Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

755 Signatures

I checked each of my petition sheets and found about 20 signatures out of 775 that wouldn’t pass muster for one reason or another. That still leaves me with 755 perfectly good signatures. I’ve got two days to finish this up before I take it in to the Secretary of State. Tomorrow is Sidewalk Days and I’m hope to pick up more signatures than ever although I doubt I’ll get anything like the 300 per day I anticipated.

My Brother is visiting tomorrow along with his daughter and nephew. The Nephew is up to collect his third Great Lake. I told them I’d be busy and to go to the beach while I’m campaigning but I’ll be home to greet them and lay out beach towels.

I just uploaded a fundraising page. I’ve got to tinker with it but it feels good to have it set up. The breakfast with my new campaign manager netted two of my signatures when our pastor and another church member stopped by our table.

My new manager will be very helpful. I’d complained that I hadn’t been able to find dates of northern Minnesota fairs in a google search and right after I got home I found links to the dates.  My new manager had found them. Excellent.

I just purged me\y room of partially digested newspapers and suddenly I can walk around in it again. Tommorrow before I petition I’ll get the rest of it sorted and filed. Life is good.

Civic service first

I was all set this morning to go out and get signtures when the Lighthouse for the Blind called and asked me to fill in on an emergency basis at their Radio for the blind. I put the petitions aside and hurried over to read the news over the air for two hours. That was about 60 missed signatures but I’m a little ahead of the game so everything’s OK. Not many folks turned me down. If the weather report is right it will be getting hot again so I’ll have to steel myself for some more sunblock.

After adding another 140 signatures this afternoon I returned home at 5:30 had a quick snack and then Claudia and I went out to our Monday night ballroom dance class. We learned a few new additions to the waltz and we got our first lesson in cha cha cha. It will probably come in handy by October when the campaign heats up and I’m required to do some fancy footwork.

I sent several emails I’d gotten on the plans I’m making to my new campaign manager. We meet tomorrow for breakfast and I’ll go from generalities to some specific plans to get the attention I’ll need to become a contender. I’m getting pumped.

Links unlinked

Dogonit! I’ve known for a couple weeks that the picture of the DFL Dream Team was gone on the Boyd Scandal page listed in the column to the right. I’ve kept checking the statistics on Boyd for the past couple weeks and they were pretty anemic. It turned out that the link to my developing book was broken too. Fixing it today should help boost the visits.

I haven’t added anything lately because I’m spending all my time organizing my campaign for Congress. I have four or five full days ahead of collecting signatures for my petition followed by a trip to St. Paul to file my papers. I’ll be calling the Secretary of State in a couple minutes to make sure the signatures I’ve collected so far are valid. I didn’t start asking people to print their full legal name including the spelled out middle name until after I’d gotten 300 signatures. State law does not require this. I wonder if the Secretary will?

Whether I’m elected or not the book should shed a light on a very important and neglected corner of Minnesota political history. I’m leaning to the conclusion that after the Feds rampaged around the state looking for a bad guy they succeeded in putting the only innocent among a bad bunch behind bars.

I was just listening to Minnesota Public Radio today. They said that a spokesman for Jim Oberstar couldn’t speak with them about some story because he was suffering from a bout of largyngitis. Last Saturday an elderly woman told me she was surprised to see Jim at the Clinic and even more surprised at how frail he looked. That may explain the great pains his staff is taking to post pictures of him on the Internet riding bicycles and looking vigorous. She reported that he seemed taken aback when the secretary admitting him asked him what he did for a living.

Petitioning Uniform

 

This is me after gathering another 100 signatures yesterday. Mel took it right after I got back. Mel dropped by to offer his support and later sent me a number of corrections and suggestions on my welty4congress website. I’ve ordered five more of the shirts so I can wear them daily from now to November.

456 Signatures

Yesterday I went to Cloquet and added another 120 signatures to my petition. Some strongly pro life signed despite my contrary views just so the voters would have the choice. Quite a number recognized my name from Duluth’s School Board politics and not a few complimented my on my snow sculptures. I’m up to 456 signatures after three days and I’ve got six to go before I have to hustle down to the St. Paul and turn in the whole kit an kaboodle.

I did have one note of caution thrown at me. A volunteer for another candidate, a legislator, told me that when they took in their signature list only five of 100 signers names were accepted because they hadn’t required people to print their full middle names. If this happens to me I’ll have to get about 350 new names to compensate.

