Don Davis of the Forum papers continues to follow the GOP’s election post-mortem. He writes: “[Sen. David] Hann and House Speaker Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, blamed their losses in a large part on big-dollar campaigns, with lots of union money, that they claim included lots of misleading and outright false advertising by the DFL and its supporters. Zellers frequently pointed to fliers sent to the Moorhead area against Republican candidate Travis Reimche. The fliers accused Reimche, who lost to Democrat Ben Lien, of voting to take $2.2 billion from Minnesota schools. That was wrong on two counts, Zellers said. First, since Reimche was not an elected official, he never had a chance to vote in the Legislature. Second, the Legislature voted to delay state payments to schools, not take the money away. And, Zellers added, Democrats have used the same method to fix budget problems. ‘The message used against us was a very misleading one,’ Hann said.”
Andrea Billups of The Washington Times says: “Republicans in Minnesota, as elsewhere, also may have to reconcile the strategic prowess of Democrats, whose organizational ground game made them formidable, with both Ms. Klobuchar and Al Franken in the Senate and Democrats holding five out of eight seats in the state’s congressional delegation for the next two years. In 2014, Mr. Franken and Mr. Dayton will be up for re-election as the Obama agenda, including its health care plan, moves ahead in a second term with a divided Congress. [Larry] Jacobs says the message for Minnesota Republicans is that “voters here do not want a one-party ideological solution. They want pragmatic solutions that fix problems. ‘If the Democrats come back with a ‘taxes-first,’ then social-liberal agenda, then they are likely to get tossed in 2014,’ he said.”
More election factoids from Frederick Melo and Mary Jo Webster at the PiPress:
• In Anoka, a city recently at the center of a dispute over gay rights in Anoka-Hennepin schools, five of eight precincts voted down the marriage amendment. The votes were enough to eke out a citywide ‘no’ vote on the question. …
• In Dakota County, former state Rep. Mike Obermueller, a Democrat, failed to unseat U.S. Rep. John Kline, a Republican, from his congressional seat. Obermueller did win 13 of the 20 precincts in his hometown of Eagan, known as a battleground city for the two major parties.”
It’s not quite “The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser,” but it is an odd story. Dave Chanen of the Strib writes: “Tammy Anquinette Thomas has been a model inmate at Anoka County jail the last four months. When she becomes Jane Doe at her court proceedings, it’s another story. … She’s had no visitors, made no telephone calls and written no letters. She won’t respond in court unless addressed as Jane Doe, and refuses to cooperate when county experts try to determine whether she is mentally fit to stand trial. … As far as police can tell, Thomas had little criminal history until her arrest in Fridley this summer. Even her crime is a bit of a puzzle: She broke into an empty house, changed the locks and put up drapes.”
A Strib editorial looks at bonding authority in light of DFL control of both houses and the governor’s office. “But their majorities are not large enough to overcome one big point of partisan contention in recent years. It still takes a 60 percent vote in both the House and Senate to pass a bonding bill. DFLers are only one vote short of that threshhold in the Senate but are a more challenging eight votes short in the House. … The projects that are high on our list of unfinished bonding business include the Southwest Corridor light-rail project; civic center upgrades in Rochester, Mankato and St. Cloud; improvements to the Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, and a major renovation of the State Capitol itself. All of those projects stand to benefit much more than their immediate locales. All of them have waited long enough.”
The Duluth area will receive $500,000 in disaster grants from the Margaret Cargill Foundation. In the Strib, Richard Meryhew reports: “The grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation is the largest outside donation to the flood-stricken region, which sustained widespread damage to roads, homes, businesses and parks in a record downpour and flood June 19-21. Of the more than 1,700 homes that were significantly damaged, only 5 to 10 percent had insurance to cover the losses.”
At the PiPress, Christopher Magan reports on a new master plan for the Minnesota Zoo: “The plan doesn’t include such details as project price tags or timelines, but it’s ambitious. Amusement attractions are planned; animals from new continents are on the horizon; and the zoo’s worldwide conservation efforts will be highlighted like never before.The work will start at an envisioned ‘crossroads.’ The existing Replay Park will be transformed into Crossroads Park, with a carousel featuring endangered animals, a gift shop and play area. Nearby will be a new Adventure Park that will feature zip lines, a ropes course and a ‘Chutes & Ladders’ play area for children. These attractions are the types of amenities visitors have requested.”
MPR’s behind-the-scenes report on the fight against the marriage amendment is getting good play around the country. It’s worth a listen. Sasha Aslainian and Eric Ringham report, “[K]ey participants focused on these factors:
• Allies: From its beginning, Minnesotans United for All Families sought to build a diverse, nonpartisan coalition. It avoided confrontation and steered clear of blunt words like ‘bigotry’ and ‘discrimination.’
• Faith: Although the side pushing the marriage amendment enjoyed substantial support from Catholic and evangelical churches, opponents of the amendment actively recruited help from other faith communities. Several organizers put it this way: ‘We refused to cede the religious ground.’
• Money: Minnesotans United raised more than $12 million for the drive to defeat the amendment. The campaign dwarfed its opposition, both in the dollars raised and in the number of donors named.
• Time: Opponents of the marriage amendment had a full year and a half to organize and mobilize their supporters. In fact, they had longer than that, because the effort to ban same-sex marriage had made no secret of its existence ahead of time.”
What’s new? The Boss put on another tent revival of a show last night at the X. The age-peer crowd — jabbing fists and singing, “Tramps like us, baby, we were born to run” — never gets old. For the Strib, Jon Bream writes: “You can have Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps. And Adrian Peterson and LeBron James. I’ll cast my vote for world’s greatest athlete for Bruce Springsteen. … Peterson may be known as ‘All Day’ but Springsteen is ‘Prove It All Nigh,’ which is what he did Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center — over the course of 25 songs and three hours. Not only was he an extraordinary athlete, but Springsteen was also a singer, songwriter, guitarist, bandleader, showman, ham, preacher, politician (he shook more hands per minute than any candidate running for office), comedian (he joked about having two streets in St. Paul named for him but the names expired after his Sunday show even though he’s playing again Monday), choir director, daredevil (he body-surfed from mid-arena to the stage) and, most certainly, quarterback.” There are reasons why he’s a legend.