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GOP's election woes analyzed by Tim Penny and Steve Sviggum

The problems facing the Republican Party after last week's election were analyzed Monday by former politicians Tim Penny and Steve Sviggum.

Speaking at a Rochester forum, Penny, a former DFL congressman who ran for governor on the Independence Party ticket, and Sviggum, a former GOP speaker of the House, listed many reasons for the election results, says the Rochester Post-Bulletin.

Sviggum, now the communications director for the state Senate Republicans, cited more spending for DFL candidates and effective attack ads as factors in the election. But he also gave credit to the DFL for hard work and strong candidates.

The push for constitutional amendments on social issues hurt, too, he said.

"When Republicans get off our message of budget management, priorities, tax/spend, the meat and potatoes of government, that is when we get into trouble," Sviggum said.

Penny said the amendments and impressions about the Republican Party, particularly after the Amy Koch scandal and the party's financial problems, made a difference.


"It comes down to this: You have to practice what you preach. If you are going to put the marriage amendment on the ballot, it’s not particularly good to have a high-ranking official of your party accused of marital infidelity," Penny said.

And Sviggum, the Republican, said he's worried about what will happen with a DFL  governor and the party's control of both houses:

"We now have two years of liberal control of the Legislature and governor unchecked. That’s not Minnesotan. They like balance. They like balance in their government."

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Comments (2)

Sviggum on attack ads

What a kidder that Sviggum is! His caucus used the MNGOP to send multiple attack direct mail pieces to voters in swing districts savaging candidates like Owatonna's newly elected Not-Emo Senator Vicki Jensen, re-elected Kevin Dahle and others, plus cable ads ran in those districts.

And is the tab in yet for the IE dollars spent--or for the "dark money" mailings that didn't actually say "vote for" or "vote against"? Some hard data might be nice instead of just the opinion of a guy whose caucus, party, and corporate allies flung a lot of mud in their own right.

Give the electorate some credit

Why can't Sviggum and the rest of the GOP pull their heads out of the sand? With T-Paw and a GOP-controlled legislature the past 2 years, there was an absolute "my way or the highway" mentality. And, Sviggum is worried about 2 years of DFL control. I do not think it has much to do with negative ads and spending, especially considering spending by Bachmann and the Super PAC's. The truth is people are sick of the GOP message of jobs, jobs, jobs....but all anyone sees is legislation concerning social issues. The electorate has spoken and they are sick and tired of a meaningless message from a bunch of white ostriches.