I checked out the state law on the subject and there is no mention of requiring printed names let alone printed middle names. The form I was given at the Secretary of State’s office has it listed but I didn’t take it that seriously. In fact, the two nice people I got the form from made a point of telling me that I should look up the state laws before I made up my own form rather than go by the one they were giving me. So I have been.

The law does say something about the Secretary of state doing what’s necessary to supervise petitions but if she has added this extra hurdle she did not hand out any instructions to that affect that I can find.

I’ll get full printed names from now on but if I fall short of the 1000 signatures on account of this I will not be a very happy camper.

My big push will be Wed-Friday at Duluth’s Sidewalk days. I may be able to get 300 a day then. That should make up for any losses.

After coming home I cleaned up and took an all too short nap before Claudia and I went out ballroom dancing. A couple of friends and neighbors passed on their good wishes in my quest to beat Oberstar. I danced a little lighter after that – except for the waltz. There were a lot of dancers racing by us and it was a little like bumper cars. Kind of like politics.

Searching for Lincoln

I wore a t-shirt with a wonderful image of Abe Lincoln on it. I purchased it on my trip to Springfield last year. Halfway through the day I recalled that Lincoln had campaigned under the banner of the “Union Party” when he ran for reelection. As I have chosen the word “Unity” to represent my one-man political party the coincidence was very pleasing. I decided I’d wear it every day while I’m petitioning. I hope it holds up to daily washing and drying.

When I came home after 8 hours in the sun I was spent but I got on the Internet and googled “t-shirts” and “Lincoln” to no avail. I wanted to buy a half dozen more for the rest of the campaign. It might be fun to wear them every day from now till November.

This morning I got an email back from the one connection I could find. The image’s creator was a person with the uncommon name of Trimborn. My googling led me to a music professor with the same name. He had written a book “Encounters With Lincoln.” Sure enough, I’d found the maker of the shirts and he was selling them through a single store the one I had purchased it at in Springfield. I’ll order more of them. Maybe I’ll even let people order them from my website now that I have a paypal account. (even if if the darned thing isn’t configured to my needs yet)

I may not go out of town to gather signatures after all. I can get my quota of petitions in Duluth more quickly and be done with it. Then I could go out of town to simply hand out the bookmarks and shake hands. I’d get more passed out that way and meet more people without having to have them stop and fill out all the info that the Secretary of State demands of them. 

The Trib didn’t mention my website which was a disappointment so no instant surge in hits. The several hundred bookmarks I passed out yesterday did just about double the traffic to welty4congress but I’m too greedy to be satisfied with that. I want thousands of people – tens of thousands - to check it out. Since I can’t afford major advertising yet it occured to me to make up hundreds of small lawnsigns with the url on it and pass them out around the district as I’m passing out bookmarks.

My next task before I head out to petition will be to tinker with my website to try to shrink it so that visitors don’t have to go back and fourth when they read it. That will make it a very annoying destination indeed and I can’t have that.

Hot fun in the summertime

I tried once again to figure out how to make my paypal account accept credit cards. I failed. There seems to be no human technician to help me out. Its too early yet to expect contributions. They may come in a few months time but its aggravating to spend hours to little purpose.

I sent off my first fund raising letters and then zipped down to the Lakewalk but not until a quarter after ten a little over an hour after I had hoped to start. fourteen of the first fifteen people I asked agreed to sign my petition. this was a fortuitous start and eventually I got over 130 signatures for the day. At that rate I should get a comfortable margin over the 1,000 I’m supposed to turn in. One of Duluth’s former principals rushed by and took two petitions for twenty names he said he’d try to get filled out for me.

A trio of ladies from Morrison county signed my petition then had second thoughts. Morrision is a very conservative county with a high proportion of Catholics. When they found out I was pro choice they seemed to regret helping but they were gracious and when I offered to let them cross off their names consoled themselves that as an Independent I wasn’t likely to win. The names stayed on the petition.

The number of people who seemed genuinely sympathetic with a third alternative to the two parties was enormous. Of course, that may simply be a response to my charisma.

I hustled back and forth until about 1:30 when the heat began taking a toll. Fortunately a couple young ladies offered me sunblock well before I ws ready for lunch. After I drove home for an hour’s rest I put an even stronger sunblock on and a cap as well. I don’t want the shiny patch at the top of my head to blister.

I went to the plaza shopping center at 2:30 in three hours there I got seventy five signatures to the 60 it had taken me four hours to get on the Lakewalk.

