Update 12/13: MN conservative tweeps are excited that Marjorie Holsten (Bluestem's #1 choice for the job) is announcing today. Scroll down to watch her video clips, including one as where she appears as the concerned anti-porn prom mom on the Daily Show. [end update]
In MNGOP debt shrinks, but turmoil persists, the ever-excellent Briana Bierschbach at Politics in Minnesota provides a fairly long applicant pool for the next Republican Party of Minnesota state chair.
Current state chair Pat "Shortage" Shortridge had stepped up only to fill the remainder of former failed burrito baron Tony Sutton's term.
Unless pop predictions of the world ending on December 21, Minnesota's pachyderms thus will be picking a new chair in April, 2013. Using Bierschbach's article as a source for names, here's a players' guide to help readers handicap the MNGOP state party chair.
Bluestem's sole criteria for the rankings is how much fun we think each player will be to blog about. It's true: we miss Tony Sutton. In alphabetical order:
Former state representative from Edina, Downey helped kick former Republican representative Ron Erhardt to the curb in a 2008 endorsing convention battle after the latter voted to fund roads by a hike in the gas tax, then emerged as the winner in a three-way race in the general election. Downey ran for state senate in the state's most expensive race, losing to rising DFL star Melisa Franzen. PIM's headline, Downey-Franzen Senate District 49 race: Money pours from the sky in Edina, tells it all.
Downey is the very model of a modern tea party Republican, can raise money and lose elections, and would be a boon to bloggers at MPP and Leftmn, who have exhaustive files about the man. Perhaps he'll do what he wanted to do with government--run it like a business--and simply declare the whole hot mess bankrupt. One of our best legislature-watchers notes that he has no idea how he would really operate, as just a partisan hack like that. Bluestem rating: 3 hat tips.
A member of ALEC's Education Task Force, the Farmington Republican state representative was tech coordinator for Tim Pawlenty's 2002 campaign. Despite the mad tech skillz and votes for a punchlist of the MNGOP agenda, in an inner-party fight Garofalo may suffer from three votes that will be years old in 2013. Britt Robson wrote in 2006:
He cites three votes that, in his view, stirred the ire of what he calls the "flat-earth wing of the party" and led some colleagues to promote Johnson's challenge: his votes on behalf of Northstar commuter rail, Tim Pawlenty's 2005 racino proposal to pull more gambling revenues into state coffers, and a transportation bill that included a 10-cent per gallon gas tax hike. Bluestem rating: 2 hat tips
Long-term Finance Chair and ALEC member, Rupert Murdoch henchman Guidera is also on the conventional wisdom's shortlist for a 2014 bid against Franken. We explored that possibility in Will MNGOP drop all pretense & run News Corp Veep for Government Affairs against Franken?
Negotiating his professional duties as a News Corporation (Fox News etc) Senior Vice President while running a state political party? A content rich environment. Bluestem rating: 4 hat tips
Humorless and self-righteous, Operation Enduring Freedom veteran Pete Hegseth came in third in a three way U.S. Senate endorsement contest with Kurt Bills and Dan Severson, then went on to start the Minnesota PAC, which invested in 12 candidates evenly divided between the Minnesota house and senate. Two won. But Pete Hegseth's Princeton files might make him more attractive to the activist base.
The PAC raised $9719 by the time thepre-election reports were due. Bluestem rating: 2 hat tips
Between her Tea Partying potbellied pig Taylor Swine and her appearance on the Daily Show objecting to Mike Stone's "porn prom" date last spring at Oakdale's Tartan High, what's not for readers to love? Holsten reeks of content. She's also a well-respected Republican activist and attorney who won election as a Hennepin County Soil and Water Board Supervisor in November.
Holsten also has an incredible video presence that we believe is intentionally comic. As the only prospect to get Bluestem's highest ranking, 5 hat tips, Holsten's best videos are shared below. Bluestem rating: 5 hat tips
Holsten's 2010 Emmer endorsement video:
The Daily Show clip on the Porn Prom:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Ham Lake's Jack Rogers is co-coordinator of the North Metro Tea Party Patriots, so Bluestem suspects there's a lot of potential here. A February article in the Boston Globe illustrates thathe's able to keep his eyes on the prize, although perhaps not achieving it:
. . .Jack Rogers, a lay Baptist minister in suburb outside Minneapolis and a co-coordinator of the North Metro Tea Party Patriots, had favored Bachmann. “In reality, the Tea Party people I know . . . are going to support any candidate who stands against Barack Obama,’’ he said. ...
MinnPost reported in October that the North Metro group averages 250 people for its monthly meetings--so dark horse Rogers has what it takes to keep a local group robust. Can this translate into statewide leadership? Bluestem rating: 4 hat tips
Currently serving as President of the West Metro 1 Percent Club, generally known as the Freedom Club, Sawalich ran for chair in 2011, until the Starkey Labs executive was arrested and fingerprinted for expired tabs. He dropped out, but not before the AP reported that he'd settled a civil case with a subordinate who claimed sexual harassment (settlements aren't an admission of guilt).
Since the Freedom Club is both an recipient of conservative moneybags Bob Cummins' largesse and a client of his Civis Communications, it's likely that Sawalich can raise the bucks as chair and satisfy both base and social conservative donors. And with the Freedom Club connection, Sawalich can carry the union suppression torch for Cummins while the MNGOP is out of power in the legislature. Bluestem rating: 4.5 hat tips
Sax ran for Deputy Chair last winter, challenging then-acting deputy chair Kelly Fenton. Sax was a Ron Paul delegate in 2008. Marketing manager for Pizza Lucé, as well as an urban beekeeper, Sax maintains a robust eponymous website, where he's talking a lot like a Paulista Jack Kemp.
Witness this selection from today's post, Rebuilding the MNGOP – Blueprints for Discussion:
If we do not learn how to change our message, and to attract young voters, woman, minorities and gays, our party will continue to lose, forever. We cannot maintain the current course and drastic changes are necessary if we’re to continue the fight, let alone be successful at challenging the policies of the left in Minnesota. . . .
. . .We need to stop bashing the poor. Those living in poverty are not our enemies. Our enemies are those who take advantage and profit from poverty; the government. We need to demonstrate compassion and develop policies that harness the best that we have to offer to help the poor while also making government more honest. . . .
That's way too earnest for Bluestem's taste, though the party might do well to listen to him. It sure sounds like he's run for something. Bluestem rating: 2.5 hat tips
Former state representative and Navy fighter pilot Dan "Doc" Severson, who lost to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie in 2010, came in second for the MNGOP convention endorsement last spring. An uptight Christian who prays with the New Apostolic Reformation network in Minnesota, Severson is a broadly intolerant prig who can be great fun to write about in small doses, but in the end is simply dull. He's not much of a fundraiser, either. Bluestem rating: 1.5 hat tips
Water filter system prince Brian Sullivan lost the Republican endorsement for governor in 2002 to Tim Pawlenty after a marathon battle at the state convention. Very conversative friends favored him over T-Paw; he served as RNC member from Minnesota until 2011.
He'd make a solid state chair, but not much fun as a subject as far as Bluestem can determine. Bluestem rating: 2 hat tips.
Image: With word that Holsten will jump in tomorrow, MNGOP Chair Survivor game on.
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