Rep. Phyllis Kahn and challenger Mohamud Noor
by Tony Petrangelo
Jul 13, 2014, 11:00 AM

The Weekly Wrap 7-13

♣ Since The Wrap™ didn’t publish last week, there were stories that blossomed and subsequently withered on the vine in the two weeks since the last edition of The Wrap™. One of those stories was this:

Absentee voting started Friday, six weeks ahead of primary elections. Already there are strong allegations of voter fraud.

The attorney for Phyllis Kahn says he got word Thursday night; there might be hundreds of people who are registering and voting using an address that’s not their home.

The attorney mentioned above is one Brian Rice, a long time player in Minneapolis politics.

“I think there is a coordinated effort to use this address to bring voters into the DFL primary election on August 12, that’s what I think is going on,” Rice said. “It’s wrong, it violates Minnesota Law, it’s a crime.”

“We’re asking for an investigation under laws that exist to get to the bottom of this matter,” Rice said.

On the first day of the brand spanking new, no-excuses absentee balloting system, this is the big story to emerge.

It wasn’t the end of the story of course, this is the end of the story:

The Hennepin County Attorney’s office has found no evidence of a coordinated effort to improperly register voters using the address of a private mailbox center in Minneapolis.

Elections officials say only 16 people were registered at that address this year, and a quirk in how voter records are updated explain all but two of them. Out of the 141 total registrations associated with the mailbox center address since 2008, nearly 40 percent came from a state law requiring elections officials to update the voter rolls when the voters change their address through the U.S. postal service.

It’s hard to see exactly what the fallout of this whole brouhaha will be on the actual election, but it’s unlikely it plays well for Kahn. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I think it was a mistake for Kahn to challenge these registrations, if you suspect your opponent or supporters of your opponent are gaming the system, you have to try and fight it.

But without any actual evidence of fraud, the whole running to the press with the story thing was probably premature. The timing of the story coming out in the press was not as important as potentially stopping the offending behavior. If the behavior is found to be fraudulent, the story still plays two weeks later just as well as it does immediately. But if the story comes out in the press too soon, and then proves not to be true after all, the one who jumped the gun is the one that looks like the asshole.

File the complaint and see what happens, if it comes back that fraud is indeed what is going on, then by all means go crazy. But short of that, the risk you run is being left out on a limb, a DFLer crying voter fraud against an emerging immigrant community, which is where Phyllis Kahn is right now. And I’m sure it’t not where she wanted to be.

♣ That story clouded some of the good news to emerge from the new no-excuses absentee voting regime, such as:

Last Friday was the first day voters in Minneapolis could cast absentee ballots for the Aug. 14 primary election — and a record number of people chose to do so.

A total of 418 voters cast their ballots at City Hall on June 27 — a 177 percent increase from the previous first-day record for absentee voting, in 2013. By way of comparison, the first-day total for absentee voting in 2012, a presidential election year, was 15 voters.

And this:

According to the Secretary of State’s office, as of Thursday more than 2,000 Minnesotans had successfully cast absentee ballots for the August 12th primary.

That’s more than previous years at similar points in the election cycle. In 2010, by July 18, only 1,500 Minnesotans had cast absentee ballots. That year, the first when Minnesota had an August primary rather than an election in September, featured a DFL primary for governor as well as several hot local races.

♣ Senator Al Franken and his main challenger Mike McFadden both released fundraising numbers for the quarter.

In the last three months, Franken, long a prodigious cash gatherer, raised ‘over $3.3 million,’ according to his campaign. McFadden, who has promised he will have to resources to compete, raised ‘over $1.1 million,’ his campaign said.

For the cycle, Franken has brought in $18.4 million. But most of it has been spent.Franken, who has been running an aggressive cycle of television advertisements, had $5 million cash on hand as of the start of this month.

Since starting to run last year, McFadden has raised $4 million. He had about half of it left at the start of July. McFadden, who won the Republican party’s endorsement in May, only began a broadcast advertising campaign last week.

♣ Ads!

First up we have the big new ad from Republican Senate hopeful Mike McFadden:

I’m not sure what the point of this ad is. Is it that coaching youth football makes Mike McFadden prime cut Senate material? Is it that Mike McFadden prefers to have random children speak for him? Is it that Mike McFadden’s most forceful message in the ad is to hit someone, anyone? Or is it what everyone else is focusing on, that what makes him Senate material is his ability to take a nut shot?

And yes, despite what the campaign may be saying now, it was most certainly intended to be a nut shot.

Perhaps the point of the ad is to make one question the entire underpinnings of the political advertising industry, because that is what the ad has caused me to do.

Next up, Stewart Mills wants people to know that he will fight to preserve the precious rights given to us by the second amendment, unlike Rick Nolan who totally hates the second amendment.

♣ If you’re curious about where money is being spent on political advirtising this year, DailyKos Elections David Jarman has put together a great spreadsheet to help you follow it all.

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