Category Archives: MN Senate 2010

This non plusses me too

In addition to Sunday liquor sales for Minnesota Senator Reinert will also introduce legislation to take the Aquarium monkey off the Duluth City Council’s back and put it on UMD’s back.

The Aquarium has soldiered along in part by competing against Duluth restaurants which host parties and receptions. It hasn’t exactly lived up to the initial hype as the world’s preeminent museum dedicated to telling the world about our Great Lakes. I think that getting UMD involved in the Aquarium is a good idea. I’m not sure that hiding the Aquarium’s shaky finances by transferring the responsibility for them to a state entity will improve the Aquarium. Maybe this transfer will help compensate Duluth for the loss of Local Governmental Aid.

I’ll bet that Roger’s former colleagues on the City Council would welcome this transfer if Roger should manage to accomplish it. It would be one less reminder of a City Council gamble that has yet to pay off.

Roger will apparently busy himself with minutia after unexpectedly finding himself in the State Senate’s minority after the DFL’s shellacking.

I’m non plussed

This is Senator Reinert’s second big promotion that I recall since he was elected to the State Senate. Sunday Liquor Sales. According to Roger it would provide Minnesota ten million dollars of revenue each year. The social good will be to free lazy people, including his large population of college age voters, from having to stock up on booze over the weekend.

My wife’s brother-in-law used to work in North Dakota where blue laws let him take the day off from his retail work on Sunday. He wasn’t all that religious but he appreciated the day of rest. I guess the freer access to booze seven days a week will steel back a little retail work from Wisconsin and boost Minnesota liquor sales taxes.

I’m sure that the big issue Roger campaigned about, fixing the six million state budget deficit, is still on his agenda. At ten million a crack Roger will have to come up with 600 similar solutions to solve Minnesota’s insolvency.

Swan Song 2

I must have needed a day to recover from the primary. I spent it outside in high humidity for ten hours cleaning out my garage. I started the work a couple weeks ago but had a lot left to do. Now I can park our Traverse in both sides without losing either its antenna or side view mirrors.

The garage has always been my lowest priority. Its last reorganization/fix up probably took place fifteen years ago. Two weeks ago it took two visits to the materials recycling center (the old landfill) to empty its contents. Now I have one more visit to make to get rid of my old lawnsigns.

When my daughter kindly told me that I didn’t do so badly I gave her the sober truth that I’d been creamed. I told her I had to have lost in every precinct and sure enough I did. I just checked this morning. I haven’t lost in every precinct since I lost to Mike Jaros thirty and more years ago.

By the way, I owe Mike a great debt for his enthusiastic endorsement. I hope he’s not too stung by my loss because the loss is all mine.

I told the cameraman who stopped by Tuesday night for a perfunctory interview with the loser that this was my political swan song. Actually I think I told a reporter much the same thing after I lost my last race too. I’ll be content to be a local eccentric from now on.

Much of the drive for this blog has been the Red Plan and/or possible campaigns for public office. For my eight loyal readers there will probably be a significant drought in content in the coming weeks/months not unlike the respite following the dismissal of the taxpayer’s lawsuit last November.

I’ve got some other work to attend to, particularly a book to finish editing before Christmas. I’ve given myself until December. Now that my garage is clean there will be no stopping me.

Facebook Rules!

I’ve exhibited all the classic symptoms of a candidate in fantasy land so its appropriate that I Google some recipes for crow.

The race is settled and Roger prevailed with a better than 3 to 1 win. I’ve given a sort of gracious concession speech to a cameraman who dropped by for feedback.

Good luck Senator Reinert.

One hour five minutes and counting

I just got quite a surprise. A college friend called a moment ago. Evidently he’s lived in town for the last seventeen years and never looked me up. He went to vote today and saw to his surprise my name on the ballot. He called to tell me he’d voted for me and we agreed to get together to swap life stories soon.

He thought I would do well based on my name ID and I commented I might suffer because of my eccentric reputation. He’s in theater so that didn’t seem to phase him.

I like campaigns. This one might prove more difficult for me because it appears to be drawing far more people than anticipated. I had counted on a fairly limited number of voters heavily larded with anti red Plan folks.

We ate left overs in the basement while the Tan Man watched Shreck 1 for the first time. After it was over we skeedadled out to the car to drive over and get DQ blizzards for everyone. A trio of folks stood in the rain on the corner of 21st and Superior St. holding Roger Reinert signs. I hate doing that and I don’t know why it should help anyone get votes but eager volunteers do it. Poor kids were starting to look like drowned rats.

