Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Friday, June 30, 2006

Declare your independence

What better way to kick off Independence weekend there is no better time to sign the declaration of Independence. Unity08 asking for 10,000 signatures for there declaration of independence as they work toward recruiting and running an Independent for president. While the Independence party is in no way affiliated with Unity08 at this point the goals of both units are the same. Any support you can give to Unity08 will be well worth the effort as I imagine John Binkowski, Tammy Lee, and Robert Fitzgerald would like to see a similar minded president join them in Washington.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I'm a little arrogant

I recently came across Shawne Towle piece on the Independence Party. In it Sean basically calls those of us in the Independence Party arrogant know it all elitists. That is all fair praise as we are a little arrogant, we do know more then most Democrats and Republicans, and some of our candidates are actually elite not only inside but out of the political world.

Being a part of the Independence Party you sometimes look for that reason why we are wrong and everyone else is right. It took an awful long time for me to confirm the thought that brought me to this party are indeed right. The Democrats and Republicans are lead by good people who want to do what they think is right. Unfortunately they are amatures at using the system we have to appeal to the voters, and thus think that lies, political favors, and conflict for the sake of conflict are the way to go.

We in this party (the same party in both a legal and logical sense that brought us Jesse Ventura who did receive more then 16.18% of the vote by the way) will get it wrong every once in a while, our candidates and elected officials will screw up from time to time, but I am arrogant enough to know that this party will do a better job then the existing special interest funded parties at least in the beginning stage.

When someone is a racist sexist or bigot you call them on it, when someone is wasting tax payer money you call them on it. You can't stand on the sidelines and hope the other two parties fix themselves. And we've seen attempts to change those parties from within that have failed wether it be Kelly Dorans attempt in the Democrat party or Sue Jeffers attempt as a Republican. If they don't like it that’s their problem, it doesn't mean we are arrogant or elitist, it means we are willing to work for what is right. The politics of conviction matters, and ultimately the real convictions out of the people of Minnesota will shine through, but it's not happening within the Democrat and Republican parties. For better or worse a new party emerged in the early 90's, and we intend to pick up the slack. How we fair this election is still anybodies guess, but this party has been on a steady climb up since the beginning and that doesn't look to change this November. We're Americans, we're Minnesotans, we shouldn't settle for anything less then the best of the best, the elite, the strong, the proud. If that describes the Democrats or Republicans then by all means support them, but if not there is this other major party in Minnesota that has been around for over a decade, and has proven that it can produce a winner.

the main thing beetween now and November

If you've heard Peter Hutchinson speak recently you've heard the quote about keeping the main thing the main thing. Just in case you haven't heard Peter speak, what that means is keeping the focus on Health Care, Education, Transportation, and the environment rather some of the more heated social issues that are all about the fight, and not solutions. What Peter describes is what most Minnesotans want, but of course he is involved in a high profile race for political office so between now and November everything will be the main thing, particularly things that won't be the main thing if and when Peter is in office.

The issues of gay marriage, abortion, gambling, stadiums, and guns will matter in this election. Given that and the fact we have a 3 way race I thought I would review which of the three major party candidates stand out on those issues.

On gay marriage it's tough to tell where Mike Hatch stands, but Peter Hutchinson is very much against any ban while the Governor is very much in favor of a ban, as a Democrat Mike Hatch will try to play both sides for as long as possible, but in the end I think he'll be on the Governors side leaving Hutchinson as the only candidate does not wish to take rights away from citizens of Minnesota.

On abortion the governor stands alone that the government gets to make the choice and that choice is no abortions.

On gambling the governor seems to stand alone as the only candidate that thinks the state needs to open up a casino.

On stadiums Peter Hutchinson stands alone as the only candidate that is against publicly financed stadiums for pro teams.

On guns it's difficult to know where Hatch or Hutchinson stand, but Pawlenty is very much for gun rights.

In a three way race it is critical to stand alone on a few issues, in fact I believe this was the reason Tim Penny faded late in 2002. On the above mentioned issues Pawlenty stands alone on gambling and Abortions, while Hutchinson stands alone on stadiums, and probably gay marriage. The real story is Mike Hatch is stuck in the middle on all these issues and can win none of these issues outright.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June Governors race prediction

Hatch picks Dutcher, Hutchinson announces team of running mates, and Pawlenty proposes hundreds of millions of dollars toward higher ed without letting us know where that money is coming from. This race is much more fluid then all the others. We will see major movement in public perception on this race. All the money in the US Senate race doesn't change the fact that Minnesotans are most focused on this race.

On the three above June highlights.

Hatch picking Dutcher- As running mates go he got the best of the best, this will retain a few extra Democrats, but won't sway the type of voter that will decide this race.

Hutchinson and Team Minnesota- A concept is better then a running mate, and this is certainty a big concept. Whether or not the voters care, this move gives him a better campaign structure then previous Independence Party candidates have had. By all accounts Team Minnesota is well qualified and highly respected.

Pawlenty higher ed funding plan- The former no new taxes governor, jumps onto the same side of this issue as Hutchinson and Hatch. In a three way race it's often better to be alone and wrong then agree and be right.

From May Hatch moves up 1 points Hutchinson moves up 2 points and Pawlenty is down 3 points, making for a very tight three way race with Hatch and Pawlenty dead even and Hutchinson right on their tails.

Mike Hatch 36%
Tim Pawlenty 36%
Peter Hutchinson 28%

Pawlenty education plan

Tim Pawlenty as governor has a great luxury, every time he comes up with a stance on an issue the media flocks his way, rarely questioning the most critical details.

This week the governor has come up with what could potentially be a great plan to getting our best and brightest through college. This is a plan similar to what Peter Hutchinson has been talking about for months, it would be a great thing for Minnesota. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with candidates borrowing the expertise of their opponents, some key issues remain unanswered. The difference between Pawlenty and Hutchinson is that we know we can't take Pawlenty's word for anything, and Pawlenty isn't willing to come up with a funding plan. Also Pawlenty has had every opportunity for four years to address this issue, and has failed to do so.

