Group of Republican legislators say they’ll form splinter caucus in Minnesota House

MinnPost photo by Corey Anderson
Minnesota House of Representatives
MPR’s Brian Bakst writes: “A quartet of rural members of the Minnesota House say they will split from fellow Republicans and form their own caucus to oppose the incoming DFL majority. Reps. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa, Cal Bahr of East Bethel, Tim Miller of Prinsburg and Jeremy Munson of Lake Crystal notified House leaders Friday of their intentions. In a message to his Republican colleagues Miller wrote, ‘I have come to the conclusion that the attitudes and actions by the HRC (House Republican Caucus) leader and some of his supporters have become too hostile toward me and has made it impossible to properly serve my District first and the State of Minnesota second.’”

The Star Tribune’s Erin Adler and Chris Serres write: “Mayor Jacob Frey and American Indian leaders made an impassioned plea for unity Sunday at a crowded public meeting, which was hastily called in response to complaints of harassment and intimidation of humanitarian aid workers at the large homeless camp in south Minneapolis. The group of more than 200 people also discussed the specifics of camp residents’ impending move to a navigation center — three large heated tents to be assembled near the Franklin Avenue light-rail station.”

Says Steve Karnowski for the AP, “Filing Minnesota state income tax returns for 2018 is going to be more of a pain than usual because lawmakers and the governor left a crucial piece of legislation unfinished, and it’s too late to fix before the upcoming tax season. … While legislative leaders say they want to pass a long-term solution soon after the Legislature reconvenes Jan. 8, taxpayers are still stuck with the rules that now exist.”

WCCO-TV’s Katie Steiner reports: “A years-long back and forth between the city of Minneapolis and Nicole Curtis came to some kind of conclusion Sunday when the reality TV star held an open house for her north Minneapolis property. Curtis, who hosts the HGTV show ‘Rehab Addict,’ said the open house is meant to raise money and awareness for Backpack Project MN …. She bought the house from the city for $2 five years ago. After a lawsuit, liens for not paying contractors and complaints from neighbors, the home is finished and up for sale.”

For Business Insider, Margaret Ungarino reports, “On the first day of 2018, widely followed analyst Gene Munster of the venture capital firm Loup Ventures predicted Amazon would buy Target this year, a forecast that has yet to pan out with 22 days left. The firm just doubled down on that prediction, however, writing in a new note that the deal still makes sense. … Though the timing of the deal is difficult to pinpoint, it would appear an acquisition could get done between now and 2021, Munster told Business Insider in an interview on Friday.”

Speaking of Amazon, John Ewoldt writes in the Star Tribune, “With a click instead of an ax, Amazon shoppers can spend about $110 for a 6- to 7-foot spruce, Fraser or Balsam fir that will be delivered to your doorstep in a cardboard box within two to five days. Minnesota tree growers think they’re well positioned to face the new competition. While live Christmas trees in a box represent a tentative market with strong growth potential for Amazon, online sales totaled less than 3 percent of the live tree market in 2017. That has stayed about the same for the past eight years, according to National Christmas Tree Association.”

Stribber Paul Walsh says, “A red-tailed hawk in the Twin Cities that lived for days with an arrow lodged in one of its legs has died despite the best efforts to save its life, according to those who cared for the bird. The executive director of the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota said Sunday that it’s most likely that the young hawk was intentionally shot, which is illegal. ‘It appears based on the path of the arrow through the body that the bird was likely perched and shot from below,’ said the center’s Julia Ponder. She said the center is unaware of anyone who has been held responsible for the hawk’s death.”

Also from Walsh: “A former University of Minnesota ticketing director has admitted in court to enriching himself through a long-running scheme involving football and men’s hockey and basketball ticket orders. Brent A. Holck, 37, of Maple Grove, pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Minneapolis to wire fraud for siphoning money from April 2012 to January 2017. Neither Holck’s attorney, Peter Wold, nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office has revealed how much Holck took.”

