Vote Early Minnesota!

Now that we have “no excuse absentee voting” anyone can vote in the Primary or General election with out the nuisance of going to your poll and actually interacting with the world around you…..

I just requested my absentee ballots and you should too. Please go here and find out how and share with your friends, family, and co-workers.

We can win back this state if we can get people to go back to voting. Its up to each and every one of us!

No seriously, don’t wait, don’t do it later. Request your absentee ballot and fill it out and send it back the day it arrives. No more excuses!
mngop votes logo

 

Every vote counts and is needed to defeat Dayton, Franken, and retake the Minnesota house! 

(PS: Don’t be an idiot and waste your vote on some 3rd party protest thing. Remember Al Franken won by just 312 votes and Mark Dayton won by only 8000.)

Voting like a teenage prankster has consequences and we are all paying for it. 

Democrats Want You Addicted To Government

The DFL sent out a fundraising email this morning and in the very first sentence tells you all you need to know about the agenda of that left wing party.

50 million Americans currently rely on Medicare and that number is rising every year […]

Democrats think more people dependent on Government is a good thing. That’s the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Republicans want people to be able to take care of themselves, Democrats want people to have no other choice but to rely on Government. Period!

Like Kids In The Candy Store – DFL Electioneering Bills Launched

No this is not an April Fools joke.

A pair of House proposals is being released to spend a combined $975 million on public works construction projects.

Rather than putting everything into one bill, House Capital Investment Committee Chairwoman Alice Hausman says she’ll introduce two on Tuesday. She says one will contain $850 million worth of proposed borrowing and the other will have $125 million in projects that would be paid in cash.

It’s an unusual tact, but one spurred on in part by the state’s surplus. Lawmakers plan to pay cash for some things to save on interest costs.

There’s also political intrigue. Borrowing bills require three-fifths majorities to pass. A cash bill would require only a simple majority.

By Capital Investment, DFLers mean, making sure their special interests get all the kick backs so they will work for Democrats to maintain control of the Capital.

Keep Calm Nguyen Still Worth Supporting

Well yesterday’s post and this FB comment spurred some action.

 I’ll caution that not everyone in the general electorate is as “free wheeling” and this could hurt Dennis. It all depends on how it is handled. Don’t forget that thanks toMarty Seifert two albeit, stupid, but harmless DUIs allowed Mark Dayton to become Governor. Never underestimate what you think is no big deal. Statewide races are not to be taken lightly. Strippers for Nguyen is not a good bumper sticker. That being said, this is a an opportunity and the new campaign team should be much more suited to deal with chaos than the ones who were in charge during the lackluster fundraising and “incident” at the club. But keep in mind, you will need people who don’t like strip clubs to vote for and more importantly – work for him. Let’s not get the bumper stickers I mentioned above printed up just yet

I received a call from Dennis Nguyen late last night. I also talked to someone on his campaign about the “brew haha”.

Let’s address this in parts and in as delicate a way as possible.

There was a shift in campaign leadership. That’s something that is very worth noting. Fundraising in 2013 was less then impressive. With out stating numbers, 2014 is going better then 2013. I am confidant that it will not be an issue.

The ability to mount a strong campaign for statewide offices is based on money and volunteers. If you can’t raise money, you’re handcuffed by the media bias. When its for an open seat, the media will just ignore the race and allow the voters to think the DFL is a socialist party. Nguyen will be one of the best funded candidates to seek Secretary of State from the right.

Now on the stripclub thing. I’ll keep the details of the night in question private out of respect for others involved. But let’s just say that there is not a pole named after Dennis at any stripclub.

This seems to be far more about someone finding a speck of dirt in a snowstorm than a trend. Nguyen is still someone to support.

If time allows, I want to address a broader point which is what I was getting to with the FB comment above. That is how libertarian activists and social conservatives are not meshing well. Its an issue that has popped its head up in a few local races and I am worried it is a trend that we should be more worried about then someone’s trip to a gentleman’s club on someone’s birthday.

I say if time allows, because my day is chalk full of the day job and volunteer calls. Maybe Sunday if I am lucky enough not to sleep all day again.

Are There Any Others? [Pause] No Seriously ARE THERE ANY OTHERS?!?!?!?!

I’ve been brushing up on my parliamentarian skills lately. I did co-chair my BPOU convention on Saturday. For the most part, that meant I handed off the mic to the dozens of candidates running for statewide office or their surrogates.

One of those candidates was Dennis Nguyen who is currently running unopposed for Republican endorsement for the open Secretary of State race. I had seen his campaign and activities online for months, but until last week, not in person. A good speaker and conveys a good message of campaign strength, but!?!?!?!

Beyond the stripper issue, the campaign’s terrible judgement, and incredibly bad crisis management, there are other aspects of the Nguyen campaign that should be concerning.

Nguyen sold himself to activists and the legislators who endorsed him as someone would be able to fundraise, and also self fund his campaign, yet there has been little evidence of this so far. As of the end of 2013, Nguyen raised a mere $10,000, and loaned his campaign another $20,000.

When you add that to Nguyen’s opposition to photo ID, it’s hard to see a compelling reason for Nguyen’s continued candidacy.

Read the rest of Jeff’s blog post to find out about the (shakes head) strip club issue, but it appears that some of the promises of strong campaign being made are not panning out as Dennis claims. In other words, all hat no cattle.  This could open the door for someone like Mary Kiffmeyer to jump in late which is not a suitable alternative in my opinion.

