Tag Archives: Randy Maluchnik

Chaska Area Election Results and Quick Analysis

State Senate District 47:  Julianne Ortman (63.8%) def. Jim Weygand (36.0%)

State House District 47A:  Ernie Leidiger (62.5%) def. Keith Pickering (37.3%)

The two challenged legislative incumbents cruise to victories with margins somewhat smaller than 2010.  Probably the biggest change for Ortman, Leidiger, and Joe Hoppe (who was unopposed in House District 47B) is that they will be working again from the legislative minorities, as the DFL flipped the script on the GOP and retook both houses of the Legislature.  In fact, with the current results showing the DFL having a 39-28 lead in the Senate and 73-61 in the House, the DFL is poised to have larger majorities the next two years than the Republicans did in the previous two.

This will mean a significant loss in power for Ortman and Hoppe, who chaired committees when in the majority, but both will still be well-positioned to work on a bipartisan basis on critical issues.  Although Ortman and the DFL majorities are out of step on many tax issues, fulfilling the promise of fundamental tax reform will require hard work from both parties to craft the best solution.  Hoppe has worked well with many DFLers in the past, including Rep. Joe Atkins, who may very well end up taking the gavel on the Commerce Committee.

This will also be a challenge for Leidiger.  His first term was rather unproductive (only one bill signed into law, placing him in the bottom quarter of the GOP freshmen), and that was with a Republican majority.  Is Leidiger only interested in being a lightning rod backbencher, or is he capable of more?  If he is capable of more, now is the time to show it.

Carver County Commissioner District 1:  Gayle Degler (60.6%) def. John Siegfried (38.7%)

Carver County Commissioner District 2:  Tom Workman (58.1%) def. Cheryl Ayotte (41.5%)

Carver County Commissioner District 3:  Randy Maluchnik (67.0%) def. Vince Beaudette (32.3%)

Carver County Commissioner District 4:  Tim Lynch (63.4%) def. Frank Long (36.2%)

Carver County Commissioner District 5:  Jim Ische (53.3%) def. Jim Walter (46.3%)

The five incumbents all win re-election.  The notable thing here is that for the second cycle in a row, the Republican-endorsed challengers all lost.  As I’ve said before, this is a losing strategy for the local Republican Party.  County issues are not partisan issues, and voters don’t appreciate partisan warfare being brought where it doesn’t belong.

Eastern Carver County School Board:  Heather Nelson (25.0%), Amy Logue (24.0%) and Jeff Ross (19.2%) def. Jim Leone (17.8%) and Larry Doran (13.4%).

The housecleaning is complete with this vote, as Jim Leone is the last long-term incumbent on the Board is swept out of office.  Highly qualified newcomers Logue and Ross join Nelson (who won election to reduced term in 2010) on the Board.

Chaska Mayor:  Mark Windschitl (67.8%) def. Richard Swanson (31.1%)

This was a clear show of support for the current city leadership.  Windschitl has grown greatly on the job the last three years, and Swanson’s failure to provide a clear case for change and his tax issues didn’t help his cause.

More analysis to come, including looking at the statewide races and constitutional amendments.



Brick City Blog Endorsements: Randy Maluchnik and Cheryl Ayotte for Carver County Commissioner

Today, we’re happy to make endorsements in two of the Carver County Commissioner races — Cheryl Ayotte in District 2 and Randy Maluchnik in District 3.

Let’s start with Randy Maluchnik.  Maluchnik has raised the hackles of some by calling himself a “Common Sense Conservative” in his campaign ads.  The description, though, fits perfectly.  Maluchnik is an Army veteran, a former staffer for Blue Dog U.S. Rep. David Minge, and has been a reliable force for the kind of moderate leadership that has helped Carver County grow so fast in recent years.  Maluchnik and the rest of the County Board have kept the lid on taxes, while encouraging the sorts of prudent infrastructure investments that help the private sector grow and flourish.

