You have got to be kidding me/us. Another recount? The polls showing Mark Dayton with a modest-to-comfortable lead might want to re-check their criteria and algorithms. The Strib’s team report on the gubernatorial race says, “With fewer than 20 precincts left to report, DFLer Mark Dayton leads Republican Tom Emmer by less than one half of 1 percent — 43.67 percent to 43.24 percent. … ‘It looks like it’s recount part II: And this time it’s personal,’ said state Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton. As outstate counties dribbled in their results late at night and early this morning, Emmer steadily cut into Dayton’s early lead. Dayton’s lead stands at about 9,000 votes.” Tom Horner pulled only 12 percent.
They add, “In the governor’s race, Dayton won the most populous counties — Hennepin and Ramsey — while Emmer won the key suburban counties and the vast majority of outstate counties. But in the suburban areas, Emmer prevailed by margins below what Gov. Tim Pawlenty had when he barely edged out DFLer Mike Hatch in 2006. Had Emmer matched Pawlenty’s performance in the suburbs, he might well have come out the clear winner.”
Even bigger news, at least in terms of the unexpected, is the Republican takeover of both the House and Senate, a development with serious implications for re-districting. (Expect no end of punditry on that one.) Another Strib piece, by Mike Kaszuba, says, “The Republican takeover threw decades of Minnesota politics on its head — and in one night reversed a landscape where the Republicans held the governor’s office and the DFL comfortably controlled the Legislature. The Republicans’ gains in the House were no less impressive, wiping out an 87 to 47 DFL majority that even strategists within the Republican Party said was likely out of reach.”
He reports, “In the Senate, the DFL’s losses included longtime incumbent Sen. Don Betzold, DFL-Fridley, a five-term senator and chair of the Senate state government budget panel, and Sen. Leo Foley, DFL-Coon Rapids, a four-term state senator. Even DFLer Barb Goodwin, who during the summer wrestled the party’s endorsement away from controversial Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, had to work hard to claim victory over her Republican opponent, Gina Bauman, a New Brighton city council member. One by one, most of the Senate’s other close races fell to the Republicans. In Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s district, Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, lost to Ted Daley, a West Point graduate who served twice in Iraq. Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, also lost.”
The PiPress story, by Jason Hoppin, says, “It is hard to see the losses as a rebuke to Democrats, at least in Minnesota. Against Pawlenty’s firm hand and veto pen, state DFLers were unable to force their agenda through the legislature. Kurt Zellers, a Maple Grove Republican who is the likely new House Speaker, kept the credit for the gains at home. The national Republican wave certainly helped, he said, but House Republicans worked to find good candidates for office, paying off with a gain of 26 seats. ‘The (national) wave may have been a part of it, but a lot of the candidates were just better fits for the district,’ Zellers said.”
Ranking the biggest news of election night is a little difficult and probably pointless, but the Eighth District tossing out a guy with Jim Oberstar’s pull in D.C. and being represented by a Republican for the first time since 1947 might be a topper … if it weren’t for those other two. The Duluth News Tribune story, by Candace Renalls says, “Oberstar faced constituents angered about federal bailouts, stimulus spending and health care reform, which he supported and was forced to defend during the campaign. He routinely pointed to road, bridge and other big Northland projects made possible by stimulus dollars and the long-term advantages of health care reform.
” ‘I know people are angry and disappointed,’ said Julie Jeatran of Duluth’s Lincoln Park. ‘They want things to happen, and they want them to happen right away. They want the war to be over, and they want more jobs. But these things take time. The Republicans drove us into this ditch, and it’s going to be a bumpy ride on the way out. I just don’t think it makes sense to hire the same people who drove us into the ditch to get us out.’ ”
Renalls points out, “Cravaack’s call for fiscal responsibility in Washington and for financial restraint struck a cord with frustrated independents and the Tea Party as well as Republicans. Cravaack, 51, of Lindstrom, is a former Navy captain and a retired Northwest Airlines pilot. ‘I felt we needed a change,’ said Astrid Shykes of Duluth, who voted for Cravaack at Woodland Community Center in Duluth. ‘It’s the state of the whole country. Our country is in a bad way. It’s no time to be spending.’ One indication of Oberstar’s challenge this year was his relatively weak showing in the city of Duluth. Oberstar managed 78 percent of the vote in Duluth in 2008, and 72 percent in 2006 against former U.S. Sen. Rod Grams. But this year Oberstar managed only 63 percent within the city against Cravaack.”