The Party of family values really can do better. Well, we should do better.

Paging Kent Kaiser.

Dayton & DFL’s $4.7 Billion Tax Increase

He’s the MMB’s document taking a look into the crystal ball in future budget forecasts.

Mind you, this is all predicated on the notion that nothing in the economy changes. Such as, there are no massive lawoffs and business relocations due to Obamacare, a Billion minimum wage (aka employee tax hike), or the other anti-business taxes like the warehouse tax or Worker’s comp tax Democrats have imposed.

It’s time to ramp up the effort to retake the MN House and win every statewide office folks, because if we don’t do something to stop the Democrats, no one will be able to afford living in Minnesota.

Saturday’s Straw Poll Was A Distraction

Jeff Johnson and Jullianne Ortman won Saturday’s MNGOP State Central Committee straw polls for Governor and US Senate. They both put money and resources into getting a plurality of support from a captive audience which is one of the most issue ID’ed groups of people our there. But it was also a group that is 99.9% likely to show up and vote GOP next November. While being “the winner” doesn’t mean anything, poor showings must seriously be considered by those placing in the single digits.

There was somewhere just over 1000 potential votes, but only about 400 ballots were cast in each race. That’s dreadful turnout from a candidate’s perspective, for this specific group. The Delegates and Alternates to State Central are some of the most well known and active people in the party. Meaning they are easy to gauge on issues and very easy to have effortless campaign contact at normal BPOU meetings and events. AKA: It shouldn’t take ten of thousands of dollars to win a poll when they are the only ones who can vote in.

Here are the results. [ Name Actual votes – % of votes (% of potential votes)

Governor:

Johnson 143 votes – 35% (14.3%)

Thompson 111 votes – 27% (11.1%)

Seifert 75 votes 18% (0.75%)

Farnsworth 31 votes – 18% (0.31%)

Honour 16 votes – 4% (0.16%)

US Senate:

Ortman 146 votes – 37% (14.6%)

McFadden 85 votes – 22% (0.85%)

Shudlick 50 votes – 13% (0.50%)

Dahlberg 49 votes – 12% (0.49)

Abeler 44 votes – 11% (0.44%)

Moreno 10 votes – 3% (0.1%)

The only surprising thing in the polling was that Marty Seifert is lying about not running a campaign. He is still delusional in thinking that Democrats wouldn’t have spent $20 million hammering away on him if he would have went on to challenge and beat Tom Emmer in a Primary. Sadly, many activists have been drinking that Seifert kool aid and share his that belief too.

This straw poll was a distraction.

Not for the broader party per say, but for the candidates. If they deviated from their plan for more than some speech prep and calling their supporters to show up, it was a waste of resources. I’m guessing a few campaigns spent several thousand dollars on signage and materials for this. Some probably also did some paid calling and polling. Glitzy ads, expensive signs, and massive turnout operations for a meaningless straw poll.

Any candidate who put a lot into this, in as much as it either kept them off the fundraising trail or they chose to spend a lot of money on this event, is a candidate who should be removed from serious consideration because they will easily make stupid decisions with their campaign.

The only number that a candidate should hang their hat on in 2013 is the end of the year fundraising report and most importantly – the cash on hand line.

Because both Franken and Dayton will crush their previous fundraising totals if needed. They have an endless supply of liberal elite and special interest money to pull from. Republicans have neither the war chest flood gates nor the election army that blinks on and off regardless of the name on the ballot. Democrats may slug it out in a primary, but their shots are aimed at whoever is the Republican. We are really good at tearing each other apart. So good that we dislike candidates and their supporters.

There are candidates from 2010 & 2012 who had the food fight for the sake of a food fight to prop themselves up when or keep someone else down. It was wasted effort that could have been used somewhere else to win an election.

 

But that is where Republican endorsement battles have led us.

So here’s my advice on how to avoid another 2010 scorched earth round of Congressional & Statewide endorsement food fights.

Republicans should not be easily swayed in these races.

 

US Senate: Fundraising is all that matters in this race in my opinion. I know I know, we can’t send another RINO to the Senate, but folks, a ball of yarn would vote better than Franken. Perfection is the enemy of good enough in this one. And good enough better not be easily disliked, untrustworthy, and divisive. A US Senator is just one vote, and the goal is 51 Republicans to take the majority. Anyone who can raise money and will vote for a Republican Majority Leader is good enough for me for US Senate if they can raise millions.

Governor: While fundraising is equally important, its not the only thing that matters. We don’t need to temper our principles or pander to the mushy middle out of fear of being labeled extreme. Whoever is the Republican candidate will be labeled extreme so why not pick an actual conservative? Any candidate who is rebranding Tom Horner’s ‘not too hot, not too cold’ crap is a windsock, not leader. The Governor is the Chief executive of Minnesota, not a public relations firm. If a candidate is afraid to defend our principles in public, just imagine what they will do behind closed doors when our principles need a politician who will fight for them. Oh and they need to be able to speak in public.

Congressional: – Due to my position on CD6, and the likelihood of me sneezing at the wrong time and it being seen as being unfair or to help a certain candidate – I will just say that don’t have a food fight for the sake of having a food fight. Pick a candidate who is well known and can raise money. If you are concerned that the only way your preferred candidate has a chance is if the others are held back…. there’s a chance your candidate isn’t as great as you think they are.

