My Campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in 2010
Bob Carney and Bill McGaughey filing for Governor and Lt. Governor respectively at the Minnesota Secretary of State's office on June 1, 2010
I first met Bob Carney when he called me to ask if he might be included in a mayoral debate moderated by Don Allen and Terri Yzaguirre at the MTN studio On October 7, 2009. I suggested that he call the event organizer. He did and was included in the debate.
Bob Carney proved to be a leader among the non-Rybak candidates in staging events for the campaign. With his video camera, he produced a series of humorous videos titled “R.T. and me” that stalked the elusive mayor as Michael Moore had once stalked the chairman of General Motors, Roger Smith. Rybak’s campaign headquarters was found to be a UPS box on Hennepin Avenue. The point was made that the incumbent mayor was preventing legitimate discussion and debate in his re-election bid.
In the election for mayor of Minneapolis held on November 3, 2009, Mayor Rybak was re-elected with 73.36 percent of the vote. John Kolstad, with 10.97 percent of the vote, was the second-place finisher. Bob Carney and I tied for second to the bottom with 0.51 percent of the vote. I had 230 First Choice votes and he had 229.
Even so, I got to know Carney during the campaign. He promptly announced that he would be running for Governor as a moderate Republican. I considered myself a member of the Independence Party. We went out for coffee and conversation at Curran’s restaurant in south Minneapolis several times. I was co-host of a monthly meeting of Metro Property Rights Action Committee. Bob Carney attended the meetings when Pat Anderson (Republican candidate for state auditor) and Toni Backdahl, also known as “Toni No Bologny” (head of Minnesota’s Tea Party) were the guest speakers.
At that time, I was thinking about running for Attorney General with the Independence Party for the purpose of filing a lawsuit on behalf of Minnesota citizens to force an investigation of events on September 11, 2001. I attended two meetings of the Minnesota 9/11 Truth committee and also a lecture by David Ray Griffin, a retired theology professor turned 9/11 investigator, who talked about discrepancies in the 9/11 Commission report. I bought Griffin’s book, “9/11 Contradictions”, and read it during a trip to China in late April. I also created a web site for the prospective campaign.
In preparation for the Attorney General campaign, I tried to gather information about the 9/11 truth network which could help me with the campaign. I emailed Professor James Fetzer of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, a leading scholar of conspiracy theories. I spoke with Jim Moore, former state chair of the Independence Party, and tried to contact several party officials by email to sound them out about about my plans. Moore listened politely but the others seemed to be avoiding me. I also could not get solid information about whether or not a Minnesota Attorney General had standing to sue on behalf of 9/11 victims. Even so, I had 1,000 business cards printed at Office Max to support a campaign for Attorney General. Then, late in May, I decided not to do it. There were too many competing personal obligations for me to run an effective campaign.
That is where matters sat in the last week of May, 2010. Then, out of the blue, on May 25th, I received a telephone call from Bob Carney asking if I would consider being his running mate in the Republican gubernatorial primary. The filing fees were $300 apiece for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Carney said he would pay my fee. He also said I had no duties or obligations in the campaign other than what I wanted to assume. I accepted Bob’s offer, saying that I would pay $200 of the Lieutenant Governor’s filing fees.
The filing deadline was Tuesday, June 1, 2010. Candidates filed for office at the Secretary of State’s office in St. Paul. Bob and I met at the office around 9:00 a.m. I paid the full $300 of the Lieutenant Governor’s filing fee. Bob took some video footage and I shot some still photos. We went across the hall to a rally by a Republican candidate for Secretary of State, Dan Severson, who had just filed.
Then we made the rounds of the press room in the basement of the State Capitol building, running into Ken Pentel who was formerly gubernatorial candidate of the Green Party and now a gubernatorial candidate for the Ecology Democratic Party, his own organization. We spoke briefly with several reporters including Rachel Stassen-Berger, Tim Budig, Don Hauser, Brad Helgerson (Star Tribune), and Bill Salisbury (St. Paul Pioneer Press). Mary LaHammer of Twin Cities Public Television refused my offer of a gift copy of “On the Ballot in Louisiana”. Don Davis of Forum Communications was not there.
