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Thursday, December 15, 2005 

Huge News in Rochester

It's been a huge day in Rochester politics. While I probably don't have the time to take away from studying for finals, I couldn't hold off on bringing readers this news.

Rep. Fran Bradley (R-29B) announced today that he will not be running for re-election. Bradley is a six term legislator who represents northernish Rochester. He is the chairman of the House Healthy Policy and Finance committee and sits on Ways and Means. As dedicated followers of Minnesota politics will remember, he was the primary advocate for cutting working folks off MinnesotaCare this past session, and his antics in his committee have been well-covered by the media.

The DFL candidate for his seat, Rochester School Board president Kim Norton, faced off against Bradley in 2004, losing by only 311 votes (1.64%). I believe that with Rochester as a whole creeping towards the left, coupled with her previous candidacy and the fact that she will now be running against a non-incumbent, Ms. Norton has an excellent chance of winning this seat in November. This race, a good opportunity already, now has to be considered at or near the top of the DFL's chances for a House pickup. Those I've talked to so far are excited - Bradley has, in his twelve years in the Legislature, been a very misguided public servan. At his announcement today he used that ever-recurring politician's line about wanting to spend more time with his family, but the political reason for his retirement, if there is one, has yet to become public. Neither Bradley nor Speaker Sviggum has announced a Republican candidate for that seat. They'll have to find an awfully good one to beat Norton.

I neglected to mention a week ago that Rep. Tina Liebling (DFL-30A) will be challenged by former Rep. Carla Nelson, who Liebling beat in 2004 after losing in 2002. Both elections so far have been close, with Nelson winning by 888 votes in a three-way race before losing by 277 votes. Nelson's M.O. after her 2004 loss was to complain about dirty campaigning by the DFL and Liebling. Sore loser all the way.

Rep. Andy Welti (DFL-30B) is expected to be challenged by former Rep. Bill Kuisle, whom Welti beat in 2004. I'm not sure whether Kuisle has officially announced, but I don't believe he has. I'll write up this race when he does, if he hasn't already.

The Rochester Senate races haven't shaped up yet - no DFL candidates in either. Again, more on these as they develop.

UPDATE: I beat the Strib to it. Their story is here.

You think the family excuse is fake?
From the press release: "But the needs of a grandson with muscular dystrophy, another with autism, a mother in an adult foster care home, a brother in a group home and other family members have convinced Bradley that it is time to balance his life better. Bradley thanked his wife for her support and patience, but acknowledged she has sacrificed much."

Do at least a little research before you launch your next disgusting smear.

I'm not saying that Rep. Bradley doesn't good reasons to spend more time with his family - I didn't say his reason for retiring was "fake". I said that there was (probably) a "real reason". From those reasons in the article, it sounds as if many members of Bradley's family have been sick for a long time. If nothing else, the timing of the announcement seems extremely suspect; Bradley has left the GOP in the lurch in terms of finding a candidate to run for 29B. If it was the special session that convinced him to retire, he could have done it over the summer, leaving the GOP time to recruit. I believe he's retiring largely for political reasons - he'll be facing a well-funded opponent with high name recognition and a fire in her belly.

And, to clarify, my prayers go out to Rep. Bradley and his family. It is undoubtedly an extremely tough time for them all, and I do hope that through this decision he will be able to strengthen his family.

The Moderate party isn't doing so well anyhow, thanks to the so called 'Independents' missing the boat on the budgeting issues.

We need most all the fluff cut out and a bold switch to a consumption tax,

which Governer Ventura had the best opportunity for when there was a rainy day fund available to help adjust a proper level of consumption taxation while reducing the income tax.

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