Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

What the State Statute requires of petition signers

I can find no requirement in state statute for signers to write the year of their birth on a candidate filing petitions:

204B.07 Nominating petitions.

   Subd. 4.    Oath and address of signer.  Following the information required by subdivisions 1 and 2 and before the space for signing, each separate page that is part of the petition shall include an oath in the following form:  

    “I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I know the contents and purpose of this petition, that I do not intend to vote at the primary election for the office for which this nominating petition is made, and that I signed this petition of my own free will.” 

    Notarization or certification of the signatures on a nominating petition is not required.  Immediately after the signature, the signer shall write on the petition the signer’s residence address including street and number, if any, and mailing address if different from residence address. 

Furthermore, when my petitions were given a quick perusal after I handed them over I was shown a list of things the Secretary of State demanded be on the petitions. I was not given this list a few weeks earlier when I was given the petition form by the office staff. In fact, when I was first given the petition form I was specificly warned to read the law before making up my petitions and not rely on the sample petition I was given. Well, the law’s language is clear. There is no mention of collecting a signer’s year of birth. If I have heat stroke this weekend I will blame the Secretary of State who seems to believe that it is her job to police the polls and candidates as though she were Dick Cheney. I’ll  bet she’d like a national identity card. Maybe she issued a signing statement when the petition law was passed saying what the law meant.

dung upon my face

I headed to St. Paul with 140 extra names to give me a safe cushion. Just before I slipped onto the highway I was stopped behind a car with two bumperstickers. The first quoted the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi 2:3 – “Behold I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your face.” The second said: “Atheists make lousy suicide bombers.” I laughed but that was before the dung.

At the Secretary of State’s office the same young fellow who gave the forms took a look through the filled out forms I handed him and warned me that the people who had just put two digits like, 59, in the column for their year of birth might not be counted. That’s because it wasn’t possible to tell whether they meant that they were 59 years old or born in 1959. I protested that either way they were obviously over the age of 18. I was told that if I turned them in today I couldn’t just come in a day or two later with the rest of the names I needed if it turned out I was a few short. I’d have to start all over with only a day or two left before the deadline. It was turn them in now and take a chance that they would all be disqualified or come in after the weekend with enough signataures to make the whole petition count. I spent a few minutes and counted roughly 90 such two-digit signatures in the year of birth column.

I made a point of telling the people who signed my petition that they had to be eighteen so it was frustrating to face the prospect of returning home and adding more names but I had no choice. I knew that there were about twenty names that wouldn’t count. That left my cushion at only about thirty signatures.

I called Claudia and told her I wouldn’t be able to join her in Grand Rapids on Monday because I’d be driving back to the Secretary of State’s office. Now I need to gather another hundred signatures to give myself a bigger margin. Its going to be baking hot tommorw. Dung upon my face indeed.

While Claudia and I watched the PBS Friday news shows we searched phone books for the phone numbers of the two digit people on my list. I’ll try to call them and get their year of birth to add to the petition. I found phone numbers for about 60 of the 90 two digit signers.

I have to remember to channel my irritation into working my tush off.



1140 signatures

Just popped back home to change into shorts. I’ve collected about 1,140 signatures which should be more than enough to make up for the ones that will be disqualified.

There was a phone message waiting for me. One of my readers wanted to sign the petition but he lived twenty miles north and I’ve got to hurry south so I assured him I had things covered.

Also talked with some videographers. I’m planning my new videos. Just have to raise a little money to start working on them. Its a sunny day and that’s a good omen.

Environ Mental

Another milestone – sort of. I found my first email in the box for online contributions. Sorry to say the subject line said “website correction” and not “you got money!” A reader, Marsha, who described herself as an editor in her “secret life” pointed out that I had mispelled, environmental, in the categories list to the right “enviornmental.”

I wrote back that in my “real life” I’ve been the pronouncer at our regional spelling bee for the past decade. I added that it was a good thing I only pronounced the words.

I live and die by my spellchecker. Since I haven’t got one in this blog readers will see my editing weaknesses here at their most glaring.

1040 Signatures

Its a red letter day. After enduring parking lot heat on a 86 degree day I’ve got 1065 signatures. Subtract at least 25 that I have doubts about and I still have 1040. I’ll add another 60 to this tomorrow morning to give me a cushion of 100 signatures. I think I turned in 1,097 in 1992. That was a really heroic one man effort. I did it in four and a half days. Its taken me eight days to match that this time. Gee, I had stamina to spare back then.

Its been delicious day in many ways. I came home to discover two signatures on a petition stuck in the door that had been printed off from my website. That’s just like the two folks yesterday who read about me being at Sidewalk days on the blog and who then came down to sign the petition. It shows me the Internet could have a power to connect me to voters which was imposible for me in 1992. Maybe I can raise money through the internet without bankrupting myself on bulk mailings.

