Jeff Johnson and the Kuisle family (
by Tony Petrangelo
May 25, 2014, 12:00 PM

The Weekly Wrap 5-25

♣ Republican Gubernatorial hopeful Jeff Johnson announced his choice for running mate, former state legislator Bill Kuisle.

A couple of notes about Kuisle. Before he was elected to the state house as a Republican, he was a DFLer:

After his surprising win over Frerichs in the primary in 1996, Kuisle told the Star Tribune:

“I’ve always been a conservative…When I decided to run I didn’t think the DFL would endorse me. And I knew in this area you had to be a Republican to win, so I just switched over.”

Also, when doing research on past Minnesota elections, Kuisle came to be known to me as “the outlier.” This is because since 2000, he is unique in having won an election with over 70% of the vote, only to lose election to that same office the very next cycle. No one else in Minnesota, since 2000 at least, has managed to pull off such a dubious feat.

♣ Also announcing their pick for a running mate this week was former Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers, who selected former state Rep. Dean Simpson.

One thing you will notice about the two Lt. Governor selections made above, they are both men. And they are both joining a ticket that already has one man on it. For those not keeping track, every Lt. Governor in Minnesota since 1982 has been of the opposite sex of the Governor. And since all of the Governors have been men, that means all of the Lt. Governors have been women.

Of course there’s no rule against same-sex tickets, but considering both of these candidates stances on same-sex unions (they’re against them), these choices are a bit (bi-?)curious.

♣ With the party conventions fast approaching there has been a lot of talk of abiding and not abiding by the endorsement. Sometimes though, people say that they will abide by the endorsement of their party only to not get that endorsement and then decide that they will in fact not be abiding by the endorsement afterall. This whole abiding/not-abiding shtick becomes tiresome quickly.

This week revealed one such endorsement non-abider in Minnesota’s first congressional district, Jim Hagedorn. Last month Aaron Miller received the endorsement from district Republicans to run against Representative Tim Walz this Novemeber, but that hasn’t sat well with Hagedorn.

The one thing a challenger in a race like this has an advantage over an incumbent is time. The challenger has the opportunity to go around the district, get known, talk about the incumbent’s record while the incumbent is in Washington doing the Congressional business. In this case, it’s completely backwards.

♣ Ad round-up!

Al Franken takes a cue from fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s 2012 campaign and runs his own “I’m a Republican, but I loves me some Al Franken,” ad.

Stewart Mills has his first ad out, and shockingly he doesn’t like Obamacare!

And, here’s Julianne Ortman’s… I don’t know, video thing? I’m reticent to call it an ad, as that would imply some level of professionalism was involved, which I doubt was the case. Every single thing about this video thingy screams “amateur hour.” It’s really terrible and not only that, it’s really terrible for almost three freaking minutes.

I was going to breakdown all of the things that are bad about this video, but really what’s the point? The whole thing is just terrible.

♣ In the ever uplifting world of campaign finance news:

A federal court judge has ordered that a campaign finance law that limits how much money candidates can accept from wealthy donors be suspended.

The order marks the local legal impact of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that removed overall caps from how much money donors could give to federal candidates.

♣ In a move that seems driven by spite more than anything else, Teamsters Joint Council 32 rescinded their endorsement of state Senator Roger Reinert. The letter sent from Joint Council 32 to Sen. Reinert informing him of their decision is dripping with barely suppressed rage.

I still maintain that the current economic environment, especially as it concerns the distribution of alcohol, is a pretty good environment in which to be (re-)negotiating labor contracts. For the Teamsters to use their fear of negotiations as a reason for opposition to Sunday growler sales (which is what this dispute is ostensibly about), strikes me as bunk.

♣ The window in which to file paperwork to run for office in the 2014 elections in Minnesota opened earlier this week and runs until June 3rd. A list of those who have filed can be found at the Secretary of States website.

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