Hann-McKendry Senate matchup is another close race in a GOP stronghold

With a sense of destiny, the DFL is missing no opportunity to make gains in the Republican-dominated western suburbs.

Sen. David Hann
Sen. David Hann

The DFL is moving aggressively to capitalize on concerns about a possible conflict of interest involving third-term Republican Sen. David Hann, who is being challenged in District 48 in Eden Prairie by Laurie McKendry, a small-business owner.

Hann — who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which regulates insurance providers — recently took a position with Boys and Tyler Financial Group, an Eden Prairie company that sells such products as health insurance.

“The reality is that you have to call into question someone’s ethics when the job they are paid to do conflicts with his Senate chairmanship of a committee that provides oversight to the industry,” said Ken Martin, chair of the Minnesota DFL Party.

Even though the election is less than a week away, Martin says the party will make some independent expenditures to criticize Hann’s position. “Lots of stuff is going to happen,” Martin promised.  “Mail, TV and other paid advertisements.”

Hann was contacted for comment but said he was on the way to the hospital with his wife, who has been receiving chemotherapy treatments. Hann’s website notes his new position with Boys and Tyler but doesn’t offer specifics of what the job involves.

Hann’s re-election battle — like the Senate District 49 race in neighboring Edina, and their companion House seats — will not be an easy win for Republicans. According to Martin, such suburbs as Eden, Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka have been trending, albeit slowly, from red to purple.

“It’s the changing demographics,” Martin said. “There’s a huge influx of Somali voters in Eden Prairie and other minority populations have exploded.  All second-rings suburbs are seeing this.”  

Julie McKendry
Laurie McKendry

Hann’s opponent, McKendry, says voters in the district are more socially and fiscally moderate than the current crop of Republicans, whose mantra has been “no new taxes” and who propelled a ban on gay marriage onto the ballot as a constitutional amendment. “These things don’t register here in the western suburbs,” she said.

The Hann-McKendry matchup was not on MinnPost’s list of hotly contested races to watch to determine who will control the Legislature, but the race has heated up over Hann’s new job.

The DFL is convinced that the race has become very competitive and will spend some money to make it so.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by John Edwards on 10/30/2012 - 12:15 pm.

    Why is this a news story? Oh, he’s Republican.

    Tom Lyden’s reporting is quite revealing because he destroys his own “objectivity.” If it was not a story when former DFL Sen. and farmer Jim Vickerman chaired the Agriculture Committee, and when DFL Sen. and educator Sandy Pappas once chaired higher education, why is it a story now?

    Wait, of course, Hann is a Republican. MinnPost puts its house “Republican” Cyndy Brucato (liberal Gov. Arne Carlson’s former press person) on it for credibility, obviously thinking “this story just might turn an unanticipated seat to a DFLer.”

    I can’t count the lawyers who were on judiciary committees, farmers on agriculture committees, and educators on education committees at the legislature over the years. Are not they supposed to bring real-world experience and insight to their positions?

    Perhaps we should just go to the MinnPost and DFL ideal of a full-time, highly paid legislature.

    • Submitted by Alec Timmerman on 10/30/2012 - 06:27 pm.

      You intentionally miss the point

      Did any of the folks you mentioned try and hide their connections? That is the point. Of course it makes sense to have a farmer on the AG committee or a teacher on education or even a health insurance exec on health committees.

      The point, is that you disclose it. REal world experience is good. So is real world integrity. That is the point.

  2. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/30/2012 - 12:37 pm.

    It’s not Hann’s new job, it’s his silence…

    …about conflict of interest issues.

    If he didn’t have anything to hide, why not just tell us all about the new job, what he’s getting paid to do, how long he’s had the job ?? You know, transparent disclosure.

    Another thing I wouldn’t take for granted, given that his lips are sealed, is that he only recently acquired this employment relationship. Has he been in ANY kind of business relationship with this or other entities that he has not reported ?

    People if offoce don’t stonewall because they’re too busy; he gave the same excuse a few days ago – too busy, had a campaign stop. They stonewall because there is something to hide.

  3. Submitted by David Johnson on 10/30/2012 - 01:19 pm.

    DFL hypocritical on ‘conflict of interest’

    John’s comments about Tom Lydon and the ‘much ado about nothing’ hype of Hann are spot on.