My Grandson ordered a banana cream pie blizzard and I asked that some M&M’s be mixed in. He didn’t finish it because the ice cream gives him brain freezes.

In fifty five minutes the primary will be over and possibly my political career. If so, it was great that it was a short two month long hike instead of a six month long slog. It was my fourteenth campaign and thus I’m no longer stuck at unlucky 13. I’ll be happy to demonstrate than any old number can be just as unlucky. of course, if 14 turns out to bring me good luck I may have it tattooed on my chest.


Before donating my 57th pint of blood I was asked for a short interview at KBJR/KDLH. I tossed off about five quick sound bites mostly having to do with my faithlessness to the GOP. I explained that I’d felt estranged from the party for twenty years like an abused wife. That seemed to make sense to my interviewer.

I’ve got another interview possibility at 10AM if I win. Otherwise I’m just another has been pol once again.

The young woman who received me at Memorial Blood Bank was a former Morgan Park student of mine. She wished me good luck. I’ll be taking my ease for the rest of the day under nurse’s orders. We blood donors aren’t supposed to lift any heavy objects for the rest of the day. I hope that doesn’t include a pen to fill out my ballot. That’s a little job that I still have to complete.

Facebook daughter

Even though I may be a Facebook luddite and have poked fun at Roger’s facebook activities I do have one friend in Facebook. My daughter informs me that she sent out a message to her 250 face book friends to vote today. She did not encourage them to vote for me (good for her). She simply wanted them to vote.

“This grand experiment”

Every sensational headline about the Red Plan is like free advertising for my Senate Campaign.

Today’s unexpected story about the proposed hiring of former Duluth police chief Gary Waller is a special bonus because today a few thousand voters will read it before going to the polls to vote for their new state senator. As I am associated with Red Plan critics this is likely to help me more than Roger a Red Plan friendly pol.

Jana Hollilngsworth, the Trib’s education reporter, did Gary Glass no favors by quoting him at the conclusion of her story on the potential hiring. Gary, who favors the hire, was being obviously sarcastic about “the grand experiment” as he has fought the Red Plan from the outset. Readers who are often too literal may not appreciate Gary’s irony.

Caveat on my prediction

The previous posts represents my head. As I weigh all the data it seems as though I should win pretty handily. That, however, is not what my heart feels. My heart tells me that I’m damaged goods (having lost so many times before) that my Don Quixote reputation will overwhelm voters when they cast ballots, that the gubernatorial race will pull lots of true blue DFLers to the polls who will turn their back on a recent convert. My head doesn’t quite accept this but my head has been wrong before and knows it.

My delayed Friday prediction

This last week was the last opportunity for either 7th District candidate to 1. change voter’s minds. 2. charge them up to vote.
I’ve done a few things. I don’t know if Roger has.

I’ve put ads in all the local tabloids. I did not put them in the Duluth News Tribune or the Budgeteer. Two items showed up in the Trib which were even better. My letter to the editor showed up. I used it to twit the Trib for its endorsement of Roger. Better and unanticipated was another letter to the editor from Mike Jaros endorsing me. One letter showed up endorsing Roger. More will show up, I’m sure before Tuesday. [I was wrong. No more endorsements] Will they make a difference? I doubt it. The Jaros letter was gold. Mine may have been silver. Roger’s was bronze.

Roger has placed ads in the same publications I have. They are both smaller and generic messages – fighting for Duluth. Mine attack Roger. Roger has the Hobson’s choice of ignoring them and lending them credence or refuting them and lending them attention. He has chosen the former course.

Roger has money to spend. If the last report is correct he should be sitting on about $15,000 to my $2,000. He may not be tapping into it to preserve it for what he figures will be a bruising general election? Its unlikely that a Republican will seriously challenge Roger so that is a silly gamble. It could also be that Roger does not want so spend money because raising it is proving so much harder this year. The Governor has redacted most of the state tax check off money and donors are no longer being reimbursed for donations up to $50 as in years past.

One omission by his campaign strikes me as a sign of something else. Both of us were asked by the Hillsider Newspaper why we should be elected. Roger did not answer the question. Its absence was very noticible. It was a freebie and would have cost him nothing. Not replying suggests to me that he felt the ten minutes it would have taken him to write it was a waste of time. Why might it have been a waste? Because it was too late to persuade folks he was the man for the job? Maybe. If it was simply forgetfulness that is a very bad sign of disorganization.

