"So wait, how did William H Macy's character get away with it?" (www.mprnews.org).
by Tony Petrangelo
Apr 6, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 4-6

♣ American Encore sponsored a poll of the Minnesota Senate race, conducted by Magellan Strategies, that resembles the following:

Magellan (4/2, no trend lines):

Al Franken (D-inc) 44
Julianne Ortman (R) 41
Some other candidate 6
Undecided 9

Al Franken (D-inc) 44
Mike McFadden (R) 38
Some other candidate 6
Undecided 12
(MoE: ±3%)

This poll has Al Franken in worse shape than any recent public poll that has been released. This is to be expected because the group conducting the poll wants to convince people that Al Franken is vulnerable, so they wouldn’t have released a poll that re-enforced the status quo that he isn’t vulnerable.

The question is just how many grains of salt to take this poll with.

A salt shaker maybe?

The Magellan Strategies survey (IVR to landlines, mixed with live-caller cell-phone interviews) shows Franken just slightly ahead of Ortman, 44 percent to 41 percent. But the poll asked the ballot tests after a battery of questions about Franken, his main GOP challengers and President Obama.

The precise nature of the questions that came before the horse-race question is a thing that matters. If they were anything other than boilerplate approval/disapproval questions then it’s certainly possible that respondents got primed for the horserace question.

If we assume that everything is on the up and up, these are not good numbers for Al Franken. He’s ahead yes, but he’s below 45% (the actual red line for incumbents) and at this point no one knows who either Julianne Ortman or Mike McFadden are. But should we assume the numbers are on the up and up? Who is American Encore anyway?

America’s greatest days lie ahead.

This is a steadfast belief, an intrinsic principle serving as the foundation for American exceptionalism.

Principles, though, cannot defend themselves. Our destiny as a great nation depends on the advocacy of its citizenry to defend and promote the ideals that made America the greatest nation in history. America’s greatness and its potential continue to be tested by the expansion of government bureaucracy, an assault on free enterprise and challenges to America’s defense of freedom and democracy around the globe.

American Encore is dedicated to helping our nation and its leaders rise to the test and to confront these challenges. American Encore will defend freedom, promote free markets, work to expand economic opportunity and make the case for the American ideals of liberty and democracy, both at home and abroad.

In doing so, we can ensure the next century is America’s best yet.

So defending freedom and liberty means commissioning questionable polls of incumbent Senators I guess.

American Encore is actually a Koch brothers affiliated group, because pretty much every conservative organization has some connection to the Koch brothers.

I can’t resist including it, so here is the lede from the David Weigel piece on this poll (emphasis mine):

Earlier this week, the Koch-allied group American Encore released a poll of Minnesota that found Sen. Al Franken with a wan 40 percent approval rating. No credible candidate has jumped into the race against Franken, but the poll suggested to anyone looking that, hey, maybe, this is the year to go for it.

That lede totally made my weekend.

♣ While we’re on the topic of the Senate race, stock photos are an easy and inexpensive way to get quality photos onto a website. Just be careful that you don’t use the wrong photo!

♣ Republican United States Representative John Kline successfully beat back a challenge for the GOP endorsement for Minnesota’s second congressional district on the first ballot:

David Gerson challenged Kline for the endorsement accusing the congressman of failing to uphold conservative principles by voting to raise the debt ceiling and supporting national security initiatives some say infringe on civil liberties.

In 2012 Gerson ran against Kline in the primary, he says he will not do that this time.

♣ DFL Representative Phyllis Kahn failed to secure the nomination for her house district 60B seat at the Senate district 60 convention yesterday. She will now face her challenger, Mohamud Noor, in the August primary election.

♣ The United State Supreme Court released a decision this week, known as McCutcheon, that continued down the road they started down with Citizens United.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued its abolition of limits on election spending, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle.

When it comes to campaign finance in the state of Minnesota though, not much is expected to change:

Unlike the federal system, which essentially limited how many donations in total a donor could give, Minnesota law does not place restrictions on the number of campaigns to which a high-dollar donor can contribute.

Current state law allows donors to give massive amounts to parties or PACs and allows donors to spread their donations to as many candidates or party committees as they wish.

“We’ve never limited the amount that an individual donor can give to a whole group of candidates,” said Gary Goldsmith, executive director of the Minnesota campaign finance board. “We don’t limit at all the amount of money that an individual can give to a party.”

♣ Despite his best efforts to ignore the problem in hopes that it will just go away, it appears as though the US Attorney has a different plan for Sean Nienow, accountability!

The U.S. Attorney is asking a federal district court judge in Minneapolis to force state Sen. Sean Nienow, R-Cambridge, and his wife, Cynthia, to immediately pay the government $747,937.62 because they stopped paying back a government small business loan.

This is the same Sean Nienow who rails against “welfare fraud,” but that’s totally not what this is. This is just regular old fraud, you know, the acceptable kind.

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