By the way this plan is completely inconsistent with every press release the Pawlenty campaign has sent out in the last few weeks. You have to wonder if Pawlenty even talks to these hacks that send out lie filled press releases that are completely inconsistent with the views of the governor.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

June US Senate prediction

With the endorsement out of the way it's time for Robert Fitzgerald to get the bus rolling up and down this state. His message is great and will work, it's just a matter of going out there and getting himself on the radar. It's also time for Robert to roll out the fundraising machine. Those two things will make the difference from finishing at 2% or jumping into the middle of this race by getting to 10% and then riding whatever momentum he can. With four months to do it I am opptimistic about his chances still I'm going to have to see a little more to move from the 7% I predicted in May.

I still see this as the Republicans race to lose

Mark Kennedy 49%
Amy Klobachar 44%
Robert Fitzgerald 7%

The next month will paint a better picture of where this race is headed.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Great convention coverage

Power Liberal finishes off their coverage of the Independence Party convention with their list of winners and loser. Great list, I take full responsibility for all that went right with the convention.

MPR aired the speeches from Peter Hutchinson, Pam Ellison, Robert Fitzgerald, Tammy Lee, and John Binkowski this morning along with commentary from all three major parties.

Republican Party statement on Peter Hutchinsons endorsement

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey on Saturday issued the following statement regarding the endorsement of Peter Hutchinson.

"As Mike Hatch continues to propose massive new government spending while claiming he won't raise taxes, Peter Hutchinson is an honest, tax-and-spend liberal who is committed to hiking taxes on gasoline, clothing and internet purchases."

I believe the question Eric Eskola asked which triggered the discussion on these taxes was wether he thought our mix of taxes was best for budgeting. Peter responded on those other areas because they are more predictable and thus better for the budgeting process then our current mix. But I guess the party of Tim Pawlenty knows something about fiscal conservitism and responsible budgeting. I guess if you lower one tax and increase another Ron Carey and the Republican Party of Minnesota has a very difficult time comprehending what is going on. There are only two possible explenmations for Ron Careys remarks, either he's stupid, or he's a liar, or maybe a combenation of both. Liars like Carey and those that spread these lies don't deserve to be part of the political process. I have deleted from my sidebar the places I have seen these lies reproduced as fact.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

New Independence Party Blog

Jeffery Johnson has started up a blog, Thoughts on the Independence Party of Minnesota, out of yesterdays convention. He does a fairly good review of the convention, including some fair critique. I am hopeful Jeff keeps up an active blog throughout this campaign season and beyond, as it's good to get the presepctive from a party supporter who is not as active as myself.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

What a convention

Just got back, here are the highlights.

John Binkowski delivered an unbelievable speech; this young man is for real. Make sure to tune in to MPR Monday morning for this one, you'll be inspired no matter what party you support. The use of IRV voting in the US Senate race came into play against the odds as the 9 extra votes in the rundown pushed Robert Fitzgerald over the top.

Unfortunately the drizzle started as we were wrapping up the gubernatorial race and we pushed the rest of the team through quickly, but Peter won over 90% of the delegates. The rain chased people home early and only a few dozed stayed for the Saints game with only 3 left when we headed home after the 5th inning. The game was a good time, but with no friends left in the crowd there was no way I was going to sit through the drizzle for another hour or so. Good thing the money came in up front for the fundraiser otherwise it would have been a big financial hit to the party, it ended up as a financial break even, but the media hit was a significant boost for the party.

I asked Robert Fitzgerald what day one after endorsement would bring, but it looks like he will need a day or two to rest before he can focus in on November. I can't say I blame him; he put a lot into securing the endorsement.

Almanac debate

The IP governor debate on Almanac tonight was anything but a debate. These candidates are exactly the same on the issues with maybe one or two meaningful exceptions. Pam Ellison has promised to run in the primary, and while a primary fight is not a bad thing Pam seems to have the passion to work to get an IP candidate elected this fall, and could focus that energy on getting Peter Hutchinson as well as IP candidates for other offices elected. There is no doubt Pam comes from a place closer to the soul of this party then Peter, but Peter isn't out of place in this party.

Pam was referred to an Almanac as a long time party activist. I hope she becomes a party activist for the first time in a long time when she vows to support Peter Hutchinson if and when he is endorsed.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Pre convention update

First off a reminder candidates for Governor Peter Hutchinson and Pam Ellison will appear on Almanac tonight at 7.

Everything looks good for tomorrow with the possible exception of the weather, although a 70% chance of rain still means there is a 30% chance we won't see a drop of rain all day, and the forecast still indicates the morning will see the worst of it. I really don't know what’s going to happen with the US Senate race at this point. Jim Haviland sent out a nice 5 page letter yesterday, it's all the same stuff from his web site but some delegates might appreciate getting something in the mail. Overall I would say Robert Fitzgerald is running the most viable campaign. Many delegates might not worry to much about doing well in the US Senate race as it is an extreme long shot so they may go more on personal feel then what they think other voters might do. IRV is being used so it will come down to a 2 way race, and it should be relatively close. It could be that after the first ballot one candidate has 53-55% of the vote and the other is willing to concede, but I wouldn't bet on anyone getting 60% on the first ballot.

For predictions sake I'll say prior to the run off Fitzgerald will receive 56% to Haviland 41% and Williams 3% which should get Fitzgerald close enough to 60% after the Williams votes are awarded for Haviland to concede.

The real interesting dynamic is how Pam Ellison’s campaign will play. There are going to be many long time delegates that don't want another "liberal" or that feel the wrong people have to much power in this party, and will reject the direction party leadership appears to be headed in. I don't think Pam Ellison is the perfect candidate to take advantage of this dynamic, but it will exist in larger #'s then some people expect, if the Hutchinson campaign did not bring in around 200 delegates under 60% would have been a possibility, but with his supporters behind him Hutchinson should end up around 80%

The other big # will be the crowd. As of Monday over 300 had signed up for the fundraiser and over 500 delegates are out there. The media hits in the last day or two should help. The #'s to hope for are 1000 for the convention and 500 for the fundraiser. If it doesn't rain it should be in that range.

With the weather and the strong desire to see Fitzgerald endorsed there is a lot to worry about, but I'm pretty optimistic on both ends. Should be a great day, hope to see you there.