Oberstar was the only congressional incumbent bounced out of office. Michele Bachmann easily defeated Tarryl Clark in the Sixth, the nation’s most expensive race, as every story points out. The PiPress’s Jason Hoppin writer, “Taking the stage at a GOP fete in a Bloomington hotel, Bachmann reached out to the tea party supporters she has embraced by reaching back to a quote from one of the founding women of the country. ‘The proceedings of our citizens have been united, spirited and firm. The flame is kindled and like lightning it catches from soul to soul,’ Bachmann said, quoting Abigail Adams, wife of American Revolution-era President John Adams. Despite raising more money than all but a handful of House candidates, Clark ran an uphill race in a Republican-leaning 6th Congressional District and against the torrid fundraising pace of Bachmann, whose $11 million set a record for House races nationwide. With almost no funding, Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson had 6 percent of the vote.”
Bachmann did man up for an appearance on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” the venue that got her in trouble in ‘08. The back and forth was interesting, with Chris Matthews asking her, “have you been hypnotized?” a reference more to her very wide-eyed image than her rhetoric. Meanwhile Bachmann supporters waggled signs taunting Matthews about the “tingle” in his leg, referring to his (very odd) response to watching Barack Obama in ‘08.
WCCO has an AP rundown of results from each Congressional District.
Here’s the Strib’s statistics link.
The Chicago Tribune covers the defeat of Democrat Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, saying, “Conservative Republican Ron Johnson’s victory over Feingold, a liberal who had been successful in attracting independent voters, marks the first time since 1986 that a Republican has been elected to the Senate from Wisconsin. Johnson, who came up through the tea party movement, made repealing federal health care reform a key issue in his campaign. The atmosphere for the party in power was so dark that 28-year incumbent Secretary of State Doug La Follette, a Democrat with one of the most famous last names in Wisconsin political history, barely defeated a Milwaukee street minister who had filed for bankruptcy in 2003.”
It adds, “Republicans called for scaling back state government and discarding a federally funded $810 million high-speed rail project proposed for Wisconsin. They also called for cutting taxes for the wealthy and big businesses and repealing federal health care reform. Democrats were left to debate whether to stick with their party’s progressive public agenda and wait for the political climate to change or to recast the party to try to win back in 2012 what they lost this year.”
Oh, and Mayor John Brady? The guy who bashed into who knows how many cars before getting tracked down in Minnetonka … with a bottle of booze on the seat next to him … and a .24 blood alcohol rating … on a Saturday afternoon … on his way to the airport? That guy? He lost his bid for reelection. KARE’s AP story says, “Mankato mayor John Brady refused to resign after his high-profile DWI in August, saying the voters would decide if he was fit to continue serving. They did Tuesday night, sending Brady to a sound defeat at the hands of challenger Eric Anderson. Anderson won the mayor’s office 7,072 votes to 3,873.”
Hope had faded for the survival of the Minneapolis plane lost in the high mountains of Wyoming. Sadly, yesterday’s discovery confirmed the worst. There were no survivors. The Strib story, by Paul Walsh and Matt McKinney, says, “ ‘The plane hit in a boulder field, and [the debris] was fairly contained in one spot,’ [search spokesman Ernie] Over said. ‘It hit straight in,’ with no fire, though it left Jackson Hole, Wyo., full of fuel.”
Not even election day can keep me from my Denny Hecker fix. Mary Jo Webster of the PiPress reports on Denny’s girlfriend, Christi Rowan, fighting eviction from their Medina mansion, which of course is a little quieter these days with Denny in the slammer. “Christi Rowan says her lawyer is trying to negotiate with the current owner, Minneapolis real estate company Palladium Holdings, to allow her to stay at least through the end of her lease next spring. A hearing on the eviction is scheduled in Hennepin County Court on Thursday morning.” She adds, “The trustee handling his bankruptcy case called it a sham lease, but a judge didn’t agree. In January, the trustee transferred the property deed to Hecker’s longtime friend, Ralph Thomas, who never registered the deed with the county. At about the same time, U.S. Bank bid $213,000 for the property at a sheriff’s sale. The largest lien holder, GMAC Mortgage, did not take advantage of its chance to buy the house from U.S. Bank, effectively wiping out more than $600,000 in debt and making the house more valuable. But another creditor, Buffalo Auto Sales, redeemed the property from U.S. Bank in July and promptly sold it to Palladium Holdings for more than $618,000.”