I decided that I could help Carney’s campaign by sending out emails to a list of political reporters around the state taken from Bacon’s Media Directory. They included newspaper (both daily and weekly), radio, and television reporters. Then I googled Republican county organizations in Minnesota to compile a list of perhaps eighty Republicans. The combined list of around 400 to 500 persons would get our message out to Republican voters.
My first email, sent on June 1st, gave my reasons for accepting Bob Carney’s offer to become his running mate. I praised Carney’s personal qualities as I knew them from the mayoral race and argued that “moderate, progressive Republicans”, represented by him, were what the state of Minnesota needed. This, I wrote, “is the type of person who used to be called a liberal Republican. I wish that term were still used as I regard 'progressive' to be a weasel word characteristic of DFLers who, claiming the mantle of FDR, Kennedy, Humphrey, and McCarthy, routinely betray their constituents.” The message went out, one at a time, to all persons on the list.
A second message, sent on June 10th, outlined what I thought was Bob Carney’s approach to the budget deficit. The party-endorsed candidate, Tom Emmer, was vague about his plans for reducing the state’s projected $6 billion budget deficit. He hinted that he would cut state spending by 20 percent across the board but not raise taxes.
Carney said, if elected governor, he would let the legislature determine the specific tax and spending measures. He pledged not to veto any reasonable package presented to him if the total increase in the budget did not exceed the rate of cost-of-living increases plus 2 percent. He endorsed a proposal put forth by James N. Sites, a former U.S. Treasury Department official and friend of my father’s, which supported repealing the second Bush Administration’s cut in tax rates for the highest income brackets. Hopefully, this would raise more revenues from wealthy taxpayers and some of the money would trickle down to the states.
I thought we needed to be more specific about where we would cut state spending. I targeted spending cuts for the University of Minnesota. I had read of excessive salaries paid to university administrators and certain professors and listed some examples on the web site. Corrections was another proposed area of spending cuts. I suggested that we needed to relax some sentences. I proposed that requests for public subsidies to build new stadiums, such as for the Minnesota Vikings, ought to be rejected.
I proposed that a board be established to review salaries and benefits of all public-sector employees in Minnesota, local as well as state, which would recommend cuts in particular officials’ compensation. Finally, I suggested that cities such as Minneapolis and St. Paul were dissipating their tax base by unnecessarily aggressive inspections policies. Some firms were being put out of business. This, too, had to end.
Bob Carney was generally supportive of these measures although he wanted me rather than him to be the front man for certain of them. I could post these documents on my Lieutenant Governor web site.
My emails drew no response from media recipients. Each time one or two of the Republican officials would request that they be taken off my list. However, a particular county chairman seemed to take delight in insulting me. I had a brief discussion with him over the phone and email exchanges each time I sent out a message. This man thought Bob Carney and I were “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) or the type of politicians who had gotten our nation in trouble. He didn’t think we had any right to run in the primary because we were nobodies and Tom Emmer was the party’s nominee.
Bob Carney had another iron or two in the fire. When Gov. Tim Pawlenty used the governor’s power of unallotment to revise the budget sent to him by the legislature, Carney filed suit challenging the governor’s power. The Supreme Court had ruled that the governor could use the unallotment power only if the budget was in balance at the beginning of the session. That was not the case with Pawlenty’s action. Even though a a judge threw out Carney’s suit because he did not have proper standing, another one similar to it was filed. The district-court judge did rule in favor of it and so did the Minnesota Supreme Court after appeals. Carney was therefore an acknowledged expert in this area.
Bob Carney had friendly relations with John Uldrich, an Independence Party candidate for Governor. John Uldrich happened to be the father of Jack Uldrich, the Independence Party’s state chair and a former Ventura administration official. Jack, however, was supporting Tom Horner for Governor rather than his father. John Uldrich was a Republican who had switched to the Independence Party for this race. He was also co-founder of Vexilar Company which manufactured electronic fish-detection equipment. His Lieutenant Governor running mate was Steve Williams who became the Independence Party’s candidate for U.S. Senate in 2008 at the party’s state convention after I withdrew from the race. Steve and I are friends.
