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How the House GOP conquered rural Minnesota

MinnPost photo by Tom Olmscheid
An election judge posting a sample ballot on the entrance of the Douglas Town Hall prior to voters arriving at their polling place last Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Republicans in the Brainerd area had a problem: they couldn’t find anyone to run against DFL Rep. John Ward.

It shouldn’t have been difficult. The 2014 midterm election would favor Republicans, and Ward’s Minnesota House District 10A — which stretches from Brainerd to north of Pequot Lakes — went for Mitt Romney over Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012 by a wide margin. But Ward, a four-term DFL incumbent, had regularly defied the political leanings of his district. In 2012, he won re-election by 14-points.

So Republicans in the area enforced an unspoken rule: If the party activists couldn’t find anyone to step up, they would have to step up themselves. That’s how a former Crow Wing County Republican Chairman, Josh Heintzeman, got into the race.

By this fall, Republican groups were targeting Ward. GOP-aligned outside groups began putting money into the race, casting Ward as the “deciding vote” in the House Rules Committee that approved the unpopular state Senate office building project. Ward’s 2013 vote in favor legalizing gay marriage in Minnesota — despite the fact that his district had voted in favor of a constitutional ban on gay marriage just a year earlier — was another underlying issue in the district. Still, DFLers mostly dismissed the notion that the popular incumbent could be beaten.

On election night, Minnesota Republicans picked up 11 House seats, thanks to a series of victories in rural Minnesota that toppled freshman and veteran lawmakers alike and gave Republicans control of the chamber. It was a dramatic result, and a somewhat confounding one, given that the very same night saw DFLers Gov. Mark Dayton and U.S. Sen. Al Franken easily sail to victory. 

In many ways, no race epitomized the Republicans’ efforts in Greater Minnesota more than the campaign for the seat in District 10A. Not just because Heintzeman ended up defeating Ward by 6 points — but also because of the way he found victory. 

Good candidates trump party

The GOP takeover of the House started months before election night, when the party went to recruit candidates.

Especially in close-knit rural towns, the power of a strong candidate cannot be overstated, and Republicans managed to find more than a few capable ones  — people like schoolteacher Peggy Bennett in Albert Lea or former legislator Jim Knoblach in St. Cloud. Each of those candidates beat Democratic incumbents, even though both Dayton and Franken dominated at the top of the ticket in their districts. Knoblach even outperformed Congressman-elect Tom Emmer in his race.

In all, eight of the 11 pickups by Republicans on election night featured at least some ticket splitting between Dayton and/or Franken and the GOP House candidates — a practice that reinforced just how local politics really are in rural Minnesota. Indeed, that kind of ticket-splitting was virtually nonexistent in suburban races for the state House.

A rifle, not a shotgun

When Democratic candidates knocked on doors in rural Minnesota, they had a laundry list of reasons why voters should elect them on November 4. Among them: Democrats had paid back the school shift in the majority after Republicans had made it worse when they held control of the Legislature; Democrats had put more money into schools, passed economic protections for women and increased the minimum wage while Republicans passed divisive social issues, and so on. 

But Republicans had a potent message, too, and it was a simple one: Rural Democrats had left their constituents behind by voting with their Minneapolis and St. Paul leadership. It was a message that could be applied to a host of issues: transportation funding, bonding projects, gay marriage, policy areas where environmental and economic interests clashed.

State Rep.-elect Dave Baker, Willmar
MinnPost photo by Briana Bierschbach
State Rep.-elect Dave Baker, Willmar, speaking at last Wednesday’s news conference.

“They were leveling three or four or five different charges against Republicans: They’re against women, they are against senior citizens, they are Tea Partiers, they are going to cut education funding,” GOP campaign operative Gregg Peppin said. “It was very shotgun as opposed to a rifle approach, and after a certain point it becomes ineffective. The rural versus metro message was clear and concise.”

Republicans also had a perfect symbol for that message, a gift from DFL-led legislature: The new senate office building. Daudt described it as Democrats’ “biggest liability” on the campaign trail, an easy-to-understand example of “misplaced priorities.”

“The House Democrats could lay the senate office building at [Senate Majority Leader] Tom Bakk’s feet and say, ‘You helped crystallize wasteful spending,’” says former House Minority leader and gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. “They raised taxes to help pay for stuff like this, while your area gets nothing and the roads are falling apart. It was so easy for the Republicans to exploit that.” 

Gay marriage and the ‘deep rural’ vote

In the wake of the election, some Republicans have tried to downplay the role a contentious 2013 vote to legalize gay marriage played in their House takeover. Republican House Speaker-elect Kurt Daudt himself noted that while seven rural Democrats lost their seats for bucking their districts on gay marriage, so too did the two rural Democrats who voted against legalizing gay marriage. 

Yet many strategists do believe that gay marriage helped Republicans in at least five “deep rural” seats in the Minnesota House. GOP Rep.-elect Jeff Backer said he didn’t bring the issue up at the doors in his race for House District 12A, but voters did. “It came up at the door,” he said. “The people who are passionate about it are very passionate about it.” Backer ended up beating DFL Rep. Jay McNamar, who voted to legalize gay marriage, by about 4 points. 

DFL Rep. Tim Faust, who lost his seat in the Hinckley area, said gay marriage “absolutely” played a role in a handful of districts, including his own. “If we hadn’t done that would we have won all of these districts? Maybe not all of them, but we would have won some of them,” Faust said. Even the two Democrats who didn’t vote to legalize gay marriage were still guilty by association. That’s OK. I don’t regret my vote … the good it did outweighed the losses this election.”

Savvy spending in select districts

For a lot of pundits, it’s hard to say just how much outside spending played a role in legislative races, though rural races certainly attracted much of the spending from outside and party groups this cycle. According to the pre-general election campaign finance reports, spending had reached $500,000 or more for some House seats — an enormous amount of money compared to what has been spent in the past — as Republicans groups focused their attention on the Legislature rather than top-of-the-ticket contests. But in many cases, DFL and GOP groups simply matched each other in spending, and in certain races liberal-aligned groups spent even more than GOP-aligned ones.

But Republicans groups like the Minnesota Jobs Coalition spent their money late in the game strategically, going after veteran incumbents like DFL Reps. Patti Fritz and Andrew Falk, who few had on their radar as races to watch. The final weeks of the campaign also saw a barrage of negative attacks from the Republican Party of Minnesota, giving Democrats little opportunity to respond. 