An old friend emailed me back to wish me well. He’s now the owner of several rural newspapers that I had sent Press Releases to. At least the print media seemed to pay attention. I got a call from the Duluth Trib’s reporter and he interviewed me for ten minues. It will be a short article tomorrow and it won’t be my press release word for word but I suspect it will be a reasonable introduction of my campaign the their readership.

I’ll try to get even more signatures tomorrow but I think I’ll do in in Duluth rather than drive to another city. I think I’ll to other cities and just hand out my bookmarks after I turned in my 1,000 signatures to the Secretary of State.

 

First Press Release

Welty Announces Independent Campaign for Congress
 

Two-term Duluth School Board member Harry Welty will begin petitioning Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District voters to be placed on the ballot as an independent candidate to challenge incumbent Congressman James Oberstar and former US Senator Rod Grams in this fall’s election.

Running as a “Unity” party candidate Welty says that if elected he plans to join the Democratic caucus as “Republicans can no longer be trusted with three branches of government.”

Welty was elected to the Duluth School Board in 1994 and served two terms until 2003. Welty also ran against Oberstar in 1992 as an independent candidate. His campaign has set up a website: www.welty4congress.org which encourages people to download petitions to help him get the 1,000 signatures he is required to return to Minnesota’s Secretary of State by the filing deadline of July 18th.

Welty, a former long time Republican who caucused with the Democratic Party this year, says that both party’s candidates will simply continue to do what the American public has come to dread – play politics. “Oberstar will try to get more pork barrel projects at a time when Congress has already saddled our children with a ten-trillion-dollar deficit and Grams voted to remove our last President from office.” Welty says he’s counting on moderate and centrist voter’s disgust with the current political climate. In a three way race Welty says he could get elected with as little as 34 percent of the vote. In Welty’s 1992 campaign for Congress he drew over 22,000 votes which was seven percent of the vote.

Welty will take his petition to cities through out the sprawling Eighth District over the next two weeks. He’s beginning his campaign this morning on Duluth’s favorite tourist attraction, the Lakewalk.

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Fireworks

Tomorrow I will begin asking for people to sign my petition so that my name can be placed in nomination. I’ll probably go to Duluth’s lakewalk and invite the local media to drop by and interview me there. Its close to the several of the television stations and tomorrow may be a slow news day. If they come I’ll get coverage across a third of the Congressional District.

I’ve got my paypal account up but at the moment its not set up to take credit cards. I think I know how to resolve this but its 12:30 now and I ought to try to get a good nights rest.

Lincoln’s law partner Herndon said of Abe his mind was a little machine constantly working on his next political move. I’m much the same. Tonight I came home from a gorgeous display of fireworks over the harbor and a stiring performance of the DSSO (our symphony). Because Claudia is on the DSSO Board we sat in the VIP section. I had thought about taking my new bookmarks to pass out but ruled that out. I’m spending so much time already on the campaign that I need to shield my family from it to the best of my ability. Letting the campaign horn in on our family time would be unfair.

As it is I put my first 5 hours this morning on it. I set it aside and Claudia and I went to Finke’s Strawberry patch to pick two gallons of beautiful berries. We drove back by way of Jay Cooke Park then froze our bounty saving enough for a shortcake for dinner.

After a glass of wine on our return from the concert I spent some time doing to Grams what I did to Oberstar a few days ago. I think I’ve organized a simple and compelling argument to keep him out of Congress. That’s good timing because I’ll be passing out my bookmarks for the first time tomorrow and I want people to see both of the front runners for what they are. And drat! One of the folks I’ve been trying to entice to help me pointed out that I’ve got an “Its” when I should have an “It’s” in the bookmark. I emailed back that I hoped that there weren’t too many English majors in the District because I had just printed up 40,000 of the wrong pronoun.

 

Can’t sleep so I’ll work on the campaign

I got to bed at about eleven but tossed and turned for a couple hours. Rather than continue I got up and put some finishing touches on the Oberstar page of my campaign website. Anyone questioning how I can claim to be a Democrat while running as an Independent will have to ask themselves how Oberstar can claim to be a Democrat.

I’m going to try and get some shuteye now because I’ve got a busy day tomorrow. At 7:45 I’m putting in my first shift as a news reader at the Lighthouse for the the blind. Two of us will be reading the daily news from local papers for two hours over a radio for blind listeners.

At noon I’m having lunch with a potential campaign manager and then I have to figure out why I couldn’t finish installing the paypal donation system today.

Next I have to pick up my campaign bookmarks and then I need to make copies of my first fund raising letter.