I discovered my five “Lincoln in thought” t-shirts at home too. Now I won’t have to wash my single one every night. Abe Lincoln is a wonderful symbol. His picture puts people in a positive frame of mind even when they see me approaching them with clipboards. I’d estimate that half or better of the people I ask signed my petition. Many who weren’t eligible felt badly about it. Many cheered me on because I was going to be an independent. Of the 2,000 I talked to only a dozen or less said they were fans of Jim Oberstar. Fewer said they were Grams fans. Everyone seemed to like my talk about finding common ground. Hundreds knew who I was before I even introduced myself including the fellow at the Post Office when I went to pick up my t-shirt package even though I was wearing sun glasses. He didn’t even demand identification.

This is very cool.

Tonight I’ll fill out the State campaign forms and over the weekend I’ll finish up the federal forms as well. I may even have time to stop in and see my Mother tomorrow.

100 signatures to go

Its going to be hot today but I’ll still put on jeans to campaign. Somehow I can’t picture a potential congressman in shorts and I don’t think potential consituents can either.

I’ll head out in half an hour. I’m waiting to see my guests off for their short tour of Gooseberry Falls. James tells me his Massachusettes Mother read the book “Seventeenth Summer” fifty times as a girl. I’ve never heard of the book but it was a romance  that was set in Duluth. I hope his reports on his visit hear fulfill his Mother expectations.

I’m heading out to Sidewalk Days again. The shadows of our downtown will protect me till the sun crests them around noon. I expect a call from my brother then when he’s twenty minutes away from Duluth on his return. I’ll take a break and meet them at home and fix some sandwiches. This last minuted hubbub will cost me a few signatures but I head out again after lunch and gather some more. I’ll do it again tomorrow morning if necessary before taking them to St. Paul. I should be an official candidate by the weekend.


Tremble Mr. Oberstar Tremble Mr. Grams

A good day. Not just the sunny temperate weather but the campaign too. I got my fourth contribution which puts me over $150.00. I just need $200 more to pay for the bookmarks. I also was down at Sidewalk days for the morning collecting signatures. I got about 90 of them before heading home to meet my brother and neice when they arrive from the Twin Cities.

They’ll be half an hour late but we’ll rustle up some grub and eat before I send them off to swim at Park Point. I’ve got the beach blankets ready for them.

I’ll still have another three hours to gather signatures which should I match the mornings results will put me withing about 50 of reaching the 1,000 I need. Add in tomorrow’s signatures and I’ll just have to drive to St. Paul to file.

And getting signatures was so much fun. Two of my blog readers looked me up to sign my petitions about an hour apart. They saw I was going to be at the Sidewalk Day’s sale and sure enough they hurried over to sign my petition. Suddenly the souless statistics which show I’ve got about 500 readers a day have two new faces. That’s so cool.

Tremble Mr. Oberstar. Tremble Mr. Grams

I also got an email from the shop owner in Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield about the “Lincoln in thought” shirts. I called her back and we’re going to try to make an arrangement for anyone else who takes a fancy to them to order them through my campaign website. Some of the proceeds go to help out the Springfield’s historic downtown area. I think it would be wonderful if they took off like pet rocks and everybody sported honest Abe. Maybe we could send America on a quest back to one of our greatest champions of unity with malice toward none.

I can’t wait till I get my five new ones. I’m getting tired washing my one Lincoln shirt every night.

Dot Com

Its time I wrap more people into my campaign because while I can juggle three tennis balls, and even four for a short time, I start dropping things beyond that number.

One of my allies pointed out in consternation that my first fundraising letter sent to a paltry 112 people had on the letterhead. Oops! Its supposed to be dot org. Of course I’ve got the right ending on my 40,000 bookmarks which also went out with the letter but I’ve got too much going on to be trusted to do everything.

Chris, my campaign manager, pointed out that I can purchase the dot com site which I will be doing momentarily and perhaps some others so that people, like me, who inadvertantly forget the web address are still pointed in the right direction. So, I’m off to do that and gather more sigatures. I just found another 10 I hadn’t counted before. Hooray!

Company’s coming so times a wasting.

1000 Hits

The Welty campaign by the numbers:

As of this morning, not quite half way through July, the welty4congress home page has had exactly 1000 hits.

I’ve been thwarted so far in having a major publication list my website so that I get a big cross 8th District viewership but since I’m still tinkering with it that’s probably just as well. September and October will be a more critical time period.

I’ve passed out about 2,000 bookmarks. I printed 40,000 bookmarks so at this rate that’s about 20 weeks worth of flyers. Of course, after this week I’ll pass them out faster because I won’t have to stop for petition signings. Furthermore, now that Chris has gotten me a schedule of area events, I’ll be finding thicker crowds to mingle in.

There are about 600,000 residents in the 8th District. About 250,000 of them will vote. By this fall I’ll need a way to reach the folks beyond the reach of my handshake.

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: 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.



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?