“It’s one thing to send out 50 lit pieces, it’s another thing to put out 50 lies,” Faust added, pointing to an ad Republicans put out just weeks before the election accusing Democrats of lightening penalties for drunk drivers. The law in question actually allowed drivers with DWI convictions to keep their driving privileges if they paid for ignition interlock systems. Those systems require the driver to test their blood alcohol content before driving and had support from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Faust said. “This was by far the worst election I’ve seen as far as distortions of the truth.”

Low turnout helped

There were also factors that aided Republicans, developments that were not part of anyone’s plan. Few, for example, predicted just how low turnout would be on election day: Slightly more than half of the 3.9 million registered voters in the state showed up to the polls this year, the lowest number in more than 20 years. Turnout was down across the state compared to 2010, but only slightly in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, helping Dayton, Franken and suburban DFL candidates win in those areas. 

In rural Minnesota, turnout was down by about 10 percentage points since 2010. Much of the drop-off was almost certainly among DFL voters, while those who did show up in those districts were likely over the age of 45.

“The top of mind issues for that population are health care and long term care,” said Brad Finstad, a former Republican lawmaker who now runs the Center for Rural Policy and Development. “Demographically, you can broadly assume that an aging population means a more conservative population.” 

Comments (128)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 11/11/2014 - 10:34 am.


    Hmmm. Rural areas are almost always more conservative than urban areas, so I can’t say I’m surprised Republicans picked up some seats in rural areas of Minnesota in an off-year election.

    Good candidates – “good” meaning people with some name recognition in the district and at least the appearance of thoughtfulness, rather than firebrand zealots – also helps a great deal. Having lived for some time in a rural area, there’s much truth to the notion that a good candidate will often trump party affiliation. Of course, that also works the other way, and probably accounts for at least some of the DFL representatives coming from rural areas that tend to vote Republican in presidential races.

    A confirmed ticket-splitter myself, my bias is that it’s a good thing.

    It’s only a hope, but nonetheless it *is* a hope that the DFL will learn from its mistakes this go-round. I like the “rifle versus shotgun” metaphor quite a bit, and hope the DFL will use a similar approach the next time.

    Low turnout definitely helped. “Democracy,” as it’s usually defined, only works if there’s full-blown citizen participation. In Colorado, the party affiliation split is pretty close to a uniform 33% Republican, 33% Democrat, 33% independent, so independent voters had (and have) enormous influence. I’m not sure of the figures here in Minnesota. If the DFL has a majority of registered voters here, and half of them don’t show up at the polls, it’s pretty much a guarantee that Republicans will win, so turnout is crucial. Republicans know this as well as Democrats, which is a primary reason why Republicans have spent so much time and effort to suppress voting numbers wherever they can, via “voter fraud” propaganda and photo ID proposals. If the plurality of Minnesota voters do, in fact, lean DFL (I confess I have no idea), then the DFL was asleep at the wheel this time around.

    For me, the biggest puzzle is the success of the senate office building strategy. Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it’s my understanding that the renovation of the Capitol will basically eliminate state senate offices anyway, so new, or at least different, permanent senate office space would have to be found regardless of who wins whatever election. That is, it might just as well be Republicans who fund a new building in the next few years – or sign a long-term lease for equivalent space rental in an existing building near the Capitol that might well be more expensive than a new building. Senators are going to need office and staff space no matter what, so turning this into a partisan issue that swayed voters is something of an eye-opener, and perhaps a nice example of a lie by omission rather than commission.

    That said, however, there was a whiff of the unnecessarily luxurious about the plans for the building that were publicized, and that may well be what turned it into a successful partisan issue. It’s pretty easy for legislators at every level – local city or county councils, state legislators, Congressional representatives and senators – to forget that they’re essentially temporary employees who’ve been hired by the public. The notion that they’re entitled – especially when they begin to *feel* entitled – to special privileges because of their position is one that, sadly, knows no party boundaries.

    • Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/11/2014 - 12:13 pm.


      For me, the biggest puzzle is the success of the senate office building strategy.

      The DFL strategy was basically to not respond on the issue, hoping that it would be ineffective or go away. That’s our approach to a lot of issues. Sometimes it works, as apparently happened in the governor’s race, sometimes it doesn’t seem to work as seemed to be the case in the house races.

      The senate office building issue itself was as pure a distillation of hypocrisy as can be found in politics. Republicans were just involved in the process as Democrats, and just as eager to move in to nice new offices. The campaign against the office building was run by Norm Coleman who as mayor of St. Paul never found a boondoggle he didn’t like. Nobody by the GOP campaign seriously cared about the building itself, if anything they expect to benefit from it. And if you notice, there is no attempt at all now from Republicans to repurpose the building, donate it to the University of Minnesota for example.

      For myself, as a good DFLer, I am all for building stuff in recessionary times. It gets guys of the bench and puts cheap money into circulation. While building an office for senators would never be high on my list of priorities, I am not one for allowing the best to be the enemy of the good. What frustrated me as much as anything was that once the politically difficult decision was made to build the building, the DFL had no strategy in place for defending the building.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 12:37 pm.

      More Space

      In a world where automation, computers, coomunications, etc allow businesses to operate with less space. I don’t think people understand why the government needs more office space? Unless of course it is not becoming more effective.

      • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/11/2014 - 01:01 pm.

        Another solution

        Downsize 1/3 of the legislature and they’ll have plenty of room.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/11/2014 - 01:36 pm.

        Overestimating the electorate

        I don’t think the people for whom the Senate office building was an issue were quite that thoughtful. If they were, they would know that existing buildings are not always adaptable to new technology. They might know that the meeting spaces in existing buildings is inadequate and there isn’t enough room for Senators and their staff, however “effective” they may be (ever been to the legislative offices, especially during the session? They don’t run for he job for the real estate). A thoughtful voter with a longer memory might know that the issue of more space has been batted around without resolution for four decades.

        No, the voters for whom this was an issue probably weren’t as nuanced as you would like to think. They just heard someone telling them that those liberals in St. Paul were spending more of their money. The reasons why they were spending it just weren’t part of the calculus.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 07:56 pm.

          Common Theme

          You are likely correct. People who live in the rural areas keep doing more with less.

          The common theme of Democrats that the government needs more, more, more may not sit so well…

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/12/2014 - 08:44 am.

        And yet

        The population, and subsequent infrastructure needs keep growing, MN has to compete globally, and citizens are able through various means to have much more consistent and direct access to their representatives, at ALL hours of the day, all of which means that our state government needs to rely on more people (humans) to do a lot of this kind of work.