At Politico, Martin Matishak says, “The incoming Democratic governor of Wisconsin on Sunday didn’t rule out legal action if his defeated rival, Gov. Scott Walker, signs Republican legislation that would strip his administration of key responsibilities. ‘All issues are on the table,’ Gov.-elect Tony Evers said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’ Evers said he had a telephone conversation with Walker about vetoing the ‘bad legislation’ and that the defeated incumbent was ‘noncommittal.’ However, Walker has indicated in interviews that he will sign the measures, which the GOP-controlled state legislature pushed through last week in a rare lame-duck session.”

Says E.J. Dionne in The Washington Post about the lawmakers’ actions in Wisconsin: “The GOP’s anti-democratic impulse has far more in common with the old segregationist Democrats of the South than with the best Republican traditions that led to the rights-conferring 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. The party’s efforts to lock in power regardless of election outcomes also eerily echo some of the behaviors of anti-democratic politicians abroad. At least a few anti-Trump Republicans are facing up to how extensively their party is undermining democracy’s golden rules. …But most in the party are either complicit or silent.”

Says an MPR story, “In a rematch of last February’s Olympic gold medal match, the U.S. men’s curling team beat Sweden on Sunday to win a Curling World Cup event in Omaha, Neb. The U.S., led by Minnesotan John Shuster, defeated Sweden 3-1 to earn a spot in the Curling World Cup Grand Final next May in Beijing. The same two teams faced off earlier this year in the final at the Olympics in South Korea — a match also won by the U.S.”


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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/10/2018 - 07:31 am.

    “We’re creating a work environment where we can have our own staff, we can work in a positive environment towards a positive goal about building Republican values, building the understanding of what Republicans stand for, and showing Minnesotans the value that we can bring to them…”

    We should all look forward (keeping Wisconsin, Michigan and North Carolina in mind) to the new Republican legislative caucus’s explanation of just what “Republican values” are, and what “Republicans stand for.” So far, and especially with Mr. Drazkowski heavily involved, the evidence would seem to indicate that discarding democracy and imposing political dictatorship are high on those lists.

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 12/10/2018 - 07:43 am.

      All this will accomplish is to make rural Minnesota even more irrelevant. Judging by the this and the Hagedorn election, I’m having a hard time finding any sympathy for therm.

    • Submitted by richard owens on 12/11/2018 - 10:20 am.

      Is the New House Caucus a swipe at Daudt?
      Is it the MN version of a Freedom Caucus?

      Part of Tim Miller’s message to fellow Republicans, “…As we move into session my hope is that all of us Republicans will work together to defend the people in our districts from radical liberalism.”

      And what is radical liberalism?
      I assume it must be a newer version of “no taxes”, “more guns”, and “no girls allowed.”

      Thank goodness they will be a minority in the Minority.

  2. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 12/10/2018 - 10:01 am.

    Listened to Kurt Daudt on an extended radio interview this past Friday. Totally incapable of spouting anything but the oldest of party lines. Asked to comment on WI last minute GOP changes: afraid to criticize, afraid to defend. Comments on doing “the will of the people” and then refusing to acknowledge any sort of mandate for Walz. Tells us Scott Walker’s WI record surpasses Dayton’s. I’m sure the D’s are rooting hard to keep this lightweight in place as long as possible…

  3. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/10/2018 - 10:31 am.

    Tony Evers, for the love of God, get a back bone. Does this guy even have a pulse?

    “We’re preparing lawsuits at this moment. As soon as this illegal and unconstitutional legislation is signed, we’re headed to court. The new AG and I will ignore this crap and if Robin Vos doesn’t like it he can see us in court!”

    How come Evers himself wasn’t leading the protests at the capitol? The GOP is bent on completely eliminating the Democratic party, and these liberals are playing the gentleman’s game of golf while the GOP treats it like mixed martial arts: by any means necessary.

    Democracy needs a fighter. I guess it’s not Evers.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/10/2018 - 11:11 am.

      There have been a lot of protests on the capitol since Walker was first elected. Do you know what they accomplished? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Scott Walker survived a recall and then got re-elected.