As President of the Association of Minnesota Counties, Maluchnik has been at the forefront of helping county and local governments redesign their organizations and processes to maximize taxpayer value and has been a powerful advocate for holding the Legislature accountable for its promises to stop meddling in the affairs of local governments.

There is a sharp contrast between Maluchnik and his opponent, Vince Beaudette.  Beaudette is one of the Republican-endorsed Commissioner candidates who has chosen to participate in the ill-conceived boycott of the League of Women Voters candidate forums.  Beaudette’s campaign seems just as much focused on national and state issues as county ones, and he’s long been a fountain of misinformation on such topics.

Randy Maluchnik is the clear choice for District 3 residents.

In District 2, Cheryl Ayotte has run a textbook campaign.  Prospective Carver County candidates should take a note of how she has approached the daunting task of challenging a long-time incumbent.  The planning and execution she has brought to the table here indicates she would be a strong Commissioner.  Let’s look at what she has done.

First, she’s presented a positive message, explaining the key things she wants to focus on and the personal qualities she brings to the table.  Second, she’s presented a clear message explaining why her opponent’s record should cause voters to seek to replace an incumbent.  Finally, she’s tied those two pieces together to create a compelling story as to why she would be a better Commissioner than Tom Workman.  Here’s an example of a lit piece she produced that ties it all together.

Ayotte is a solid conservative, but she understands that she serves all Carver County residents — something that Workman seems to have forgotten.  Her agenda is decidedly nonpartisan — as it should be!  County issues aren’t Democratic vs. Republican issues — they are issues of common sense and making sure that we’re maximizing value for residents.

Workman, who is also one of the candidates ducking the LWV forums, has a long history of partisan divisiveness.  It’s time for him to go.

I encourage residents of District 2 to vote for Cheryl Ayotte and residents of District 3 to vote for Randy Maluchnik on November 6.

As for the other races:

District 1 voters are fortunate to have two strong candidates in Gayle Degler and John Siegfried.  Both have spent a decade providing good service to Carver County residents as a Commissioner   Degler, as the incumbent, can point to a solid record of managing the county’s tax burden in a time of growth.  Siegfried, though, raises some interesting questions about the declining fund balances.  Thursday’s League of Women Voters forum should be useful for District 1 voters to help them decide.

In District 4 and 5, challengers Frank Long and Jim Walter have chosen to travel down the same regrettable path as Workman and Beaudette with regards to the LWV forums.  I cannot recommend voting for candidates who treat citizens with such disdain.

Maluchnik stands up for Carver County workers

There’s a dispute brewing over the use of out-of-state temporary workers at the Mills Fleet Farm site in Carver.  Mills received a total of $3 million in subsidies and loan guarantees from the City of Carver and Carver County for the project.  The Tax Increment Financing agreement between Mills and the City of Carver only calls for Mills to be required to hire 1 full-time equivalent, even though there are an estimated 1,000 unemployed construction workers in Carver County.

Carver County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik has stepped up pressure on Mills over the last week, taking to the airwaves to point out the ample availability of local workers to do the work at the site.

See more on this story from KSTP-TV here.

Election Recap

I know it’s nearly a week late, but some family medical issues have kept me from posting over recent days. 

Let’s review the results of the election:

State Senate District 34:  Julianne Ortman (63.5%) defeats Laura Helmer (30.3%) and Tim Biros (6.2%)

State House District 34A:  Ernie Leidiger (65.1%) defeats Leanne Pouliot Kunze (34.9%)

The DFL candidates were facing a stiff tide.  Helmer and Kunze ran probably the best races the DFL has put up in this area in a while, but achieved similar results to previous cycles.

Chaska Mayor:  Mark Windschitl (96.0%) unopposed

Hopefully, we’ll have a race in 2012.  Contested elections are a good thing.