        I’ve been around a wide variety of business in my time, and since the 80’s, I haven’t seen a noticeable reduction in needed workspace for law firms, sheet metal manufacturers, large-scale commercial printing companies, computer animation firms, general contractors, retail, hard goods, etc etc.

  2. Submitted by Jim Halonen on 11/11/2014 - 10:36 am.

    The DFL is joyous (and the GOP is remorseful) that the MN Senate wasn’t up for re-election last week as that chamber would have flipped to GOP control also.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 12:44 pm.

      If the GOP does not screw up too badly during the next 2 years, I think the rural areas will support them again in 2016.

      Most folks out there want less government intrusion in their lives and wallets.

      • Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/11/2014 - 01:10 pm.

        Except for….

        Paved roads, public education, snow removal, nursing homes, public safety, public health, court systems, mail delivery, potable water, agricultural irrigation, electric power, internet access, tourism promotion and farm subsidies.

        Can you tell me which of those things rural folks no longer want? We can stop providing it whenever they like because the rural areas cost more than they bring in tax revenue. We can start by eliminating LG&A to rural areas. I’m sure they’ll love that.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 06:07 pm.


          Please provide a source showing the cross subsidy. I keep reading here that the rural folks receive more than they pay, however I have seen no data to back this up.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 11/12/2014 - 01:13 pm.

            No problem, John..


            • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 04:44 pm.

              We will need to look further

              This source only covers benefits paid to individuals, and it indicates the age demographic is the primary cause for the difference. (ie not rural vs metro)

              “Since 1979, nonmetro per capita transfer payments have risen faster than payments in metro areas. Most of this increase comes from the rising cost of government programs that provide medical benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid. Because nonmetro areas have an older population and a higher proportion of persons with disabilities than metro areas, nonmetro areas receive more transfer payments for retirement and medical costs.”

              I am looking for total taxes collected by county as compared to total expenditures.

              • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/13/2014 - 10:13 am.

                Don’t forget to look at the amounts

                Received from LGA which allows most of those rural towns to exist.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 12:31 pm.


                the entire piece regards rural vs metro. Obviously age disparity plays a role

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/13/2014 - 02:38 pm.


                  That was interesting, however how do we compare major investments like the new stadium, the senate office building, light rail, huge metro road projects and other State direct expenditures that do not flow through local state aid? (ie most of the bonding bill) Even you must admit that those expenditures offset years and years of slight state aid differences.

                  And how do we address that the metro cabin owners, campers and tourists benefit greatly from some of that aid when they leave the cities?

                  • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 07:55 pm.

                    No, I don’t admit anything of the sort

                    All of the infrastructure you mentioned benefits the most populous area in the state….the producers that pull the wagon the rural community sits in. And when I go to my cabin, I don’t expect the same infrastructure that’s available in the cities. The only people that do are the same ones that tear down perfectly good cabins to build mini-mansions that don’t fit the landscape, mow their lawn down to the waterline and then complain about weed growth after their fertilizer fouls the lake.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2014 - 08:17 am.

                      Travel Time

                      You would be satisfied with 2 lanes roads that were backed up all the way to cabin country? Probably quadrupling your commute time.

                      You would be satisfied with no hospitals, police or fire fighters in that area of the state? Just in case something went wrong up there.

                      Few or no businesses to visit or eat at while up there?

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 11/14/2014 - 05:22 pm.

                      My commute time is irrelvant.

                      It’s a cabin that we head to four months out of the year. There are already hospitals, police and firefighters. And how is it that I have to subsidize a private business? We bring are own food and are there for peace and tranquility. If someone wants to open a business, they should do their due diligence, construct a business plan and implement it at their own risk, just like here in the Cities.. You free market types are very selective in your devotion to the ideology.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2014 - 06:11 pm.

                      My point is that city folk benefit almost as much from keeping the Northern 1/2 of our State accessible, modern, secure, safe, etc as any of the people who live there. And in fact the city folk commuting is what makes many the out state investments necessary in the first place.

                      Do you think the people of Brainerd, Duluth and their communities need expense highway city bypasses to get around up there?

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 11/17/2014 - 07:45 am.

                      Who says the roads aren’t accessible now?

                      35 isn’t exactly a cowpath, but thanks for agreeing with my assessment that out state thrives on the success, strength and diversity of the metro economy. By the way, you must not get to Brainerd or Duluth much.

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/17/2014 - 09:57 am.


                      My parents have a place near Grand Marais, I remember a time long before all the tunnels on 35 and 61.

                      Many people in the tourism areas appreciate the business just as much as the folks in the city appreciate the escape. I think it is a win-win situation for both. My point is that the state spends money in rural areas for everyones benefit, just like the money they are spending on the new stadium.

        • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/13/2014 - 01:19 pm.

          Explain how a nursing home would cost more in rural mn than it would in the metro. There doesn’t seem to be any reason I can think of that would cause it to cost more. In addition, just because a few things might cost more to do in rural mn is no reason to not do them. Citizens in rural mn should not be left out just because it might cost more to provide them the same things metro citizens enjoy already. Maybe if it costs so much more they should take something away from the metro to cover the costs instead.

          • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/13/2014 - 10:45 pm.

            So the rural people are not

            Self reliant? But Tester said all of the white married rural people are self reliant. BTW your last sentence smells of a redistribution of wealth scheme – an appalling idea to most right wingers

  3. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/11/2014 - 10:36 am.


    I don’t know of a single DFL activist who got involved in this year’s campaign because he or she thought senators needed a new office building.

  4. Submitted by Dan Landherr on 11/11/2014 - 11:15 am.

    You have to wonder

    $500,000 spent to get a job that pays $31,000 a year. Some of these legislators can make more campaigning than they do legislating.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 12:40 pm.

      Elections Funding Communities

      Just think of all the advertising, printing, staff jobs, hotels, restaurants, etc that loved that huge money inflow.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/11/2014 - 02:07 pm.

        Elections as jobs programs

        Given that “printing, staff jobs, hotels, restaurants” jobs are primarily low-wage positions, my guess is that most of the money spent on election cycles ends up in the pockets of media companies, whose boards and CEOs donate heavily to SuperPACS. This is just more trickle down economics (which as history has shown, doesn’t work).

        I’m also guessing the people who work in the staff/hotel/service fields in rural communities would rather have more customers with better earning potential that could then spend more money in their own community. This can be accomplished through things like minimum wage laws, job training programs, and investment in bringing high-speed internet to rural MN.

