Tag Archives: Kurt Bills

Eastern Carver County takes some steps in a moderate direction

Every election cycle, we get the requisite story about Carver County’s long history of voting Republican.  2012 was largely a continuation of that trend, with Mitt Romney racking up nearly 60% of the vote in the County, and Congressional and Legislative Republicans winning re-election.  But there were some signs that the “suburbanization” of eastern Carver County may be starting to make Chanhassen and Chaska look more like their Hennepin County neighbors than like the rest of Carver County.

Let’s start off with the U.S. Senate race.  For the first time in recent memory, a Democratic candidate won the county.  Senator Amy Klobuchar cruised to victory by a double-digit margin over Republican nominee Kurt Bills.  Klobuchar won eight of the nine precincts in House District 47B (all of Chaska, precincts 3-5 of Chanhassen, and precincts 1-2 of Victoria), and tied with Bills in the ninth.  Much of that has to do with Bills’s historical weakness as a candidate, but it also speaks to the kind of Senator Klobuchar has been.  (Keep in mind, Klobuchar lost Carver County six years ago to Mark Kennedy).  Klobuchar has taken a moderate, low-key approach in the Senate, focusing on consumer issues and taking centrist positions on civil liberties and foreign policy, as well as many business issues.

Another notable result was on the marriage amendment.  If you look at House District 47B, the marriage amendment lost by nine points (45.4% yes vs. 54.6% no/no-vote).  The weak performance of the marriage amendment (compared to expectations) in traditional Republican areas like Carver County can in large part explain why it failed on a state-wide basis.

Interestingly enough, this vote puts eastern Carver County’s legislators, State Sen. Julianne Ortman and State Rep. Joe Hoppe, squarely in opposition with a large block of their constituents (While Hoppe’s 47B voted solidly against the amendment, 47A voted in favor of the amendment, allowing it to win SD 47 with 50.1%).  Both voted in favor of putting the amendment on the ballot, and Ortman fought back hard against allegations that she hadn’t been supportive enough of the amendment during her campaign for the GOP endorsement against Bruce Schwichtenberg.  Will Ortman and Hoppe back off of their support for their party’s divisive social agenda?

Meanwhile, the Carver County Commissioner races continued to show trends began in 2010.  In that cycle, the three incumbent commissioners on the ballot withstood challenges from the right.  This year, with all five incumbents up for re-election thanks to redistricting, all five incumbents were victorious.  Four of those incumbents fended off challenges from the right.  Tom Workman was the exception, as he was the lone incumbent who faced a less-partisan challenger.

What does this mean?  Is eastern Carver County poised to “turn blue”?  It may be too soon to say that, but it does show that demographic trends are likely over time to make this area more competitive than it has been in the past.  And Democratic candidates with the right mix of qualities can get a fair hearing from voters in these areas.  Democratic efforts should be focused on party-building and creating the infrastructure to support and develop these types of candidates that can compete and eventually win in eastern Carver County.  Klobuchar and State Senator Terri Bonoff are good examples of the sort of moderate candidates that would fit that mold.

[Edited to clarify a point on the marriage amendment, 11:20 11/13]

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Brodkorb’s blog goes from boring to lazy

Former Minnesota state Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb’s new blog, politics.mn, debuted back in August.  It seemed to be  promising.  After all, Brodkorb was highly influential in the Minnesota Republican Party until his dalliances with Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch got himself fired and ended (for now) her political career.  Before becoming part of the party engine, Brodkorb ran his own influential blog, Minnesota Democrats Exposed.

Since its launch, though, Brodkorb’s new blog has mostly trafficked in regurgitated conventional wisdom (Kurt Bills is running a bad campaign?  Really?) and random fact-checking.  It’s been bland and boring, something that I don’t think anyone really expected.  Brodkorb presumably knows this stuff inside and out, so either he’s not as smart as everyone claims he is or he’s holding the juicy stuff. (Maybe his ongoing lawsuit over l’affaire Koch is tempering things, or perhaps Brodkorb really has turned over a new leaf.)

But the most recent post on the site, an “analysis” of Rick Nolan’s campaign for Congress in the 8th District turns the corner from boring to lazy.  The premise is intriguing:  are there things in Rick Nolan’s previous public service that are hurting his campaign this year?

And it all starts out well enough, with a recounting of Nolan’s history, including his well-documented and very public support of Ted Kennedy’s run against incumbent President Jimmy Cater (and Minnesota’s own Vice President Walter Mondale, who Brodkorb seems to be hinting still may be against Nolan).  Brodkorb also approvingly cites press releases from Nolan’s 2012 opponent, Rep. Chip Cravaack detailing missed votes by Nolan and statements 35 years apart that are in contradiction with one another.  OK, fine.  How is that impacting things today?

Well, the only evidence of Nolan having trouble today is the defection of two officials who supported one of Nolan’s opponents in the 2012 primary to Cravaack.  Why did these two officials choose to endorse Cravaack?  Must be the Kennedy issue or the other issues cited above, right?  Maybe Walter Mondale told them to switch sides?

Nope.  In fact, the two officials switched their support to Cravaack because of a specific current issue — mining.  Not a mention of Nolan’s past history at all.  Is there a lot of evidence that 8th District DFLers are hopelessly divided over Nolan?  There doesn’t seem to be.  Nolan easily won the DFL endorsement battle, which meant he was victorious among the very activists you would expect to have long memories about such things.

This post wasn’t “analysis” at all.  Rather, it was a chance to toss up some Chip Cravaack talking points about things in Nolan’s past, point out something unrelated and shout “Dems in disarray”.  That play was worn out years ago.  Sorry, Mike, we hoped for better.

Good news for Scrooge McDuck

Rep. Kurt Bills (R-Apple Valley) has introduced a new bill that will be of great benefit to those of you with stashes of gold and silver coins.  H.F. 1664 would make gold and silver coin legal tender in the state of Minnesota. and exempt transactions using gold and silver coins from taxation.

The rationale for the bill is that the Federal Reserve (along with the banks of every other industrialized country) have devalued our currency by not linking directly to gold, silver, or some other tangible resource.  This has been a plank in the Ron Paul platform, for instance.  In the real world, there’s little fear that the global economic order is going to collapse to such an extent that American dollars and all other fiat currencies are going to suddenly become worthless.

But perhaps Bills has stumbled onto an economic development strategy.  Perhaps Scrooge McDuck will move his Money Bin from Duckburg to Minnesota.  Maybe we can build it next to the new Minnesota Vikings stadium…


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