Star Tribune Editorial board

The Star Tribune did an editorial regarding the Independence Party and the upcoming Governors race. They questioned whether Peter Hutchinson was a serious contender or a spoiler. While the spoiler question is one that we have to face the idea that he's not a serious candidate is laughable. Sure if things go wrong he might not get 35%, but that doesn't mean you lump him in with Sue Jeffers and the vampire While the end results don't indicate it Tim Penny was a very serious contender to the point where many in the know predicted his victory. Peter is in this race for all the right reasons, and despite there question he is very actively fundraising. $200,000 in 2005 should have been a strong indication that he was on his way to raising enough funds to compete. While the Star Tribune Editorial board has in the past endorsed IP candidates whether or not they had a shot to win, this editorial strongly suggest they think the IP is a problem that needs to be dealt with (instant run off voting does it, the Democrats are responsible for bringing it forward, their delegates rejected it).

I'm sick and tired of the media feeding these people that can't adapt to the three party world, but yet feel entitled to being allowed to be part of the two party world. All our political rivals need to know is we're here, we're not here to help you, and we intend to win.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Former "Jackal" Pat Kessler

I'm shocked to be saying this, but the most impressive press on the Peter Hutchinson campaign and the Independence Party recently has come from Pat Kessler. Kessler as you may recall was considered the lead "Jackal" during the Ventura years.

Kessler has gone above and beyond what I would expect this last week though doing close to a 5 minute story on Team Minnesota, having Peter on his radio program this morning for nearly an hour, actually shielding Peter when he might not have been able to tell a caller what they wanted to here, and this evening he did a piece on the convention with Peter at midway stadium that can be viewed at WCCO.COM.

I'm sure Pam Ellison still might thinks he's a Jackal given he never mentions the Independence Party has two candidates seeking the Governor endorsement. To her credit, unlike the former Governor she would never call him on it in public.

Saturdays forecast

All week the forecast for Saturday had been 40% of rain and possible thunderstorms in the day, 60% by night. I'm happy to see now two days out from the convention the forecast has been adjusted to just a 20% chance of rain and no thunderstorms. Come on out and enjoy the fun Saturday afternoon and evening.

Michele Bachmann committed

If your a candidate and decide you want to have a blog, but don't want to write in the blog, and don't want to have a staffer write in the blog don't have a blog. If you want to know what was on Michele Bachmann's mind February 22nd, and December 8th here you go. Of course now someone on her staff will stumble on this and we will see three posts in the next week, but then it will stop again for two months.

June prediction6th CD

The 6th congressional race has a ridiculously huge gap for an Independent to fill. Michele Bachmann of course being to the far right and Patty Wetterling stumbling along as the Democrat. The question I’ve had is how good of a candidate can John Binkowski be? How aggressive of a fundraiser will he be and will he get on the voters radar. Up until recently I wasn’t convinced he would be a candidate that would take full advantage of this race and the opportunity it presents, but seeing him in action, and hearing some behind the scene things I now have confidence he will give Wetterling and Bachmann something to worry about.

That being said I will need to see more of it to move to far from my May prediction

My prediction for June

Patty Wetterling 36%
John Binkowski 13%
Michele Bachmann 51%

Dinner with bloggers

Robert Fitzgerald invited some of the people he's met over the course of his campaign for US Senate to dinner at True Thai (2627 East Franklin Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55406). I'm told by those that frequent Thai food it is one of the best in town. Non political family and friends were off at another table while those of us focused on the campaign sat with Robert. Included in that group were a couple IP supporters and a few bloggers.

The news of the night is that we will have at least one non IP blogger (Power Liberal) at the convention providing the most up to date reaction your going to find. The relationships Robert has built with bloggers are going to be great for this party as we need all the coverage we can get. While the TV and print media will be on hand we can't expect them to go into to much depth especially outside of the Governors race.

The other news is that the Independence Party US Senate endorsement will use Instant run off voting. In a 3 way race IRV works real well, unfortunately with the 60% threshold it does not guarantee an endorsement. If the 3rd place candidate gets under 10% it will only take an extra minute or two to get the IRV results. In the event that we don't have an endorsement prior to eliminating the 3rd place candidate this will be a major time saver.

By the way don't expect anything here on the convention until late Saturday night, as I don't expect to run across a computer all day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

More confirmation

I Found another example of what I'm talking about, things are feeling right. When Peter shows up to events the crowd consistently likes what they see. You might not yet get this if you read the paper or listen to the radio. The partisan blogs will either deny his existence or try to lump him in with Ken Pental, but we all know to well from past experience that they will continue to do that through November no matter how the public feels, and no matter what the polls show.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Things feel right

When Tim Penny was polling around 30% from the start of his campaign in 2002 things felt good. They felt good then because he was in the position where we always wanted to be in. At the time my feeling was a Penny loss would be a result of a failed campaign. The problem with Penny however wasn't that he did to many things wrong, it was that he was the wrong candidate for this party and the people that end up voting for our candidates.

I've felt Peter Hutchinson while better in the media setting had similar flaws. The Republicans and even Democrats are trying like hell to paint him as a liberal Democrat. While there should be no confusion that he might support Republicans over Democrats, this guy is anything but a liberal Democrat. This is of course the argument that I as a partisan Hutchinson supporter have been using for the last few months, and an argument I truly believe.

I didn't however realize how little people buy in to the liberal Democrat accusations. Sure the strong Republicans totally buy into it, but for them Jesse Ventura was a Democrat. The base of the Independence party that got Jesse Ventura elected has not bought into it in large #'s. I'm beginning to get a sense that in the back of peoples minds people across this state are ready to support Peter Hutchinson. They might not be ready to tell their friends and neighbors just yet, but if you listen closely you will hear it from the least expected places.

I've made bold predictions for Peter in this race since day one, but up until now I didn't have that feeling that the people of this state were to eager to jump on board. I thought he would have to work his ass off just to get on the publics radar, and then we would have to hope like hell there was enough time left to pull it off, but it is June 20th and he already is where he needs to be by the end of September. With a lot of parades, a lot of fairs, and a lot of media appearances in between things are looking up.

I finally have that feeling that I had the first week of November 1998, it's good to be back.