        The last thing we need are longer, more divisive, and more expensive election cycles.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 06:20 pm.

          Glass half empty

          I would prefer to look at the glass half full.

          Someone is producing the commercials, organizing the events, buying fuel for the buses, feeding the participants, etc. We like tourists out in the country, be they hunters, snowmobilers, or politicians.

          As I have said before, higher wages mean higher costs. Which impacts the older fixed income folks more.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/12/2014 - 08:34 am.

            Try “Opaque Thermos”

            You can’t see if the glass if full or empty… because you can’t see through it. With 12.5 million in PAC money being spent in Minnesota’s 8th alone, and with no transparency in HOW that money was spent by these PACS, you actually don’t know anything about where those commercials were produced… given that PAC coordination with candidates is verboten, I would guess they were NOT produced in MN, but they would have had to pay Stan Hubbard a lot of money to air them.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 01:14 pm.

              Profit Margin

              $12,500,000 in revenues
              $ 1,250,000 ~10% in profit (which is taxed)
              $11,250,000 in costs (ie paying people)

              Still a pretty good jobs program

  5. Submitted by jody rooney on 11/11/2014 - 11:28 am.

    While I enjoy Ray’s comments it is time to

    stop discussion. Please give us some peace in the in between cycles which seem to last maybe 60 days.

  6. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/11/2014 - 12:25 pm.

    Class warfare

    Find one group, let them know (since they really had little idea of it in the first place) that another group is taking advantage of them, create petty jealousies and offer a chance to get even. When the D’s do it to the R’s it is class warfare. When the R’s do it to the D’s it is smart politics. Go figure… Results are meaningless in our current political environment and Scott Walker is exhibit A: He is a prime potential GOP presidential candidate and yet can’t come close to Mark Dayton’s actual results on the ground.

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/11/2014 - 01:05 pm.


      for the accurate description of the first term of our current governor. What you omitted is that class successful class warfare requires buying in to victim status and at the same time redefining fairness so the victims perceive themselves as being taken advantage of. The rest is easy.

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/11/2014 - 02:14 pm.


        The distinguishing feature of the American conservative is the belief that they are the real “victims” in America. The world just won’t stop picking on them.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 07:45 pm.

          Or American Conservatives believe there are far viewer victims and villains than American Liberals do.

          • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/12/2014 - 08:38 am.


            Well, self-identified Democrats DO outnumber self-identified Republicans, so you’ve kind of just reinforced RB’s point.

          • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 11/12/2014 - 09:23 am.


            Have you ever heard of FOX news? Please tune in some time and then give us the update on the scarcity of villains as viewed by you and your conservative fellow travelers.

          • Submitted by jason myron on 11/12/2014 - 12:53 pm.

            Funny stuff, Appelen

            The entire GOP ideological tenet in 2014 is fear….what to fear and who to blame for it. That and old, white Christian men are victims. Let’s not forget racists, misogynists and homophobes too. They all want to “take our country back”…back to the days when women, blacks and gays knew their place.

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 10:09 pm.

              I Disagree

              I think the GOP uses fear and jealousy far less than the Democrats.

              • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 12:56 pm.

                Disagree all you want.

                Which party wet their pants over Ebola, ISIS, same sex marriage, a “war” on Christianity, immigrants, IRS, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, Putin, Communism, Bin Laden, etc? Republicans sell fear to an ignorant electorate. They always have and they always will…..tell ’em what to be afraid of and who to blame for it. Heard much about Ebola since the elections were held? Me neither.
                Dems don’t sell fear or jealousy. The jealousy angle is played up by people like you. People that whine over any tax structure that doesn’t benefit them personally and anyone that doesn’t share their outrage over their illusion that they’re over-taxed must be jealous. Lot’s of us have income levels that are similar to yours, and don’t mind paying our fair share. The fact is no one cares about what you make, we care about how ungrateful you are for your success when others haven’t been as lucky. In fact, the real jealousy also comes from your side….jealousy that maybe someone is getting something YOU feel they don’t deserve based on your biased stereotypes of them.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/13/2014 - 02:55 pm.


                It was the Democrats who brought up Ebola at the end of the last campaign. It was a Democratic Senate candidate who showed video clips of hooded terrorists. Going back a little further, it was a Democrat who tried to whip his supporters up by talking about the 47% (envy!). If you want to go back further, it was a Democrat who ran the Willie Horton ads, as well as those idiotic “bear in the woods” spots.

                Except, of course, it wasn’t.

                Sure, both sides do it. I will say that the Republicans have been the party to rely on that tactic as their main theme.

                • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2014 - 08:10 am.

                  On the other hand

                  Democrats sell fear of businesses, business owners, financial institutions, big money in politics, people taking away welfare / medicaid, people taking away social security / medicare, global warming, pollution, endangered species, gay/lesbian haters, big military, deportation of illegal residents, globalization, racists, etc, etc, etc.

                  Maybe we can call it a draw. Both sides know that fear motivates people, and they are not afraid to use it.

                  • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/14/2014 - 09:03 am.

                    False Equivalencies… this is not a “draw”

                    “Democrats sell fear of businesses, business owners, financial institutions”
                    -This is not true. Democrats, many of whom are most certainly in bed with big business, are not out there demonizing business. Certain business owners and practices, yes, but not as you’ve cast it here.

                    “Democrats sell fear of… …big money in politics…”
                    -Sort of True… Dems don’t fear-monger on this, they bemoan it, even though once forced to operate under that system, they quickly mastered it. BTW, There are many things to fear when your democracy is put for sale to the highest bidder.

                    “people taking away welfare / medicaid, people taking away social security / medicare”
                    -Republicans ARE trying to take away these things. Democrats aren’t “selling fear” on this. If people are fearful, it’s of the Republican plan to gut the social safety net.

                    “global warming, pollution”
                    … will irrevocably alter our planet, and will harm future generations, AND will cost trillions of dollars… not to mention all those pesky climate refugees that we’ll be shifting about long after we’re dead, and the wars for water and food that your grandchildren will fight and possibly die in.

                    “gay/lesbian haters… racists, etc etc”
                    -Gays and lesbians actually do have things to fear. They are targeted by conservatives for simply being. Black people are targeted for systematic disenfranchisement by conservative voter restriction registration.

                    “big military”
                    Are you kidding? When have Democrats told people they need to fear the military?

                    Democrats are generally pro globalization.

  7. Submitted by Franz Kitzberger on 11/11/2014 - 12:57 pm.

    Conquered? More GOP war metaphors …

    . . . try intimidation through lies, fear-mongering, and brazen un-American election activities. Thank you.

    • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 11/11/2014 - 01:44 pm.


      candidates with a better message and people sick of the same old psychobabble from the DFL.

      • Submitted by Theo Kozel on 11/11/2014 - 08:58 pm.

        Hard to maintain that line when the DFL won all 4 statewide offices, unless you’re someone who exhibits a pretty consistent tendency to ignore facts contrary to your political disposition.

  8. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 11/11/2014 - 01:02 pm.

    Negative Ads

    We receive mail in district 10A. The amount of anti-Ward mailings we received was surprising high for a race like this. I would estimate that 2/3 of all the mailings we received for this race (for and against both Ward and Heinzeman) was anti-Ward by “independent” groups.

  9. Submitted by Ethan Roberts on 11/11/2014 - 02:41 pm.

    Great Analysis

    Thanks for this terrific article, Briana. I crunched many of the same numbers yesterday and believe that Senator Franken won in 9 of the 11 Minnesota State House Districts that the GOP flipped. The exceptions being 56B where McFadden did better, but Franken outperformed Rep. Will Morgan and 10A where Rep. John Ward outperformed Franken and Governor Dayton.

    Your article goes a long way to explaining why the House Republican challengers won these 11 seats, but how Senator Franken managed to still win 9 of these 11 districts is an open question. An investigation of that question would make a great follow-up article.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 07:31 pm.

      Negative Ads

      Maybe the Franken/DFL Ads that focused on McFadden’s business life worked. It sounds like some of them were very misleading, however some Americans really dislike people in the financial services industry.

      • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/12/2014 - 06:38 am.

        Not as though there’d be a reason to be suspicious

        Not as though there’d be a REASON to be a tad suspicious
        of people in the financial sector…

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 01:19 pm.

          I Agree

          There are people who behave poorly in all walks of life.

          Also, us personal investors who have 401K, IRA’s, Pensions, etc demand higher than average returns or we change funds, stocks, etc. We apply a lot of pressure on financial management personnel. Should we start rewarding people with lower than average returns by giving them our business?

  10. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 11/11/2014 - 03:18 pm.

    Gay marriage

    Other areas of the nation would during a presidential election love the (approx) 68% that District 11-B had in this off year election. In 2012 turn-out in this low SES district was 91%-who says the poor don’t vote. So yes to some degree the voters were older and more conservative and the DFL’ers of 2012 didn’t show up. But this year’s election result was 90% gay marriage. I am amused how both parties and most media commentators are trying very hard to avoid this factual appect of this year’s election. See my case study of 11-B in a previous post for the evidence.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/11/2014 - 05:16 pm.


    I noted that there were 4-5 republicans running un-apposed compared to one democrat. That strategy of getting someone on the ballot in every races seems like a no-brainer.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/11/2014 - 05:24 pm.


    If rural voters think the republicans they voted for will bring more state spending and rural friendly government to out state MN, they’re probably way mistaken. Most likely republicans will try to shut the government down over spending and tax cuts.

    I’d like to see some voters surveys before I accept the idea that the senate office building was a huge deal for rural voters. If it was, they simply weren’t paying attention.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/11/2014 - 07:10 pm.


      That is the Democrat paradigm. What can I get from government and will government be friendly to me.

      “more state spending and rural friendly government ”

      Where as most Republicans want government to let us keep more of OUR money. And would prefer that government intervention in our lives be minimized.

      • Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 11/11/2014 - 09:55 pm.

        “Democrat” as an adjective

        Not only does using “Democrat” as an adjective make you sound illiterate, it is also against MinnPost commenting policy:

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 07:55 am.

          I apologize

          Is this better?

          It seems to me that the primary paradigm of the DFL partyand it’s members is:
          What can I get from government and will government be friendly to me.

          • Submitted by E Gamauf on 11/12/2014 - 08:10 am.

            If I am nice to the 1%…

            If I am nice to the 1% – will they put me in the will?

            If one does not like the government – does that make one an anarchist?

            • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 10:35 am.

              Like Government

              Conservatives like Government that costs <30% of our nations GDP.
              Meaning citizens get to keep >70% of the nation’s GDP to use as they wish.

              Liberals like Government that costs >40% of our nations GDP.
              Meaning citizens get to keep <60% of the nation's GDP to use as they wish.

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/13/2014 - 10:23 am.

        I would like to keep more of my money too

        In instead of propping up cities in rural MN through LGA funding – just another redistribution of wealth so hated by the right

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/13/2014 - 12:57 pm.

          I would like to keep more of my money too

          Instead of propping up states in the American South through federal taxes… funny how THAT redistribution isn’t pilloried by the conservative right, who primarily live in the ‘taker’ states.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2014 - 08:26 am.

            Happy to Oblige

            I am the first to say that the Federal government should not be in the social security, medicare, medicaid, FEMA, unemployment, welfare, etc, etc, etc business.

            They should be focused on National Defense, Interstate regulations, Foreign diplomacy, etc. Yet the Democrats decided that the best way to forward their agenda was to push it at the National level. Why push 50 states when with one fell swoop you can force everyone to comply?

            If you feel badly about those cross subsidies, please work with the Republicans to eliminate that Federal spending that should have been left to the States.

            • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/14/2014 - 09:14 am.

              There is so much wrong with this comment

              That I don’t know where to start. For now, I agree that the federal OR state govt’s should never have been allowed to provide corporate welfare benefits to any business entity.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2014 - 06:14 pm.

                Tax Policy

                Do you mean that tax policy should not be used to encourage specific behaviors?

                Therefore we should get rid of our home mortgage interest deductions.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/12/2014 - 08:11 am.


    In my conversations with DFL legislators, what I hear is that there isn’t a greater Minnesota agenda out there that isn’t going unaddressed. Greater Minnesota just doesn’t have an unfulfilled wish list at the state capitol. Now, the legislators I talk to aren’t themselves from out state, and maybe there are dog whistles they couldn’t hear, but let’s consider the evidence from the Republicans own campaign. What the GOP talked about wasn’t specific needs and solutions for rural Minnesota, they simply complained that the legislature was addressing concerns other than those of rural Minnesotans. I think this is a passive and weak argument, but it was successful because it was effectively responded to. We were unfocussed with our laundry list of issues, and we weren’t effective in getting our message out because we didn’t have a communication strategy for Greater Minnesota. Among other things, while we did have effective statewide campaigns, we did after all sweep all statewide offices and comfortably elected a US senator, those efforts were too focused on piling up votes in the cities, neglecting the outstate areas where the key to victory is appealing to voters around the margins. The real and immediate problem was the weakness of Mark Dayton as a candidate.