John Uldrich now had a plan to use prairie grass particulate from Minnesota to help clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He and Bob were working to promote this scheme. John Uldrich invited Bob, me, and Toni Backdahl of the Minnesota Tea Party to his home for a light supper on June 30th. There was no agenda other than to try to get to know each other better. Toni described how she had become interested in politics; it was the “use it or lose it” mentality that drives some non-profit spending. Staff salaries are the name of that game. John Uldrich was somewhat close mouthed about his plans to be elected Governor; he hinted that he had a few tricks up his sleeve.
I had some personal issues at the time. First, I had contracted the mumps following my return from China. This peaked in the last week of May, preventing me from attending the Independence Party’s convention for the 5th Congressional District. Barb Davis White, who was the Republican candidate for Congress in 2008, was now hoping to run for the same position with the Independence Party. I had pledged my support. This was before Bob Carney asked me to run with him for Lieutenant Governor.
I was also expecting to fly out to Portland, Oregon, and help drive a U-Haul truck to San Antonio. Those plans did not materialize. However, I did fly to Salt Lake City, Utah, to attend the annual conference of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations at Brigham Young University in Provo. The conference took place between June 16th and June 18th. Then, on June 20th, I flew to Boston and from there drove to Bristol, Maine, to attend my niece’s wedding held on June 21st, Sunday afternoon. I had to sleep in the Chicago airport that night because of missed or delayed flights. I flew stand by.
On Sunday, June 14, the India Association of Minnesota held a gubernatorial debate in Bloomington. Although I would not be given an opportunity to speak, all the candidates could mingle with association members and others during an hour-long period before the debate. A representative of the India Chamber of Commerce described plans to build a complex of buildings in the Twin Cities to promote foreign culture and trade. I had discussions with a number of people while manning the Carney-for-Governor table but none with other candidates or the press. Carney did, however, introduce me to Tom Emmer. I spoke briefly with Emmer’s son on the way out. Whatever Emmer’s political views, he was warm and personable. Tom Horner was also there. I spoke briefly with Diane Goldman, his campaign manager, whom I knew from Independence Party activities.
Meanwhile, Bob Carney had developed a “Tom (Emmer) and me” video series, similar to what was done with Mayor R.T. Rybak, which he posted on his campaign web site, republicancontract.com. Emmer had refused to unveil a specific budget. He had refused Bob’s requests for a video interview. Bob thought that Emmer’s ultra-conservativism would hurt him in the general election. For instance, Emmer had sponsored a bill in the legislature that would nullify federal laws unless they were repassed by both houses of the Minnesota legislature.
Bob Carney’s website, republicancontract.com, was filled with position papers and video but I felt it was too cluttered. For a time, Bob featured a video taken at a debate in Floodwood, Minnesota, sponsored by a third-grade class. Some of the third graders asked penetrating questions which Bob delighted in repeating. I urged Bob to move some of the older materials to a separate page and instead focus on one or two points about his candidacy.
I thought the state budget deficit should be the main issue. Bob had expertise in this area and his own proposals were better than those of the other candidates. Second, I thought Bob should stress his role as standard-bearer of “moderate” or “progressive” Republicanism since Emmer was so conservative. Moderate Republicans used to be elected to office. On the other hand, Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate, was a former Republican spokesman. Many thought that he would inherit the moderate Republican vote.
There was little interest in the race for Lieutenant Governor apart from the fact that DFL gubernatorial candidate Matt Entenza had selected Robyn Robinson, news coanchor at KMSP-TV Channel 9, to be his running mate. She had personal appeal, especially with young voters. I considered sending out a light-hearted email expressing my interest in a Lieutenant Governor debate so I would have a chance to meet Robinson. This was an idea that fell through the cracks. The email was never sent. There were no Lieutenant Governor debates during the primary.
While Carney actively campaigned, I spent much of my time revising the manuscript of a book that I had published on world history. I did, however, send out occasional emails to my list and represent the Carney campaign on the e-democracy discussion list for Minnesota.
One of my postings concerned what I called the “Sites plan” for raising the federal income-tax rates. James N. Sites, a friend of my father’s, had been the publicity director for the U.S. Department of Treasury when Bill Simon was Treasury secretary in the Ford Administration. He had organized a publicity campaign to promote the free-enterprise system. This campaign was so successful that President Ford, eyeing re-election in 1976, became worried that Simon would overshadow him and requested that the campaign be ended. Simon complied.
