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Watching the governor’s race money: what is being raised, and spent

We’re at a moment in the election cycle when candidates are trying to distinguish themselves from each other, which requires a great deal of PR, and that ain’t cheap. As a result, at this early date, it’s actually a bit easier to see the money more than the message. So we end up with stories like “Minn. gubernatorial candidates burn through cash,” from the Associated Press, which is literally just an inventory of candidates’ finances.

Bill Salisbury of the Pioneer Press offers up the same information, but with a graphic that shows who is in what position in the gubernatorial horse race: Matt Entenza leads the rest by a considerable margin, with fundraising — and spending — of $3.95 million. Margaret Anderson Kelliher clocks in at $1.2 million. Tom Emmer takes third place with $900,000. And IP candidate Tom Horner trails the pack with $190,000. The early results did not include Mark Dayton’s numbers.

Salisbury also points out that as much as 90 percent of Entenza’s donations come from his and his wife’s own pocketbooks, a fact that is expanded into a full story in the Star Tribune, on Minnesota Public Radio’s Polinaut blog, and here on MinnPost. If we at the Glean were to offer career advice, we’d suggest getting into the business of making those faux-straw boater hats with red, white, and blue hat bands that are so popular at conventions, fundraisers and election night parties. We have a feeling those will be selling like gangbusters.

Now that we know the money is moving, what message is it trying to spread? Tim Pugmire of MPR offers an Entenza overview, if you will, which is a mix of the messages Entenza wants associated with his campaign (his childhood poverty, his connection with the Iron Range, his focus on education) and stuff he’d probably rather not have brought up all the time (his great personal wealth, his lack of union backing and his investigation of Mike Hatch back in 2006, about which he says that only reporters ever seem to bring it up.)

Kelliher gets a more focused story on one specific proposal: Pat Kessler of WCCO reports on her proposed property tax cap for seniors, many of whom are on fixed incomes but just keeping having to pay more, some experiencing double-digit increases. Kessler interviews one senior who has struggled as a result: “[I]f it wasn’t for the Dollar Store, we wouldn’t be eating regularly, the senior says.

Kelliher also appeared on the program “Almanac,” where they made her demonstrate how she would handle the budget on a toy hockey table — by stacking hockey pucks. It’s something they call “Budget Slap Shot,” which leaves one worried that the Hanson brothers might storm the studio and check the House speaker against the side of the rink, as in this uncomfortably violent scene from the 1977 movie “Slap Shot.” Instead, as Mary Lahammer reports on MinnPost: “[L]ike every candidate she put most of her money in education with 48%. Health and human services followed at 29% which put her in the middle of the pack for spending.” She also raised the income tax, which is probably something we’re going to hear more about — mostly, one suspects, from her GOP rival Tom Emmer.

Emmer has his own campaign promises as well, though. He’s been a bit vague in the past, but, according to Dan Gunderson of Minnesota Public Radio, Emmer met with farmers at a Moorhead restaurant and promised to lighten their burden by cutting agricultural regulations. What regulations? According to Gunderson, “he has yet to release any specifics.”

Both Dayton and Entenza have used some of their money to release new ads to get their message out, and Patrick Caldwell of Minnesota Independent has the ads. So what are the messages? Dayton’s ad reminds us that he voted against the Iraq war — a war that is presumably now seen as universally bad by his constituency — and then reminds us he plans to raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans, which he would then invest in education. This is an interesting tactic on Dayton’s part — the “tax-and-spend liberal” smear has been so effective in the past that Republicans now turn to it reflexively, even when addressing Democrats who have actually lowered taxes, like Barack Obama. But Dayton is actually running as a tax-and-spend liberal. We at the Glean will be curious to see how that works out. Entenza’s ad, in the meanwhile, is exclusively about eliminating “No Child Left Behind,” and mostly consists of images of children happily tearing standardized testing forms in half.

A quick follow-up to the Lino Lakes English-only measure discussed in Monday’s Glean: Yesterday, it passed. MPR’s Laura Yuen has the story.

In arts: A flash mob of about 50 descended on the Paul Bunyan statue in downtown Bemidji, all dressed, more or less, like lumberjacks — story and video on MinnPost. It’s always so nice to see groups of people spontaneously form for something like this — oh, wait, it was a promotional stunt for radio station KBXE. In that case, a correction in terminology is required — this was not a flash mob, a term that is not applied to promotional stunts for businesses, although it seems that every idea-strapped marketing form in Minnesota is trying them. Perhaps the Vancouver Sun was correct about flash mobs when it wrote that they may “have ended up giving conformity a vehicle that allowed it to appear nonconforming.