We cannot come out of the endorsements hating and not trusting each other. That is far more important than the name on the top of the ticket. Dividing and conquering the activist army or toppling local leadership is not the goal. Beating Democrats is. The CDs and BPOUs are the key to GOTV. They can’t be distracted and torn apart. They need to raise money and work on IDing general election voters, not arguing over who is the better Republican candidate.

Any Republican is better than a Democrat. That’s not a sell out line. Have a spirited debate on who is best, but don’t manipulate our side to dislike someone else on our side.

Have You Taken Advantage of the Political Contribution Refund Yet?

Did you know you can get reimbursed for your donation of up to $50 to the CD6 Republicans?

We have an ambitious plan to maximize our “redness” and carry the load for Minnesota Republicans. We have a great leadership team and some of the most motivated and effective grassroots volunteers in Minnesota, but we need your help to make sure we have the tools and resources to keep the Democrats on the ropes.

Consider a donation to CD6 Republicans as an investment in Minnesota’s future.

In the 2012 election, our volunteers made 275,000 GOTV contacts.

We won 30 of the 33 Legislative Districts covering CD6. No other CD came close to those results and our hard work prevented Governor Dayton and the Democrat controlled Legislature from having enough votes to pass a billion dollar bonding bill on a party line vote.

Mitt Romney won CD6 by the largest margin in Minnesota, both amendments easily passed in CD6, and we reelected Congresswoman Bachmann in spite of the media onslaught and national Democrat money that flowed into our District to defeat her.

In 2014 our goals are simple.

Win every Minnesota House race in CD6.

Keep Bachmann’s Congressional seat in Republican hands.

And provide enough votes for the statewide Republican candidates to make up for the dark blue areas of Minnesota like Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth so that we can celebrate Al Franken, Mark Dayton, and the other statewide Democrats defeats on election night.

I am the Treasurer and Finance Director for the CD6 Republicans, so this post is self-serving, but I promise your all that money spent in CD6 is going to be effectively spent. If Republican candidates are going to win statewide, the votes to do so will come from CD6. Please help us provide the tools and resources our volunteers need to do the Voter ID and other work to find those voters and get them out to the polls and save this state from the Democrats and their reckless and failed liberal agenda.

Please consider a donation to CD6 Republicans. As I said above, you can get reimbursed up to $50 so giving to us can be “free”.

Donate online TODAY by clicking here. 

If you prefer to mail a check please send me an email and I will send you my new mailing address. aaa @ mncd6gop . com

The Grassroots Case for Phoenix – Update – Update2

Update: Please don’t get distracted thinking that I’m a huge supporter of Phoenix or anything, this post is about control and who has it. The grassroots controlled party OR people who look at us as an obstacle.

I was at the CD4 GOP convention Saturday. Well, I visited CD3, 5, and 4. But ended the day at CD4. Near the end, Pat Anderson announced that the MNGOP has already decided to hand over its database operations and ownership to outside group(s), that everyone running for state leadership agreed and that it was going to happen. She said this is exactly what the DFL does and its time for the MNGOP to do so as well. – I’d heard the rumors about this, and have even supported the idea in the past.

The idea is supposed to be along the line of “The Colorado Model” where business, owners, big donors, or other interest groups or associations, etc  (like the Chamber & MN Biz Partnership) and/or “Super PACs” take over  and run the database. They build a system (or buy one), clean up the data, and allow people to use it. Its a good model if you have a singular goal, or agreed upon terms. It works very well for the DFL because their base knows that a Democrat winning is the most important thing. We as Republicans, have more principled values, and winning isn’t always all that matters. Many believe some if not most Republicans in public office are no different than Democrats.

When it comes time for the DFL GOTV machine to kick into gear, they push straight ticket no ‘ifs, and’s or but’s about it. They don’t moan and kvetch over this guy or that gal that voted this way once or didn’t pay their BPOU the respect it thought it deserved. Nope, for the DFL, the only thing that matters is that (D) after the name on the ballot and their activists, volunteers, and GOTV goon squad will fight tooth and nail for each and every voter to cast their vote for the Democrat, no questions.

MNGOP activists don’t work that way. While we need to learn from many of the DFL’s tactics in operations, our activists are not lemmings or slaves. If you take a good honest look, the DFL is an anti-grassroots party. Their conventions have checks and balances built in to prevent “getting it wrong” and if they do, their endorsed candidate usually loses in the Primary anyways to who ever the Unions want. Heck, they have quotas to get elected Delegate, walking sub caucuses designed to derail proceedings from the floor of taking control of the business before the body.

But enough of why I am glad I am not a slave in the DFL party.

The 3rd party database model for the MNGOP is probably going to have a buy in process. So if a candidate wants to have the data, there will be a fee or commitment made. I’m not sure if that would be financial, or pledge, or what. But just because BPOU Chair from SD99 says so and so is good so send them the password (like we currently have), isn’t going to fly when someone else owns that data now.

There is apparently a growing desire to go with a 3rd party database  in the MNGOP. Meanwhile, there’s also chest thumping about fighting June Primary because it would allow the Chamber and rich people to undermine the “grassroots” endorsement process. 

Do you spot the huge problem that I do?

On the one hand we want to hand over control and ownership of our biggest resource (data) but on the other we don’t want to trust these very same people in candidate selection.

