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The Minnesota GOP, endorsements, and the ghost of ACORN

Palin endorses Emmer; the MNGOP picks Barden and Severson, who both have a thing or two to say about ACORN; Vikings stadium produces competing online petitions.

The Minnesota GOP is currently sorting out who they want to run for what, and it’s turning out to be a bit of a preview as to what the upcoming gubernatorial election might look like (one expects the pig who greeted the day won’t be a regular feature, but who knows; he was pretty popular). As an example, Rep. Michele Bachmann might get a lot of grief in the press, but she also managed to pull in more money than almost everybody else in the House of Representatives last quarter, as PolitiFact reported. So things are starting to look a little Bachmannish.

For instance, there’s Sara Palin. Now, you might think she’s a potential liability, having actually quit her job as Alaska governor with nothing more than a strange free verse poem about Alaska to explain herself. But Palin was part of a fundraiser for Bachmann, and Bachmann raised funds, and, so, when Palin endorsed state Rep. Tom Emmer for governor, he seemed pleased as punch. “It’s important to me,” Emmer is quoted in a story by Mark Zdechlik of Minnesota Public Radio that examines the role of the Tea Party at the GOP convention.

What did Palin feel Emmer’s particular qualities were that made him appropriate for governor? According to the Associated Press, she characterized him as being a “straight talking hockey dad“; it may be worth noting that “hockey mom” was a piece of self-banding on Palin’s part, which she seems to have introduced at the 2009 RNC Convention when she joked about the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull. And you might remember that, when Palin was the candidate for vice president, her and McCain’s campaign bus was self-dubbed the “Straight-Talk Express.”

So either Palin has a very limited bag of political adjectives, or she’s trying to say that Emmer is a lot like her; according to the AP story cited above, Emmer is making efforts to highlight the similarities between himself and Palin, excepting, one presumes, the fact that Palin quit as governor. Emmer is also a bit like Palin in that she’s been vocally in favor of the contentious Arizona immigration law, and Emmer, as we related in Glean Thursday, considers the law to be a “wonderful first step.” Unexpectedly, that put him a bit at odds with Bachmann. Not that she disapproves of the law, but she’s hasn’t really been following it, according to Politico.

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Actually, if there is anybody at the convention who sounds a bit like a Bachmann Mini-Me, it is Minnesota Attorney General hopeful Chris Barden, who took a page from the Bachmann playbook in going after current Attorney General Lori Swanson. According to Tom Scheck of Polinaut, Barden promised, “I will not be like the current Attorney General who seems to care more for Acorn than the rest of us.” Presumably, he’s referencing a 2008 imbroglio in which Swanson was connected to a financial disbursement to ACORN after the ACORN PAC endorsed former Attorney General Mike Hatch (MinnPost summed up the accusations here).

But in a more direct sense, Barden was simply raising the eidolon of ACORN, which Bachmann helped make a target of right wing outrage and conspiracy mongering — never mind that no evidence of a concerted plan of voter fraud was ever found, the 2009 videotapes that reportedly showed ACORN employees offering advice to a pimp and prostitute were so heavily edited as to be outright deception, and the organization has disbanded. Bachmann hasn’t had much to say on the subject of ACORN lately, and did not respond to an email from this reporter asking for comment, but apparently Barden knows enough not to stop beating a scapegoat, even when it’s dead. Republicans unanimously endorsed Barden as their candidate for attorney general, although, in fairness, he was running unopposed.

Speaking of dead goats, remember when people were making a big fuss about the endless 2008 senatorial campaign between Norm Coleman and Al Franken, alleging such fraudulent activities as, of, finding lost votes in the trunk of a car (which never happened), and in the end there was no evidence of fraud at all, which even Gov. Tim Pawlenty admitted to? Well, state Rep. Dan Severson, who is bucking for the job of secretary of state, apparently never got the memo. Polinaut reports that Severson is alleging fraud in that election, as well as in Mark Ritchie own election to secretary of state in 2006, which he doesn’t seem to have produced any evidence of. And who is behind these nefarious acts of voter fraud, according to Severson? Well, ACORN, for one. Republicans unanimously endorsed Severson as their candidate for secretary of state, although, in fairness, he was running unopposed.

Republicans seemed a little less certain about their candidate for state auditor, perhaps because there were more candidates for this position. They eventually endorsed Pat Anderson, who actually had the job for one term four years ago; according to Polinaut, it took three ballots to make the decision. It’s surprising it took so long, as Anderson once signed a petition to investigate ACORN.

In sports: hey, more petition news! The proposed Vikings stadium is, in fact, generating competing petitions. There is, for instance, one demanding that a Viking’s stadium be built, which was started in January of 2009 with a goal of getting 100,000 signtaures. So far, it has gotten 8. Another one, started way back in 2007, is focused on keeping the Vikings in Minnesota, including building a stadium. It wants 100,000 signatures. Total so far: 7. iPetitition also has one, demanding legislators support the creation of a racino and the building of a stadium. It seems to have been started around Dec. 10 and has gathered an impressive 55 signatures.

In the meanwhile, local scribe Molly Priesmeyer started a petition called “Say ‘no’ to a taxpayer-funded Vikings stadium.” That petition was started Thursday. Total signatures as of this writing: 98. Full disclosure: One of those signatures belongs to this writer. Fuller disclosure: This writer was also responsible for the online petition that demanded WCCO Reporter get his very own day in Minneapolis, which garnered 146 signatures. Further disclosure: Apparently, that was enough, as DeRusha actually did get his own day.

There is power in numbers, it seems. In tiny, tiny numbers.