Random Independence Party Convention info

Date and time:

Saturday June 24th, 2-5PM with fundraiser to follow

Order of endorsement:

US Senate, Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor, Secretary of State

Party offices up for election:




National anthem singer:

Patty Peterson


Adam Levy in Emerson, Lake and Lyndale, Dick and Jane's big brass band, The Abdomen (post convention fundraiser), a live Buffalo, face painters, St. Paul Saints

First pitch for Saints game:

The endorsed candidate for governor

Cost to attend the convention:


Are tickets to the post convention Fundraiser available:


What is included in the fundraiser:

A candidate or party T Shirt voucher, a seat at the fundraising picnic, dinner, and a ticket to the St Paul Saints game that evening.

Do you need to be a delegate to attend:


Do you need to be an adult to attend:


Filing period July 4th-17th

We are approaching the filing period for all candidates. In the Independence Party this is often where we first see the names of the majority of our local candidates. I will do by best to get information about every candidate that files with the Independence party and provide it here to differentiate the good candidates, from the completely inadequate candidates, and the complete nuts.

After the 17th of July it's all about November with no looking back. If your at all considering a run now is the time, as there hasn't been a better environment to run from the Independence Party for the State House and Senate.

Primary battle

Pam Ellison has said she will take her campaign to a primary should she not win endorsement. Steven Williams was not willing to say he wouldn't, and you never know what will happen with late filers.

In 2004 the Independence Party was not concerned about the primary race as there were no races with two active campaigns. Unfortunately turnout was low enough for the inactive Peter Vento to take out Maplewood mayor Bob Cardinal in the 4th congressional district race, it was also low enough for Mike Hatch and Mary Kiffmeyer to threaten to take the Independence Party candidates off the ballot by making up a law that didn't exist only to be overruled by the courts on several measures. While there is no worry about that this year as it is well established that law does not exist, we should easily meet the criteria of that goofy fake law.

The question becomes more along the lines of preventing the Bob Cardinal situation, and bringing Tammy Lee, John Binkowski and all other endorsed candidates to November. As of now I don't see a major threat, but I would imagine it will develop somewhere where someone files under the Independence party who is very clearly not in the race to help the party. As for Pam Ellison her most successful day will probably be Saturday as I don't see her cracking 20% in a primary, of course Pam is not an outsider so her primary challenge is more welcomed then some others.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Stanley Cup game 7

What a great game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers. Carolina takes a 2-0 lead into the 3rd period of a hard hitting game. Should the Hurricanes hold on to win that would be good news for the Minnesota Wild as their 2nd first round pick (obtained from Edmonton for Dwayne Roloson) will remain at #17 overall rather then jump to the end of the first round.

Even if your not much of a hockey fan it's worth tuning in to see the Stanley Cup in it's element above the head of a bearded Stanley Cup champion moments after victory was clinched. All of lives accomplishment deserve something as symbolic as the Stanley Cup to celebrate with.

June prediction time

I'll hold off until after the convention for state wide races, but I'll get the congressional predictions out of the way this week.

The 5th CD is becoming a pretty crazy race. The DFL picture is completely up in the air, and because of the dominance of the DFL in the district it can be expected that they will exhaust most of their on the primary. If they used instant run off voting I think Mike Erlandson would win, but because they don't Keith Ellison probably still has a slight advantage.

Republicans are talking a good game, although they are intentionally pretending Tammy Lee doesn't exist (note to shot in the dark Jay Pond ran last time and it didn't knock the Democrats under 60%) in an effort to make an argument of competition that will fire up their base. It is very apparent Fine's support is extremely weak within the district.

Tammy Lee looks better and better every day. She makes the most of every campaign stop with the kind of energy that you don't often see. She will be able to talk to the voters, raise money and wait out the DFL primary fight, making for a very hopeful final two months of the campaign.

And of course Jay Pond is always around to take whatever scraps he can get from the liberal side.

The brutal battle on the Democrat side along with the Republicans attack on Ellison may very well knock him down to the low 50's or worse, but it will only happen if people have an alternative they can get behind. That alternative clearly will not be Alan Fine. Ellison moves down a bit from my May prediction and everyone else benefits.

My June prediction

Keith Ellison 50%
Jay Pond 7%
Alan Fine 13%
Tammy Lee 30%

MPR Senate debate

Here is the link to the audio.

A fairly even debate between Robert Fitzgerald, and Jim Haviland with Steven Williams holding his own in 3rd. A caller asked the question how the candidates can differentiate themselves from Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobauchar, this is the key issue for me as I want a US Senate candidate to bring in new people who will follow up by considering the Independence Party up and down the ballot with Peter Hutchinson and Team Minnesota as well as congressional and local candidates. Robert Fitzgerald was able to bring up his bus which demonstrates he's creative and he can find solutions, this is a great media tool to go along with the fact that only after election will he be old enough to serve in the Senate. Jim Haviland on the other hand is taking the defeatist route by committing to differentiate himself by not doing lawn signs, bumper stickers, and buttons because he doesn't believe those things are effective.

I can't support a candidate that doesn't understand that you have to be out there doing the little things to get people to even consider you. If Jim Haviland isn't doing what it takes to be polling at 5% then all the speaking skills in the world won't do him any good as he won't be invited to the debates. It doesn't matter how silly the process is, it doesn't matter if it takes gimmicks to get traction candidates need to go with what works even if they will trail in the money battle. You have to get peoples attention before you can start to make a sell.

This Saturday I will vote to endorse Robert Fitzgerald for US Senate at the Independence Party convention because he is committed to this race, he is committed to our future, and he is committed to the Independence party. I am confident once he gets the voters attention he will be able to bring them to vote for him, and there is no doubt he will get the voters attention.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Across the board success? This might be the year

The Independence Party is evaluated in large part by how it does in the race for Governor. This makes sense as it is where the party saw it's only major victory, and most observers don't really care about the difference between 5 and 7% in other races. The Governors race on it's own, however does not do a good job of telling the whole story. It would still be a minor shock if the IP victory rate this fall was anything above 10%, but a couple positive trends exist. First off that slow upward trend has not stopped, second the quality of candidate seems to be heading in the right direction, 3rd fundraising for candidates is improving.

