Republicans take control of the U.S. Senate

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addressing supporters at his midterm election night victory rally in Louisville, Kentucky.

Team MinnPost is handling state election coverage, so this edition of The Glean will look elsewhere for news, other than to note: 

Nationally, the Republican Party had a very good night. From the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman and Ashley ParkerPropelled by economic dissatisfaction and anger toward the president, Republicans grabbed Democratic Senate seats in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota to gain their first Senate majority since 2006. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, a shrewd Republican tactician, cruised to re-election and stood poised to achieve a goal he has pursued for years — Senate majority leader.

As Minnesotans headed to the polls, the AP was reporting, “Minnesota’s secretary of state is projecting voter turnout of 55 to 60 percent in this midterm election. Mark Ritchie’s projection would be right in line with recent history. Nearly 56 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot four years ago.”

Meanwhile next door, where Scott Walker cruised to a decisive victory, Meg Kissinger of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported early last evening, “Kevin J. Kennedy, Wisconsin’s chief election official, told the Government Accountability Board that all problems reported have been minor — like yard signs too close to polling places. Some reports are coming in of voters being asked to show identification, when none is required, and of some problems with voter registration. If Kennedy’s prediction of 2.5 million Wisconsin residents — or 56.5 percent of eligible voters — proves to be true, it would be a record for a November gubernatorial election. The record stands at 52.3 percent, set in 1962.”

As the curtain was falling on that campaign, Betsy Woodruff at Slate was writing, “What may be most notable isn’t the substance of the governor’s final pitch, but how he says it. In the waning days of Walker’s campaign, his message — delivered on a bus tour that has stopped at factories around the state and allowed him to pose with heavy machinery and blue-collar workers sporting safety goggles — has been uncharacteristically conciliatory. Forget anything on gay marriage or abortion. If you’re looking for hot takes on Ebola and ISIS, look elsewhere. Walker is probably the most on-message politician in America right now.”

Earlier, Woodruff had written, “The Wisconsin governor’s race is one of the closest in the country. And, according to conversations with top Republicans and conservative activists, it’s also the single most important. Walker is revered among national conservatives for taking on Wisconsin’s powerful public sector unions at enormous political risk. A National Review cover depicted him as Perseus slaying Medusa, and the American Spectator has already declared that if he pulls off a win on Tuesday, ‘he’s our man’ for 2016.

The AP’s Scott Bauer says, “While Walker downplayed talk of a potential presidential run during the campaign, his victory in a state that voted for a Democratic president and U.S. Senator in 2012 will immediately shift the focus to his intentions for 2016. … Walker has spent nearly his entire adult life in politics, having first been elected in 1993 to a state Assembly seat.” Sometimes you gotta stick with that anti-gummint thing.

There’ll be some more big box real estate on the market. The Strib’s Kavita Kumar says, “On Tuesday, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced it would close 11 stores, including one in Austin, Minn. It also swatted away an investment firm trying to buy shares on the cheap and started selling tchotchkes made by 3-D printers, latching on to one of the hottest things in high-tech. The store-closing step is one that Target takes at least once a year after a financial review of its 1,800 U.S. outlets. By including the store in Austin, Target is closing a Minnesota store for the first time since 2003.”

The Glean After yesterday’s court proceedings in Texas, Ben Goessling of ESPN says, “A handful of prominent Vikings players said Tuesday they’d be excited to have Peterson back on the roster, adding that the running back wouldn’t have to do anything to regain trust in the locker room after his Sept. 12 arrest for child abuse charges led to an eight-game absence.”

Despite the inevitable news-making stories, Doug Smith of the Strib has numbers showing that hunting has gotten safer. “The odds are much greater that hunters will be hurt driving to deer camp than be injured while hunting. ‘It’s one of the safest activities you can participate in,’ said Jon Paurus, acting enforcement education program coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. More people are hurt playing football, basketball, soccer or even riding bicycles or running than are injured hunting, according to statistics compiled by federal agencies and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the firearms industry trade association.” An objective party, no doubt.

A solar plant pretty much in the middle of Minneapolis. Says Dave Shaffer for the Strib, “Itek Energy, a solar panel maker in Bellingham, Wash., says it plans to open a manufacturing plant in south Minneapolis in early 2015. Kelly Samson, a co-founder of the company, said in an interview Tuesday that the plant is planned in an existing building on the 2700 block of 31st Avenue S. Production is expected to begin in January or February, he said. … He said the plant initially will have a small number of employees, as did the Bellingham plant. After four years, that operation employs 74 workers, he said.”

A good piece by Strib columnist Jon Tevlin on one local parish thumbing its nose at the Archbishop. “A south Minneapolis church plans to bring in controversial Irish Redemptorist priest Tony Flannery to speak on Wednesday, despite warnings from Archbishop John Nienstedt. And the church’s pastor is using the words of a powerful church leader to justify it: Pope Francis. Father Mike Tegeder, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Church, has been intent on bringing in Flannery, who is on a speaking tour of the country. But the Cabrini visit will be the only time he speaks on Catholic Church property. Flannery, author of several books on religion, holds controversial positions on birth control, homosexuality and the ordination of women.”

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Comments (18)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/05/2014 - 06:35 am.

    Wisconsin voters

    So Wisconsin voters elected a governor who is going to pretty much immediately shift his focus away from Wisconsin and towards his upcoming run at the White House. And they knew this.

    I guess they deserve what they get.

    Hey – maybe they can borrow Jeff Johnson (you know – sort of like a substitute teacher when the regular teacher is away)! After all, he was just itching for the opportunity to “go all Scott Walker” on somebody!

    • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/05/2014 - 08:08 am.

      I guess they deserve what they get.

      I’m guessing that’s exactly what Wisconson is saying about Minnesota today.

      • Submitted by jody rooney on 11/05/2014 - 08:30 am.

        You must be joking.

        Mark Dayton has the job he has always wanted. I don’t see him looking for higher office.

        You must not be from Minnesota.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/05/2014 - 09:14 am.

        At least Mark Dayton . . . .

        At least Mark Dayton is going to stick around and actually govern the state he was elected to govern.

        Good luck with that concept, Wisconsin!

      • Submitted by Matt Pogatshnik on 11/05/2014 - 09:31 am.


        Because things have been going so horribly in Minnesota.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 11/05/2014 - 09:59 am.

        Man up!!

        Tom, remind us again of your pre-election predictions. I’ll hold my breath waiting for your response.

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/05/2014 - 11:13 am.

          According to Mr. Swift

          Dayton was going to lose.
          Franken was going to lose.
          Mills was going to win.

          Just a few …

          • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/05/2014 - 12:44 pm.

            I did think Mills would win, I was short 1%. But never said anything about the Senate or Gov race.

            • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/05/2014 - 02:54 pm.

              Recognize these, Mr. Swift?

              Losing the Range will have consequences for Dayton and Franken….Peterson’s in big trouble too.

              Regarding that unfortunate 4.5% gaffe from Gov. Dayton et. al…I fear Mr. Johnson may be understating the case, if anything.

              Schwoops! Now Dayton’s minions say he says he “misspoke”. Lol. Given his tax and spend frenzy of the past 4 years, that’s gonna be a tough nut to sell, probably.

              These are all comments you made about the Senate and Governor’s race on MinnPost. And of course anyone who reads twitter knows that there is a lot worse there written by you.

        • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/05/2014 - 12:42 pm.

          I predicted the GOP would hold the US house, retake the Senate and their SSM vote would cost outstate Minnesota Dems their jobs.

          How’d I do?

      • Submitted by jason myron on 11/05/2014 - 01:21 pm.

        Let ’em

        I’m thrilled that I moved out of there 30 years ago. When you care more about the Green Bay Packers than your own future, you deserve to go down in flames, and that’s just where the Walker economy is taking them. Let me tell you who the typical Walker voter is…old, angry and retired from some factory with a decent pension negotiated for him by the very same union representation he now despises and vilifies others for wanting.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/05/2014 - 09:18 am.

      Masochism in Milwaukee?

      I can’t explain the final Wisconsin vote.
      Prescient mavens please respond.

  2. Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/05/2014 - 07:54 am.

    Well, perhaps everybody got a little of what they deserve!

    And I like the idea that Jeff Johnson should go sit in for Walker’s presidential bid.

    It is unfathomable that people would get conned again!
    In some places, they did.

    Even in Minnesota, people did this to themselves:
    56% turnout is pathetic. There is no excuse in this state for such a wimpy involvement & abdication of responsibility.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 11/05/2014 - 09:04 am.

    Revenge time

    Walker’s stage play acting all nicey for the campaign trail is an apt metaphor for the Republican Party campaign and their reticent behavior in Congress over the last six months. Americans easily forget and are so forgiving.

    But now the election is over we get this:

    “Barack Obama has our country in a ditch, and many of his lieutenants running for the Senate were right there with him,” said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee. “The punishment is going to be broad, and it’s going to be pretty serious.” (NYT)

    Many people will actually believe this and forget that it was the Republicans who “ran the country into the ditch” from 2000-2008. Republicans have been stalling and obstructing every millimeter of the way since 2008 and now it’s the President’s fault things are not better. Which they are in spite of that obstructionism.

    But never mind. A lot of reports in the media are about how people were voting for the economy in this election. I find that unbelievable. For the Right, it’s irrelevant because any election is just about winning, then rewarding your friends and paying back your enemies. Never mind the country. I predict the Republicans in charge of the new Congress will be drawing up a Bill of Impeachment some time next year. The Tea Party right will be delighted with of course since that is the black heart of the Republican dark soul. Will those who were voting for the economy feel this way? Do they deserve this? Do any of us deserve this?

    • Submitted by Pat Berg on 11/05/2014 - 10:33 am.

      The fickle short attention span of the American voter

      All the R’s had to do was dial back their extreme rhetoric for a few months – they know the memory of the American public is remarkably short (“Government shutdown? What government shutdown?”).

      I find it all very discouraging.

      • Submitted by jason myron on 11/05/2014 - 01:41 pm.

        Don’t be, Pat…

        another historically low turnout dominated by angry people who hated Obama in 2009 and were desperate to get payback for his reelection. Nothing more….

  4. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 11/05/2014 - 12:06 pm.

    The voter suppression in WI was rampant

    Because WI residents often get their mail from a box instead of home delivery, you have to put two addresses down on most state forms, including your voter registration form. This makes it a snap for voter caging operations to pick the non-delivery address and then purge your name from the rolls.

    I voted three months ago in a school board election, yet when I raced back to Kenosha County from an out of state funeral to vote yesterday I found my name had been purged.

    Fortunately WI is a same-day registration state like MN, and I was able to reregister and vote. The woman handling the registrations told me she’d registered over 150 voters at that one polling place that day, and that most insisted they had been registered and voting.

    I guess winning reelection is still worth cheating for.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/05/2014 - 03:06 pm.

      ‘Voter caging’ sounds like criminal intent

      No purple fingers here.
      If this behavior happened in a 3rd world country, everyone would be up in arms.

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