We’re in one of those moments in local politics where some things have ended and others are ramping up to begin. So, for instance, we’re not yet at the point where the gubernatorial race has any heat to it, but instead the moment when campaigns start to lock things into place. The DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher, as an example, recently selected her running mate, Minnetonka city manager John Gunyou, as Andy Mannix of City Pages reports.
Now, it takes time to build up any real ammunition against a candidate, so the MN-GOP’s response to this announcement was pure routine: “Margaret Anderson Kelliher and John Gunyou are two deeply irresponsible tax-and-spend liberals who will raise taxes on hard working Minnesota families and businesses at a time when they can least afford it.”
But, as MinnPost’s Doug Grow points out, tossing around the bugaboo of increased taxes might not stick with Gunyou. Although he has been critical of Pawlenty’s refusal to raise taxes, he’s not really a party purist (“I’ve always had problems with idealogues of either party,” he says), and he’s capable of coming out with statements like “We can no more tax our way out of our problems than we can cut our way out.” He might, as a result, be appealing to moderates, whom the Republican candidate, Tom Emmer, is likely to alienate. (His running mate is Annette Meeks, a former deputy chief of staff to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and president of the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota; she also worked for the Center of the American Experiment, both conservative think tanks.)
Of course, despite the DFL endorsement, Kelliher might not end up being the Democratic candidate for governor; there is still a primary ahead, and Kelliher actually polls behind former Sen. Mark Dayton (although David Brauer has some question about how accurate that poll is). And Dayton today announced his running mate, Duluth Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon.
The Independence Party’s Tom Horner hasn’t picked a running mate yet, but Horner is portraying himself as the reasonable center of the political spectrum, which also might pull votes away from Emmer. This has made him an early target for criticism from the MN-GOP, as Tom Scheck of Minnesota Public Radio reports. its complaints? He is, in the words of Scott Fischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, “pro-abortion.” A representative for the Minnesota Family Council, in the meanwhile, has taken it upon himself to point out that Tom Emmer is the only one supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriages. Now, Horner actually is opposed to gay marriage, and has said reducing the number of abortions in Minnesota is one of his goals. but apparently the Republican approach to dealing with him is to make it seem like Horner is not conservative enough. Perhaps the party has simply abandoned the idea of appealing to moderates.
Horner, in the meanwhile, is making an early stand on the subject of health care. As you may remember, a decision regarding an early expansion of the Minnesota Family Council was a sticking point in the budget showdown between governor Tim Pawlenty and Democratic Minnesota candidates. They decided to table it. Emmer opposes it. Horner is in favor of it, saying, “This is another example of Tom Emmer and other Republicans cutting off their noses to spite Minnesota’s face,” according to a story by the Pioneer Press’ Jason Hoppin. Matt Entenza, also a candidate for governor, is quoted as saying, “We have the ability to get $1.4 billion of money to take care of health care costs.” It will be interesting to see how Minnesotans respond to the spin; if they consider it an extension of the much-maligned Obamacare, they might find Emmer to be a candidate who boldy stands up against the advancement of federal government; on the other hand, some might read it as partisan grandstanding that costs the state a great deal of federal money — and people might remember that Pawlenty repeatedly relied heavily on federal money to balance his budget, so this might seem an inconsistent stance on behalf of the MNGOP.
We’re going to take a moment here to interject a medical story, not because it relates to the wrangling about Medicaid, but just because it’s so doggone odd. The AP reports on Amanda McBride of Bemidji, who gave birth in a car on the way to the hospital. Of course, this setup isn’t all that unusual; every year a few people give birth in cars or taxis. What makes this story notable is that she was actually driving when she gave birth.
In sports: Would anybody have thought that the phalanx of aggressive scalpers who malinger around our stadiums might contain an occasional crook? Impossible though it seems, some of these scalpers have been selling fake tickets, according a story in the Pioneer Press by Debra O’Connor. Some of these fraudulent tickets have also been offered up on online sites, leading to this concetto from Tod Marks, senior editor at Consumer Reports: “When you buy on eBay and on Craigslist, it’s buyer beware; it’s the Wild West; it’s caveat emptor.“