At the Pioneer Press, David Montgomery reports in In Second District, Pawlenty and Pratt reject race for Congress:
Local Republicans keep saying no to a run for Congress in Minnesota's Second District, even though the south-suburban district is primed to be one of the country's most competitive.
Mary Pawlenty, the former first lady of Minnesota and at one time a state judge, announced Tuesday that she would stay in her current job as a mediator instead of running for Congress.
Hours before, state Sen. Eric Pratt made a similar decision. On Monday night, 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden also took himself out of the picture. Those followed an announcement from state Sen. Dave Thompson last week declining a run.
The series of rejections is a surprise given how rarely an open congressional seat appears. Initially, a stream of Republicans announced they were considering the seat after incumbent Rep. John Kline announced his retirement this month, but one by one most have backed away. . . .
Over at the Star Tribune, a similar headline appears over Allison Sherry's byline, With Pawlenty out, Republicans seek viable GOP candidate to fill Kline's seat.
Montgomery and Sherry each report that "liberty" activist David Gerson has announced, while Rep. Steve Drazkowski of Mazeppa and Rep. Tony Albright of Prior Lake are thinking about it.
Let Bluestem be frank: none of these true believers has much of a chance of raising the money needed for a run--or raising the interest of the moderate voters in Dakota County. However, Dakota County is home to a residence of an ambitious and wealthy Republican whose track record could appeal to both the district's suburbs and southern rural communities.
That would be Julie Rosen, who built a second home in Mendota in 2011 when she still lived in Fairmont. In 2014, we reported in Senator Julie Rosen joins tiny house movement that the senator had rented a lovely 816 square foot four-room cottage near Vernon Center.
This official residence is a sharp contrast with the modest 5,784 square foot pied-à-terre on the banks of the Mississippi River in Mendota (pictured at the top of the post).
Although divorced from Rosen Diversified ag and meat mogul Tom Rosen, the senator and her wealthy ex remain on cordial terms. More importantly for fundraising, Rosen's aggressive questioning of the value of the now-defunct Citizens Board of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency in a senate rural task force meeting last fall helped set in motion the gutting of one piece of environmental oversight that Big Ag had only dreamt of. Surely, money (and votes in some of the conservative rural parts of the district) could be her reward to collect.
Moreover, she's the senate author of the legislation that put together the stadium deal for the Vikings--a deal that required bi-partisan support to pass. We're no fan of it, but Rosen could accurately argue that she possesses the negotiation skills to cut deals in Washington.
Would the fact that Rosen represents a senate district that strides the Iowa border be an issue? First, congressional candidates don't actually have to live in the districts they hoping to serve, just live in the state on election day in which the district is contained.
Regardless of the strictly legal requirements, district hopping is still liable to be framed as carpetbagging by political operatives and the small folk called voters. However, Rosen would be fairly immune from these attacks in this particular race--at least from Democrats.
First, by building a house worth over a million dollars, she's certainly demonstrated that she's put down roots in Minnesota's Second Congressional District.
Second, she wouldn't be the only candidate to seek to represent the district whose residence might be called to the voters' attention. We've noticed that media tend to report that DFL contender Mary Lawrence is from Eagan, but that's merely the location of the campaign's post office box.
Back in March, Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Pioneer Press reported in Another Democrat files for 2nd Congressional District:
Mary Lawrence, a Minneapolis doctor who had been a deputy executive director of the Vision Center of Excellence for veterans, has filed her paper work for jump into the race. . . .
Lawrence said in a statement that she is leaving the city behind.
“We’ve wanted to move out of the city for a while and after I finished serving our veterans at (Veteran’s Affairs) and (Department of Defense)in Washington we decided it was time. We fell in love with a home in Prior Lake,” she said. “It was the right move for us and where we wanted to live.”
Prior Lake is in the 2nd District. Living in the district one wants to represent in the U.S. House is not a requirement.
That's a good thing, since Hennepin County property records indicate that the Lawrences continue to claim homestead status for the 9500 square foot, 9 bathroom home they own on Lake Harriet Parkway in Minneapolis.
According to the April quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission, contributions by members of the Lawrence family list 19545 Hampshire Ct, Prior Lake, Minnesota, as their address. The Lawrences purchased the four bedroom, four bath home (not quite as tiny as Rosen's rural residence) in January, but don't claim the Credit River Township property as their homestead, according to the county's property card.
Seems like a wash in terms of "carpetbagger" framing.
Perhaps with Mary Pawlenty, Mike McFadden and Senator Dave Thompson declining to run--and state representative Tara Mack's star tarnished by KissyGhazi--the Republican Party should turn to one of its highest profile leaders, hiding right there in Mendota in plain sight.
Screengrabs: Senator Rosen's house in Mendota, via Dakota County property records (top); Senator Rosen's official residence as of 2014 in Vernon Center (center); the new Lawrence property in Credit River Township, Scott County, via Zillow (bottom).
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