Why is this a problem? In the DFL, if a local BPOU or CD isn’t doing what it is told to and the DFL needs that District for their plan, they send in the unions or send the work through an outside group. One of their local volunteer leaders isn’t cutting it or doesn’t like the candidate, in comes the paid professional staffer to run local operations.

While I see the merits of that strategy when it comes to winning at all costs, I know that MNGOP activists would scream ‘top down’ and say that you are supposed to walk on the green side of sod not the roots. (attempt to be funny and clever. FAIL)

On a statewide basis this could work, I do believe we GOP activists have to approach endorsements with a much more, just let the primary sort it out” approach. Sorry, but 2 duds in a row and well, fool me once….. I do fully support the endorsement process for Congressional & Legislative races. Its just that a contest of “last man standing” (how I explain the Caucus/endorsement/Delegate selection process) to have 2000 people decide who is best to appeal to 2 million Minnesotans is proving its own faults. The only people to have had any electroal success statewide in Minnesota have run in spite of the objections of the grassroots, that can’t be ignored.

Here’s an example of why the 3rd party model has serious flaws.

DFL Senator Terry Bonnoff is supported by right leaning groups that are likely to have control of the new 3rd party owned database Pat Anderson mentioned on Saturday. The MN Chamber endorsed DFLer Bonoff in 2010 over Republican Liberty Caucus Chair Norann Dillion and again in 2012 over GOP grassroots endorsed David Gaither.

If you are naive enough to think that the people “allegedly” ready to spend their 3rd party war chests to fix our data problem, are going to give a crap if the Executive Committee from SD99 hates the chosen candidate…. Heck, GOP State Rep. Ernie Leidiger endorsed the DFL opponent for GOP Sen. Ortmann. That kind of crap doesn’t work in the business world, and chances are, the business community and professionals are not going to have much patience for the usual grassroots infighting. They will see it as unproductive and quickly solve the problem, and that won’t be finding a new candidate. That will be cutting the problem out of the loop.

Going forward, if the MN Chamber or 3rd party entity,  controls access to the database, what happens to the GOP endorsed candidate or primary winner is different then theirs? Who gets the data? On whose authority? And what if the BPOU doesn’t agree? Do they pull support or access if our guy beats their gal because they know our guy just can’t and/or shouldn’t win?

Think about this folks. You wanna hand over “the data” to the very people you don’t trust to pick the candidates. What happens when grassroots activists pick a candidate other than the Chamber does? Who gets the data? Look at it from their point of view, they have a vested interest in winning elections, not our principles or platform.

Phoenix is far from perfect. I get that. But the party owns it. The party controls it. And the party is responsible and held accountable by the grassroots.

Now let’s get in to the case for why we should stay with Phoenix.

We own it, for better or worse, but *WE* own it. The Party owns it and everything in it. No one can tell us what we can and cannot do with it, and more importantly, no one can tell us what we can do “to” it.

Short of someone finding about $1.5 million dollars laying around give to the party to buy a brand new system, to replace all our VOIP phones, servers, websites, and other things, (This is above and beyond the current debt) the only other options are the 3rd party “Chamber” model” or the RNC system. I’ve gone over some of the bad points above on the 3rd party model so let’s look at the RNC system.

I believe the RNC system is no longer called Voter Vault, its something like Data Center or what not. But here’s the big rub, scrapping Phoenix and going tot he RNC system doesn’t remove the Phoenix budget line item from the party’s budget. From what I understand, we don’t just plug in to some server in DC. Its a DC based system but run locally. Basically they wrote the software, and we have to run it here locally.  We would still have to run and maintain that data here. (Just like we are right now.) It is shared back and forth, but we would still need staff, servers, resources, and money to run the RNC system for just Minnesota.

The fact of the matter is, in some states or select Congressional Districts, yes the RNC helps and pitches in, but given the condition of the Republican Party of Minnesota compared to the footing of the DFL’s and the recent electoral calamities that we have put forth for statewide officer, the RNC wisely won’t waste resources here on a losing proposition. Nor should they in my opinion. They shouldn’t subsidize  poorly run and performing state parties. Its time for the grassroots to share some blame in our state party’s last 4 years. Everyone is great at pointing fingers until they get in front of a mirror.  I’ll save that for a later time, but the point is, we elected Carey, Sutton, and Brodkorb as well as endorsed Emmer & Bills. The results speak for themselves. So does that ash heap over there known as the party.

Frankly I am getting sick and tired of fighting over who to blame for what went right and what went wrong.

Unless Joe Mauer retires from Baseball to run against Mark Dayton, the RNC & Governor’s association are not going to even take a phone call from Minnesota. And if we still haven’t had anyone begin to start talking to the general public and not focussed entirely on GOP Delegates, until next May or June after the endorsement, they will block our phone number because that’s too late.

And even if Matt Birk does run against Al Franken and we have the name ID battle on the same page, the NRSC & RNC are not going to even consider spending a dime in Minnesota. Their logic firmly grounded in the 2012 US Senate results where the grassroots candidate had the worst election performance in modern history for a statewide candidate from a major party, and there have still not been one single set of reforms or at least mea culpa’s over the condition of the party or quality of the candidate. (And yes, I am looking at you grassroots)

In my opinion, the notion of “I hate Phoenix because it doesn’t do what I want so anything has to be better”, it is a lateral move at best, but one we would regret forever. 

