You know its serious when Michael Brodkorb declines comment. Doug Belden of the PiPress notes that the prominent GOP activist and now former state Senate staffer has resigned his position with the Mike Parry congressional campaign down in the 1st District, this only a a day after leaving the employ of former Majority Leader Amy Koch: “Michael Brodkorb, out as communications director for the Senate GOP Caucus on Friday, is now gone from the congressional campaign of state Sen. Mike Parry as well. Ben Golnik, a spokesman for the campaign, said Saturday that Brodkorb had left his position as a volunteer adviser to Parry, of Waseca, in his campaign for the Republican nomination to unseat Democratic Rep. Tim Walz. … Brodkorb started advising Parry after stepping down this fall as deputy chairman of the state Republican Party. … Efforts to determine from Senate officials whether Brodkorb’s departure and Koch’s resignation were related were not successful. The staffer alleged to have had an improper relationship with Koch, of Buffalo, has not been identified.” So therefore … it would be inappropriate to speculate.
They could use at least one woman out front for comment. But Rupa Shenoy of MPR surveys top GOP leaders on what Majority Leader Koch should do next and finds division in the ranks: “Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dave Thompson of Lakeville, who is considered a likely candidate for the majority leader position, said it may be hard for Koch to remain in the Senate. ‘I would certainly say that if the allegations are true, if it were me I would leave the Senate,’ Thompson said. ‘I don’t know all the facts and therefore can’t really say what she should do. I think if the allegations are true, I think it would be very difficult to remain an elected official.’ … Dave Senjem, another assistant majority leader of Rochester, said he doesn’t want Koch to resign. ‘I hope she considers staying on,’ he said. ‘You know there were certainly some issues that arose the last week or so but certainly on balance and over time she’s done a great job and I would encourage her frankly to stay on.’ “
The Koch story, on top of the GOP’s financial mess and the abrupt departure of Tony “The Chairman” Sutton, has people speculating darkly. At the Strib, Baird Helgeson and Rachel Stassen-Berger write: “Party leaders and activists across the state spent Saturday searching for a path forward even as they were absorbing the shocking departures of the Senate majority leader and one of her top aides. Their resignations came just weeks after that of the state party chairman. ‘Right now Republican activists are very upset, almost sad, depressed,’ said Pat Anderson, a former state auditor who serves on the Republican National Committee. ‘We are going to have that for awhile’. … ‘The party is right on the verge of being totally immobilized, at least for 2012,’ said a longtime GOP operative. Party activists said they remain convinced that there is time to rebuild. ‘This is rock bottom, so let’s get going,’ said Gregg Peppin, a party strategist who is married to state Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers. ‘Clearly, there’s been some growing pains. When you transition from the minority to the majority, the burden of leadership is very, very high’. … The party itself owes $775,000, including fines for earlier campaign finance reporting violations. Another $500,000 is owed in a separate account from the party’s unsuccessful gubernatorial recount, when Republican Rep. Tom Emmer narrowly lost to DFLer Mark Dayton. There is dissent over whether the party is obliged to repay the recount debt.” Does that mean they might “unallot” the debt?
In the Strib, Kevin Winge, executive director of Open Arms Minnesota, writes: “Republican State Senator Amy Koch resigns as Majority Leader of the Minnesota Senate and announces she is not seeking reelection next year because of an ‘inappropriate relationship’ with a male staff member. Koch, the proponent of all things Republican — like a constitutional amendment to ensure gays and lesbians can’t marry — turns out to not be the best spokesperson for the sanctity of marriage. Unless, of course, you don’t find it hypocritical that a married woman, with a child, can have an ‘inappropriate relationship’ while denying others the right to marry. With events like the Koch scandal, it is becoming increasingly clear that next year’s constitutional amendment is not about preserving marriage. If it were about preserving heterosexual marriage, let’s take a vote on outlawing behavior like ‘inappropriate relationships.’ If it is about the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, let’s have a constitutional amendment outlawing divorce.
Yes Abner, that was a bear they shot in St.Paul. According to the AP: “St. Paul Police Department spokesman Howie Padilla says police received at least two calls about bear sightings in the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood just before 7:30 p.m. Saturday. He says officers shot the bear just before 8 p.m. Animal control officers took the bear’s body away.”
Three years after setting a fire in an airplane restroom, a flight attendant has been sentenced to six years in prison. The AP says: “Investigators originally said that Eder Rojas, 23, formerly of Woodbury, started the fire in May 2008 because he was unhappy about working the Compass Airlines route from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Regina, Saskatchewan. Defense attorney Richard Henderson disputed that claim Friday and said his client has a narcissistic personality disorder.”
Talk about the miseries of Job. In the PiPress, Bob Shaw tells the story of one very unlucky fellow: “What’s next for Roy Babcock? Maybe getting hit by lightning. That’s about the only horrible thing that hasn’t happened to him this year. Babcock is a single father raising four children. In April, he was told he had an advanced stage of cancer. In August, a heart problem put him the hospital for 11 days. Unable to work, he missed mortgage payments on his auto mechanic business, which triggered foreclosure proceedings. Then on Thursday, thieves broke into the shop and took every tool he had, worth about $50,000. He has no insurance. That means he won’t be able to pass along the family business to his son, who is studying to be a car mechanic. ‘I am just so depressed right now, I can’t believe it,’ said Babcock, 50, of Hastings. ‘I told the kids about it, and they are really upset. ‘The Christmas tree is up, but there are no presents under it.’ “
Today in Bachmannia: Our Gal’s 99-county bus trip around Iowa clocked 13 stops on Sunday. At several of them she kept up her barrage on Newt Gingrich. Jason Noble of the Des Moines Register reports: “Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker and current presidential race front-runner, has come under fire from several Republican opponents for taking $1.6 million from the government-sponsored lender over a period of years. ‘I call on former Speaker Newt Gingrich to give that money back to the American people,’ Bachmann said in a news conference following a church service in Fort Dodge. ‘This was during the time of the economic meltdown. While the rest of the country was dealing with the economic meltdown, he was pocketing $1.6 million.’ Bachmann’s comments came in response to Gingrich’s appearance on the CBS Sunday morning news show ‘Face the Nation,’ in which he defended his work for Freddie Mac and said he personally received far less than the reported $1.6 million. … Following the Fort Dodge church service, Bachmann visited roadside diners and Pizza Ranch restaurants in Webster City, Clarion, Garner, Forest City, Manly and Mason City. The visits were heavy on retail politicking, with the candidate and her husband, Marcus Bachmann, shaking hands and signing autographs but speaking little on policy or her plans as president. The informal approach was a hit at many stops. ‘I think she’s a wonderful, real person,’ said Rudy Marmaro, who attended the Pizza Ranch stop in Garner. ‘I think she’s a real down-to-earth gal.’ ”
That pleasure spa of western Minnesota, Montevideo, scored the weekend’s highest temperature … 61, says Paul Douglas in his Strib blog. “Indian Summer — On December 18? I thought I had seen a lot living in Minnesota for 27 years. But I can’t remember the last time I saw 60-degree warmth on December 18. Highs ranged from the mid/upper 40s in the Twin Cities metro to 46 at St. Cloud to upper 50s over west central Minnesota. Montevideo gets the coveted Golden Thermometer Award, registering a balmy high of 61!” I suspect there were some Carhartt bikinis out on the banks of the Minnesota River Sunday.