For my part I’ve not done much either. Had my Father in law’s visit not coincided with this last week I would have worked much harder and spent more money. As that would have made me a poor host I limited myself to writing a few blog posts. I’ve got 70 lawnsigns left and given a day I could have put them up by myself. As I’ve said before it won’t be lawnsigns that win the election. Besides, Roger doesn’t seem to have any more signs up than me.

I’ve written this on Friday night. I won’t post it until late Monday [early Tuesday now] because this will serve as my prediction. I do not wish it to motivate Roger to do more work. At present he has put no television advertising on air. [He has put at least one ad on since I wrote this] Neither have I although two weeks ago that was my plan. My time and resources are limited. Roger’s are not. I suspect Roger is paralyzed.

As of this evening I believe I will win the primary. I don’t really expect a lot of Republicans to come out to vote for me. Oh, a few old friends will, but I’ve not attempted to organize anything although all my ads remind voters that they can cross parties to vote in Minnesota primaries. That’s because I wan’t everyone to vote in the DFL primary for me.

I hope enough folks who are mad about the Red Plan will come out to vote that they will outnumber traditional Democrats who want to support the official Democrat. Even if such Democrats out numbered Democrats angry about the Red Plan I also have Mike Jaros’ endorsement. Mike’s lone endorsement outranks the 65 out of 75 people who supported Roger at the endorsing convention.

Roger may have paid for some polling that gives him some insight into what will happen. If he’s way ahead of me in the polls that won’t guarantee that his supporters will be more likely to come out to vote my possibly smaller numbers. Happy people won’t be voting and this primary is taking place at the zenith of public unhappiness on a whole raft of issues above and beyond the Red Plan. This will benefit outsiders not insiders.

I won’t be broken hearted if I lose. I never thought I’d run for political office again. Its true that I didn’t throw away my old lawnsigns but I never throw anything away. In some ways I’ll be relieved if I lose. The reason? I have such high expectations of what I want to accomplish in the legislature that I’m not looking forward to putting myself under my so much pressure.

Bottom line prediction. I think I’ll win.

Note: brackets [] denote additions written since Friday


I’ve campaigned little for the past week. In some ways its my instinct to play a good host for my father in law. In some ways its cussedness. Although I hadn’t ever expected to run for public office again, let alone the state senate, its true that being a senator has been an ambition for most of my adult life. So, I should have campaigned harder going down the stretch…..Right?

That’s where my cussedness rears up its cussed head, if my last three years of fighting for a vote on the Red Plan (actually almost four) then I’ll be switched if I’ll campaign mindlessly. If the voters don’t have a pretty good idea who I am by now they shouldn’t be voting for me.

So, today Claudia her Father and I drove to Ashland Wisconsin. It wasn’t planned. We first drove to Pattison State Park to see the falls. They were breathtaking as always. Heading off to Ashland was just a spontaneous decision we made as we climbed back in the car. We traveled across Northern Wisconsin and had a terrific lunch at an old favorite restaurant of ours, the Blue Water Grille. It was an excellent decision. Continue reading

Finally some advertising

I almost missed Rep. Reinert’s name in the Trib this morning. Upon rereading the paper I saw the small story about a rally for the endorsed DFL gubenatorial candidate Margaret Anderson-Kelliher to be held at Duluth’s Labor Temple today. Roger’s was just one of a dozen names listed as people expected to attend. If he advertised in the Trib I didn’t see it.

If the polls are right and Mark Dayton’s name recognition holds its unlikely that she will survive the primary. Whoever wins the gubernatorial primary there’s a good chance I’ll be invited to the next DFL rally should I win my senate primary.

I missed the TV ad that Roger has just started running when I turned in early last night before WDIO’s Ten O’clock news was over. Claudia said it confused her with lots of distracting images of various things showing up behind Roger as he spoke. I presume they were images of things he wanted the state spend money on. Good luck with that with a $6 billion deficit to fix.

“Reinert Checks in”

This is a yawn inspired title the Budgeteer headed the letter Roger sent in to them and which they published today. Its a modest little letter about Roger’s hopes. Roger also has a very small ad in the publication. Very small. Perhaps the Budgeteer has also noticed the lack of energy coming from the Reinert campaign.

I tried to find the letter on the Budgeteer’s webpage to link to it but, rather like Roger’s campaign, I could not locate it.

Call me……

Despite only having written a single post I’ve had a good number of visitors today. I don’t know how many I’ll post between now and the primary’s conclusion. Probably a few but only a few. I’m still playing the good host to my Father-in-law.