At any rate, I thought that Sites had impeccable conservative credentials. There might be some interest in the fact that he was now campaigning to end the Bush tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers so that the rate would rise from 35 percent to 39.5 percent. Dogmatists such as Emmer opposed any tax increase. Carney thought that the deficit required some income-tax increases but preferred to do this at the federal level as Sites was proposing.
Jim Sites had sent me his statement. I typed this up and posted it on the internet. A link to that page was included in the email sent to my list on June 10th. subsequent messages also referred to it. “RINO” or not, we were at least addressing the budget deficit which the next governor would face.
An email sent to my list on June 28th was titled “What to do about the state’s budget deficit: a comparison of views among the candidates for governor.” I wanted attention refocused on the state’s $6 billion budget deficit. Bob Carney had a serious proposal to deal with it. What about the other candidates?
The DFL candidates - Mark Dayton, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, and Matt Entenza - spoke mainly of growing the Minnesota economy out of the recession by promoting green-technology industries, investing in education, and helping seniors. Dayton, an heir to the Target Corp. fortune, stood out in the crowd by advocating a significant tax increase for wealthy taxpayers. Entenza, whose wife had become rich while working at United Health Care, did not mention tax increases; his big issue was educational reform. Anderson Kelliher, who had the DFL Party endorsement, was big on promoting green energy and accelerating construction projects in Minnesota.
Tom Emmer, the favored Republican, spoke vaguely of cutting taxes to spur growth while also cutting state spending. He said he was on a “listening tour” and would announce his specific budget plans once he had heard the views of Minnesotans. Besides, the deficit was something that a sitting Governor would have to face, not a candidate. Tom Horner, the Independence Party’s lead candidate, favored increases in the sales tax that would not hurt the poor. “Tax increases aren’t the answer,” he said. “(We) need tax reform.” All leading candidates of the other parties favored public subsidies to build a new stadium for the Vikings, which was counterproductive from the standpoint of the budget deficit.
Obviously, the other candidates were avoiding the issue. The state’s budget deficit by law needed to be brought immediately back into balance. There was not time to grow our way out of this problem. Tax cuts only aggravated the short-term problem. Where were the proposed spending cuts? Which types of expenditures would be cut? Which constituency would be offended? We in the Carney campaign had suggested two areas - higher education and corrections - and had also proposed a systematic review of salaries and benefits in the public sector. But because we gave a reasonably straight answer, ours was not a viable campaign. No interest group was supporting us.
Bob Carney had some good news on June 29th. He had received an invitation to be interviewed by the Star Tribune editorial board in July. He also was working with a Star Tribune editor on an opinion article concerning the unallotment process. So apparently our campaign was being taken seriously by editors at the state’s largest newspaper. There was an irony in this for me in that I had picketed the Star Tribune for its failure to give me adequate coverage in my 2008 Congressional campaign. However, let bygones be bygones. The Star Tribune was responding positively to Carney’s gubernatorial campaign. Maybe it could go somewhere.
Bob scheduled a press conference for 9:00 a.m. on July 2nd in a small room off the rotunda in the State Capitol. Its purpose would be to introduce me as his Lieutenant Governor running mate and also to call attention to Tom Emmer’s views on Minnesota’s seceding from the union - i.e., his bill that would nullify federal law unless it was repassed by the Minnesota legislature. Bob set up his video camera in the room and waited for reporters to appear. None did.
Bob had heard that Mark Dayton had scheduled a press conference at 10:00 a.m. in the State Office building across the hall from the Secretary of State’s office. He quickly reserved the same room for 11 a.m. Plan B, then, was to switch locations so that our press conference would inherit at least some of the reporters who came to hear Dayton. I waited for a few minutes in the Capitol room to see if anyone appeared. Then Bob and I walked over to the State Office building. On our way, we saw Mark Dayton, along with a female aide, put coins in a parking meter near the capitol. Bob tried to engage Dayton in polite conversation but he was evidently focused on the impending news conference and was not eager to talk with us then.
Mark Dayton was giving a press conference to protest the fact that an engineering firm deeply involved in the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis three years earlier continued to receive state contracts. If elected Governor, he would end this arrangement. Calling himself a “citizen-journalist”, Bob Carney attempted to ask Dayton a question at the press conference. Dayton responded by saying, “I don’t consider you a journalist, Bob. You’re a rival candidate.” Bob then desisted. I snapped a number of photos.
