Minnesotans have learned about the mudfest, about both men's tendency to disavow outlandish or offensive statements, about the lackluster pre-primary fundraising. That final item--in a district once thought to be a battleground for control of the United State House, but now a circus sideshow--is underscored by the fundraising by a sacrifical lamb in Minnesota's Fifth, among the safest Democratic seats in the nation.
Politics in Minnesota reports in Campaign roundup: Bachmann leads July fundraising among MN congressional candidates:
Fifth Congressional District
Chris Fields (GOP): Raised $31,126 with $51,609 cash on hand.
First Congressional District
Allen Quist (GOP): Raised $18,800 – including $10,000 he loaned to the campaign – spent $66,135 and closed the reporting period with $117,878 in the bank.
Mike Parry (GOP): Raised $8,890, spent $11,701 and has $27,797 on hand.
Fields received an enormous amount of earned media this week in the apparent belief that bad press is better than none at all.
The follies in the Fifth began when City Pages' Andy Mannix picked up on accusation in a campaign piece in Chris Fields calls Keith Ellison a reverse racist. This was quite a switcheroo from an earlier City Pages interview in which Chris Fields says Keith Ellison isn't doing enough for black people. Fields pivoted yet again when Chris Fields insisted: I didn't call Keith Ellison a reverse racist in "reverse racism" ad.
Such doofoid nimbleness earned Fields a place in Wonkette with Keith Ellison Opponent Explains Elusive Nature Of ‘Facts’ And Quotes To Lucky Reporter.
Except for Fields' ability to raise twice as much money as Parry and Quist combined (and in a swing district Republicans have insisted belongs to them ever since Walz beat Gutknecht six years ago), Bluestem sees a rhetorical kindred nature between the three Republicans.
Recent headlines in Southern Minnesota newspapers suggest the two rivals sleep with copies of Fields' playbook under their pillows. The Mankato Free Press reported that Parry shrugs off his controversial tweets while the Bachmann fundraiser for Quist not as lucrative as first reported and Previous Quist quotes resurface.
Elsewhere in Politics in Minnesota, Briana Bierschbach does some digging into the effects of this sort of news on the primary race in an article that suggests the money chase may have a greater impact on the August 14 primary than the mudslinging and muckraking into who said what when and how or why. In The storm before the quiet: Parry, Quist trade increasingly bitter blows, Bierschbach reports:
Republican 1st Congressional District candidates Mike Parry and Allen Quist may have spent the last few weeks trading barbs in press releases and news accounts, but many of those who actually live in the state’s southernmost district haven’t seemed to notice. . . .
. . .local GOP officials agree that the mudslinging between the two candidates has barely pierced the consciousness of the sprawling district, which stretches from the state’s South Dakota border all the way to the edge of Wisconsin. In fact, they say the campaigns have been surprisingly low-key since April, when Parry and Quist deadlocked in a historic, 23-ballot endorsing convention. . . .
Bruce Kaskubar, head of the Olmsted County Republicans, says the same is true in his area. “There’s just not as much activity as I thought,” he said. “I think it’s been tough for these two guys to get their name out there. The district is large, and I think there are a lot of people who don’t even know there is a primary for the congressional candidate yet.”
Turnout in the district this year is expected to be lower than even a typical primary election. Some projections have turnout at 15 percent or lower . .
For the paywalled article, Bierschbach talked to both campaigns about their strategies for voter contact and GOTV, as well as Southern Minnesota Republicans. She notes the spending reported in the Quist pre-primary report for cable, radio and newspaper ads, as well as the town halls he's held across the district. The check to Borgendale Strategy Data, LLC? One of several databases being used to create a voter file of those likely to vote in the primary. Parry is conducting standard campaigning--ads, direct mail, voter ID. The Waseca Republican simply has less money than Quist.
The Republicans Bierschbach interviewed note that Quist has "a better ground game," dedicated volunteers and better name recognition than Parry. Campaign consultant Ben Golnik and Parry himself talked to the reporter about Quist's negatives; Quist talked about how Parry's name doesn't come at his many town halls.
Earlier this summer, Parry drove his campaign vehicle up to the state capitol in order to gain a bit of earned media at the expense of Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. Now, he's decided to get that attention out of the hide of public employees waiting for legislative approval of a new contract that's been negotiated with the State of Minnesota.
Tom Hauser reports in New State Employee Labor Contracts Face Possible Rejection:
Labor unions representing about 31,000 state employees voted to approve new contracts this week. They've been working under the terms of their old contract since July 2011.
The contracts approved this week include 2 percent pay raises for most workers, although some will be in line for an additional 2.7 percent to 3.5 percent through "step" increases based on experience. There are modest increases in co-pays for health care office visits, but the contracts continue to cover 100 percent of health insurance premiums for employees and 85 percent for dependents. This is where the contracts are likely to face opposition from Republicans.
Next week the Subcommittee on Employee Relations will meet to consider the contracts. The chair of the GOP-controlled committee, Sen. Mike Parry, says the committee is likely to reject them. "The contracts were put together behind closed doors," Parry says. "The citizens of the state had no involvement whatsoever." Parry says having employees pay so little toward their health insurance is "out of step" with what's happening in the private sector where employees are taking on a bigger burden of health insurance costs. Those costs are expected to increase 9 percent for state employees this year. . . .
In short, Parry asking public employees to work under the old contract, thereby underwriting the earned media he receives from this grandstanding. His congressional campaign hasn't been able to raise enough money to advertise on television, so getting his mug on the small screen will come out of public employees' hides.
Apparently, that's more acceptable to Parry than Allen Quist's loans of his own money to buy time on cable. Self-funding, on Planet Parry, is the horrible.
Ironically, Parry's radio ads--there's a youtube here--include a little jingle about "Prosperity for America." Bluestem suspects it's a slight bit off and should be "Prosperity for Parry." Certainly he's never been shy about collecting those per diem, his salary during the shutdown, or asking for increases in legislative salary. Prosperity for public employees and workers in any sector? Not so much.
Cartoon: Itchy and Scratchy, aka, Mike Parry and Allen Quist.