Back in mid-November, Bluestem Prairie posted that Allen Quist bestows completely important MNCD1 endorsement on Aaron Miller.
Last night after third-place delegate vote getter Mike Benson withdrew from the race after the second ballot and threw his support to Miller, Quist's endorsement proved to be a harbinger. Miller won by acclamation after the third ballot, when Benson's suggestion caused Miller to jump to a significant lead, and Jim Hagedorn withdrew. Miller and Jim Hagedorn had tied on the first ballot. Read about it at the Mankato Free Press in Miller wins upset victory in Republican endorsement.
There's one belief that Quist and Miller shares: disbelief in evolution, although Miller stops before publicly suggesting that humans and dinosaurs frolicked together within historical memory. Freep staff writer Josh Moniz first reported in March:
Later, [Miller] shared a story about his daughter becoming very upset because she had to learn about evolution at school. He said his daughter told the teacher that she did not believe in evolution. He said the teacher expressed agreement with his daughter, but told her that they were forced to teach the lesson by the government.
"There's a war on our values by the government," Miller said. "We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington, D.C."
When asked for further detail, Miller declined to provide the name of the teacher in his story.
So, none of the dragon stuff.
In yesterday's article, Moniz reports that the Miller repeated the story:
He also called for more religious freedoms. He repeated his story about his daughter returning home from school because evolution was being taught in her class. He said the teacher admitted to not believing in the scientific theory to his daughter but told her that the government forced him to teach the lesson.
"We should decide what is taught in our schools, not Washington D.C.," Miller said.
Miller has declined to provide any more information to verify his story.
This is curious stuff, since the standards for curriculum in Minnesota are set by the Minnesota Department of Education. The K-12 science standards are introduced here, and a FAQ notes how the development of the standards are required by state statue (page 3).
While "Evolution in Living Systems" is a substrand under "Life Sciences" in the standards, in the primary grades, the content of the coursework has to do with life cycles of individual animals and plants, as well as the resemblance of offspring to parents. Reference to the fossil record and extinction begins at grade seven, with discussion of Darwin and theories of evolution slated for grade 9.
Bluestem thinks the standards are a bummer, since we grooved on learning about evolution from our independent reading about dinosaurs when we were in primary school. But we digress.
It's curious that Miller has chosen to select creationism as the banner for his crusade for religious freedom, when all the cool conservatives have rallied around Hobby Lobby's objecting to funding birth control in health insurance plans (pay no attention to the company's retirement fund investments in the drug companies that manufacture the pills) or the new-fund religious right to discriminate in public accommodations if one doesn't like cute boys marrying each other.
Perhaps it's because Miller is a raw political recruit. This isn't his first headscratcher, however. In 1st District Republicans face close endorsement race, Moniz reported:
Miller is facing criticism from some Republicans over a Rochester Post-Bulletin article in which he called for fixing the Affordable Care Act and called it unrealistic to seek repeal of the law. His later press releases have called for repealing the law.
He said he has always supported repeal and was simply taking about current political realities during the interview.
He has also only raised $24,000 in individual contributions raised over the last two reporting quarters. He has self-funded with a $40,000 loan on each of the last two quarters. However, he repaid the first loan last quarter, meaning the self-funding was not cumulative.
He said the other candidates have equally lagged behind previous 1st District Republican candidates. He said his total is because he is a political newcomer. He said he expects fundraising to pick up when an endorsed candidate is selected.
Reports from the FEC's first quarter are due April 15, so we'll see then how well Miller drew money in the last three months.
Image: Allen Quist rides off into the sunset, but keeps that dino power for Miller. Cartoon by Ken Avidor. Used with permission.
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