Project Lakes and Plains

As we are in another campaign finance reporting season, all eyes are on who donates to whom in the world of candidates, political parties and political action committees.
 
Oddly enough, relatively little attention is paid to who is receiving the vast sums sloshing about this election season.  Frequently, these industry vendors provide key links between candidates, parties, and the independent expenditure groups that support the other two.
 
On the Democrat side of the ledger, one group doing well is and Plains.  Headed by Denise Cardinal—founder of Alliance for a Better Minnesota and, more recently, her own political consulting firm, Cardinal Insight—Project Lakes and Plains has brought in more than $1.2 million in the past few years:

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EDUCATION: Student Achievement and Prosperity The Indispensability of Competition and Choice in Minnesota K-12 Education

Cover of Education BluePrint

K-12 education in Minnesota faces many problems.  Here are four mega-ones:

Too few Minnesota students are learning enough to adequately support themselves and their families in the future.

Too few young people are leaving school prepared to contribute to Minnesota’s prosperity.

Too few Minnesota graduates and non-graduates are leaving school equipped to help the United States remain the world’s economic powerhouse.

All with too many Minnesotans complacently assuming we’re doing better educationally than we really are.

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Craig Westover: Scott Honour v. Jeff Johnson on the Budget

Scott Honour’s recent  release on the budget illustrates a problem with bypassing the endorsement system and going right to the primary. Scott can say the things he says in the release to a broad audience that doesn’t have the opportunity to vet them as thoroughly as the elected activists did during the endorsement process.

Hence, Scott gets to say he disagrees with Jeff Johnson and then basically lift Jeff’s  talking points, which Jeff first expressed last year when he announced his intention to seek the Party’s endorsement for governor.

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Rebound: Q2 GDP hits 4%

The US economy took an unexpected beating in the first quarter, but made a big rebound in the second. Gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 4% in the spring, a welcome change from the newly-adjusted -2.1% contraction in Q1:

Real gross domestic product — the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States — increased at an annual rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter of 2014, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 2.1 percent (revised).

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Defamatory Pelosi PAC ad taken down

Last week, House Majority PAC, Nancy Pelosi’s PAC, started running an utterly dishonest ad, which was also paid for by AFSCME. Todaay, WDIO and KSTP took those deceitful ads. According to a letter sent to both stations by the Mills campaign, the ads were defamatory because they spliced together 3 separate sentences to make it sound like Stewart Mills say something he’s never said. Here’s what the ad says:

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Ventura wins lawsuit, loses dignity

Chris Kyle, the man whom Jesse Ventura sued for defamation over Kyle depicting in his book American Sniper that he punched out Ventura after besmirching his fellow SEALs, was tragically killed in a firing range incident last year. Despite that, Ventura chose to press forward with his lawsuit against Kyle's widow. The millisecond he decided that, Ventura had already lost regardless of what a jury would eventually decide. I mean suing a guy's widow because you're so thin-skinned and ego maniacal? Dunno how anyone can come out a winner in a situation like that.

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Knoblach announces fundraising results

Jim Knoblach, the GOP-endorsed candidate for House District 14B, issued this press release on his fundraising totals thus far:

KNOBLACH RAISES OVER $57,000, HAS $42,000 IN BANK

Jim Knoblach (St. Cloud), the Republican candidate for State House District 14B, announced today that he had raised $57,249 in the four months since he filed for office, and that he had $41,941 in the bank as of July 21, the preprimary reporting date.

This contrasts with his opponent, Zachary Dorholt, who reported raising $19,820, and reported having $8,626.61 in the bank. The vast majority of Knoblach’s funds were raised from Minnesota individuals. Over 60% of Dorholt’s funds were raised from out of state individuals, PACs, or lobbyists.

“I am gratified at the support of my many contributors,” said Knoblach. “This is a campaign funded by Minnesotans who care about our state, not out of state individuals and special interests.”

Knoblach also announced that he would not be accepting public subsidies for his campaign, for which he is eligible. This includes both a state check of approximately $3,000, as well as eligibility for the state political contribution refund.

“This move is necessary to allow me to combat the special interest money that already flowing into this race,” said Knoblach. “District 14B was the most expensive State House race in the state in 2012. My opponent beat King Banaian in large part because outside special interest groups poured over $300,000 into this race against Banaian. It would be crazy to agree to abide by the spending limit of $62,600 in exchange for receiving public funding, knowing this will likely happen again. It is an added bonus that by not agreeing I will not be spending taxpayer funds.

“I truly regret the enormous sums spent on these campaigns,” said Knoblach. “However, with my opponent likely to again benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars of out of state special interest money, I need to be able to respond to his negative attacks.”

This is a shot across Mr. Dorholt’s bow. I’m sure Dorholt expected Jim Knoblach to be well-financed. I’m betting, though, that he wasn’t expecting this fundraising total from Jim.

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Slouching Towards St. Paul

The Invisible Primary heads for it’s exciting dramatic interesting necessary conclusion.

There have been no polling updates.  No shocking endorsements.  No conflicts.  A candidate ended up in the hospital…due to an ulcer.

The slouch towards the Minnesota GOP choosing a candidate to go up against Gov. Mark Dayton will end in the next two weeks, and perhaps finally usher in some interest in what has proven to be a deadly dull campaign cycle thus far.  So how can the four major contenders to be the GOP nominee win on August 12th?

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Double whammy! Home-care workers sue to stop labor union election

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Days before the scheduled start of the largest-public sector labor union election in state history, nine Minnesota home-care workers filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis aimed at stopping it.

Home care assistants from throughout Minnesota sued Gov. Mark Dayton and the Service Employees International Union, asking the federal court for an injunction against a controversial 2013 state law authorizing organized labor to target providers for collective bargaining.

Read More at the Watchdog MN Bureau.

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Fighting for the Soul of the Middle Class

Last month a political group calling itself Middle Class Majority was formed, just in time for the 2014 election in Minnesota.
 
The group’s chair is Geri Katz, a self-described “wife, mother, and union thug” who works as a political organizer at the Minnesota Nurses Association labor union.
 
I guess I should be encouraged that the political left still thinks that there are votes to be had by invoking the middle class, a fast-shrinking demographic long ignored by the liberal-progressive elites.

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Reaching Across Time

We are in one of those intervals on the state campaign finance calendar when big dollar donations have to be immediately reported.  Yesterday saw the biggest individual donation received so far this period:  the independent Democrat group WIN Minnesotareports receiving $50,000 from Stillwater attorney Jeff Anderson.

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