There is a point in "3rd party" politics where if you provide a candidate the public can get behind, as a centrist "3rd party" usually can, where the small movements will explode and the party can become competitive in a race overnight. As silly as I might think it is the he can't win factor weighs heavily in most voters minds. I'm convinced at some point this election cycle most will be convinced Peter Hutchinson has a chance. The team Minnesota may spread the wealth beyond Peter significantly better then anything else. If that happens the chances of people also voting IP for other candidates would probably rise significantly. If all that comes together it may very well be that some other candidates, Tammy Lee (5th congressional district) or James "Red" Nelson (50B) for example are able to ride the wave of momentum better then Hutchinson and a potential late fade in the Governors race may not be as damaging as it was in 2002 when Tim Penny’s lack of success may have hurt the party across the board.

The other possibility of course is that Peter Hutchinson rides the wave to victory, and everyone else is able to ride that same wave as far as they can take it. Having candidates for the three open federal races should go a long ways as well. The public wants the Independence Party to be successful to a large extent, but they want to see it from more then one or two candidates. Jesse Ventura was somewhat of a fluke, but he also demonstrated where the public wants to take politics in Minnesota. This year may be the one where the flood gates open up, and we see Hundereds of Thousands of Minnesotan's voting IP up and down the ballot.

Things looking good in St Louis Park

Tammy Lee was in the St Louis Park parade along with about 14 volunteers Saturday. The level of support the crowd showed is a strong indication people are ready for a change. While some Republican volunteers are hopeful Tammy will get 15-20% so their candidate has a chance, the reality is as Tammys support increases Alan Fine's decreases. If the DFL screws enough up there might be 60% available to Tammy Lee, Jay Pond, and Alan Fine. In that senerio Pond clearly would benifit significantly to around 10% leaving 50% available for Fine and Lee. In all senerios one of the two candidates has to get less then 20% for the other to win. It is very clear the candidate under 20% will not be Tammy Lee.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Independence Party US Senate debate

My hopes were answered as MPR will host a debate between the 3 Independence Party US Senate candidates Monday at 11 AM. For those unable to listen at that time please know that MPR has all candidate appearances archived almost immediately on their web site. I'll probably get a link up here for that Monday afternoon, but if not keep in mind it should be available.

Speaking of MPR's archiving system here's the audio from Team Minnesota's announcement last week.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Independence Party Governor debate

It looks like Almanac will air a debate between Peter Hutchinson and Pam Ellison next week. Pam Ellison should be more then adaquat in that format so it will provide Peter Hutchinson an oppurtunity he can be a force come November. Ideally I would prefer a Senate debate between Robert Fitzgerald, Jim Haviland, and Steve Williams because I want all the delegates to have an oppurtunity to get to know the senate candidates given they are much more unknown, but thats OK delegates should understand there responsibility and take it upon themselves to learn about the Senate candidates.

Team Minnesota

My long anticipation to finding out who the members of Team Minnesota were left me slightly disappointed when I first found out the names two days ago, but hearing the profiles, and peoples reactions and the media coverage I have to say it looks like Peter Hutchinson has easily met expectations once again. It is clear that with the Team Minnesota concept there will now be an added focus on these races, not only from Independence Party supporters, but across the political spectrum. That on it's own is a great gift Peter Hutchinson has given the citizens of Minnesota as these are very important offices and deserve to be looked at as such.

The anti jerk vote

My dad said he would be supporting Peter Hutchinson, after seeing the team announcment last night, over the "two jerks." While my dad voted for both Jesse Ventura and Tim Penny, he is by no means an all around Independence Party supporter. What’s more by dad actually brought up the fact he could give $100 and get it refunded. I've gotten PCR donations out of my parents in the past, but there was a clear indication that my dad didn't like me bringing the subject up.

Those predicting the Independence Party will continue to fall back (ignoring the fact that there is a clear upward trend in IP support every election, and the 16.18% Tim Penny received would be a clear sign of strength had Ventura not set the bar so high) are assuming people like my dad no longer give a damn about Minnesota, and are willing to put up with candidates that tell the same see through lies for months at a time. My dads strong support suggest to me that when Peter Hutchinson talks about an IP base of 500,000 votes in this race he isn't off base at all unless he is underestimating it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Team Minnesota announced

Peter Hutchinson Governor
Maureen Reed Lt. Governor
John James Attorney General
Lucy Gerold Autitor
Joel Spoonheim Secretary of State

I'll have more on this later, but for now I'll let the website do the talking.

Press confrences, and bowling

Robert Fitzgerald had his first capital press conference yesterday afternoon. Given he has had little press coverage to date, it was should pay major dividends, and probably was the last step he needed to take to secure a first ballot endorsement. After the press conference we headed over to the state party office to kill a few hours, talk campaign strategy, and overanalyze the press conference. CD 5 candidate Tammy Lee had a bowling fundraiser where I got a chance to bowl a game with Bjorn of Patriotlog who turned a 2 going into the 4th frame into a very respectable score in the high 70's, he had to head out after one game so we moved over to a lane with John Binkowksi and his campaign manager where I got an early groove going with strikes in the first three frames, but in the end was beat out by Binkowski 144-137. Lets hope Michele Bachmann and Patty Wetterling's early edge over Binkowski go as well as mine did.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's just not fair

Shot in the Dark makes an excellent point about Tim Penny being Involved in MPR’s coverage of the DFL and GOP conventions. It’s not fair for an active member of a major political party to be treated like an expert by the media, free to mention the name of that major parties candidates throughout the broadcast.

While I am mostly mocking the stupidity of the complaint given the reality that Democrats and Republicans get this opportunity all the time, I’d be more then happy if the concerns of shot in the dark were dealt with across the board. Annette Meeks, Blois Olson, Wendell Anderson, and the rest of the gang can move on to other things on Friday nightsand Sunday mornings, or whenever they film the At Issue Dempublican partisan debate. The problem is even people like Arnie Carlson or a college professor would let some personal views slip in, so you might as well go to the party insiders to get the best insight.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The big media hit is about to start

This week the Independence Party can expect significant media as candidate announcements for Attorney General, Secretary of State Lt. Governor, and State Auditor are made. US Senate candidate Robert Fitzgerald also is conducting his first press conference for capital reporters which should propel his media image from some 29 year old unqualified shmuck to one of the most impressive Independence Party US Senate candidates to date. There have also been major commitments for significant coverage of the June 24th convention. Convention coverage can really be hit or miss in this party, but the combination of this convention being in the metro, only three hours, and at a unique location along with highly respected candidates seeking endorsement has really drawn their attention.