Bob had correctly guessed that much of the press corps would remain in the room after Dayton was finished. He quickly assumed the podium and began talking about Emmer’s secessionist views. There was a question or two. When Bob introduced me, however, everyone left the room. I waved to the departing reporters, “goodbye, everyone.” Since Bob had set up his video camera, I gave a 30-minute talk about the campaign in the empty room. Perhaps we could air the tape on cable television. (We never did.) Bob and I then went over to the McDonald’s on University Avenue to have a light snack and talk about our campaign plans.
Soon the Republican race for Governor took an unexpected turn. During a campaign appearance at the Eagle Street Grill in St. Paul on July 5th, Tom Emmer had proposed lowering the minimum wage for restaurant servers because of the tips they received. Many servers earn $100,000 a year in tips, he said. Bob Carney had recorded Emmer’s statement on videotape; it was posted on republicancontract.com. The news media had a field day with this story. Obviously, Emmer was out of touch with ordinary Minnesotans if he thought a typical server made $100,000 a year in tips.
Tom Emmer felt that he needed to do something to deflect the bad publicity. He announced that he would have an open discussion of working conditions for servers at the Ol’ Mexico Restaurant in Roseville on July 14th, otherwise known as Bastille Day. Candidate-journalist Bob Carney announced that he would cover the event. "I'll bring Ramen Noodle Soup bags,’ he said, “ in case Tom doesn't bring cake." Bob also hit on the idea of bringing a large tips jar to collect contributions to Carney-McGaughey campaign. He made a large campaign sign that could be displayed outside Ol’ Mexico. We thought we might hold our own public discussion with interested persons on a strip of land adjacent to the parking lot after Emmer had finished.
Emmer’s event started at 3 p.m. We had intended to arrive early but, because Bob had to make copies of literature at a photocopying shop, we arrived around the time the event started. Emmer’s campaign workers were greeting people at the front door. I decided that my best contribution would be to hold up Carney’s large sign at the edge of the parking lot next to the front door. Some union people were organizing a small demonstration on the sidewalk. A reporter came up to me but, when he learned I was only the Lieutenant Governor candidate, he quickly lost interest. So I just stood by myself holding up the sign. It was important to establish a visible presence for the campaign.
After 15 minutes or so, I went inside the restaurant. Tom Emmer was in a back room taking questions from the audience. A crowd filled much of the restaurant outside this room. I parked the sign in the coat room and passed out campaign literature to around fifty persons until the supply was exhausted. Bob Carney was talking with people and videotaping the scene. We could not see Emmer but we could hear some of the questions asked and Emmer’s replies.
There seemed to be excitement at one point. I could hear Emmer saying “I’ll talk with the man with the pennies” - whatever that meant. Sarah Janacek, a Republican operative, was holding the microphone for persons with questions. She briefly came out to our part of the restaurant. Then I heard that the event was over. Something had happened. I later learned that a man had approached Emmer’s table and thrown a bag of pennies on it. “There’s your tip, Mr. Emmer,” he had said. Emmer then promptly cancelled the rest of the event, leaving the restaurant through a back door. The man with the pennies had been protesting Emmer’s policies on immigration.
I think our appearance at this event might have done some good. Several people interviewed Carney on videotape. We had increased the visibility of our campaign. However, a poster on the e-democracy forum wrote in response to one of my postings: “One has to wonder what Mr. McGaughey has been smoking, if he actually considers Leslie Davis or Bob Carney serious challengers to Tom Emmer ... Bob Carney was last seen outside Ol' Mexico with a huge picket sign, trying just to get anyone to speak to him. The news media there did not even ask him for a quote on Tom Emmer's tip credit mess. I will wager Mr. McGaughey $1,000 that combined Leslie Davis and Bob Carney do not get 10% of the vote in the Republican primary.” (Note: The actual figure was 14.14%.)
