Senate candidate Kurt Bills’ last day of school is first day of intense summer campaigning

Senate candidate Kurt Bills gets ready to board his campaign bus after the last day of school.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills bounded onto his campaign bus Friday with the energy of the high school kids he had just finished teaching for the school year.

He’s going to need that energy.

Bills’ campaign is still skeletal, and he has several major tasks to accomplish this summer before he and Sen. Amy Klobuchar take on each other in earnest after Labor Day. First, he needs to make the introductions through hand-shaking, parade-walking retail politics.

Just before boarding the bus in front of Rosemount High School for a weekend road trip that starts in Redwood Falls, Bills seemed up for the challenge.

Im going out to hit the road and talk about what I believe in, he said.  Once they get to know me, theyre going to vote for me in November.

A poll just released Friday, though, might prompt a  good luck with that reaction.

According to Public Policy Polling, Klobuchar holds a 26-point lead over Bills, and her approval rating stands at 57 percent.

Klobuchar is also campaigning this weekend, visiting businesses in Cloquet, Eveleth, St. Cloud, Grand Rapids and Winona.  And then theres her campaign fund of more than $5 million and growing.

Fundraising is an urgent task for the Bills campaign, which has engaged veteran Republican fundraiser Zandra Wolcott to work with finance director Jeff Lorsung.

Also, campaign manager Mike Osskopp says the campaign is discussing some significant help from the Ron Paul organization, which helped push Bills from high school economics teacher and first-term legislator into the political big leagues.

Osskopp is confident that we will have enough to do what we want to do.

The Paul connection has been controversial and now has resulted in a primary opponent for Bills. Former legislative candidate David Carlson said he will challenge Bills for the Republican nomination because he thinks Bills is unelectable in a general election.

A primary opponent means that Bills may not have the leisure of talking only about his agenda.  He will need a group of advisers who will provide him with policy background, reality checks and a comfort level that he has not yet achieved.

It’s in the works, he said, with advisers being assembled on agriculture, foreign relations and fiscal and monetary policy.

He accepts criticism that his policy positions are, in his word, evolving. People are going to talk about a lot of different concepts, he said.  You just keep studying.

And for Bills, keep hoping that three summer months on the road turns a high school teacher into a well-funded, well-versed and recognizable candidate by September.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/08/2012 - 08:16 pm.

    Retail politics

    Doesn’t work on the state level.
    Personal campaigning is effective if you’re running for city council in Rosemount, but unless he has a campaign organization out on the streets in every city in the state he’s not going to get more than party line votes (if that — see above).

  2. Submitted by Nathaniel Finch on 06/08/2012 - 09:51 pm.


    Bills thinks Minnesota ought to print its own money. Too bad it’s unconstitutional. I don’t think this guy has the wattage to conduct a coherent campaign for the Senate.

  3. Submitted by rolf westgard on 06/09/2012 - 06:29 am.

    New poll from Public Policy Polls

    Amy 55%; Bills 29%.
    Can you say ‘cannon fodder’

  4. Submitted by Chuck Johnson on 06/09/2012 - 09:44 am.

    Tell Me Again What Amy Klobuchar’s Position is on…

    …her President’s pending trillion dollar war with Iran. I called her office to find out two months ago. Her staff told me they would get back to me and I’m still waiting to hear.

    Can one really be a US Senator without having a position on a policy that might well blow up the world and if that doesn’t happen will almost certainly bankrupt the USA as it will likely cost a trillion dollars annually? Her campaign oozes vapidity.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 06/10/2012 - 12:23 pm.

      Since there is no such policy

      it’s impossible for her to have a position on it.

    • Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 06/11/2012 - 02:50 pm.

      If Obama wanted a war with Iran

      then we’d be at war already. There’s no effective outside restraint on a president who really wants a war. There should be, but alas there’s not, said with some lingering hope I’m too pessimistic. If I’m right, the only effective restraint on starting a war is a president who opposes it. Obama clearly doesn’t want a war with Iran. As for the Republicans however, can you see Romney not going to war?

      Not that her own position isn’t a fair question for a senator or candidate. Perfectly fair. All I can tell you is I’ve never heard her say anything in favor of a war.

  5. Submitted by C.S. Senne on 06/09/2012 - 10:55 am.


    Perhaps the econ 101 teacher can ferret out financial advice from Tony Sutton, Amy Koch, Michael Brodkorb, and Tom Emmer…or when all else fails, perhaps Michele can dole out a few gold ingots from her next Presidential campaign coffers!

  6. Submitted by Patrick Tice on 06/09/2012 - 11:52 am.

    Ah, yes – virtue

    Taken directly from Mr. Bills’ website: “Political virtue takes place when politicians make decisions based on self-interest rather than in service to the Constitution and people they represent.”

    If one can get past the hackneyed GOP talking points and the weak grammar on the site, one might wonder why there is no mention of the glowing virtue of the free market, where individuals and corporations always set aside self-centered greed and short-term profit to instead build better communities and a better nation. That is why everything must be privatized!

    Big lulz, Kurt!

    • Submitted by Dan Kruse on 06/10/2012 - 03:59 pm.

      political virtue

      His web site indicated that “political virtue” is this countries greatest obstacle. Yes, the sentence is a direct quote (cut and paste even) but choosing this out of context is rather poor taste whatever your politics.

      No idea where the phrase “political virtue” came from but Patrick seems to be indicating that Mr. Bill is for it rather than against it.

      It is rather strange to use the term “virtue” as negative.

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 06/11/2012 - 10:06 am.

        He is taking it exactly opposite.

        From Wikipedia:
        The political virtues were listed by Bernard Crick “In Defense of Politics”, 1982. They included but were not limited to:

        prudence: take one step, then see its results before taking another

        conciliation: making friends with people you have argued with

        compromise: giving up some things you want to get those things that are most important to you

        variety: people want to have a number of choices that are different from each other

        adaptability:meet the needs of changing times

        liveliness: never be boring


        It really bugs me that he has it exactly opposite–taking what should be a positive and defining it as a politician operating in their own narrow interest. It’s very odd that someone would make that a political point, and be so wrong on it’s definition.

Leave a Reply