Finally, after that, I’ll have to prepare my news release and plot my travels to get signatures on my nominating petition.

Such a busy fellow. I wonder what I could do in Congress?

Tentative organizing

In every campaign I’ve been a candidate (there are 11 of these) and in a dozen more in which I was the principal cheerleader I’ve also been the campaign manager. I do the job well but its very tough to be both manager and candidate.

Until a couple days ago I was thinking in terms of challenging Jim Oberstar as a last hurrah. I saw lots of possiblitites for the right candidate to pull off a win but I just didn’t imagine that I would be that candidate. Now, I think I could be.

I asked one person to me by treasurer two weeks ago and have not heard back. That should be taken as a “no” but if I could put more of a campaign organization together that could change to a yes. Even if it doesn’t the Paypal account I’m planning to set up this afternoon should allow me to keep close enough track of donor information to make being the temporary treasurer managable for me for a month or two.

I fired off three email requests for help yesterday and two bore immediate fruit. I’m meeting with a potential campaign manager tomorrow and after that meeting I’ll check in with my other positive reply. Suddenly I’m not so all alone.

 

Blog Metamorphosis

As of today loyal readers, whoever you are, this blog has undergone a change from caterpillar to butterfly or, depending on your point-of-view, vice versa. For the past four months I’ve posted things that interested me but which were heavily drawn from other sources. I will not give up on this entirely but as the last week has demonstrated getting wrapped up a consuming project really distracts a blogger from scanning the internet for newsy items, insightful opinion and my favorite – hoots. I’ve started a mad four-month dash to the November election and I won’t have time to vacuum the news. I’ll still be blogging but lincolndemocrat will turn into more of a campaign diary than a political blog.

As long ago as 1976 when I was a 26-year-old kid running for the state legislature I imagined myself writing a regular column about what I saw daily as a legislator. Although I kept running for office I didn’t finally get elected to anything until 1995 almost twenty years later. By then I realized that no newspaper would print one elected official’s daily observations. But then a wonderful invention became available – the World Wide Web with a whole assortment of new communication tools. Long before blogs people began experimenting with public diaries. When I finally got a dial-up connection and discovered this I was halfway through my school board experience. I realized immediately how I could make that ambition from my youth possible and I began my “school board diary.” I was a faithful diarist for a year but, for a variety of reasons, I quit. Short lived political diaries of one sort or another succeeded the first but they too winked out.

Apparently, I’ve been drifting slowly to a new ambition to replace politics – writing. I’m still drawn to politics but more so as a writer than a practitioner. I want people to have the chance to see the political world from the inside. I’ve gotten 200 pages into Caro’s fabulous 1,000-page book about LBJ’s Senate years. What I wouldn’t give to write something like that. Well, its too late for that. Caro has already devoted thirty years to the LBJ story and he still has one book left to go. Anything I do will be much more modest – like my school board diary.

An elected bodies are more mysterious to people than what happens to their children during junior high. That’s because everyone has been in junior high and can imagine what their children are experiencing. Elected bodies, which seem to pull decisions out of thin air after a series of posturing speech”…well that really is mysterious. Fortunately or unfortunately the speeches are usually so anesthetizing that people stop watching and rely on the next day’s headlines to sort out what happened.

Well, this is just a long-winded way of saying that I’m going to devote the lion’s share of this blog to my Congressional campaign. I’ve been planning to run since before I wrote a snarky column about Jim Oberstar last November. To my surprise that column led me to Don Boyd and Don Boyd led me to a historical research project that I can’t really do justice to as a candidate for public office. In fact, because the project seems to involve the fellow I’m trying to unseat my motives must be questioned. But I can’t help myself. I think I’ve stumbled onto a story about how Minnesota’s politics of the late 1960’s and 1970’s was riddled with corrupt practices. This is history which should be investigated by a writer who is not contaminated with political ambition. For the next few weeks the story has to be put on hold. I have ten days to get 1,000 signatures on a petition to put me on the ballot. I also need to start alerting voters to a very interesting 3-way race for Congress. I intend to win if it is at all possible.

As time permits I will continue writing more about Don Boyd’s ruination at the hands of a political machine whose brightest leaders aspired to great nobility. In Watergate’s dark aftermath this machine successfully covered their own misbehavior when threatened with exposure. They did this by sacrificing an innocent scapegoat to federal prison. This at least is what I am beginning to believe took place. Its a story that should be told by someone else but for now I’m the only story teller that Don Boyd has.