I had to tell the forum that the guy with the sign was me, not Bob Carney, and that, if I had been trying to strike up conversations with people, I would have stood on the sidewalk near the front door rather than across the road near the parking lot. However, this posting does illustrate what Bob Carney and I were facing in the primary election. If the Republicans on my email list were consistently hostile, so were the DFL people in this forum. The mantra was that Emmer faced “no serious opposition”. We were pretentious nobodies. If Carney and I were running as Republicans, we must have been stooges for Wall Street. The possibilities for scorn were endless.
A week earlier, on July 8th, I had sent out an email to put my own spin on the campaign. It was titled “On being a “moderate”, “liberal”, or “progressive” Republican.” Moderate Republicans, though apparently extinct, had a proud history of governing both in the United States and Minnesota. I suggested that Dwight Eisenhower was one of our better Presidents. In Minnesota we had governors like Harold Stassen, Elmer L. Anderson, Harold LeVander, Al Quie, and Arnie Carlson. “Bob Carney and I (as his lieutenant-governor running mate) want to bring this type of candidate back in style,” I wrote. We needed relatively pragmatic leaders who could cooperate with people on both sides of the aisle to get things done.”
Typically, this message to the forum was ignored except for one person who pointed out that Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, had ties with people who had collaborated with the Nazis, overthrown democratic governments in Central America, and begun our disastrous involvement in Vietnam. He wrote: “To my mind, your heroes are plaster saints who did far more harm through their willful ignorance than they did good.”
On the other hand, the Republican county chairman had this to say: “Yes we need leaders with character - you have not demonstrated that you are one of them. RINO thinking and policies have brought the destruction and demise of America ... As far as I can tell you are only running so the Republican's have to spend money on a primary election. Its no wonder you have no doners (sic) giving you money.”
The primary election would be held on August 10th. We were running out of time. My email messages were falling on deaf ears. In this politically polarized environment, a person who stands in the middle becomes a target for abusive characterizations from both sides. I thought our best shot was to take our message to outside Minnesota as I had done with some effect when I ran in the 2002 Independence Party primary for U.S. Senate. Small-town newspaper editors appreciate when someone running for statewide office comes to their town. They are exposed to all points of view in a community and, therefore, are unlikely to exhibit hostility to particular ones.
Bob Carney, however, had one advantage that I had always lacked. In discussions with Doug Tice of the Star Tribune, he was encouraged to write an opinion article about the governor’s power of unallotment. The Supreme Court had ruled that Gov. Pawlenty had illegally used this power. This ruling hinged on the technicality that the state’s budget had not been balanced at the start of the biennium. But that did not mean that unallotment was dead. A governor such as Emmer could take the spending package sent by the legislature and then veto large portions such as education to create a huge budget surplus. Then he could call the legislature back in session to produce a new budget. Because there had been an earlier surplus, this governor was now free to use his unallotment power to veto whatever he wanted to bring the budget back into balance. That was the scenario in Carney’s opinion article published in the Star Tribune on July 24th.
The Star Tribune also included Carney in its assessment of the gubernatorial candidates. An editorial run on August 2nd said this: "Carney, a Minneapolis journalist, offers moderate Republicans who have not followed Horner out of the party an option on the primary ballot. He's a critic of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2009 unallotment, which he considers an unconstitutional executive-branch power grab. His realistic budget plan -- more detailed than any yet seen from Emmer -- includes a $3 billion tax increase. The fact that Carney has been unable to mount even the semblance of a campaign reveals how near to extinction the once-dominant moderate faction of Minnesota's Republican Party has become."
With respect to visiting outstate newspapers, Bob asked me to make telephone calls to people on my media list to gauge interest and line up appointments. I called sixteen papers and spoke to several editors of reporters. Jerome Christenson in Winona remembered my visit in 2002 and expressed interest in meeting Carney. Deb Gaw in Marshall said she would have time for Bob on Thursday or Friday of that week. The editors in Brainerd and New Ulm asked Bob to call when he had definite plans for a visit. On the whole, this was encouraging.
Bob Carney did make several trips to cities outside the Twin Cities area in the remaining weeks of July - to southern and western Minnesota and perhaps elsewhere. One of his trips also produced an article in MinnPost, the electronic journal, about the campaign. Bob took along his tips jar as a prop. I also volunteered to spend two or three days in north-central Minnesota visiting newspaper editors. A friend from the Independence Party had offered to contact a number of editors for me to pave the way. He suggested that I not exclude International Falls, on the Canadian border. People up north had a soft heart for mavericks.
