Senator Karin Housley appears on a van (
by Tony Petrangelo
Dec 15, 2013, 10:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 12-15

If you’re wondering why The Weekly Wrap™ is now being published on Sunday, when it had been published on Saturday for awhile, and before that it was published on Friday for a time. The answer is, simply, that The Weekly Wrap™ leads a leisured lifestyle wherein these types of things are not a concern. Time is not linear and actions don’t always have reactions. Given this, it’s a wonder really that the Wrap manages to publish at all.

But it does, (almost) every week. Only now on Sunday.

Last month DFL Representative Michael Paymar (64B) announced that he won’t be running for re-election in 2014. Since that announcement a large field of candidates has emerged to run for the seat. A few of those people may even be familiar to regular readers of this very internet website.

One of those people is TakeAction Minnesota’s Communications Director Greta Bergstrom, was a guest at Drinking Liberally last year and talked to the group about the Photo Voter ID amendment.

The other of those people is Deputy Secretary of State Beth Fraser, who was a guest on the LeftMN Radio Hour last year and talked to us about, you guessed it, the proposed Photo Voter ID amendment to the Minnesota Constitution.

LeftMN wishes both candidates the best of luck.

♣ In a bit of a surprise move first term State Senator Karin Housley has said that she is seriously considering a run for Governor.

The women’s groups and activists that I have spoken with — and even some of the female lobbyists, even DFL lobbyists — have all pledged their support.

As a Senator she isn’t up for re-election in 2014, so she would get a free run, so to speak. And with Julie Rosen, the only other female who had been openly considering a run, deciding against running, Housley likely sees this as a relatively low-risk opportunity.

Housley has run two very close races in her short political career to date, in 2010 narrowly losing to Katie Sieben in the old Senate district 57 by around 600 votes, and in 2012 narrowly defeating Julie Bunn in the new Senate district 39 by about 600 votes.

But that’s not the full story. Housley’s 2010 race against Katie Sieben turned out to be much closer than I had expected it to be when I rated it Safe DFL. And while Sieben did win, that may still be the single worst race rating I’ve done. Certainly my method now is better than that first year, but wow was that a bad call.

The thing about my ratings though, they have never been a subjective measurement of what I thought that candidates would do, they have always been based entirely on objective facts, specifically; hPVI, individual contributions, and incumbency. My big miss on that race, I suspect, had about as much to do with methodology, as with things that Karin Housley has going for her as a candidate.

In 2012 however, despite winning her race as opposed to losing it, she didn’t dramatically over-perform the expectations that were set by the underlying fundamentals of the district. In 2012 I rated her race as a Toss-up, and that’s exactly what it ended up being, with Housley prevailing by just a tad over 1% of the vote. And this time in a district that was more favorable to her party then the old Senate district 57.

But 2012 was not a good year for Minnesota Republicans, so the fact that she won her seat at all is something. Going back to my race ratings from 2012, below is the table I created that contained all of the races I had labeled as “Toss-up,” with the one difference being that I’ve bolded the names of the winning candidates.

District DFL Candidate GOP Candidate
1 LeRoy Stumpf Steve Nordhagen
2 Rod Skoe Dennis Moser
4 Kent Eken Phil Hansen
5 Tom Saxhaug John Carlson
10 Taylor Stevenson Carrie Ruud
14 Jerry McCarter John Pederson
17 Lyle Koenen Joe Gimse
20 Kevin Dahle Mike Dudley
21 Matt Schmit John Howe
28 Jack Krage Jeremy Miller
36 John Hoffman Benjamin Kruse
37 Alice Johnson Pam Wolf
39 Julie Bunn Karin Housley
42 Bev Scalze April King
48 Laurie McKendry David Hann
49 Melisa Franzen Keith Downey
51 Jim Carlson Ted Daley
53 Susan Kent Ted Lillie
57 Greg Clausen Pat Hall

In this list of 19 races, only 5 Republicans ended up winning and Karin Housley was one of them.

Of course this doesn’t mean she’ll be any good as a statewide candidate, but it’s hard to imagine she would be much worse than some of the Republicans already in the field.

♣ Minneapolis City Councilperson Elizabeth Glidden appears poised to become the next President of the Minneapolis City council. That position is now occupied by Barb Johnson. Glidden is drawing a lot of support from newly elected members of the City council, while many of Johnson’s supporters will no longer be on the council next year.

The City Council will have seven new members next year, a majority of the 13 seats. Among the newcomers is a Lisa Bender, who challenged an incumbent and won in a landslide.

Bender said voters wanted change in city government, and that begins with the council’s leadership.

“I think electing Elizabeth Glidden as president of the council would send a message that this past campaign season really mattered,” Bender said. “And that those of us who campaigned on a progressive agenda are really standing by that and are really making the changes that we said we wanted to make.”

♣ Soon to be former, but still current, Minnesota Secretary of State and Champion of All Minnesota Voters, Mark Ritchie implemented an online Voter registration system over the summer, in anticipation of this Novembers municipal elections. Because Republicans seemingly always want to do everything they can to make voting as difficult a process as it possibly can be, they immediately challenged the new system in the form of a lawsuit.

This week that lawsuit resulted in actual Lawyerly stuff happening before a judge and everything, just like they show it on the TV, one presumes. In the course of said Lawyerly stuff this was one of the arguments advanced by the Lawyer arguing on the side of those who don’t like it when people vote:

It’s a felony, it’s embezzlement, whatever it is, it’s wrong to use state money for your own private purpose.

That private purpose apparently being trying to make it easier for people to vote, which, as Secretary of State is something Mark Ritchie is totally out of his element to do. Apparently.

Here’s the kicker to the whole thing though:

In the meantime, challengers to the website said they don’t intend to take on the validity of registration by 2,500 voters who have used the website.

If there’s seemingly no problem with the 2,500 people who have already registered to vote using this newfangled internet technology that the Wizard Ritchie has conjured from the ether, then why try and shut it down?

It’s sort of evident that their objection is with the policy, not that system.

Exactly. The policy of trying to make it easier for people to vote. Republicans hate that policy.

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