We may end June with the Independence Party at it's all time peak in the media's eyes which is a crazy concept given what they thought of the party just a few months ago.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

DFL Delegates say no to instant run off voting

Now 6 years after Ralf Nader "stole" the 2000, 4 years since Tim Penny and Ken Pentel "helped Tim Pawlenty win" and 8 years into this reality in Minnesota that we have more then two major parties, these activist are still not ready to embrace and welcome candidates that push many similar issues. They've wasted their opportunity to ever accuse anyone of wasting a vote. 6 years is long enough, they've decided they don't want to have credibility and they don't mind consistently losing elections to "evil" Republicans.

Hutchinson and the Independence party can win

Us insiders have been fairly confident about this, and have explained some of the reasons ever since 1200 people showed up to support Peter Hutchinson in January. On the Inside we can see there is an across the board steady upward climb in the quality of candidates since 1998, and the Independence parties base support. Still up until now all that was written is that he is no Jesse, and doesn't have the support of a Tim Penny to build off, both statements have merit. The problem with those kinds of comments however are they imply that Ventura and Penny were near perfect candidates, and that if Hutchinson is weaker in any area then he must be weaker as a whole.

Credit to Minntelect for finding this Minneapolis Observer article that spells out how the Mike Hatch endorsement helps Peter Hutchinson's potential path to victory. While I want to think my views are reasonable it's great to see an outside source like this say some of the things I hope are true.

There is an incredible feeling of momentum I'm feeling about this party. A lot of things could have gone wrong by now, a lot of things out of our control didn't have to fall in our lap. As you've seen in my monthly predictions I haven't been willing to say I see any Independence Party candidate win, but we're getting closer and closer to the point where I move from saying that an opportunity exists, to the point where I see victory as a probable result.

It's Hatch

Two weeks from today all three major party endorsements will be complete, and this race for governor will be on with no major threat of a primary upset. I've been fairly confident the race would be Mike Hatch, Tim Pawlenty, and Peter Hutchinson, and I think Hutchinson has been framing his campaign around that as well.

These are major heavyweights in Tim Pawlenty and Mike Hatch to the point where if I saw either at 15% in the polls I wouldn't count them out (you may recall Tim Pawlenty dipped as low as 18% prior to his election in 2002). Still there is a lot of resentment any time you have two candidates like these. The next month or two all Peter Hutchinson has to do is gain 2% from both sides and his poll #'s will be right where they need to be going into the late summer.

June 24th is now about showing the public the media that although he may be running from a "third party" he ain't running with a minor party. This next week we expect some announcements that will draw in even more folks into take a look at the Independence Party, and no doubt many will like what they see. Robert Fitzgerald is also planning on heading down to St Paul to meet with the media, and after last night seeing the support he has built regionally I am excited to see this campaign launch in the media as he will borden the spectrum of support for the party, and ultimately benefit the candidate for Governor more then any US Senate candidate has in the past.

These next 5 months will be great, I hope everyone interested takes the opportunity to jump on board now, attend the convention and ride this thing all the way through the victory party November 7th and 8th.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

DFL convention

I'm just catching up on the action at the DFL convention and it appears Mike Hatch does not yet have this endorsement in the bag. Steve Kelley and beckey Lourey are running to close to expect either to drop out anytime soon, and you never know how they might play things. I think it's probably best for Peter Hutchinson that they do get an unchallanged endorsement today so the media can start to focus on the three major party candidates in this race. Given Steve Kelley has said he won't run in a primary the best thing that could happen is have Lourey jump on board with Hatch as his running mate, bring her support over and hope against all odds that Steve Kelley is a man of his word.

Killing time

had a great morning today at the CD 7 convention. Jim Haviland and Robert Fitzgerald gave there speeches and went back and forth on a Q and A for about an hour. Both are great candidates, and I am extreamly hopeful that whoever does not come out of the state convention with an endorsement makes a congressional run in the 7th.

Unfortanatly Pam Ellison did not make it up to make her pitch. I understand why she did not come up, but part of being a candidate for governor includes running a campaign. Maybe she found another oppurtunity to meet with delegates today, but it's hard to take a candidate seriusly when they no show events they committed to.

We will be in the Fergus Falls Summerfest parade in a few hours supporting Robert Fitzgerald, with Gus the Big Red Bus, and Robert's pickup truck with the campaign logo. He's found a lot of creative ways to stretch his limited funds into something that will pay off big time once the media is ready to take a closer look at his campaign, post endorsement should he get it. It will be fun to walk along side Robert tonight and see the reaction he gets from the parade goes, as he has the perfect personality for this kind of event.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

CD 7 convention this weekend

I'm headed up to Fergus Falls for the weekend, the Independence Party CD 7 convention is Saturday morning at the local YMCA. As you may know the Independence Party has never had much organization outside of the Twin Cities Metro Area. Of course we have never had a major candidate from the 7th district in the past either, but that has changed as US Senate candidates Robert Fitzgerald and Jim Haviland are both from the district. Speaking to Robert it sounds like he will bring a lot of supporters to the convention, so we may have a turnout that rivals our success in the 5th district last month.

The convention will also be Pam Ellison’s first chance to talk to delegates as she just jumped into the IP race for Governor. I expect she will be the kind of candidate I can get behind on the issues, but she is going to have to clearly define how she wins the race in November without anywhere near the financial support that Peter Hutchinson has at this point. I have yet to get confirmation Jim Haviland will be on hand, but I'm hoping to get a chance to hear him speak once again as we are just two weeks away from endorsement.

Saturday night Robert Fitzgerald is having a campaign event at the Fergus Falls summerfest parade, with Gus the Big Red Bus and several supporters helping get the message out that we do have a great alternative’s to the big media candidates in this US Senate race. Robert has done an excellent job getting his campaign launched in the 7th as he continues to focus most of his energy on June 24th and the endorsement. It will be great to see his campaign build state wide should he receive the endorsement.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Get involved

As School is ending we are seeing more and more events where candidates need help. Between now and November there will be countless parades, fairs, and rallies among other things that you can help out with.

To sign up to volunteer click the link on the candidates name below

John Binkowski
Tammy Lee
Peter Hutchinson
Robert Fitzgerald

DFL's Decision

The DFL this weekend will endorse a candidate for Governor between Mike Hatch Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey. While it sounds like Hatch has a strong lead anything can happen at a convention. The delegates have a huge responsibility to endorse a candidate who can win the office for the first time in twenty years.

