WCCO interview offers an early look at Karin Housley’s Senate campaign

In Mid-December — just a week after Gov. Mark Dayton announced he would appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take Al Franken’s place in the U.S. Senate (with a clear understanding the Smith would run in the 2018 special election to serve out the two years remaining in Franken’s term), state Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Mary’s Point, announced that she would seek her party’s nomination for the Senate seat in that 2018 special election.

I assumed that some better-known Republicans would follow her into the contest for the Republican nomination to take on (presumably) Smith. Tim Pawlenty gave it some thought, but has closed the door. Michele Bachmann went on a TV evangelist show to say she was asking God whether it was his will that she should run, but hasn’t been heard from since. All three Republicans in Minnesota’s congressional delegation (Tom Emmer, Jason Lewis, Eric Paulsen) seem to be running for re-election to their seats in the U.S. House. Emmer, in fact, has endorsed Housley for the Senate.)

Two weeks after Housley declared her candidacy, she reported that she had raised $150,000 (and I’m sure she’s added plenty to that since). Now, six weeks after she announced her candidacy, Housley hasn’t drawn a serious Republican challenger for the nomination, precinct caucuses are a week away and, all of a sudden, many political soothsayers have begun soothsaying that Housley (like Smith on the DFL side) may have a fairly clear path to the endorsement and nomination. (The primary would be in August. Certainly someone from either party, without having contested the endorsement, could decide to challenge the endorsee in the primary.)

I haven’t interviewed nor met Housley.  She’s a legislator, a mom, a grandmother, married to a former pro hockey player and current NHL head coach (Phil Housley of the Buffalo Sabres), and worked in TV, radio and real estate. She was elected to the state Senate in 2012.

I decided to put this post up to give you access to one of her first interviews since launching her candidacy, a 15-minute “Facebook live” sitdown with Esme Murphy of WCCO-TV.

It wasn’t a terribly issue-oriented exchange, but she answered the few substantive questions Murphy asked, and seemed to finesse the how-Trumpy-are-you? inquiries.

She broke with Trump on a couple of things — she is an enthusiast for net neutrality, which, ironically, was a big deal to Sen. Franken; she’s for a path to legal status for the “dreamers”;  she made a strong pitch gay rights, without specifics. And she gave an absurd amount of credit to Trump’s policies for recent good performance of the economy, and said, incorrectly, that unemployment is at an all-time low.

If you have 15 minutes to spare, see what you think. This link will get you the interview.

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/30/2018 - 12:36 pm.

    Something was lost…

    In the translation from South St Paul working girl to St Mary’s Point matron. Mostly any empathy for folks facing hard times. That said, she is very photogenic, smart enough to avoid the crazy craters of GOP life and has a husband who is a local hero and rich sports figure.

    Which will make her a most formidable candidate and a possible rich reward for Chuck Schumer who may have given away a seat to please the mob led by his Jr Senator Kirsten Gillebrand when they drove out Senator Franken.

  2. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 01/31/2018 - 04:25 pm.

    A nonentity

    Karin Housley is a nonentity who would be a fine addition to serve the interests of the plutocrat elite who currently control the country economically and in the three branches of the federal government. Housley doesn’t say anything to suggest that she would do anything to hinder the increasing concentration of wealth, power and privilege in the hands of the few in the United States. The “issues” discussed in the clip don’t really address any of the major issues which would concern citizens in a democracy. They are the kind of “issues” which the GOP allows on the table. Climate change, racial discrimination and income inequality are not mentioned. Would she abolish or privatize Social Security or Medicare? She does mention something I hadn’t heard, namely that Apple has repatriated $300 million from offshore accounts to “create jobs” (where? Palo Alto? where a rambler costs $1 million?) and be subject to taxation at the new lower corporate tax rates. Which to me only bespeaks the weakness of our tax enforcement system.

    I was interested to her Housley mention how much she enjoys campaigning and fundraising. Housley lives in St. Mary’s Point population 250. One of those residents is the owner of KSTP and one of the world’s riches men, Stan Hubbard. It’s not hard to figure out who puts the “fun” in political fundraising for some politicians.

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