Because the chance of a Republican winning statewide in 2014 appear to be, logically, somewhere between slim and fat chance. Its funny, because that’s about the same odds as us getting a bunch of big names in for fundraisers or for RNC staffers and national money to be airdropped in. So if we think that the RNC system we agreed to use, should be changed to do something that works for a BPOU or even if we at the State level want it to be able to perform some new specific function, the RNC isn’t going to change it just for us. Its a one size fits all solution and that’s a problem. Minnesota is a unique state.

Admittedly, I never seen or ever used the RNC system so maybe it is perfect. But what if it isn’t? What if it can’t do everything that Phoenix (whether it does it well or not) currently does for us? What if they don’t allow every single endorsed candidate to use it? During GOTV, I may or may not have seen  local volunteers deciding to add local candidates to GOTV calls. Some may have even  written the names of their County Commissioners into the script, or strayed from it in ways that would be, let’s just say, hard to explain to certain people. Some locals like to do things their own way, and more power to them, but when you buy in to someone else’s system, you work for them now. Its everything on the RNC’s terms. Go ask Bill Paulsen to tell you about the RNC… in case you missed his stump speech.

No matter whether we go 3rd party or RNC on a new database, we’d lose grassroots control and make the Republican Party at all levels virtually useless.

No more meaningful endorsements, no more database. Well what good is a state party with a 3rd party owned database who also controls the candidate selection? Do you think they will care if you endorsed someone else for Mayor, County Commissioner, or State House than they did? Do you think they would have left your phones on, if they knew you were going off script? No, they’d shut you down from DC. Your phones would go dead on GOTV weekend. There’s no incentive for big donors to give anymore. The State Party and all its affiliates would shrivel and die because, unfortunately, a platform is not enough to stand on let alone run a statewide organization on.

Plus, do you really think that they will actually give the grassroots access to the system? I’m guessing it would be read only and you won’t even be able to make changes if you find out someone is really a Democrat, but is marked as a Republican. Either way, they will have delays in updating as chances are it will be verified first. If you think Phoenix is slow, just wait until Minnesota is the lowest priority on that RNC data guy’s list and he  has a stack from every other purple or swing state ahead of Blue State Minnesota’s.

Just think about the logistics for a while folks because this will have lasting effects on the party. While we may enjoy conventions and monthly meetings, they will serve no real purpose. The people with the power and control will no longer be at those meetings.

So, on to the case for Phoenix. 

Since we own Phoenix, we can control not only who has access (as in candidates & BPOUs) but also how it works and what it can do. If there’s a problem or glitch, we can fix it. If it doesn’t do something we need it to, we can fix that. That’s something that will not be possible with the outsourcing options. Yes, it takes money to run our own database, and no it hasn’t been done that well. But just like we hastily and for suspect reasons went to Phoenix, change for change’s sake is not a good enough reason.

Phoenix isn’t perfect, it may not even be good, but its the best option we have to keeping grassroots control of our party. Its going to take work. Its going to take money and effort to get it better and the data better. But, that’s going to have to happen anyways. Someone will have to fix the data, the system, the question is, after its done, who has control of it?

The grassroots, or the people we are supped to be afraid of taking away our endorsement process?

Update 2: I’ve talked to a number of people today.  Contrary to what Ms. Anderson said, this is NOT a done deal and  most people are wondering who she was talking. Maybe this will make them realize that they shouldn’t trust her, but hey, that’s just me.

But there is something happening. And it has to. The question is about who controls controls access and how. Its become clear today that there are different tiers involved, and not everyone understand they aren’t at the head table.

I thought I had the full picture, but did not. Still don’t, but the more I learn the less worried I am. That being said, its a major change and people should be aware of what is happening.

Chose your party leaders wisely,.
I trust Keith Downey, Kelly Fenton, & Chris Fields to make the right call at the State Executive Committee level.
 

Where Is That Army of Davids? The Era of Hyphenated Republicans

(This is one of my messages I wanted to convey to my fellow hyphenated Republicans)

Twin Cities morning radio is tough for a sports loving conservative. KFAN’s Powertrip is awful now that they fired Mike Morris….  And Davis & Emmer is like an old couple arguing over who’s great idea it was to buy the pulp free orange juice, oh and how badly all Republicans suck, every single day. The “why bother they are just like Democrats” rants may get ratings, and back slapping emails from a few people, but its not ‘moving the ball’ in Minnesota politics.

If they want to be shock jocks, fine, but I know that they aren’t the usual radio schleps who talk tough on air for show but go home and don’t care about anything. BOb and Tom are both activists and have influence and interactions with activists. On this morning’s David & Emmer show, they crossed an intellectual line for me, and exposed one of the major problems facing the Republican Party.

They decided to promote a poll from Public Policy Polling, about who, it says, Republicans prefer to take on Mark Dayton next year. The polling company appears to have been tasked with testing the waters on a host of issues to gauge support for liberal policies and officials in Minnesota. Favorability of Democrats, gun bans, gay marriage, you name it, Democrats had their poll show liberalism rules the day here in Minnesota. The press has been spewing it out religiously.

The poll also showed Norm Coleman as the leading Republican for the 2014 Governor’s race. Davis and Emmer railed on Coleman this morning and the notion of him being the Republican candidate. No solutions, no better alternatives, no suggestions on how maybe a rock solid conservative could beat Dayton (ahem). Instead, mashing of teeth, wailing, moaning, complaining, kicking and screaming, and threats of staying home…..