In sports: Michael Rand of the Star Tribune wondered just what it takes to be a Timberwolves dancer, so he tracked one down to tell her tale. Her answer, in part: “Commitment is just as important as the talent and personality.” If you have none of these things, well, you could probably join a flash mob.

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Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/27/2010 - 10:10 am.

    Say Bunny?

    Did you know that on Monday, May 5, 2008 Marge voted *twice* against a property tax cap for poor people and seniors?

    It’s a fact:

    http://tinyurl.com/23k7pfa

    Now, not only is Marge suddenly changing her mind about throwing Minnesota’s poor and elderly under the bus, (or more properly stated *on the bus*…to the homeless shelter), she’s plagiarizing someone else’s compassionate legislation to do it; HF3149, the bill that Marge heaped her scorn upon two years ago, was authored by Rep. Laura Brod…a Republican.

    Bunny, is this prima facie evidence of the Democrat party’s cynical, mendacious pandering for political gain?

    I think thoughtful voters will agree that it is.

  2. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 07/27/2010 - 10:59 am.

    It’s always nice to hear the dysfunctional conservative dictum repeated: If you discover you’ve been wrong about something, you can never admit it and never change course. Rather you must STAY wrong for the rest of eternity lest someone accuse you of changing your mind or not being consistent.

    We saw this played out ad nauseum during the Cheney/Bush regime.

    What we learn from this is that some among us refuse to ever learn anything, to ever take new and better information into account, to ever do anything different or think differently about anything because to do so is to admit that you might have been wrong before.

    What a pathetic and destructive way to live one’s life – to have to present and defend the illusion, or worse, maintain the delusion that you’ve always been perfectly right in your every thought, word, and deed, and thus to hide your inability to face change and your deep and profound insecurity that you, yourself might have been born with a defective personality behind the smokescreen that someone as perfect as you never needs to change.

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/27/2010 - 11:24 am.

    Marge’s mendacious “change of heart” isn’t difficult to understand, and despite all appearances to the contrary, it’s not hypocrisy. Marge and most Democrat legislators voted against HF3149 because it was a tax reduction, not a gift of cash from their hands.

    Removing the heavy burden of over-taxation is a universally liberating experience, and for that reason alone it had to be crushed. Leftists, you see, need to keep the poor and elderly believing they are dependent on the Democrat party to ensure they vote the right way.

    “The Captain” called it “getting your mind right”.

    Marge hasn’t changed her mind about the care and feeding of the Democrat party’s dependent constituencies; she’s merely being expedient during her campaign.

    If Marge were elected, she (and her ilk) knows taxes can always be raised again, and you can bet they would be real whoppers…then comes the benevolent hand, down from St. Paul with the opium of the hand-out to sooth and comfort the sheep.

    It’s a script so predictable no soap opera writer would consider it, but of course the scary smart, reality based community doesn’t think much of the intelligence of the citizens. Q.E.D.

  4. Submitted by Mark Ohm on 07/27/2010 - 11:34 am.

    What’s cynical and mendacious is Mr. Swift’s continued, daily use of pejorative, demeaning nicknames for people or groups he doesn’t agree with: “Democrat (Party), Bunny, Senator* Franken, Marge, Leftists” and the use of proper names for people he does agree with: “Rep. Laura Brod.” It’s classic troll behavior: disagree AND demean. It needs to stop and has gone on far too long. It brings down the level of discourse.

    Perhaps Mr. Swift is tolerated to generate outrage and spike web hits. That is an unfortunate cynical and mendacious thought I had about MinnPost, a place for (and I quote) “civil, thought-provoking and high-quality public discussion.”

  5. Submitted by Christopher Moseng on 07/27/2010 - 11:47 am.

    Maybe Mr. Rand’s next story can highlight what drives someone to become a relentless, condescending, pseudonymous ideological troll on a local website. I have a great idea for a subject who seems to know just what it takes.

  6. Submitted by Joe Williams on 07/27/2010 - 11:50 am.

    Thanks for the link Swiftee. You really are a conscientious, truth loving conservative. As a member of the scary smart reality-based, community, I really appreciate your ability to boil things down into the most baseless drivel possible. Are you just getting practice for your audition as one of Karl Rove’s “American Crossroads” operatives? Because if you would like to move to Nevada and fight the battle against evil Harry Reid, I am sure they could use you.

  7. Submitted by Bruce Hope on 07/27/2010 - 12:26 pm.

    To Mark Ohm, thank you for saying what I have been thinking.

  8. Submitted by Max Sparber on 07/27/2010 - 12:33 pm.

    My nickname actually is Bunny. However, I will note that I always refer to the commenter in question as Mr. Swift.

  9. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/27/2010 - 01:14 pm.