Chaska City Council Ward 1:  Scott Millard (57.9%) defeats Gino Businaro (41.6%)

For the first time since 2002, a Chaska City Council incumbent goes down to defeat.  Interesting that Businaro is the one to pay for the Council’s perceived unwillingness to listen to the people, as Businaro has been the closest thing to a “voice of dissent” on the current Council.   It will be interesting to see what Millard brings to the Council, as his candidate forum appearance gave little insight.

Chaska City Council Ward 3:  Chris Schulz (71.7%) defeats Charles Stech (27.9%)

Stech seemed to have ideas, but for some reason got very little traction in his campaign.  Schulz has grown quite a bit in the last year.  He was confident and in command at the candidate forum.  It will be interesting to see if that command carries over the council meetings over the next term.

Carver County Commissioner District 3:  Randy Maluchnik (52.7%) defeats Jay Swenson (47.1%)

A close race that came down to the last precinct.    Strong performance by Swenson in Victoria was not enough to overcome Maluchnik’s advantages in the Chaska portion of the district.

Brick City Blog Endorsements

State House District 34A:  Leanne Pouliot Kunze

Frequent readers of this blog know that I’m a big fan of Leanne’s.  The two posts linked below give you key reasons to understand why I am so enthusiastic about her campaign for the State House.

I’m Voting for Leanne Pouliot Kunze

Do You Know Leanne Pouliot Kunze?

State Senate District 34:  Laura Helmer

Laura Helmer would be a terrific addition to the State Senate.  A moderate, pro-business Democrat, Helmer intends to start a bi-partisan small business caucus in the Senate — putting actions to her words.  The election of Helmer (and Kunze) would give this area responsible, solutions-focused representation in the Legisalture — a welcome change from the partisan games we’ve seen from Julianne Ortman.

Carver County Commissioner District 3:  Randy Maluchnik

There are certainly some valid critiques one could make of the current incumbents on the Carver County Board.  The septic system situation at the Waconia Ballroom has certainly been handled poorly.  Depending on which property tax metrics you use, you could make the argument that Carver County is somewhat overtaxed.

That said, Jay Swenson (and the challengers in the other districts) have been light on specific changes they would make.  It’s easy to point out things that may have gone wrong in the past, but it’s far more difficult to indicate specifically how you would accomplish what you say you’re going to do.

Randy Maluchnik has been a solid Commissioner.  He has good relations across the County.  He (and the rest of the board) have seemed to get the message on keeping a closer eye on the tax levy, as the county has reduced the levy for 2011.  Importantly, Maluchnik has also rejected the call to make the board a partisan body.  We don’t need partisan politics infecting our county and local affairs.  He deserves re-election.

Chaska City Council:  No Endorsements

As I don’t live in Ward 1 or Ward 3, I’m not going to give a formal endorsement.  However, a few thoughts on the races here.  As I noted about a month ago, the challengers in these races have the burden of proof.  There are decisions made and actions taken by this Council that could provide a platform for making such a case.  Based on what I’ve seen, though, the challengers have not made their case (and granted, not living in the Wards in question, I may not be aware of all the campaign activity). 

I’m particularly hopeful that Gino Businaro will push for increased financial discipline on the city’s part should he be re-elected next week.  His “no” vote on the city budget last year was appropriate, and he should not be afraid to vote “no” again.

Incumbents comfortably ahead in commisioner races?

I haven’t spent much time talking about the races for Carver County Commissioner.  Clearly, though, there has been an effort (much of it partisan-driven) to replace incumbents Gayle Degler, Randy Maluchnik, and Jim Ische.  Challengers Neil Kennedy, Jay Swenson, and Bruce Schwictenberg have run well-organized campaigns against the incumbents.

The Maluchnik campaign released internal polling last night that shows all three incumbent with 10 point (or more) leads in each of the races.    It’s obviously internal polling, so take it as you will, but I have to admit the magnitude of the leads seems a bit surprising, given the energy of the challengers’ campaigns and the general national mood.  Although I think all three incumbents stand a good chance of winning, I anticipated all three races to be closer.  It will be interesting to see if the results on November 2 track with these polling numbers.

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