It may be that none of them have what it takes to win, or it could be that all or two of the candidates are capable of winning. The critical factors are as follows. The stadium issue matters, opinion polls might indicate it's not everything, but if you lose on the stadium issue you have a lot of ground to make up. The major Independence party presence in the race forces the DFL to change there game plan, They didn't the first two chances. There are two very different routes of attack on the governor, they need to choose only one to focus on. Working with Peter Hutchinson to defeat Pawlenty can work even if Peter Hutchinson works to defeat both Pawlenty and the DFL candidate.

The candidates are all quality DFL candidates. Mike Hatch has a proven record of election success and while the negatives are high he has already won over a significant percent of the voters. Steve Kelley has been effective at accomplishing his goals as a legislator, the question is do the people of Minnesota share his goals, and the policy he has used to meet them. Becky Lourey is a candidate of conviction, and represents the core of the DFL party well I respect her greatly for the strong stances she has taken even when I disagree with her, but question if she would be able to win the race in November.

If I was a DFL delegate looking to endorse the candidate I thought would do best in November I think I would have to choose Hatch, which is somewhat ironic given as an Independence Party supporter I find Hatch to be the ideal opponent. The reason such a scenario can exist is because he is a polarizing figure, I think the Independence Party can defeat him by inspiring those that have a strong negative opinion of Hatch, but at the same time he might roll over everyone in his path. As I said I don't see Lourey winning, and Steve Kelley would be iffy and potentially bad for the Independence Party depending on what issues the moderate voters focus on. While there will probably be a primary fight I don't see Hatch losing if he has the endorsement.

The range of independents

One problem people have with gauging the Independence Party is they don't fully understand who the party appeals to. With a candidate like Tim Penny or Peter Hutchinson the assumption is the party is moderate Democrats without the special intrest money. While thats a huge part of the support, the real support is closer to fiscal Libertarians who when it comes down to it could care less about social policy as for the most part social issues are more symbolic then practicle.

The result is any successful Independence Party campaign will come as a result of getting would be Republicans on board. The liberal side of the party will never question fiscal conservatism, but the fiscal conservative side of the party will question overly liberal fiscal policy. As Peter Hutchinson says government needs to do a handful of things well and the rest is a side show. Transportation, Education, Health Care, and public safety matter to everyone every day, but everything else could be changed back and forth every election cycle and little would change, for example no matter what the law on gay marriage is gay people will be gay, and straight people will be straight.

For the most part the people don't care about gay marriage or immigration. People have strong opinions if you ask them, but most of the public understands the debate on those issues is silly and meaningless. There seems to be a clear divide among fiscal conservatives on social issues, in the two party system you have to support the Republicans no matter what your social views are (keep in mind these debates are meaningless, and the voters know it). With a strong fiscal conservative third option the voters however are able to take a stand on social issues, and for the most part people are to the left of today’s Republican party on those issues.

In the end Republicans are going to be more loyal then Democrats, and thus in three way races they will tend do better then the Democrat no matter how the Independence party candidate fares. Still there is a huge segment of the Republican Party that the Independence party taps into each election cycle. When the party gets it's 10% of Republicans and it's 15% of Democrats, along with a base of 5% when we "can't win" that moves up to around 15% when we can win, we do win. The key being gaining that Republican support.

This is an odd formula when it comes to this years 5th congressional district race. The key of course is the Democrat must go under 50% before the competition even begins. Even then however you don't win without getting the Republican support.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

More on the effect of Sue Jeffers decision

To some it isn't as clear why this is great news for the Peter Hutchinson campaign. Let me review.

#1 The stadium issue

Jeffers will attack Pawlenty all the way through September exposing him for being a sellout. In November only one candidate can pick up that anti stadium anti tax support, that candidate is clearly Peter Hutchinson

#2 The debate stage

Sue Jeffers had a great chance of gaining the support to get on the debate stage. Once there are more then 3 candidates the public in large #'s will only focus on two candidates, and beyond that with each additional candidate debating it is tougher to stand alone on many issues, the above mentioned stadium being a clear example

#3 Media

The media will say Hutchinson Pawlenty and Hatch (or Lourey, or Kelley) if there are 3 significant candidates, but if there are four they will often add that 4th name or ignore Hutchinson either way hurting the Hutchinson campaign.

#4 3rd party voters

There is a large # of voters who will vote 3rd party the majority of the time be it Green Libertarian or Independence Party, this limits the competition for those voters

#5 Republicans who want to fire Pawlenty

This will be a tough crowd to attract, but Peter Hutchinson becomes the only option for these folks

#6 The primary fight

Sue will work day in and day out the rest of her campaign to beat up Tim Pawlenty. She will not attack Hutchinson at all. Beyond that Pawlenty will be forced to focus a little bit on the primary and that will allow Hutchinson to remain under his radar a little longer

This may also be good news to Pawlenty, but at the same time this will increase support for Hutchinson and increase the perception that he has a chance to win which hopefully will feed off itself all the way through election day

Green Party endorsed candidates

The media has completely ignored them, and I haven't really heard much from them, but the Green Party will once again field candidates for state wide office. Ken Pentel once again was endorsed for Governor. As a major party candidate Ken Pentel did pretty well running for governor in 2002. It will be interesting to see if he gets in the debates now as the Greens are again legally considered a minor party. I fear he will get in, not because he hits 5% in the polls, but because Peter Hutchinson easily clears that level of support and they need to water down the fact he is a major party candidate by adding a minor party candidate to the stage. I'm all for an inclusive debate, as long as the Republicans and Democrats don't get to play games with who they include and why.

The Greens also endorsed Michael Cavlan for US Senate and John Kolstead for Attorney General.

Great news for Peter Hutchinson

Sue Jeffers has announced she will run as a Republican in the primary. A lot of the angry Republicans may go back to Pawlenty after Jeffers loses the primary. That being said, Peter Hutchinson will be the only viable candidate to those who no longer support Pawlenty because he no longer can be considered a fiscal conservative. After doing everything in his power to give away a billion tax payer dollars for sports it is no longer clear what Pawlenty's fiscal views are.

