If Bluestem reads recent issues of the New Ulm Journal correctly, staff writer Josh Moniz wasn't been invited to cover the latest GOP fundraiser since his Youtube of Mike Parry's speech calling Mark Dayton a scary pill popper at party event blew up Parry's congressional bid.
But Moniz is still able to let Senjem speak for himself and his caucus in Senjem stumps for Dahms, Torkelson. Where do we begin? The low-hanging fruit of course:
Minnesota Senate Majority Leader David Senjem (R-Rochester) was the guest speaker Thursday for a private fundraiser in New Ulm for the campaigns of Rep. Paul Torkelson (R-Hanska) and Sen. Gary Dahms (R-Redwood Falls), who organized the event.
Senjem, who spoke to The Journal before the event, praised Dahms and Torkelson as hardworking lawmakers who did a significant amount of good work the last two years. He said that he felt it was appropriate to attribute any state revenue surplus in 2013 to work completed by the Republican majority.
"We need these kind of people in the state Legislature," said Senjem, "They've been rock solid in the [Minnesota House of Representatives] and the Senate."
About that surplus? MPR's Catherine Richert reports in PoliGraph: GOP flier's claims leave out context notes:
In February of 2012, the state announced that it had an additional $323 million on hand.
Tally that up, and it's roughly $1.3 billion.
But here's the rub: the money was already spoken for. According to state law, the money must be used to restore the state's cash-flow account, pad its budget reserves and then start paying back money the state borrowed from schools to balance the budget.
In fact, the state is projected to have a $1.1 billion deficit for the coming biennium, according to the budget agency's most recent projection. That forecast doesn't include the $2.4 billion the state still owes schools or inflation.
So not only is the any surplus spoken for now, a $1.1 billion deficit is projected by 2014. Will Senjem and his caucus take credit for that? Earlier this week, Bluestem caught Mike Parry telling whoppers about the "surplus," so Commissioner Schowalter's dour words from February are still fresh:
Schowalter said the new forecast projects a $1.1 billion deficit by fiscal year 2014. That's a little better than the $1.3 billion projected in the last forecast, but he said it still presents big challenges.
"We were able to balance this year's budget, if you'll recall, with sizeable one-time resources from the tobacco bonds, from the school shift. Those aren't there in 2014-15, but the obligations and the continued programming is," said Schowalter. "So as a result, we have a structural balance that we're going to have to resolve."
So sure, carry on about a hypothetical surplus in 2013. The big one's still coming in the second half of the biennum.
Then he said that the GOP Senate Caucus doesn't have a targeted campaign plan yet:
Senjem said it was too early to state which legislative races would be targeted because the Republicans had just wrapped up polling. He declined to provide any details about the polling, but he said he was now very optimistic that the Republicans would retain or even grow their majority in the Senate.
So the payroll to a staffer with a Winona address, rent payments in Alexandria, St. Cloud and Willmar on the Senate Victory Fund, the MNGOP senate caucus campaign committee are simply random? Good one.
And that attack mail in Senate District 24? Also random, apparently.
And then there's this:
He also reflected on the myriad of scandals that had dogged the Republican-controlled Minnesota Legislature the last two years. Senjem took over in the wake of the Amy Koch-Michael Brodkorb scandal. He was recently fined along with other Republicans for using state facilities for campaign work.
Senjem said he was limited in what he could speak about due to the ongoing Brodkorb lawsuit. He said that he primarily learned how easily anybody could be the victim of the lawsuit and how challenging it is to have to prove yourself innocent.
Photo: At least Dave got a few rounds off at a zombie eradication shoot fundraiser for Republicans. And no, that's not an assault rifle; it's a shotgun. Twitter picture by Mike Parry.