      Tony Evers got elected governor of Wisconsin. He succeeded in taking down Scott Walker. And now he is focused on legal action, which may reverse what the Republicans are trying to do, and not protesting at the capitol, which has never accomplished anything.

      Tony Evers is the kind of fighter I want. Give me measured action and not unfocused rage.

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/10/2018 - 06:48 pm.

        Ho-lee cow! Thousands of citizens descending on and occupying their capitol for weeks, with 100,000 more outside, does nothing? You, my friend, have an extremely limited view of democracy.

        When the Wisconsin 14 left the state, it allowed time for a movement to take shape. And the movement extended beyond the state. Labor and progressives were both energized in way they hadn’t been in years, and that continues today.

        When the De Vos family was secretly planning their attack on worker freedoms in Michigan, they quietly bought up demonstration permits for the capitol grounds. They knew it would not be helpful to have 100,000 citizens show up to protest the lame duck legislature passing a right to work for less bill.

        These legislators need to be named and shamed. Every one of them will be up for re-election in just 23 months. A liberal PAC can start right now reminding voters of what they did. Wisconsin has a recall law. Some of these legislators will be vulnerable to a recall election.

        I’ll take 100,00 or even 10,000 citizens at the capitol over Tony Evers giving Walker a phone call every time, hands down. The GOP doesn’t give a rat’s behind about norms. They need to be made to pay for their attack on democracy. When people look around and see that there are literally thousands like themselves, they get energized and get active.

        Progressives around the country have a good deal of success in recent years by getting pro sports leagues and other corporations to tell states they won’t do business if they don’t respect citizens’ rights. When Paypal pulled 400 jobs from North Carolina over a bathroom bill, people legislators everywhere took note. It worked in Indiana. It can work in Wisconsin too.

        The Milwaukee Bucks are hot to show off their new tax payer built arena with the NBA All Star game. But they haven’t got it yet. Pressure should be applied to tell the NBA “Back off and respect democracy.” The WI GOP has been targeting black voters in the state since 2011. How about leveraging the already active social consciences that many black NBA stars have? When there were a few states that lagged in recognizing the MLK holiday, people leaned on the NFL and the NBA, and the leagues leaned on those states.

        Good luck to Tony Evers IF he decides to file suit. When it comes before the kangaroo WI Supreme Court, he’ll need all of it he can get. He’ll likely lose there, and then what?

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/11/2018 - 10:35 am.

          That’s right – nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you know Wisconsin, you know that Madison is seen as a crazy outlier. Big protests at the capitol benefits Republicans. The legislators fleeing the state just played in to Scott Walker’s hands. And that movement created accomplished nothing. Walker survived the recall and got re-elected.

          Tony Evers is a smart guy and undersands that was a failed strategy. He understands Wisconsin voters. And he got himself elected. Evers, and his quiet, understated way, is what voters wanted. Not screaming. Not protesting.

          Fixing Wisconsin is a long-term process. It will start with redistricting – which is something we only have control over because Evers won. Throwing tantrums won’t make it go any faster.

    • Submitted by ian wade on 12/10/2018 - 12:09 pm.

      The last thing the Democrats need is a another loud-mouthed zealot yelling behind a placard. As Obama once said “Don’t boo…vote.”

      • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/10/2018 - 06:01 pm.

        May. Evers “may” file a law suit. He’s “considering it”.

        Good Lord. Like going to a gun fight and thinking about bringing a knife.

        • Submitted by Pat Terry on 12/11/2018 - 10:46 am.

          And the “gun” is showing up at protests? How did that woek for the last 8 years. Again, Evers is a smart guy who avoided that failed strategy?

          Is he just not enough of a tough guy for you? Maybe he’s playing chess while you are playing checkers. The first big success for Wisconsin Democrats and you are tearing him down. You should be listening to Evers and learning from him.

  4. Submitted by Laurie Zelesnikar on 12/10/2018 - 12:06 pm.

    Christmas trees for three figures, Amazon? Oh, come on.
    I have to put in a plug for where we bought a truly stunning 8-foot balsam on Saturday for $67, and as always, enjoyed the very best in cheerful personal attention and assistance. You can’t do better.

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