At the post office in Maynard, Minnesota, on Monday, one of the other box holders sighed after pulling a junk post card asking him to call Senator Lyle Koenen.
"Why can't they give us a break from campaigns?" he said.
Legally, the mailers that the Minnesota Action Network is sending out aren't campaign hit pieces. They're "issue" piece, requesting voters to contact the target and make an ask. But the man at the post office was on to the game, the slow and steady drip, drip, drip until the organization's PAC would kick in and send him mail, and ask him to vote for someone other than Koenen.
We'd seen the drift of post cards from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative PAC (a more important player in our recent state house race) and the Minnesota Action Network IE PAC as the election approached, and their counterparts from DFL allies.
The Minnesota Action Network mail to Senate District 57
The latest mail piece hits on Minnesota's "last in, first out" policy for teacher layoffs and teacher tenure itself; Minnesota Action Network has been running television ads about the issue. Governor Dayton and Minnesota Action Network's Norm Coleman have tussled about the issue.
The Pioneer Press's David Montgomery reported that Dayton attacks Coleman over teacher tenure ad , and the paper published a column by Coleman, Gov. Dayton says challenge to 'LIFO' is 'usual garbage.' He's wrong, on Wednesday evening.
Bluestem had predicted that mail would arrive for voters in Greg Clausen's district in Apple Valley and Rosemount.Not only was Clausen--like Koenen--named but not fined in the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board's findings about the DFL Senate Caucus--but Clausen won in 2012 in the swing district.
While President Obama, Amy Klobuchar and Clausen won in the A side of the district, voters also selected John Kline and Tara Mack in 2012. In 2014, United States Senator Al Franken, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and Attorney General Lori Swanson won the A side of the state senate district, but Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson, Kline, Mack and GOP Secretary of State candidate Dan Severson triumpled.
In the B side of the district in 2012, Mitt Romney won, along with Congressman Kline and state representative Anna Wills, but picked Klobuchar and Clausen. In 2014, Republican United States Senate candidate Mike McFadden won more votes than Al Franken, while Kline, Wills, Johnson and Severson won their races in the district, while voters picked two DFLers, Swanson and Otto.
Clausen won both sides of the district--an open seat in 2012--against Pat Hall, brother of SD 56 State Senator Dan Hall (R-Burnville).
Who were Minnesota Action Network's venders for postcards in 2014?
One last thing: who is making money off these postcards?
If the Minnesota Action Network is sticking with the vendor that its electoral wing (the IE PAC) used in 16 of the 2014 races in which it sent maii (see pdf of pre-general election report here), that would be well-known public affairs op shop Weber Johnson. Smart Media of Alexandria, VA, was used for one mailing while the Voyageur Company LLC of St. Paul was used for six campaigns.
Scan: the Minnesota Action Network mail piece that voters received in Senator District 57.
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