“In a vibrant and fast-paced debate” 10/2, GOP GOV candidates “told a packed crowd about their bedrock conservative principles and why they would make the best replacement for” Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R). Ex-Aud. Pat Anderson (R), state Rep. Tom Emmer (R), state Rep. Paul Kohls (R), state Rep. Marty Seifert (R), ex-state Rep. Bill Haas (R), environmental activist Leslie Davis (R), state Sen. David Hann (R) and businessman Phil Herwig “emphatically agreed in answers to six dozen questions that” gov’t “should be smaller, largely let people make their own decisions and should tax less.”
State Sen. Michael Jungbauer (R) “was expected” at the 10/2 forum but “did not show, leaving his podium empty during” the two hour event (Stassen-Berger, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 10/3).
The eight candidates who attended “offered their own reason to get party support.” They appeared in front of 550 party activists at the forum on 10/2, followed by the 10/3 convention and straw poll. “The most emotional comments in” the 10/2 forum came from Emmer, “known for his passionate speeches on the House floor.” Emmer: “It’s about passion. Who can inspire, who can ignite Minnesotans to follow the Republican principle?”
Seifert, who won the 10/3 straw poll, “received the most applause” on 10/2. Seifert “promoted his policy of taking no money from lobbyists, saying that would keep him away from obligations to them. ” Anderson “emphasized her background as” aud. and commis. She reminded GOPers “that she has shrunken two state agencies and said the state should only provide ‘essential services … and get rid of the rest.’ She pledged to change local” gov’t aid, “although said some small communities need the state financial help the program provides.”
Haas “said he has passed more legislation than any other candidate, and led more legislative” cmtes. Hann “said education is at the top of” state gov’t’s “priority list.” Hann: “There is nothing more important than education in this state.” Kohls “promoted his ‘significant business’ experience as” an atty and insurance company exec. He also “took credit for the first legislative proposal calling for no new spending, much like what happened when” Pawlenty “cut the state budget on his own after the Legislature adjourned in May. He promised to promote a plan to freeze spending at” the ‘04-‘05 level. Davis “was the only candidate who said he would not abide by” the Aprl. MN convention endorsement. “Instead, he would challenge the convention’s winner in a primary election.” Davis: “Don’t underestimate me” (Davis, Grand Forks Herald, 10/4).
Marty Like There’s No Tomorrow
Seifert “took an early lead” in the convo straw poll, collecting 37% of the vote, “a convincing victory in a nine-candidate field. Finishing second was” Emmer, getting 23% “in the nonbinding poll. In third with” 14% was” Anderson. Seifert “said he was surprised to receive such a strong showing from both urban and rural convention delegates. Many rural delegates who may have supported him were ‘duck hunting or farming’” on 10/3, “he said after it took two and a half hours to count slightly more than” 1K votes. Seifert “said his victory will help him raise money and attract volunteers.”
Emmer “was thrilled to finish second to Seifert, who has much more statewide name recognition from his time as a legislative leader.” Emmer: “This is a great spot to be in after just 10 weeks.” Anderson “said her goal was to finish in the top three. She said she continued to work full time during the early” camp, “while other candidates campaigned full time. She said she expects the field to narrow after the straw poll.” Anderson: “I think you are going to see several candidates over the next week get out of the race.”
But “all candidates initially said they plan to remain active.” Trailing the top three were Hann, 12%; Kohls, 5%; Davis, 1%; Haas, 1%; Jungbauer, 1%; and Herwig, 1%. “In a ballot asking who the delegates’ second choice would be, Hann took first” with 18%, “followed by Emmer, Anderson and Seifert.” Ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (R) also picked up a few write-in votes. Coleman “mingled with fellow” GOPers “at the convention. He said he plans to make his decision” whether or not to run “in the first two months of” ‘10.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-06) gave a speech to the convention, and “gave no indication she was looking at” the GOV, “although some would like her to join the crowded field. She said the party needs to bring in independents, libertarians and others.” Bachmann: “These are startling times, stunning times.”
Candidate speeches on 10/3 “took a variety of forms,” but the “most unusual speech came from” Jungbauer, who showed for that days events. He “was bitten by a bat a few weeks ago and said people now call him ‘Batman.’ Telling women not to listen,” Jungbauer “said he has been experiencing nausea like pregnant women and hot flashes like older women because of a series of rabies-preventing shots.” Jungbauer: “It is a way for God to get ahold of you and give you a dose of humility” (Davis, Grand Forks Herald, 10/3).
More Seifert on his poll win: “Republicans want to bet on a winner. They don’t want to bet on the horse heading to the glue factory. … I was conservative before conservative was cool” (Salisbury, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 10/3).
Emmer “said he was happy to keep pace with other top candidates that had a head start.” Emmer: “They’re out there essentially already driving the fully loaded Cadillac with leather seats and Sirius radio and I’m on a bike. I got started in the middle of July” (Bakst, AP, 10/3).
That’s What Friends Are For
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak (D), “have been popping up all over the state lately, in places Twin Cities mayors don’t usually frequent. Both stopped by Kolacky Days in Montgomery to fete the prune-filled pastry. They were spotted at a recent Coon Rapids pig roast. Rybak has posted photos of himself standing next to a farmer in a” Pope Co. “cattle pasture and addressing a crowd in Austin on his Facebook page. Meanwhile,” Coleman camp signs — “with ‘for St. Paul’ in small letters — have turned up as far north as Duluth.” DFL activists “from Pequot Lakes to Hutchinson report visits from each of them.” MN-03 DFL chair Marge Hoffa: “I see them everywhere. When don’t I see them?”
The “two mayors are blunt about what’s behind their statewide sojourns — they’re both seriously considering” entering the GOV next year, “even as they run for reelection” this Nov. “A Rybak-Coleman contest for endorsement could also strain what has been one of the closest working relationships between St. Paul and Minneapolis mayors in recent memory. Neither one is ready to formally” declare a GOV bid, nor do they deny the gov. office “is in their sights. Coleman and Rybak are sticking to their own timetables for now.”
Coleman “says he’ll decide this month, so voters in St. Paul’s mayoral contest this fall will know his intent. Rybak’s announcement may not be quite that soon, but he said Minneapolis voters should know that he is ‘increasingly likely’ to run” in the GOV. “n early supporter of” Pres. Obama, “Rybak says he has even told” the POTUS “of his possible intentions” (Stassen-Berger, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 10/3)
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