Saturday, December 31, 2005 

2005 Wrap-up

I can't say it's been a "good" or a "bad" year for this blog - NSP only started in May. However, since then this blog has grown enormously. A hearty thank you to all who read it; there's plenty more to come next year. Happy new year to you and your loved ones, see you in 2006.

Friday, December 30, 2005 

Earth to Sen. Grassley

Good lord, Sen. Grassley, are you serious? Check out your own leadership before you try to criticize that of the ARC. You're dealing with a tad bit more money than they are.

Thursday, December 29, 2005 

A Call to Action

[Cross-posted at Knowledge]

One of this blogger's pet peeves about the United States is the absolutely, ridiculously minimal level of interest, knowledge, and involvement there is in politics. I harp on how little there is among young people specifically, but the apathy knows no age lines. I'm convinced that if more people just kept an eye on the political happenings in the country, it'd be a much stronger, better one (and, not coincidentally, probably a more liberal one as well).

Apathy is especially damaging when people don't donate money to political candidates and parties; when it doesn't happen, special interests are more than happy to waltz in and pick up the slack. There's nothing inherently more powerful about a million special interest dollars than a million dollars from ordinary people, but money from those ordinary people actually has to be there, because when the special interests donate more than we do, they win.

I'm writing all this because I want to make a plea to everyone who reads this blog to donate loan a little bit of money to their favorite state politician or political organization today.

In the great state of Minnesota, there exists a little-known thing called the Minnesota Political Contribution Refund program. The way it works is this: you donate to the campaigns of most candidates for state representative, state senator, or statewide offices up to $50 per person or $100 per couple and you can get it all back.

That's right; you can give $50 to your favorite state candidate essentially for free. And in fact, if you haven't done it so far this year, you can do it twice, once in 2005 and once in 2006. It's an incredible way to very easily exercise some political power. Please, please take advantage of it: donate to a (liberal) candidate. It's quick, it's easy, and it's important. Thank you in advance.

Hat tip to Brian for reminding me of the need for this post.

*Check and make sure that your candidate is participating in the program; some candidates do not. If you donate to Kelly Doran's campaign, as one example, you're not going to get any money back as he's not abiding by spending limits. The vast majority of candidates do participate, but a few don't. This is for candidates for state office only, NOT federal candidates. It also applies for certain state political units: the DFL, YDFL, etc.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

What's Going On?

Why does the Star Tribune online political section have not a single story on the special election last night?


Special Election Wrapup

Apologies for the lack of results on this blog; other things intervened. Here's the news, in as short a form as I can put it: Democrats won huge tonight.

SD15: Tarryl Clark (DFL) 55%, Ox (GOP) 37%, Dan Becker (IP) 7%, with over 25% turnout.
HD15B: Larry Haws (DFL) 71%, Write-ins 29%, just under 25% turnout

Again, this is nothing but a big victory for the DFL, far beyond the one seat net pickup in the Senate. The House race, of course, was a foregone conclusion after Sue Ek's removal from the ballot, but the Senate race held at least the promise of a close one, but voters apparently reacted strongly to Dan Ochsner's gigantic hypocrisy in billing himself as "Central Minnesota's Voice of Integrity" while using doctored photographs in campaign material. Perhaps his integrity extended only to his vocal cords, not his hands; maybe not, as he was revealed calling St. Cloud residents "morons" and SCSU "a disgrace".

When Terri Bonoff beat Judy Johnson in a SD43 special election late November, Republicans played it down - it was a fluke, low voter turnout, we'll get it back next year. After this election, a hold and a pickup in moderately conservative territory with higher turnout than the last special election, there can be no mistake whatsoever: Democrats currently hold the advantage over Republicans.

These wins put the DFL in a position of enormous strength as we enter into the new year. Voters are on their side right now, no matter how Republicans try to spin it. Don't expect too much from them legislatively - they're still down by a bare one-seat margin in the House, and they still don't hold the governor's mansion. Do expect of them - and demand of them - to take the offensive and constantly challenge the Republican House and Gov. Pawlenty when they try to do things that will hurt Minnesotans.

Anyways, congratulations and welcome to the Legislature, Rep. Haws and Sen. Clark!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005 

Special Election

Polls are closed! Results as they come.

Monday, December 26, 2005 

Special Election Preview

As almost anybody who keeps abreast of Minnesota politics will be aware, there are a pair of special elections tomorrow in St. Cloud. A pair of retirements, Rep. Joe Opatz of HD15B and Sen. Dave Kleis of SD15, have resulted in their seats opening up. Awkward timing for the election, you might think? The reason is twofold: first, the date saves money by not requiring the election to conform to HAVA provisions that become effective 1/1/06, and second because Gov. Pawlenty probably intended to disenfranchise SCSU students who are home for winter break and thus are less likely to vote (especially for the DFLers). Pawlenty screwed up, however; the short timetable of the special election cycle has injured, perhaps fatally, his candidates' chances for election. Let's take a look at the races.

HD15B: Rep. Joe Opatz's (DFL) now-vacant seat was being contested by DFLer Larry Haws and Republican Sue Ek. Things began to change, however, as Ek, who claimed to be a lifelong St. Cloud resident, was revealed to have signed an affadavit claiming residency in St. Paul less than six months (the legal residency requirement) before the election. She was kicked out of the race by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Her mother, Kay Ek, replaced her as the GOP candidate, but was not allowed onto the ballot due to her daughter's disqualification, and is running a write-in campaign. Kay's no prize either; she whined about how partisan it is that her daughter was expected to follow the law. Larry Haws, on the other hand, has proven to be a great candidate. He's in line with his district, has prior experience as an elected official (seven years as a Stearns County commissioner) and has run a squeaky-clean campaign.

SD15: Sen. Dave Kleis (GOP) retired after he won an election for St. Cloud mayor, and the race to replace him is less one-sided. Republican Dan "Ox" Ochsner, DFLer Tarryl Clark, and conservative Independent Dan Becker are the candidates. Ochsner, a radio talk show host who bills himself as "Central Minnesota's Voice of Integrity", shot himself in the foot when he was revealed to have illegally doctored campaign photos for his website. Ochsner has also been caught calling St. Cloudites "morons" and St. Cloud State "a disgrace", not things one wants to be calling his electorate. Tarryl Clark, by contrast, is a recognized name (she's run for the Legislature twice before) and has earned a reputation of being smart and a hard worker. She has also run a strong campaign.

I'm expecting a landslide victory for Haws tomorrow and a smaller margin of victory for Clark. Check back here tomorrow night for election returns in these critical races.



Look at Dan "Ox" Ochsner's excuse, at the bottom of the page, of why he decided to defraud St. Cloud voters. Pathetic, isn't it?

Good luck tomorrow, Ox.

Sunday, December 25, 2005 

Happy Holidays

To all readers of this blog: merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy Kwanzaa, happy Festivus, whatever you're celebrating (or even not celebrating!) at this time of year.

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