PPP polling is a Democrat influence poll. Sorry, but its an automated left leaning poll and if a Republican is citing it to tank a candidate they don’t like, they are as intellectually lazy as the biased media in Minnesota who is also using this poll to undermine all center right politicians and thought.

Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good Enough

Here’s the deal, unless all “factions” or sub caucuses with in the Republican Party: conservatives, moderates, libertarians, tea party, pro-life, hawks, doves, etc etc.-  let’s just call the “hyphenated Republicans”- commit to building an election system that can find, communicate with, and turn out 50% +1 of the voters each and every election, we have to be realistic on what kind of candidate we can run statewide. Bachmann can’t win the 5th, but Ellison can’t win the 6th. Same goes for Legislative candidates. The people who win in one place for a specific issue, can’t win on that in someplace else. Northern Anoka County is super pro-life, but Southern Anoka County is Pro-choice. Who’s more pro-life wins in one part, but loses in the other…. The same applies statewide. What works for a candidate in one area, hurts someplace else.

The litmus tests we have as a party, not so thinly veiled in our party platform, is hurting us, not helping us win elections. Can you hold a Republican who loses an election accountable? Yes, but the Democrat who wins won’t  listen to you. I know some of you are saying, “Good!” right now, but look at the State Legislature in 2013. All DFL controlled, Dayton is Governor and can do whatever he wants to do. Republicans can’t stop him because we are in the minority.

And why are we in the minority? Hint: It wasn’t messaging. We got out worked and out spent.

We have to win elections, most of them, in order to make Minnesota how we want it. 

If we are going to make sure  a few hundred activists in our party are 100% happy with the candidate they chose, it means we fight our battles surrendering Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth to the Democrats. Its what’s happened the last 2 cycles. They win those areas 80-20. Which is fine if we take tactical steps to counter that. Those steps are that we  need to turn out “our areas” 80-20 to make up for losing 30+% of the population by a 4 to 1 margin.

Think back to 2010, if you take Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth out of the mix, Tom Emmer won by 8% or so. In 2012, Ellison won 80-20 against one of the best Republicans ever. They knew it was a great year for themselves, yet they still put their foot on the accelerator and smoked us.

On the other hand, in a very bad year for Republicans in Minnesota, Mitt Romney got more votes than any other Republican with zero ground game and a state party that could barely pay its rent let alone run a statewide GOTV operation…. Sorry, but true.  Romney, the guy most activists and people demanding changes in the party love to hate, did better than anyone else on the ballot. That’s telling folks. Maybe our vision of the kind of Republican voters want isn’t the same statewide as it is, in our County District, BPOU, or CD. MAybe electability has to be taken into consideration in endorsements.

Heck, think back to 2008 and Coleman. 237 votes is what Franken won by. Do you think maybe there were 237 Republican voters who wanted to send Coleman a message? Trashed him online, to their friends, and refused to help him because they were upset with him for not being as conservative as we were? I’m pretty sure the answer is ‘yes’. I didn’t actively ‘help’ him, or defend him very much, but I did vote for him. But it didn’t matter, he lost, and Al Franken became the 60th Democrat and now we are stuck with Obamacare. He got the broader public support, well at least enough to come really really close, but he didn’t have the support of his own base and that ended up costing him. Partially his fault, but also partially ours.

We are at a fork in the road as a party.

Do we stand on “principle” and look for the perfect candidate and cross our finger that the name on the sign and face is enough to win? A Russian roulette model, of sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t gamble.

OR

Do we build the perfect election system and structure of the party and movement to elect which ever Republican is our candidate?

The fact is we can do both, we should do both, but that takes a commitment and buy in from all the “hyphenated Republicans”. If we were a party that while arguing over the degree of perfection we were willing to accept, but was still working data, finding voters, messaging, and fundraising – we could argue with ourselves like we do and currently are. But it needs to be our hobby not our drive and focus. It needs to be done at the end of the long days of working the voters, and can’t be considered the cure for what ails us.

If we are going to strive to make sure Davis & Emmer, The Queen B, Sue Jeffers, Craig Westover, and (yes) the old Andy Aplikowski’s are 100% satisfied, we’d need to cancel the debt now, quit fighting, and get to work. No offense, but that’s the write off 30% of the state plan. That’s the anti-Coleman-Pawlenty-Bush-McCain-Romney plan. 5 guys who did better than we care to honestly admit they did. Norm has actually won a statewide race (technically 2but we we lost the SOS race, so Norm got hosed in 08) . Pawlenty won twice. In 2004 Bush got more votes than any Republican, Romney 2nd in 2012. And the people who are currently threatening to take control of the party consider them Democrats and won’t support or vote for them. Do you agree with the hyphenated Republicans or the huge number of Minnesota voters?

The voters of Minnesota gave 2 guys we hyphenated Republicans can’t stand, more votes than any guy or gal we have ever endorsed. Please think about that. Its something I have come to learn and painfully accept. Maybe what I believe isn’t what 50% of Minnesotans want to hear, or maybe we need to build a better machine to communicate our “why” to voters so we can win.

 

The only person who can represent you 100% of the time is yourself.