  14. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/12/2014 - 09:07 am.

    I’ll say it again

    I don’t think republican’s have any idea why they got the votes they got. John’s theories are certainly nonsense. Most voters don’t know what a paradigm is (John certainly doesn’t) let alone vote for them. For the love of God when are business people going to stop torturing the word: “paradigm?” Furthermore, the obsession with taxes and nothing but taxes is certainly not a universal concern.

    An interesting fact has emerged on another story here on MinnPost, Tom Nehil has a run down of the republican margins of victory ( ). Republicans won the house with just .4% of the total votes. That means out of around 2 million votes cast they took the house with around 8,000 votes, hardly a giant ideological endorsement.

    The problem with republicans is that they’ll take those 8,000 votes and decide it’s an ideological mandate to shut the government down for some reason, probably tax or spending cuts.

    Again, there seems to be this assumption that there’s a causal connection between the campaigns and the votes. All anyone is doing here is observing that republicans won some seats, and then attributing those victories to the republican campaigns. We know this doesn’t make sense because people split their votes and democrats and republicans ran very different campaigns.

    I don’t think these rural voters were really looking that closely at the campaigns, I think it was about economics stupid. The recovery is missing rural areas, rural poverty is a huge problem that no-one is talking about it. Taxes are NOT driving rural poverty rates, and it’s unlikely that voters expect more “nothing” from the people they voted for.

    I could be wrong but someone actually needs to go out and ask these people why they voted for republicans. We can’t infer their reasoning from the election results alone, especially with such narrow margins.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 10:46 am.


      Here is an interesting interpretation of paradigms.

      What do you believe regarding paradigms, perceptions, objectivity, etc?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/12/2014 - 11:33 am.

        My perspective?

        Suffice to say that I think author of the article you point to (who doesn’t even bother to identify him or herself) has assembled a nice little exercise in banality and ignorance, not to mention redundancy. First you define a paradigm as a perspective and then you ask people what their paradigm perspective is? What’s my perspective perspective? Then it goes downhill from there into a mishmash of incoherent proposals about objectivity and bias.

        As for my beliefs, there is an objective reality that can be reliably observed. Paradigms are theoretical frameworks that are supported by a preponderance of evidence and sustained by consensus. Paradigms are NOT “models”, “ideologies”, “business plans”, or personal perspectives. Bias may exist, but it doesn’t make reliable observation impossible.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 01:02 pm.

          So Much Fun

          Paradigm defined “a group of ideas about how something should be done, made, or thought about”

          That is why I enjoy blogging and commenting so much. People with different paradigms can look at exactly the same data / facts, and come up with very different conclusions.

          And it seems that the further people are from center, the more adamant they are that their interpretation is correct and the other persons is incorrect. Sometimes they even accuse the other person at the other extreme of lying, because they truly can not see that 2 perspectives are possible.

          And yes reliable observation and measuring is possible, it is when we try to give meaning to what we have seen that the bias becomes more noticeable and problematic. (ie poverty rate vs cause of poverty vs how to eliminate poverty)

  15. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/12/2014 - 09:05 am.

    Another explaination

    In addition to Hiram’s suggestions and my previous suggestion that economics could have driven these votes. Remember we’re actually talking about pretty small number of voters that actually flipped. It’s entirely possible that they paid no attention at all to the campaigns and didn’t care. They may have simply been voting the divided government deal. It’s possible that a huge percentage of the flipping voters were split voters, who simply looked at a democratic governor, and decided to “balance” their vote by slotting a republican into the local seat. In theory these voters would have done the same thing in the opposite direction had a republican been Governor.

  16. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 11/12/2014 - 12:14 pm.

    The Rural Voters I talked to

    don’t think much of either party
    thought what the DFL and Dayton did the last two years was just fine except for the gay marriage vote
    don’t like bickering and campaigns
    turned out at a higher percentage than the state as a whole and most other states
    think that other DFL consitituencies are getting a free ride at their expense
    Know they are getting screwed by Wall Street republicans
    were swamped with negative mailers which reinforced in the most general way their disapproval over the gay marriage vote
    Punished their representative for voting for gay marriage

    No ticket splitting or ‘balancing’ theories-they don’t think that way
    No attention to the R strategy-it didn’t matter because it was not about gay marriage-it was effective because it was negative
    didn’t know about or care about the office building

    A large number-enough to swing the election had only one issue: gay marriage

    • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 11/12/2014 - 02:58 pm.


      The majority of Republican voters in rural areas are ignorant and bigoted.

      Seriously, if you’re generally happy with what the DFL is doing, but you vote them out because they like gay people and you don’t, you don’t come across as a very intelligent person.

      • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 03:22 pm.

        Not an Issue of Like

        As we have discussed many times before, this is not about like or dislike. It is about social norms.

        I know an elderly couple who is very against legalizing gay marriage, however one on their best friends is openly gay. They like a gay person, however they see no need for our society to legitimize and encourage a behavior that they disagree with.

        By voting out a politician that freely chose to not represent the beliefs of the community they were supposed to represent, I think the voters did a good job of holding those politicians accountable for their choice.

        • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 11/12/2014 - 04:30 pm.


          Many of the suburban GOP legislators voted no on marriage equality while their districts voted against the constitutional amendment. Should they be voted out?

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 09:34 pm.

            If important to the citizens

            If they weren’t, then apparently it wasn’t too important to the citizens.

            Also, remember that voting against the amendment was not necessarily a vote for gay marriage. It could have been just a vote against making it an amendment…
            Whereas a vote for the amendment was a definite vote against gay marriage.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/12/2014 - 07:30 pm.

          So what then?

          We’re just stuck with a bunch of voters, voting on a topic that’s no longer up for debate, until what, they keel over? Surely you see the absurdity of that situation. Frankly they can do as they like, I however, along with everyone else who disagrees are also free to push out legislators to make that choice as painful as possible. I hope outstate issues are actually pushed to backburner now, as its clear those persons view themselves as apart from the rest of our state society. Let them exist as such.

          • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/12/2014 - 09:44 pm.


            You believe that the metro is what defines our “state society”? That is amusing.

            By the way, why is the topic no longer up for debate?

            I agree that gay marriage is becoming more socially acceptable, however don’t forget that almost half the citizens of MN are still against it. At least for now…

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/13/2014 - 06:40 am.