My last monthly prediction did not include Jeffers as at the time this was a strong possibility she would go this route, but I'm a little surprised she isn't willing to run with the party that supports her. While Pawlenty may benefit in November not having Jeffers on the ballot he will be hurt by this as he will have to make sure he gets through the primary and will not be able to focus exclusively on the Democrat and Peter Hutchinson.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A few notes

With the Independence Party convention now 2 and a half weeks away things are starting to happen fast. Tonight Peter Hutchinson hosted about 150 young people delivering a great speech encouraging them to take ownership of this election and his campaign. In the process he collected a few more dollars, a few more volunteers, and a few more delegates to the June 24th convention.

Big news Peter Hutchinson’s team is set. As I've mentioned a few times in the past Peter Hutchinson has been working to put together a highly respected team to run as his running mate, Attorney General, State Auditor, and Secretary of State. In the past those races have been distant afterthoughts for the party, that will change this time around.

The race for Senate is heating up as both Robert Fitzgerald and Jim Haviland are working the delegates. I will be looking for a something from the Haviland campaign this Saturday at the CD 7 convention in Fergus Falls to convince me this race isn't Fitzgerald’s to lose.

Also great Stanley Cup finals game one going on right now as the Carolina Hurricanes have rallied from three goals down to tie the Edmonton Oilers at three in the 3rd period. I'll have to leave it at that for now as I have to catch the end of this game.

The media is starting to come around

As someone who is critical of every word about the Independence Party and it's candidates, or the lack of it, I have to say I was suprised to see this. In an article on DFL candidate Steve Kelley the line "But, before he can take on Pawlenty and Hutchinson..." appeared. Unfortanatly the article suggested Hutchinson and Kelley are similar, but thats OK the pro stadium Kelley will be out of the race in a few days.

The print media has started to do a good job of covering the entire race for governor. Lets hope TV and radio soon follow, and that they can expand the fair coverage beyond the governors race sooner then later.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The politics of June

This past week we found out first hand we only have three candidates for Governor who are ready for prime time. When Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey decided they needed to try to upstage Tim Pawlenty's big week in the media spotlight with big announcements of there own it was a clear signal of where those campaigns sit. Mike Hatch wisely stayed out of that, and Peter Hutchinson did him one better by congratulating his Republican opponent on the endorsement.

We learned the hard way in the aftermath of Paul Wellstone’s death four years ago that politics is a 24/7 full contact sport. This race however, hasn't even hit the pre game warm ups yet. Nobody will win this race in June, but anyone who fights to hard now has the potential to severely injure their hopes. To often those that are in to deep get upset that the process plays itself out, as if the Republicans would not field a candidate in November, but there are some things that just have to be left alone, at least until August.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Independence Party convention

I have a few more details on the June 24th Independence Party endorsing convention. The action will begin at 1 PM with registration, candidate meet and great, and a band. At 2 the three hour convention begins and by the end of those three hours we should have endorsed candidates for Governor, Attorney General, State Auditor, Secratary of State, and US Senate.

For $35 you can stay beyond the convention for dinner and the ballgame. Another band will play from 5 to 7 in a tent just outside the stadium. The $35 package also includes a voucher for a T Shirt from the candidate of your choice, or from the party itself.

There will be activities for children, and the Saints take the field for batting practice mid convention so this is the kind of event that you can share with your family. I encourage anyone intrested in becoming a delegate to contact the party at 651-487-9700, and put your $35 down to enjoy the evening here. The better the turnout the more likely the media will put more focus on the Independence Party and it's candidates.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Go Carolina Hurricanes

The Stanley Cup finals this year will be fun because I know exactly who to root for. Two St Cloud State players on the Hurricane roster helps, but the real reason I will be rooting for Carolina is because of the huge impact this series has on the Minnesota Wild. The Wild of course traded goaltender Dwayne Roloson to the Edmonton Oilers for a first round pick earlier this year. That first round pick is based on regular season record except in the case of a Stanley Cup champion, in which case it is at the end of the round. Given Edmonton was an 8th seed who almost missed the playoffs it would be a huge drop from the 17th to the 30th pick for the Wild if Roloson and the Oilers win the Stanley Cup.

The good news though should Roloson resign with Edmonton the Wild would get an additional 3rd round pick. Given the way the 36 year old was playing at the time of the trade it's a little bit of a suprise that his team will want to have him back next year.

Mike Erlandson for congress

While this was expected Mike did say prior to the DFL endorsing convention he would not run in a primary. There’s a reason people ask that question of candidates, it's because they want to know you have loyalty and honesty. Sure if something insanely crazy happens at the convention and a candidate that is bad for the party gets endorsed good candidates should run in the primary, but Keith Ellison is what Democrats are. He represents what Mike Erlandson claims to represent. What Mike is doing is hurting Keith Ellison’s ability to raise funds, and hurting the DFL's chance to retain a seat they've had for over 30 years.

It might be good for Tammy Lee, but it's bad for the process, and speaks volumes about what kind of congressman he would make. If he can't be loyal to his party chances are he won't be loyal to the district. Lets hope the DFL primary voters do the right thing and honor the endorsement. If your not loyal to your party and want to run in November then you should either answer the primary question honestly or run as a small i independent.

Convention month

We have the Republicans starting there convention today, followed by the Democrats next week and the Independence Party on the 24th. It looks like there will be no excitement out of the Republican convention as the only multi candidate race where we will see any split is the Governors race, where Sue Jeffers might be able to gain the support of a couple hundred of the 4,000 on hand.

The Democrats will answer the big question with their endorsement for governor. It might be that Lourey and Kelley are making a lot of noise and the reality is Hatch has it wrapped up, but chances are it will take more then one ballot. There are a couple of other minor battles, but no suprises are expected

The Independence party convention to an outside observer is closer to the formality of the Republican convention then anything else. It's still tough to say with certainty what will happen in the US Senate race, but again to the outside observer that’s not a major concern at this point. The big news will happen prior to the convention when we find out who is running for Secretary of State Attorney General Auditor and Litenet Governor. Those offices don't get to many people excited, but the quality of candidate will hopefully build on the credibility we have with Peter Hutchinson and Tammy Lee, as well as the credibility we hope to build with John Binkowski and our candidate for US Senate.