Maybe we  hyphenated Republicans can have the guy or gal we want, but the party will still need to be strong enough and fine tuned enough to make sure we can win. We need to craft our message to the voter. We have t track what people say they want to hear, and have our candidate communicate on the voter’s terms. Not how a few hundred activists or a couple radio hosts want them to. That doesn’t mean changing our principles, it means finding, scientifically and professionally, how to explain why individual voters should vote for our candidates.

That’s what the party is for, winning. Not for debates, not so a Republican can hear us boo them, and not so we can pass a platform plank so we can go hammer a specific Republican you don’t like on Facebook or something. The What of the party is winning. We need to work on the How and Why. 

Jim Abeler is a great example. If Republicans push him out, guess what, he’ll run anyway from us and he’ll still win but now he’ll work against us and won’t listen. He has bi-partisan support. Is it better to have him in our tent, our relationship not perfect, but on speakable term so we get his vote for Speaker? Or should we chase him out of our party and into the Democrat one? Sometimes we have to deal with candidates we don’t like. There are other examples, but now that I share a Senate District with Rep. Abeler, I understand red side blue side so much more.

Sometimes you have to do what is necessary to win.

One way or another, we have to tackle the party debt.

There were about 50,000 Republican Precinct Caucus attendees in 2012. We are reportedly $1.7 Million in debt still. If each person who voted in our straw poll last year gave the Republican Party of Minnesota $35, it would bring in $1,750,000 and we could hire a field staffer or two. Woohoo!

Why is that important?

The most unifying message or issue the hyphenated Republicans have, is fiscal conservatism and financial stewardship. We claim to know the best way to run Government more efficiently, which gives us reason to cut taxes, spending, limited Government, etc. Blah blah blah. You and I know that, but how does the public see us?

Our own party can’t pay its bills, racked up crazy debt, and can’t perform the tasks it is supposed to. How can you blame voters for trusting Democrats more to pay the Government bills, avoid crazy debt, and perform the tasks they need or expect Government to do?

Here’s the bad news, the chances of the big money people stepping up and just taking care of that debt (for us little guys who want to pick the candidates) is nil. In many of the big donors’ eyes, its the base’s fault we were $2 million in debt. And I tend to agree. We elected Sutton, Brodkorb, and Carey who ran the party into the ground operationally while paying friends for terrible work, pushed divisive issues, did and said dumb things, and so on and so on.

If you ran your business like they ran the party, would your bank continue to extend you that line of credit? No, and the big donors didn’t. Just like us conservatives who were mad about the Twins Stadium, or Vikings, or you name it stopped donating, the big money people stopped donating to the party that was hemorrhaging money and not getting results (winning).

There’s something to be said for one time, short term, operational debt to run a special TV ad, or fight a recount (if its truly one that you can win). But if you hire failed consultants, lawyers, unproven vendors, and wage a recount war you know you can’t win, just because you want to do it better this time to show the base that you need to reelect you as chair, that you’ve learned something, well, kiss the big money good buy.

Its not personal, its business. 

And that get’s me to another reason you can say it is the base’s fault. Look who we have endorsed. Some candidates we have put forth have embarrassed us all. Some have had serious skeletons, others have no filter between their brain and their mouths. Some run terrible campaigns and some blame the big donors for just not handing them blank checks.

Its the Davids vs. Goliath battle for the party.

We need to do some serious soul searching as a party. But we also need to understand that just picking the right candidate doesn’t mean everything else falls into place. Kurt Bills is a great example of just because one group of hyphenated Republicans is happy, others were not, push out, or excluded from the advisory and vetting process. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  If you pull the party one way, you lose people on the other side of the spectrum. If you forcibly drag the party right, and you lose some people WE NEED in the middle, you get further from 51% than closer.

Emmer vs. Seifert is another example. Emmer ran a terrible campaign. Again, sorry to my friends who were on it, but its true. He should and could have won. Unforced errors, poor strategy, and refusal to fight back left him at the mercy of Dayton’s ability to ID Emmer in the minds of voters.  But anyone who thinks Dayton wouldn’t have unloaded millions on Seifert is a fool. Maybe his marginally less rock solid conservative record would have faired better in voters’ eyes, but Emmer’s DWIs were not why Alida Messenger spent millions and millions in 2010. She wanted to win and did whatever it took to do so. Who we picked didn’t matter. And her war chest will be back in 2014, so we better get out schtuff together right quick.

And that my friends, is where pickles come from. 

Back to that How, What, Why video.

What: The 2014 goals for the Republican Party of Minnesota should be winning back control of the State House and defeating Mark Dayton.

How: Even if we did somehow pay off the debt, we will need money to run the operations. We need staff, new systems in place, and we are going to have to be able to run ads. In a perfect world we should try to raise at least $6 million over the next 2 years.

Why: Because Republicans believe in a different kind of Government than our opponents, where decisions that affect the lives of Minnesotans are made at their kitchen tables, not in committee rooms at the Capital…..

Do you have a plan?

Is anyone out there actually talking about a plan to do that? To fix the party, rebuild it, and elect Republicans? We have less than 2 years.

Are Davis and Emmer harping on ways to raise money for the party to build the party into something that can actually do what they want it to?  Because no offense, the biggest problem we have is the lack of money to do what we need to do to win elections. Even if what the hyphenated Republicans say we should do is right,  and would attract voters, we don’t have the ability to great them, track them, and turn them out to vote. The Democrats, through Obama & Dayton’s campaigns have done that.