In the meanwhile, I had family obligations. My wife and I flew to Seattle on July 20th to visit one of her closest friends from Beijing who lived in Belleview. We spent several days there, including a trip to the Mount St. Helens volcano site. Then, on July 31st, I flew to Washington, D.C., to meet my wife who had driven there from Nashville with her sister. My step-daughter had an apartment unit in northern Virginia where we stayed. Then, my wife, her sister, and I drove from Washington to my house in Milford, Pennsylvania, which we used as a base of operations for trips to New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. This trip took around five days. I was planning to cut it short so I could return to Minnesota to visit the newspaper editors in the north-central part of the state.
While in Milford, I received a telephone call from Bob Carney as I was sawing tree limbs in the back yard. There was a change in plans. It would not be necessary for me to visit north-central Minnesota. Our Independence Party friend, John Uldrich, had done a mass emailing and achieved good results in terms of people opening the email. Bob now proposed to do the same. It would cost $3,500 to send an email to nearly 500,000 Minnesota voters. Whether it was effective depended on the percentage of recipients opening the email.
Bob also proposed a stunning message. He said the primary should be a referendum on Tom Emmer. If Republican voters preferred Emmer, then they should vote for him. However, if they wanted someone other than Emmer to head the Republican ticket, they should vote for Bob Carney. Bob pledged that, if he won the Republican primary for Governor, he would promptly withdraw from the race with the idea that the Republican Party would reconvene their convention and nominate someone else. Carney gave a list of six Republicans who would be acceptable to him as a gubernatorial candidate: Steve Sviggum, Al Quie, Jim Ramstad, Marty Seifert, Norm Coleman, and David Senjem. Carney himself would also run if the convention nominated him.
I advised against this. It seemed like a desperation ploy to gain votes. Also, knowing that Bob Carney is not a wealthy man, I advised against the mass email campaign because of its expense. His best shot, I thought, was to resume outstate trips and continue to present himself as the moderate alternative to Tom Emmer. Carney, however, was not dissuaded. His email campaign proposing that another candidate be selected to replace Emmer produced about 85,000 openings.
In the meanwhile, on my own, I had sent other messages to my email list. One, sent on August 6th, was titled “Why a DFLer should not be elected Governor of Minnesota.” This message stressed the fact that the DFL party controlled city governments in Minneapolis and St. Paul and had used that power to harass small businesses. We could not afford wanton destruction of our tax base. The other message, sent on August 8th, gave contact information for Carney and me.
The primary election was held on Tuesday, September 10, 2010. I rounded up three votes for Carney other than my own - my wife’s, my former sister in law’s, and her boy friend’s. Bob Carney was preparing a small party for me, John Uldrich, and Steve Williams at his home on Colfax avenue in south Minneapolis. It began to rain hard about the time the polls closed. I brought my dog to Bob’s house, thinking I could tie him up in the yard, but then had to return home as Steve Williams and his son, Jim, sat with Bob awaiting election returns.
The final results were not bad. Bob Carney and I finished second to Emmer in the Republican primary. We had 9,856 votes, or 7.56% of the total. Emmer had 107,558 votes, or 82.48 percent of the total. In the Independence Party primary, John Uldrich and Steve Williams finished third. They had 1,766 votes, or 9.97% of the total, compared with Rob Hahn’s 2,538 votes (14.33%) and Tom Horner’s 11,380 votes (64.24%).
Most political observers were interested in the DFL race for Governor. Mark Dayton ultimately finished first with 182,738 votes (41.33%); Margaret Anderson Kelliher, second with 175,767 votes (39.75%), and Matt Entenza, third with 80,509 votes (18.21%)
In late September, John Uldrich decided to make a serious bid to be elected Governor as a write-in candidate, switching back to Republican. Bob Carney agreed to be his Lieutenant Governor running mate. As of this writing (on October 2nd), I do not know how effective that campaign will be.
DFLer Mark Dayton is currently leading in the polls, with Tom Emmer about ten percentage points behind. The Independence Party candidate, Tom Horner, is currently in third place with around 18 percent in the polls. Ken Pentel, Green Party candidate Farheen Hakeem, and several others are also running.
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