              Thats where the people are. If you’d like to define society as empty buildings open space, be my guest, but I’m fairly certain neither has much to contribute to the conversation. As for debate, I like your mob rule approach, perhaps we should apply it to things like gun rights and whether or not we go to war, should be fun.

              • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/13/2014 - 07:54 am.

                Mob Rule

                It seems you are the one advocating for mob rule.

                You want the slight majority to define “society” for everyone. Thus ignoring the desires, concerns and needs of the minority. This seems very odd coming from Jason and yourself who usually are very concerned about people who are in the minority.

                • Submitted by Matt Haas on 11/13/2014 - 10:24 am.

                  Or your side is the one abdicating

                  Its usual “Revere the Constitution!”, claptrap when its protections are used to undermine the founding document you’d prefer in its place, (or one its varying interpretations). I really only used the majority argument because you brought it up, constitutionally, same sex marriage would deserve recognition and protection even if it applied to only 2 people.

                • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 01:10 pm.

                  People can define society for themselves.

                  The fact is, same sex marriage doesn’t affect these people one iota. The only thing it does is offend their sensibilities. I find it funny that these same people who claim to be so traumatized as to what same sex marriage is supposedly doing to the fabric of this country, turn a blind eye to divorce, alcoholism, poverty misogyny, spousal abuse, racism, etc. You can crystallize their outrage down to one basic thing…they find gay people icky….period. They freak out over people they’ve never met, engaging in sexual behavior that a large segment of heterosexuals have practiced for many many years. Its nothing but blatant discrimination and ignorance on their part.

                  • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/13/2014 - 04:07 pm.


                    Most of those are frowned upon or illegal. (ie turn a blind eye to divorce, alcoholism, poverty misogyny, spousal abuse, racism, etc. ) Most of society had turned the blind eye to homosexuality, but that was not good enough. Others decided that all people must willingly accept that behavior, and have it sanctioned by the government through marriage and in the schools.

                    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/13/2014 - 04:37 pm.


                      The only thing in that list that’s illegal is the spousal abuse~ and then only the physical abuse.

                      But tell us more about the dangers of homosexuality and the US Government ‘sanction’ of such? The way you write about ‘homosexuality,’ you could just replace the word itself with ‘communism’ or ‘socialism’ or ‘islamo-fascism’ and the basic sentiment never changes. Like you think ‘homosexuality’ is going to replace ‘freedom!’

                    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/16/2014 - 06:25 pm.

                      Frowned Upon

                      I said” frowned upon or illegal”. None of which are encouraged or promoted.

                      As you know well, I am indifferent to same sex marriage. I am more fascinated by the topic and discussion. Above you choose to compare “homosexuality” to a number of lifestyles that we openly encourage people to disagree about.

                      Is “homsexuality” a choice of lifestyle/belief or a physiological way of being in your opinion, does this matter when making the Constitutional argument?

                    • Submitted by jason myron on 11/14/2014 - 05:49 pm.

                      Actually, John

                      it’s the homophobes who seem to insist that their acceptance is required. All the gay community asks others to do is to butt out of their lives, keep their nose on their side of the fence and stop trying to treat them like second class citizens by attempting to pass laws that discriminate against them and their families.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 11/13/2014 - 06:47 am.

              Who cares?

              Since when is blatant discrimination up for debate? I couldn’t care less if Ma & Pa Kettle are still having a sad that gays are able to marry the ones they love. Evolve already…that or fade into oblivion, it’s their choice. I have zero tolerance for ignorance, and if these small minded people want to immerse themselves in their ancient little world until the last one of them wakes up alone, so be it.

            • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/13/2014 - 01:51 pm.

              Up for debate?

              The law has been passed. It doesn’t matter if the folks outstate don’t like it. They don’t have to, but it is the law. Will they move to repeal it? What would the ramifications of that be?

              Incidentally, “almost half” is still a minority.

        • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/13/2014 - 10:10 am.

          They probably are still opposed

          To interracial marriages – more scarey bad behavior

      • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/14/2014 - 02:39 pm.


        “The majority of Republican voters in rural areas are ignorant and bigoted.

        Seriously, if you’re generally happy with what the DFL is doing, but you vote them out because they like gay people and you don’t, you don’t come across as a very intelligent person.”

        I could say the same about democrat voters. Can’t believe this stuff makes it past the moderators.

        • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/14/2014 - 04:04 pm.

          You could…

          “Seriously, if you’re generally happy with what the DFL is doing, but you vote them out because they like gay people and you don’t, you don’t come across as a very intelligent person.”

          I agree with that statement wholeheartedly, and I would also agree that people who are single-issue voters, especially on social issues, generally don’t come across as very intelligent, whatever portion of the political spectrum they may inhabit.

          You could say the same about ‘democrat’ voters, but instead felt compelled to complain about site comment policy. Everything you’ve quoted above complies with Minnpost comment policy… with one exception. The use of ‘democrat’ as a pejorative adjective, which you wrote.

          • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/17/2014 - 09:27 am.


            Every single previous comment I made about the issue was blocked by Minnpost. My use of the term “democrat” was used exactly the same as the previous poster to prove a point that it comes off as hateful, abusive, and against Minnpost comment policy. My point is that there are not nearly as many single issue voters as is suggested by the previous comment and to think so would not be smart. Gay rights was not a significant factor in the election and it is disingenuous to suggest so.

            • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/17/2014 - 09:55 am.

              I agree that there are probably not all that many single-issue voters… and certainly less likely in a mid-term year. But that still doesn’t change my statement/opinion on single-issue voters, especially in the circumstance mentioned above.

              I personally don’t think that the gay-marriage backlash is why Republicans won rural MN. Part of it, certainly, but not the outsized impact others are suggesting.

              • Submitted by Joe Smithers on 11/17/2014 - 01:29 pm.


                but the person who made the comment and linked only republican voters with being ignorant and voting on a single issue is the one who is not too bright.

                • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/17/2014 - 02:34 pm.

                  Context matters here

                  He was replying to someone else who was stating opposition to marriage equality was the primary reason repubs won outstate mn, even though they were happy with everything else. Then, in the immediate next sentence he says, “Seriously…” so I think that particular statement that you are taking issue with was rhetorical hyperbole, not an indictment that the majority of MNGOPers are bigots and ignorant.

                  I know that when writing these comments, sometimes I am not as eloquent as I like to think I normally am… and I think most of us write conversationally, and it’s hard to get emphasis, sarcasm, and hyperbole in comment strings.