I decided yesterday afternoon to skip the Spirit Mountain Day’s parade. Had I not had company I would have printed up flyers and passed them out along the parade route. Instead Thursday was blueberry day. Saturday I will see the dinosaurs at the DECC with my family. I love dinosaurs. I hope my Grandson, the Tan Man, is not frightened. He’s lately started scaring himself about monsters. That’s a good description of a dinosaur.

At 4pm tomorrow I’ll go on Neil Atkins’ KDAL radio show to shoot the breeze for an hour or so. Call if you’d like. Sorry, but I don’t know the number off hand.

My prediction

I’ve just written my prediction for the outcome of next Tuesday’s primary in a post that I will not upload until early Tuesday morning. I do not wish to risk giving the other side any clue as to what to expect until then.

No Complaints

Today’s belated story in the Trib about the candidates in the 7th Senate District DFL primary race is fair and balanced. My supporters will wince to read me described as a “perrenial candidate” yet again but its the truth. Its the price I have to pay for trying to be a Republican in a Democratic Area at a time when the Republican Party has kept shedding its skin to purify itself.

And I can’t recall when the Trib took this portrait of me but, by golly, its one of the best they’ve taken of me in my perennial races. Since its me and since its already been in the paper I’ll take the chance that they will overlook whatever copyright powers they excercise over it and post it here.

Mutual Admiration Society

If I haven’t mentioned the movie that charmed me when I was a kid called Best of enemies (I think) with David Niven playing a British officer on the North African Front in WWII I should use it as a reference here. In the movie Niven’s Brits take turn capturing and being captured by an agreeable Italian Army as the war waxes and wanes.

Since I ran against Mike Jaros for the first time 36 years ago we’ve had the same sort of bemused and cordial rivalry. When at the beginning of the 2000’s his district was reapportioned to within twenty feet of my house I teased him that if it had just gone a little further I’d have run against him again.

At the beginning of the Red Plan fight as he took the lead to change the law to give us a right to vote I told him I’d never run against him again.

When I was looking over the Hillsider yesterday morning at Perkins I reviewed my hastily written reply to the paper explaining why I should be elected. I burst out laughing at the last line I’d forgotten I’d written at its conclusion, “God Bless Mike Jaros.” That was a rather effusive thing to have written.

So today Mike upped the ante on his old adversary by sending in yet one more letter to the editor to the Trib endorsing me over Roger Reinert. If I win the election Mike will deserve somewhere between 40% and 80% of the credit for my victory.

Blackbirds and Blueberries

I’m still playing the host to my father-in-law and thus loathe to campaign even though the primary is just six days away. I had thought about putting up more lawnsigns but we spent the morning picking an incredible bounty of blueberries in Carlton County at Blackbirds and Blueberries. The Tan Man ran between family members mostly sampling the bounty for the two hours we picked. We had 22 lbs of them when we’d finished.

I made the mistake of following the recommendation of the farm’s co-owner that small berries made great pies because they were so plentiful. I picked a gallon bucket of small ones which had to be gone through with a fine tooth comb afterward to pull off stems and debris. I spent three hours hunched over the sink cleaning the berries and loading them into the freezer. My dinky berries were three times as numerous as the big ones. Next year I’ll pick big.

More on the Forum

Here’s the brief film clip on the Forum from KBJR. You can see that after getting felled by the Chamber’s CEO I managed to pick myself up to offer a soundbite.

I wonder what Laura Langemo made of my being tackled. Did that mesh with the civility code that so many Duluthians hyperventilate over?

So what was I doing up so early?

Regular readers will know that I frequently comment on not being able to sleep or waking up too early. I know that whining is not a very pleasant thing to do but many of my days are shaped by getting up early and attending to the necessities of a campaign or a fight with City Hall.

This morning was no exception. I walked down the the Lakewalk and headed over to Perkins. I pulled out a complimentary Hillsider and Senior Voice to peruse them as I drained a pot of coffee. I was struck that Roger had only placed a small ad in each and hadn’t bothered answering the short questionnaire that had been requested by the Hillsider.

This struck me as either a gross oversight, evidence of over confidence, or most improbably the Reinert campaign curling up in the fetal position in the face of the Welty campaign’s vicious onslaught. The hyperbole is meant to be humorous.

Roger acquits himself well in the Chamber forum. He knows a thing or two. If I should win the primary I plan on calling him up to ask him to meet with me and give me some pointers on working with the legislature. I’m developing some ideas on how to get the state to pay for part of the Red Plan. That will be a tall order and I can used all the help I can get to accomplish it.