And it’s primary day. Tom Crann of Minnesota Public Radio interviews Secretary of State Mark Ritchie to uncover what voters can expect when they cast their ballot, although he neglects to mention murderous humidity. Luke Hellier from Minnesota Democrats Exposed gets the Twitter scoop on this, which we will call the Twoop, just to be annoying. Hellier writes: “Big story today will be if election judges don’t get heat exhaustion. My polling place was already a sweat box at 730AM.”
Tim Pugmire of MPR reports on an aggressive “get out the vote” campaign on the part of GOPers, with the primary focus being on getting their candidate for attorney general a win. According to Pugmire, “with low turnout expected, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton says he’s concerned frequent candidate Sharon Anderson could beat Barden.” Sutton himself has been making thousands of calls personally, so, if your phone is ringing right now, that might be him.
For those who missed it, the Independence Party had its final debate Tuesday. MPR News Q has the audio, while Mark Zdechlik sums it up. The debate was between IP gubernatorial candidates Tom Horner and Rob Hahn, and was somewhat less even-tempered than the recent DFL debates. An example? “Horner, a long-time Republican strategist and public relations executive, accused Hahn, a publisher, of angry personal attacks.” Another? “Horner made a comment about Hahn having an anger problem — a possible allusion to a domestic dispute Hahn had with his ex-wife last year that led to a restraining order.”
For those who will be casting votes neither for GOP nor for IP candidates, they may still be struggling to tell the difference between the DFL candidates, beyond one being gray, one being a woman and one having a former FOX anchor as his running mate. MPR continues its superlative coverage of the primary with a piece called “Parsing the differences among DFL gov candidates” by Tom Scheck. It seems to boil down to the following: Mark Dayton will raise taxes on the richest Minnesotans by the largest percent, Matt Entenza is really keen on scrapping No Child Left Behind, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher wants to close tax loopholes and extend a school payment delay.
Entenza has been trailing in the polls, but he’s giving it the old college try, if “college” means “spending a lot of money” and “getting Chevy Chase to endorse you.” According to Patrick Caldwell of Minnesota Independent, with the amount of his own money he has put into his campaign, Entenza “has outspent his opponents to an almost comical degree.” If that doesn’t help him, well, there’s always Chevy Chase, who supports Entenza’s environmental policies and said so in a video, republished here on MinnPost. It’s not clear how much pull the former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman has in Minnesota; one would think very little, but, on the other hand, there’s Al Franken.
Speaking of Franken, the senator apparently committed something of a gaffe in South Dakota last week, detailed by MinnPost’s Derek Wallbank. What the hell did he do this time? Well, part of Franken’s purpose in going to our neighbor to the west was to stump for Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Speaking of her, Franken said, “We need to be able to have somebody here in South Dakota who’s going to vote for Speaker Pelosi, not for Speaker Boehner.” You might be asking, so what? Well, apparently, the GOP was pleased as punch with this, as they’re strategy is, in part, to link Democrats to Pelosi, a “San Francisco liberal,” and Franken had just done their work for them. You’d think Franken had declared, “We need somebody to vote with our Kenyan socialist dictator in the White House.”
While we’re following up on takes of outrage, here are a few updates. Gov. Tim Pawlenty was bound to bother some with his statements against the building of a Muslim community center near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, and, sonofagun, he did. The Associated Press is reporting that several Muslim groups have contacted Pawlenty, asking that he withdraw his statements, as “denying Muslims the right to build a cultural or religious center is unpatriotic.”
Target just doesn’t seem able to get out from behind its financial support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. As Nick Pinto of City Pages puts it, “Target’s gay problem keeps getting worse,” which actually sounds like a lurid old paperback title, along with “The Lady Was a Minx” or “Two Men for Mildred.” So what is Mr. Pinto talking about? Well, for one thing, the Huffington Post revealed that Target had actually funnelled quite a lot of money into supporting California’s Proposition 8 against gay marriage. The Awl pointed out that Target’s CEO sent his daughter to “a Christian school that signs all incoming students to a Biblical ‘Community Covenant’ which condemns homosexual behavior.” In fact, as CP points out, Target’s top execs have participated a lot and contributed a lot to organizations that have explicitly anti-gay stances.
Emmer himself was the subject of a piece by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday night, republished on Minnesota Independent with commentary by Paul Schmelzer. Mostly, Maddow focuses on Emmer’s support for the Christian band/educational group You Can Run But You Cannot Hide, whose leader publicly praised Muslims for executing homosexuals. The singer later recanted, sort of, saying that he wasn’t in favor of killing gay people but was merely praising Islam for respecting the Bible. Tom Emmer had this to say about the band, after their initial comment: “These are nice people.”
However, if you want true outrage, all you need do is run a story with a title like the one the Pioneer Press affixed to this story by Mara H. Gottfried: “St. Paul police: Toddler wanders in street near bar while father in drunken stupor.” PiPress commenters were nonplused with the drunkenly stupified father, one hoping he drinks himself to death. “Its important that kids obey their parents and go to sleep when its bedtime,” another commenter sagely notes, “whatever parking lot that happens to be in.”
In arts: Fringe Festival blogger Bill Stiteler quotes another PiPress commenter, who says “(I think) the ‘vulgarity’ festival must also be gov subsidized, otherwise the 5 people who attend wouldn’t be able to keep the freak-show afloat!” They may have a point — if only there was some way to check the facts on that. Oh, yes, here we go: As reported in the Pioneer Press, the Fringe broke all records on its opening weekend, selling 18,895 seats. So, say what you will about those five attendees, they buy a lot of tickets.
In sports: John Shipley of the Pioneer Press discusses Vikings assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s interview in Seattle, where the story is that he was only interviewed to fulfill the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate. Although Frazier is circumspect about discussing Seattle, he does say that there was an interview he was concerned about, and “we went right down to the wire about whether I should even do the interview.”