We know what we need to do to be competitive in Minnesota. Few people are willing to say it publicly like this, but its the truth. We need to model our system on what the Democrats have. Not the message, the machine.

Everyone always wants to have a chair who says, “They are the answer” but we can hire or buy what we need to win. But we have to have the money to do that.

We can argue about what we should say and even what we think the voters want to hear, but if we don’t commit to winning elections we are simply arguing about where commas should go in our Party unit Constitutions. We are arguing with people whom we agree with 95% of the time, but focus all our time, effort, and money on the 5% we disagree on. Give or take….

We are controlled by people who complain about $15 convention fees. 

Less than 1%

Its sad to say money is our biggest problem, but its the truth.  And, its our fault. We chase away “the money”. We have people, like Davis and Emmer, or Legislators, or activists who shake their finger at people who can write really big checks. They tell them to take a hike, we don’t need em. We push amendments that make them uncomfortable, make it hard for them to open the Corporate PAC checkbook up, but we don’t care because we have principles and by gosh if that means we lose, so be it. Do we have to build them stadiums? No, but maybe they wouldn’t run to the Democrats if they we could take the majorities, Governor, Attorney General, Auditor, and secretary of State….

We have blinders on. We skip stones into the pond, and love the pretty ripples, but can’t see the waves crashing on the shore across the lake. The party spends tons of time and money holding conventions, catering to its Delegates, but those Delegates don’t help fund the party. Those convention fees barely cover convention costs, but those conventions determine the direction of the party. And many times, that is away from what the big money is willing to invest in.

We need to find somewhere between a million and 1.5 million Minnesotans to come vote for whoever our Governor and US Senate candidates are. Why is the state party focussed almost entirely on what the 4000 State Convention Delegates want? Its less than 1%. Its less than half of 1%. I get grassroots, but ….

Its not always issues. Its not just the Amendment, stadiums, or specific things. Sometimes its just the person or candidate. Maybe its the Chair, maybe its the Congressional Candidate, maybe its the Speaker, majority leader, or even the Communications Director. Sometimes what we as hyphenated Republicans decide at our conventions is not only a minority opinion in Minnesota, but is unfavorable to large donors. And yes, we do need them.

Put up or shut up

It takes millions of dollars to run a statewide organization, air TV ads (good ones too), mine the data, and turn out over a million voters. Are the hyphenated Republicans who are planning to seize control of State Central, BPOUs, and CDs, also willing to put their money where their mouths are? Are they willing to say “good riddance” to the large donors but still want all the fancy toys they paid for. Again, no offense, but low convention fees don’t exactly translate to filling the treasury.

The people who have lots of money, didn’t get it by simply throwing it around to who ever asks or demands. To them, a donation to a candidate or party, is an investment. If the return is a middle finger from us hyphenated Republicans, they won’t give again.

This sounds like I am saying that we have to cave to big money, forget our principles, and we are all RINOs now. Its not. I think we can find a balance. A measured set of expectations on all sides. The Democrats and all their minions, front groups, and special interests all know that if they just win a bunch of elections and gain all the power, they can hash out the details of what actually becomes law later. They design the plan to win first, carry it out, and deal with how much of their agenda they can actually pass.

Mission Incomplete

But we hyphenated Republicans want the agenda pledged to up front by Republican candidates and party leaders, before we  will even consider backing them or helping the party. We want our promises in writing. Platform, TPL pledges, scorecards, etc. We demand the whole truth and nothing but. But look at our record. We’ve lost 3 straight major elections. Our party hasn’t got 2 pots to even bang together.

But we with hold money and time because it didn’t work out like we expected. Like magic, when we leave that convention, an army of interns and robots swoops in and presto-bammo we win. Far too often, we think once the conventions are done, our work is done and mission completed. We voted for the people we were told to, the candidate we liked, or the party officer candidate who said what we wanted to hear.

Its almost like we aim a car at the parking ramp spot, tie off the steering wheel, set a brick on the gas pedal, and expect the car to run out of gas before it rams into the other cars or right off the ramp itself.

We expect perfection from the party and candidates, but we give it nothing but marching orders to work with. We expect them to cater to us and us alone, and even if they aren’t our Representative or Senator. We hyphenated Republicans are Delegates, we will put our finger in their chest and tell them how it is,  so by gosh they had better do as we say or else….

Which is fine. Everyone has a right to be a pain in the butt, and the party and candidates have the right to say, they have more important things to deal like their real mission, winning elections.

But let me be brief

If we are going to chase away the big money, we hyphenated Republicans will have to all pitch in to make up for it. We can push the Pillsbury-esque donors and their 6 figure donations out of the party, but guess what, that doesn’t mean we just can go with out the 6 figures of revenue  and still have a  effective and functional party. That means no ads, no field staff, no database upgrades, no support for the candidate YOU wanted.

What it means is that if you get on your soap box or radio show demanding perfection, and chasing away anyone who would prefer good enough to win, you have to make up for the losses you cause.

Our problem is far more than just messaging or who we chose to lead us or represent us. Our biggest obstacle to winning is ourselves and our expectations we have. Until we come to that realization, we will not be ready to govern even if we can win.

If we can’t accept any Republican that we can’t agree with 100% of the time, we will never win back control. And with out control, we can’t affect the lives of Minnesotans. We’re simply spectators to the destruction of the Democratic Progressive agenda.

Or something.