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)
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%)
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.