The MN GOP thinks that they are going to have a resurgence in 2018. They are going to have an unprecedented and successful campaign season.
So, who are these candidates leading the charge? Let’s take a look.
Karin Housley, US Senate: It isn’t often that a US Senator makes hockey the focal point of her campaign, but Housley has done just that. And it isn’t even about her own ability – her qualifications as the “queen” of Minnesota hockey center around her husband, Hall of Famer, Phil Housley. Now, that is all well and good, but when it comes to policy, I don’t think that is an actual asset. Housley has been a State Senator that took a lead in elder issues with a bill to address elder abuse. But she couldn’t get it through the legislature and let special interests get in the way. Her only other notable action is to let legislation on expanding sexual harassment also get stalled before it could get enough traction to become law. So, the Republican State Senator is left with hockey as her campaign focus. Substance seems to be lacking.
Jim Hagedorn, 1st District Congress: This past April, the Washington Examiner (a very conservative newspaper) put together an article titled –
Now if that doesn’t instill confidence, I don’t know what would. But why is he the potential worst? Because of his past discussions regarding women and native Americans. These are just a few excerpts –
Classified Washington Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray as “undeserving bimbos in tennis shoes.”
Bush White House counsel Harriet Miers, he wrote in 2005, had been nominated “to fill the bra of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”
“Senator McCain’s campaign was all but flat lined before he brought the feisty Caribou Barbie into our living rooms, which reminds me, on behalf of all red-blooded American men: THANK YOU SENATOR McCAIN, SARAH’S HOT!”
and regarding Native Americans –
“The race (Thune vs Johnson, SD) has been highlighted by a Democrat drive to register voters in several of several of South Dakota’s expansive redistribution of wealth centers…err…casino parlors…err…Indian reservations. Remarkably, many of the voters registered for absentee ballots were found to be chiefs and squaws who had returned to the spirit world many moons ago.”
Alleging that fake votes from Indians would provide the margin of victory, he echoed “John Wayne’s wisdom of the only good Indian being a dead Indian.”
There is plenty more, but Hagedorn shrugs it off as “sarcasm” – a convenient definition after the fact.
But Hagedorn is a full throated Trumper. And in a district that is being hurt by Trump’s questionable tariff policy, is that what you want in a representative?
Doug Wardlow, Attorney General candidate: Wardlow is a homophobe. His previous legal job was as lead counsel for a group called Alliance Defending Freedom which works against gay rights and for transgender discrimination. He is one of those social value Republicans that want to bring back the Christian legal supremacy portion of the GOP agenda. I do not think that would be a great person in the position of state attorney general. Wardlow decided very quickly that he was going to make Keith Ellison the focal point of his campaign. And running under the guise of taking “politics” out of the AG office – which rings hollow for a person using nothing but politics to win. Wardlow was briefly a House Representative in Eagan for one term. His tenure was unremarkable and mostly noted for trying to kill the MN health exchange. I find it exceedingly difficult to think of Doug Wardlow as the defender of Minnesota’s same sex marriage law. I think we are better off without him in that position.
Jeff Johnson, GOP Governor Candidate: Johnson’s only elected position has been Hennepin County Commissioner. Which makes it quite remarkable that he considers himself a champion of rural Minnesota. He has morphed himself from a Trump skeptic into a Trump loyalist. Republicans have bought it, but going into November, that might end up being an albatross around his neck. Johnson ran for governor 4 years ago – he lost to Dayton by 6 points. This year, he defeated Tim Pawlenty in the GOP primary – which was great for him, but it sent the Republican Governor’s Association scurrying away to better prospects. Johnson used to be one of those limited government old style Republicans, but in Trumpland, that is not good enough. So he has tied into the immigration abuse and deficit adding tactics of the Trump administration. He openly admires the Scott Walker Wisconsin administration which has slashed education and currently has an infrastructure crisis – along with a huge state obligation to one company, FoxConn. Minnesota is not Wisconsin material – thank goodness.
Pam Myhra, GOP Candidate for State Auditor: Myhra touts being an actual CPA as her base qualification to be State Auditor. Her bio indicates that she was a teacher for 18 years at Forest Hill Christian Academy (1991 to 2009) – She served two terms in the legislature (2010-2014) where her CPA license was listed as inactive. In 2014 she ran as LG with Marty Seifert. Ran unsuccessfully for John Kline’s Congressional seat. It seems that her only actual CPA experience was from 1980 to 1986 working for KPMG. So maybe her CPA bona fides are a little older – but she IS a CPA. During here tenure as a state legislator she got a ZERO rating from NARAL, 6% by the AFL-CIO, 5% by the Sierra Club – and 93% by the NRA, and 100% with the MN Chamber of Commerce. She is strongly anti-abortion and comes from the social conservative wing of the Party. What that means for the office of State Auditor, well, I guess that is for the voters to decide. Her opponent is DFLer Julie Blaha with a very strong union background.
John Howe, Secretary of State – John Howe is a former Red Wing mayor who is at this particular time sitting in a hospital after a parade float trailer accident. He fell from the float and hit his head on the pavement – his campaign manager Tim Droogsma was even more seriously hurt when the trailer ran over him. They are recovering and we do wish them the best. But as to the position of Secretary of State, Howe has made it pretty clear that his focus will be on the business side of SOS and not as much on the electoral protection side. Given the times we are living in, that should be reversed. Our current SOS Steve Simon does keep his focus on protecting our election system – which will make him tough to unseat in 2018.
Jim Newberger, US Senate – Amy Klobuchar’s opponent is Jim Newberger. Know who he is? Few other people do either. Need I say more?
Pete Stauber, 8th District Representative – Republicans claim that Pete Stauber is their bast chance at a Congressional pick-up in the entire country. Which makes you wonder when a NY Times poll for the District shows DFLer Joe Radinovich slightly ahead. Trump won the 8th District in 2016, but I have the feeling that his support is on the downturn. Stauber still has a pretty good chance but I think the trendline is not good for him. I keep thinking of the City Pages article that shows Stauber cheating in a hockey game as kind of a metaphor of Republicans in general this year. Stauber has fully embraced Trump which probably made some sense a month or two ago, but I suspect that the embrace will be loosening soon. Really, the 8th District race is all or nothing on Trump – and I think that is a bad bet.
To there’s the ticket. That is the red wave in Minnesota. The MN GOP stakes its 2018 fortunes on that group.
It looks more like red ink than red wave. Democrats just need to vote.