On Wednesday, the Severson for SOS campaign tweeted about its first ad, in which the candidate talked about voters being tired of name calling, finger pointing and the blame game.
The ad was released just a day after the endorsed Republican was a guest on On The Way with Paul Ridgeway, a religious talk radio host on AM 980 KKMS. In the interview, Severson did quite a bit of his own finger pointing and blame game.
Here's the transcript of most of the ad (the rest is standard, visit-my-website material):
I'm Dan Severson and I'm running for Secretary of State and if there's one thing that I know about the voters of Minnesota, it's that they are tired of the name-calling, finger pointing, and the blame game that goes on in Minnesota politics. Minnesotans want qualified candidates who will do the job effectively, efficiently and save them money in the process. . . .
Dan Severson pointing the finger about Minnesota politics
We've downloaded the audio clip of the endorsed Republican on On The Way with Paul Ridgeway, a religious talk radio host on AM 980 KKMS, after Twin Cities journalist Andy Birkey, who syndicates Bluestem's copy at The Column, sent us the link on October 15.
Severson goes after Mark Ritchie, accusing him of being more partisan that Mary Kiffmeyer,who served before him, while stating the Ritchie imposed "same day registration" (which Severson opposes although it is legal in Minnesota) with "online registration," which Ritchie imposed, a court declared invalid before the legislature passed a bill written by his opponent Steve Simon, that reinstated the practice on a bi-partisan vote.
Here's the clip:
Here's the exchange on the show:
Ridgeway: Do you believe that the office has had integrity under Mark Ritchie's leadership?
Severson: Well, I think that there's been some real significant issues. You know I think he's been very partisan and that's unfortunate because it should be a very nonpartisan office.
When Mary Kiffmeyer, who is another strong believer, was in office and she was actually President of the Secretary of States' Association for the nation and she had created kind of a model for integrity in the election system and really put together a great system but was very very careful never to be partisan, never to come across as partisan, and conservely I think Mark Ritchie, the current secretary of state has kind of thrown that out the window.
I know we saw that a little bit with the Constitutional Amendments that were brought forward when he tried to change the actual title of those constitutional amendments and the legislature had put those though and put the titles on there and he was struck down by the courts for over reach on that one.
And then again, with the whole issue of same-day registrations, which was beyond his power to do as Secretary of State, that was legislative action and even the Governor kind of reprimanded him and said I don't thing that's a good idea and so he was struck down again by the courts on that one.
And you know he has unfortunately I think not operated with a nonpartisan intent and that--we need to change.
This is classic Severson fingerpointing and blame game playing: the Republican is a model of non-partisan decorum, while Mark Ritchie is a Democrat with partisan roots in Hell or Plato Avenue at best.
UPDATE: A friend called our attention to the fact that Mark Ritchie served as President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, as did Joan Growe, who served as Minnesota Secretary of State for 24 years. If that's a qualification for non-partisanship, as Severson claims it is, then it must be applied to DFLers who've led NASS, as Ritchie and Growe did. [end update]
But as Bluestem pointed out in Severson wants to return Secretary of State's office back to standard set by Mary Kiffmeyer:
Some of Kiffmeyer's partisanship came in the form of actions to suppress or frighten voters (often those likely to vote Democratic) while other actions were purely partisan.
In 2004, the City Pages reported in Mary's Election Posse:
. . . Minnesota's Republican secretary of state, Mary Kiffmeyer, convened a training session for an apparently Republican-dominated group of volunteer election observers recruited to visit polling places as representatives of the secretary's office. The gathering drew criticism from Democrats and progressive get-out-the-vote groups for a variety of reasons.
And then there's the time she tried keeping the Independence Party off the ballot, as Firedoglake reported, along with the partisan "election watchers" and refusing to give registration cards to progressive groups signing up voters, in GOP’s War on Voting, Minnesota Edition: The Twelve Ways of ALEC’s Kiffmeyer to Disenfranchise Us:
#3 was Kiffmeyer’s decision to remove Independence Party candidates from the 2004 general election ballot because their candidates hadn’t received 10% of the votes in the primary election. She based this decision on a rarely-used law from the 1930s disqualifying parties not getting 10% of their votes received in the “last election,” a rule she hadn’t enforced up to that point.
#5 is both sleazy and hilarious, in that specially evil Kiffy sort of way. In 2004, Kiffmeyer, without announcing this to the public, recruited and “deputized” thirty-odd “Election Observers” from relatives and from friends of her staff, and from the archconservative Taxpayers League of Minnesota’s e-mail subscribers’ list. Several non-conservative groups, including the local branches of Americans Coming Together and the AFL-CIO, got wind of what she was doing and sent representatives to her election observer training session; they were told that they could watch, but neither participate in the training, nor serve as election observers.
#6 This one’s a real hoot. In late September 2004, Secretary of State Kiffmeyer wrongly told multiple liberal grassroots groups that the SoS office didn’t have voter registration cards to give out, and said they “hopefully” would have more cards by Oct. 1. This created a delay in distributing cards to the groups. Kiffy’s SoS office later blamed “staff error” for misinformation. Uh-huh.
And since Severson considers Ritchie's confrontations with the court to be partisan (is same day registration or online registration the partisan part?), it's worth reviewing the times courts disagreed with her. Check it out at Severson wants to return Secretary of State's office back to standard set by Mary Kiffmeyer.
Kiffmeyer is a Republican, so apparently bad behavior isn't partisan in Severson's eyes if done by a member of his own party. That's a mighty peculiar definition of "partisan."
There's more of the same in the interview, with Severson pointing his fingers a number of times, the very behavior he claims in his ad that voters do not want. We'll post more audio in new entries across the weekend.
Severson: All People Should Vote, But Some In Particular Should
Finally, we want to leave readers with Severson's observation about how, in a potentially low-turn out election, some voters in particular should get out and vote:
After predicting a low turnout, Severson says:
"I strongly encourage every person to get out there and have your voice heard as part of our Republic is to have your voice heard through the vote but particularly if you've got strong family values, if you're about life and those things, I think this an important year to get out there and get to the ballot box."
Bluestem encourages everyone who is eligible to get out and vote.
DFL endorsed candidate Steve Simon, who authored much of the recent election reform law in the state as a Minnesota representative, and IP endorsed candidate Bob Helland join Severson on the ballot.
Photo: Dan Severson via MPR.
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