Friday, February 09, 2007

A New Day in MN First District

State Senator Dick Day has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for Minnesota’s First District.

MPR lists key votes from last session and provides a brief bio as :
“Day, a retired IBM employee, was first elected to the Senate in 1990. He resigned as Senate Minority Leader at the conclusion of the 2004 session, but was convinced by the GOP caucus to return to the post. Day, born in 1937, grew up in Rochester, the son of farmer-parents. He served on the Owatonna City Council and the Steele County Board. He is married to Janet and has four children. He is Catholic.”

The AP reports that “Day said his campaign would be focused on health care, jobs, immigration and education.”
Since the escalation of the military mission in Iraq is not mentioned as a key issue, the assumption is that Day feels confident that Bush will resolve that conflict before the 2008 elections. Also, he does not mention the overall War on Terror, nuclear proliferation, Social Security funding crisis … these are issues that a US Congressman has to deal with that a State Senator does not. But since he does list immigration as an issue, is he a Bush Guest Worker backer or a Tom Tancredo Send’em Back backer?

Issues aside, the First District will see a new day in campaigning. The Star-Tribune reports that Day has stated “Unseating an incumbent could take more than $1.5 million, and beginning an aggressive campaign after a spring 2008 endorsing convention would be impractical.”

At $1.5 million, this will not be the citizens of the First District sending in their $50 donations … this will be corporations and wealthy individuals using issue advocacy groups to provide “communications experts”, TV/radio ads, mass mailings, and robo-calls. The message will be shaped to what they want the voters to think by manipulating the issues.

This is a sad day.

When Tim Penny ran against an incumbent Congressman, he won by knocking on doors and meeting voters and discussing the issues. Today, the money race can determine the election.

The First District was a Republican fundraising money channeling machine. In 2004, Gutknecht raised monies and then distributed them to 24 Republican candidates for Congress in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 plus $66,922 to the Republican National Committee Congressional Campaign. In total, Gutknecht spent $666,410 including those distributions. Detail here.

In 2006, Gutknecht spent $1,723,707 of which $96,277 was sent to the RNC but no monies were re-directed to other campaigns.

The voters lose in this money campaign.

But Tim Walz is the victor in this. Now that he knows that Day will attempt to buy the election, he can focus on what will get him re-elected – serving the citizens of the First District. Knowing that this may be his only term, he is free to vote his conscience.

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