MinnPost ran a story last week on prospective GOP candidates for Governor. Of note in that story was a quote from prominent Republican operative Ben Golnik lamenting the fact that “the ideal candidate — a female from the suburbs” wasn’t out there. As such, I found it interesting that the name of State Senator Julianne Ortman didn’t come up. Ortman’s resume — in the Senate over a decade, former Deputy Majority Leader, a caucus leader on tax and legal issues — stacks up comparably against many of the other named contenders. And she’s one of the Senate GOP’s better communicators, as evidenced by her continuing high profile despite not holding a formal leadership position anymore.
I have no idea if Ortman is interested in higher office — perhaps she’s signaled she’s not, which is why she didn’t make this piece. But it seems that for many, the list of women available for statewide runs in the Minnesota Republican Party ends with Laura Brod now that Amy Koch is out of the Senate.
Given that the current list of prospective candidates all have significant question marks as it relates to their ability to either earn the Republican endorsement or win a general election — Sen. Dave Thompson might be too conservative for a statewide election, Rep. Kurt Zellers was widely criticized for his leadership (or lack thereof) last session as Speaker of the House, Sen. David Hann was an also-ran in the 2010 race for Governor, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek has perhaps spent too much time on gun issues for the base’s liking, and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has already lost one statewide race (Attorney General in 2006) — it seems maybe the list of usual suspects should be expanded. But, of course, I doubt the Republicans are looking to me for advice.
Here are some other things happening in the community:
- In case you haven’t already heard, two new restaurants opened in Chaska in the last week or so: BullChicks in Chaska Commons, and Egg & Pie Diner in downtown. I’m hearing positive word-of-mouth on both.
- The two facility taskforces convened by the Eastern Carver County School District continue to make progress. The High School taskforce is wrestling with the question of balancing programming and demographics between Chaska and Chanhassen High Schools. Meanwhile, the Early Childhood through Middle School task force is working on finding the best way to deal with overcrowded schools on the west side of the District as well as finding a permanent home for the La Academia Spanish immersion program. I am a member of the Early Childhood through Middle School task force and I can attest to the difficult challenges that lie ahead here. Over the next few months, there will be opportunities for public input on potential changes — I encourage you to keep your eyes open and attend those sessions when they occur.