Thirty years ago he was smeared so badly that no one, not his friends and probably not even his family, could imagine that he was completely innocent. It is hard to believe but that is what I’m coming to believe. If this is true then I’m deeply offended by this miscarriage of justice. In an odd way this story is a terrible distraction from my Congressional campaign but at the same time its given me a tremendous motivation. Nothing animates me so as a hunt for the truth.

Harry’s been strangely silent

And there is a good reason. Harry has been madly getting things ready to file for Congress. As if you hadn’t figured that out from all the not so subtle clues I’ve been dropping.

I’ve got my webpage up. I haven’t formally announced yet but I will soon. I still have to choose from the fundraising software available but I’ll probably use a PayPal account.

There’s been a lot in the news I would have commented on had I not been so busy but that’s life.

Oh, the new website is (typos and all): www.welty4congress.org

Storming Washington

I’ve been very busy; too busy to post yesterday. I’ve been puttering around with a campaign website which I’ll soon be uploading. I’ve just ordered the domain name. There aren’t too many candidates named Welty, thank goodness. I just ordered a taxpayer identification number for my committee of one and yesterday put in a rush order for campaign literature. I’ve been sending a flurry of emails back and forth over its layout. Today I need to open a campaign banking account. Filing for office begins the day after July 4th. I will need to get a thousand signatures on a petition of nomination. I did it all by myself in four day in 1992. Once I start campaigning I’ll use this blog as my campaign diary.

We left Washington last week just as heavy rainstorms broke out. They flooded the national archives and many other Federal buildings as well as knocking down a 100 year old Elm on the front lawn of the White House. I probably snapped a picture of it when I was there although like everything else on the grounds it was behind bars.

Our friends emailed us about the weather we escaped. I didn’t realize just how serious it was. Amtrak had to be closed down so they couldn’t commute into the Capital. Now if I could just figure out how to storm DC like that.

Blog Spam

Out of bed at 5AM on a Saturday. I thought I might go swimming but with the scent of hot steaming blueberry buckle in the air I decided otherwise. Today it will be calories not laps.

I checked my website statistics. They are holding their own and it looks like Snowbizz will end the month averaging a thousand hits a day. I have found that the blog is being invaded not only by readers but by spam. Somehow the spammers have figured out how to insert links to their pages by replying to blog posts. I’ll have to go back to my old posts and start marking them as closed for discussion. What a pain!

It will be a beautiful day so Claudia may put me to work. It will be recompense for the buckle. That’s OK. I need to fix my compost box. I’ll have to shovel a ton of black gold out of it first and then shovel it back in when I’m finished. That’ll be fun – kind of like deleting spam only back breaking.

Minnesota Secretary of State

After I visited my Mother I headed over to the State Capitol to get information from our Secretary of State about elections. Behind the counter were Ben and Jenny who cheerfully gave me helpful information. I snapped a picture of Jenny as she hauled away several recent years of election results which were on their way to clutter up the files of the State Historical Society. Ben snapped a picture of me in front of an American flag.
Jenny's Files

These are good people. You should file for office and then you could meet them too.

Picking up where I left off

Every time I leave Duluth I have to return and resume. Some projects will have another day’s delay as I’m driving to the Twin Cities today and delivering friends to the Airport where they will fly off to Europe. I’d hoped to take my daughter to lunch but she’ll be working. I will visit my Mother to see how she’s doing. That’s always a tough for me because she barely recognizes me but even so she still has a wry sense of humor hidden in the clutter that is her mind. And she likes to sing:Huts it raw sittin on the rittle raw……… I might remind her of some favorites like “You are my sunshine.”

It should be sunny and warm and I’m going clad in shorts. I’ll stop off at the Sectetary of State’s office while I’m down there. Hope they’ll take me seriously even if I’m not wearing a suit.

Master of the Senate

One thing I like about air travel is that it gives me a good excuse to read. Today, on the way home from DC, I got three more chapters of Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate read. I’ve only got through 130 pages but already i can see why it got the Pulitizer just like the first book in Caro’s series.

I’d highly recommend the very short introduction to anyone who doesn’t know what Jim Crow America was all about. The first three chapters are a wonderful history of the United State’s Senate. Its far better than anything I’ve ever read about the Congress to explain how it works in theory and in practice. I may not get a good chance to continue reading it again until I jet off to our family’s California reunion a month from now.

Hard to believe that such a crude man as Lyndon Johnson would be the person who through force of will and ambition would be the principal architect in helping the nation finally live up to its original ideals.