    Hann has done….what, precisely? Nothing but think about maybe selling insurance. Got that? He doesn’t sell insurance, but it’s still a conflict of interest to these moral paragons. Okay, so where were the DFLers and Channel 9 when DFL rep Maria Ruud (former EP rep) spent all 6 of her years in the legislature on the following committees while working as a nurse:

    • Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight.
    • Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Subcommittee: Licensing Division.

    Where was Tom Lydon or any of the DFL hacks feeding him this story when Ruud served on these committees while working full time as a NURSE? Nowhere. She wasn’t THINKING about working as a nurse, she was ACTUALLY working as one all the while sitting on the oversight cmte of the very industry in which she made her living.

    Lydon is either a tool (on both senses of the word) or complicit in ginning up a fake controversy.

    Local DFL hacks claim that because we all KNEW that Ruud worked in the very industry she oversaw that the conflict no longer existed. That’s not how COI works, but let’s go with their logic for a minute. So…. since we now KNOW that Hann might work in the insurance industry, any COI he might have is now gone. Q.E.D.

    Unfortunately for the DFL, after redistricting, SD48 is now R+6 which is an increase over the old R+1 of the previous district boundaries. So this story, along with the lies put forth by the local DFL agitators about Kirk Stensrud (48A) shows how desperate they are and how weak McKendry and Selcer’s campaigns are.

  4. Submitted by Tracy Johnson on 10/30/2012 - 02:12 pm.

    Here’s why this is a news story…Hann is hiding the truth

    David Hann has been hiding his ties to the Insurance industry and not telling the truth about who he is employed with. Once this hit the news, he scrubbed his website. That certainly looks suspicious to me! He still isn’t letting on that he has license to sell insurance. Now David Hann has finally disclosed he works for Boys & Tyler FInancial who does sell Health Insurance…but only after he was caught.

    I also noticed that David Hann gets thousands of dollars in PAC money from the medical/insurance industry.

    Even worse, uncovered just yesterday is that David Hann was also hiding the fact that he is on the board of MAHU (Minnesota Association of Health Underwriters Board of Directors). That sounds like enough information to warrant Hann’s resignation from his post as Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

    At minimum, a thorough investigation is warranted into ALL of Senator David Hann’s suspicious activites surrounding his insurance industry ties as well as his role in the Koch/Brodkorb sex scandal.

  5. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 10/30/2012 - 02:15 pm.

    I’ll answer that.

    ***”If it was not a story when former DFL Sen. and farmer Jim Vickerman chaired the Agriculture Committee, and when DFL Sen. and educator Sandy Pappas once chaired higher education, why is it a story now? ”

    Because everyone knew – KNEW – Vickerman was a farmer, and Pappas on the faculty of Metro State.

    It’s a matter of disclosure and sunshine, for Vickerman and Pappas – and lack thereof, for Hann.

  6. Submitted by Tommy Johnson on 10/30/2012 - 02:32 pm.

    A Sure Sign Hann Is In Danger Of Losing:

    David Johnson, a Vice Chair for the GOP’s SD48, coming on here to defend Hann.

  7. Submitted by john steinlicht on 10/30/2012 - 03:49 pm.

    Or a Lawyer on Judicial Committee?

    Two things;
    1. if it’s disclosure you are worried about, perhaps Mr. Hann needs to explain? I hope he does.
    2. I want the chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee to know as much as possible about the industry they are dealing with, don’t you? e.g., a lawyer on a judicial committee.

    Lastly, and possibly most difficult to accept, our political leaders need to exhibit the ethics we would expect from a judge to recuse herself from a vote or decision sua sponte (on their own motion), recognizing that there are facts or positions demanding their disqualification should there be a potential for conflict of interest.

    I do expect the ethics bar to be set high and believe Mr. Hann meets this standard.

  8. Submitted by Cady Stauss on 10/30/2012 - 04:24 pm.

    It is yet another issue that speak to Hann’s character

    Lying or shading your work or work history has been known to get people fired or put out of the running for a job

    Mr Hann has also been doing a very fast tap dance on the whole Brodkorb affair (no not the Amy Koch affair). I am talking about his role in the cover-up, which we will never get to the bottom of with GOP control in the senate.

    But the thing that irks me the most is how he views his current role – apparently as one with supreme unary powers. I am talking now about his intransigence on implementing Minnesota’s HBE, contravening federal law. I would love to see the US justice dept take action on this.

    In short, Hann is a bad actor and simply must go.

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