. T-Paw is making seven figures now, so I doubt that the thought of running for a mere six figure job is going to lure him away.

And Coleman just got done with an election cycle in which he ran a dark money group that spent millions of dollars on political ads. This is hardly the type of thing a person does if they are interested in running for office in the immediate future.

And while there will undoubtedly be speculation about Michele Bachmann running for Senate against Franken, she just spent $20 million to barely win the most Republican house seat in the entire state. It’s quite possible that the best she could do would be to match Kurt Bills level of support in a statewide race.

2014 is the year that all the up and comers on the Republican bench (whatever’s left of it now) have been waiting for since the 2010 wave. And as such there’s likely to be no shortage of candidates for either of these races.

There’s a big question remaining though, can the Republican nomination process actually produce a candidate who can win statewide? And there’s a corollary to that question; will there be a competitive Republican primary?

♣ Yesterday I looked at the chances Bob Cunniff could win in a recount against Mary Franson given that he’s down by only one vote. In short he has a 25% chance of winning the seat outright, and a 37% chance of tying.

What I didn’t acknowledge in that post was that there is another recount that will likely take place (again, depending on what happens in the canvas) in the Senate district 20 race between Kevin Dahle and Mike Dudley. As of right now Dahle leads by a comparatively robust 78 votes.

What are the chances that Dudley can make up that margin? Unless there was a major systemic error in the voting in SD20, there is zero chance that Dudley wins the recount.

The average vote change in the legislative recounts in 2010 was +0.03%. Given their current vote totals we would expect the two candidates to add, on average, six votes to their total. So even if we go crazy and give Dudley 12 additional votes and go even more crazy and take away 12 votes from Dahle, Dahle would still win.

Given the amount of votes that have shifted around in past legislative recounts, there is just no chance that the results of this race change because of the recount, given the (possibly wrong) assumption that the canvas doesn’t dramatically change the numbers before than.

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