    Not to spoil anyone’s crisis moment, but one cannot help but notice that not one person has addressed the topic at hand, or challenged the facts I’ve presented.

    Speaker Kelliher has made a legislative session of squirting tears about how much she cares about the poor and elderly….but the facts show that she uses them as political pawns.

    Is there not one Democrat that has enough character to question her behavior?

  10. Submitted by Joe Williams on 07/27/2010 - 01:58 pm.

    Why is the Glean such a reliable venue of attack for Mr. Swift? Maybe he just likes your nickname?

  11. Submitted by Max Sparber on 07/27/2010 - 02:34 pm.

    Bunny Colvin on the Wire also got attacked. Maybe it is the nickname.

  12. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/27/2010 - 04:23 pm.

    Citing a partisan blog in support of a partisan argument is going to win the discussion every time, Mr. Swift. Stating only half the facts helps, too.

    You are correct in stating that Ms. Kelliher Anderson voted against the amendment. However, neither your source nor the record states the basis for her no vote or those of the other 70 some representatives voting against it. A likely reason can be found in the language the proposed amendment would have replaced.

    When one compares the two, it is obvious that the language the amendment would have removed was more favorable to homeowners generally than was the proposed amendment. Specifically, the original language of HF 3149 offered refunds when property taxes exceeded 2% of household income and was available for incomes as high as $200,000. The proposed amendment offered refunds on a graduated scale, up to 5% of income not greater than $77,519. The maximum refund under the original bill was $2500, under the proposed amendment, $1450.

    You’ll find the amendment here, at page 11323:

    http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/cco/journals/2007-08/J0505111.htm

    You can find the 3rd Engrossment (in effect as of two days before the amendment was offered)here:

    https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H3149.3.html&session=ls85

    The final house bill, containing many of the changes in the proposed amendment but with a higher maximum refund ($1850), can be found here: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bin/bldbill.php?bill=H3149.4.html&session=ls85

    The final house bill did not include specific relief for seniors.

  13. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/27/2010 - 05:03 pm.

    Finally, a taker.

    First of all though, I cited the blog because that author did the grunt work to find the story. If you read it, he included the same link to the text of the bill and the amendments that you did.

    Thanks for at least taking the time to check it out James, but I think you’ve missed something.

    The original bill took a flat 2% of income vs. property tax as a baseline. Yes, the max amount was greater in the original, but it would have paid more to people with larger incomes that qualified for the refund.

    Brod’s amendment lowered the max refund, but added a sliding scale that gave people with smaller incomes a larger piece of the pie.

    That’s liberal doctrine 101, and Kelliher & Co. tanked it.

    And as you yourself noted, the final bill also tanked the specific language that would have benefitted seniors.

  14. Submitted by Joseph Skar on 07/27/2010 - 06:21 pm.

    “Citing a partisan blog in support of a partisan argument is going to win the discussion every time”

    So this is why the Glean uses dumpbachmann.com?

  15. Submitted by Max Sparber on 07/27/2010 - 10:10 pm.

    I don’t think I ever use Dump Bachmann, unless they first reported something that is later picked up by the mainstream media, and then only if I know the blog is its source (if I don’t know, you can believe they’ll point it out.)

    Lambert may use the Dump Bachmann, but he also regularly visits Powerline and MN Democrats Exposed.

  16. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 07/28/2010 - 08:18 am.

    Right. And Andy Birkey of Minnesota Independent is so much more reliable, right Max?

  17. Submitted by James Hamilton on 07/28/2010 - 08:45 am.

    Again, Mr. Swift, you are partially correct. Mitch Berg provided one link, from which a reader could access the two amendments offered. He did not provide any link to or information on the portion of the bill to be replaced by the amendment. Nor did you.

    The bill that passed the house benefitted all households within the income limits of the legislation. Last I checked, that included seniors, as did the original bill.

    Under the terms of the 3rd Engrossment, a household with an income of $50,000 whose property tax exceeded 2% of income ($1,000) was eligible for a refund of up to $2500.

    Under the terms of the amendment, that same household would not qualify unless its property taxes exceeded 3.2% of income ($1600), with a maximum refund of $870.

    On a $3500 tax bill (comparable to my own here in St. Paul), the family would have paid $1000 under the first and $2630 under the amendment.

    If the owner was 65, the net taxes under the amendment and these assumptions would have been $2500, two and one-half times the net amount payable under the 3rd Engrossment. (After refund tax of $2630 – additional refund of $130, arrived at by deducting 5% of income [$2500] from the after refund tax.)

    By my calculations, the terms of the 3rd Engrossment were more favorable to all homeowners, including seniors. Of course, one can argue about what the state could have afforded to do

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