                  So no, I think most people who comment on here, even the demagogues, ARE bright people.

            • Submitted by jason myron on 11/17/2014 - 06:30 pm.

              First of all, welcome to the club.

              We’ve all had numerous comments go unpublished for whatever reason. As for the Republican single issue voter, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I know numerous people out in the 6th who have told me that although they agree with many Democratic policies, they would never vote for one due to abortion or gun rights…and I do mean numerous. Anecdotal…yes, but I stand by it. I think GOP, one-issue voters out number Dems of the same mindset 3 to 1.

  17. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 11/12/2014 - 06:06 pm.

    Yeah But…

    The people of 11-B are fully human-wonderful, warm, practical and they sometimes shoot themselves in the foot as they did this year and have done before (four years ago they elected a sheriff who as a deputy had been fired and then sued their own board and a county commissioner whose wife had been let go when the county version of LGA forced budget cuts. Both chose not to run for re-election.)

    This year they had a $2 million drop in property taxes under the DFL and other benefits but the gay marriage vote was both primal and core to their views of the world as John says.

    And with 91% turn out in 2012 and 68% this year you can’t say they are not very intelligent. As Gore Vidal said with newspaper readership and voting at about the same percentile it is hoped very much that they are the same population. I’m not so sure.

  18. Submitted by Andrew Kearney on 11/13/2014 - 01:47 pm.

    Marriage Equality vote a mistake

    We have to be careful not to generalize all people in a geographic area-I have done this, I know to be illustrative or descriptive of a prevailing culture. There are folks in the core cities that are opposed to marriage equality and folks in the rural areas very much for it.

    Matt, I don’t think your idea of “pushing our legislators to [punish rural voters]” is wise. The metro and suburban DFL’ers can not form a majority to get control of government and that is the whole point of politics. You have to form broad coalitions. You need the rural DFL vote to pass anything that is important to you. You’re about to learn a tough lesson about this.

    I think the problem with the House and Senate DFL this year was that they did not in a real way partner with the rural DFL legislators about this and other issues (a Mpls legislator in charge of agriculture?). I think the strategy was known to be politically risky and it turned out to have been politically deadly in the House and so for all state government since all spending bills originate in the House. Who will really pay is a bunch of poor and sick people and of course kids in schools.

    Rather the strategy should have been to wait for the outcome of the Don’t Ask/ Don’t Tell ruling-that ruling in fact made Minnesota’s law unnecessary as can be seen with what’s happening nation-wide. If the ruling went the other way the present lame duck legislator could have been called into session by Dayton and a vote taken and the present law passed.

    I’d also point out that in the 2012 campaign we who were “Vote No” on the amendment said time and again that voting NO doesn’t mean we’ll have gay marriage and then we turned right around and passed gay marriage. It was a slap in the face and was politically dis-honest of the Vote NO committee to have pushed this.

    So now we have marriage equality but will pay a heavy price for something that we could have had with a little patience and a more savvy political strategy. But in the DFL money and identity politics control decisions. The voiceless will pay the price-marriage equality in Minnesota came on the backs of the poor.

    • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/13/2014 - 04:01 pm.

      Excellent Comment

      Now there is a comment I can agree with. As these folks know, I am not against gay marriage. However getting it with a slight majority and calling almost half our citizens bigots does not bode well for future collaboration.

      • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 11/13/2014 - 04:57 pm.

        I still think you are against gay marriage

        The tenor of every post you make about ‘homosexuality’ seem to equate the protection of LGBT people with promotion of LGBT lifestyles. You also have stated that the need to protect gays must be congruent with protecting the rights of christian conservatives to not have to associate with gay people.

        I should me more clear- I think you are OK with gay marriage being legal, but if the decision was up to you, it would not be legal.

        • Submitted by John Appelen on 11/14/2014 - 11:46 am.

          T2 LGBT People

          Technically science has not determined that there are “LGBT people”, where it has clearly determined that there are men, women, 40+ year olds, whites, blacks

          Therefore there are only people who live the LGBT lifestyles. Just like there are people who choose certain other lifestyles.

          Hopefully the new technologies allow science to differentiate soon. That would simplify this debate greatly. By the way, I am perfectly indifferent to the topic. I just think society needs to address the issue, not the courts.

          • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 11/14/2014 - 02:16 pm.

            Science is unnecessary

            We provide civil rights protection for discrimination on the basis of religion, which is not a biological characteristic.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 11/13/2014 - 05:26 pm.

      Slap in the face?

      Not quite. If you recall, the campaign against the amendment was based on the idea that people should be free to marry whom they wish. In any event, the vote itself did not change anything. The change came only after legislative action. That involved considerable debate and ample opportunity for the opponents of same sex marriage to make their case.

      The Supreme Court’s rulings on same sex marriage did not make Minnesota’s law unnecessary. The Court has not ruled on the issue of whether same sex marriage is a right of all Americans, regardless of state law.

      “So now we have marriage equality but will pay a heavy price for something that we could have had with a little patience and a more savvy political strategy.” In other words, tell people to be patient, the political costs of granting you equal rights with other citizens are too high for us to bear. No, I don’t see that message as resonating at all.

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 11/14/2014 - 09:23 am.

        Exactly a “little patience”

        For equality and healthcare because the right wing will never agree to provide either and maybe the issues will go away.

  19. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 11/17/2014 - 08:40 am.

    Missing candidates

    In chatting with various DFLer’s, one issue frequently mentioned is the failure to run DFL candidates in what was it, 8 races? Republicans rather pride themselves on running candidates in every district across the state, and this time I think they only missed Kim Norton’s race in Rochester. While it is true, as with lotteries, if you don’t enter you can’t win, I tend to discount that factor myself. For one thing, just because Republicans enter virtually every election, it’s far from the case that they seriously contend every election. It seems to me that there are a number of instances around the state are just ballot placeholders, that they don’t run any kind of serious campaigns at all. I don’t see putting more hopeless candidates on the ballots helps them much or would do all that much for us. One thing that does worry me however, is that there are missing voices in the DFL caucuses, because the legislators representing those districts are in the other caucuses. Governing tends to have an incumbent bias, and it’s easy for DFLers to conclude that there isn’t much wrong with DFL legislative strategy because, after all, they got elected under it. And it is the case, that while the DFL strategy or maybe the lack thereof, worked badly in the sense that we lost the house, it worked well in that we swept all statewide offices rather easily, and lots of DFLer’s individually got re-elected. Because we did some things right, it can be very easy to delude ourselves into thinking we did enough things right.

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