Why R.T. Rybak should run for governor

The Minnesota governors race is heating up. This is the DFL’s best chance to at long last elect a governor. The last time that happened was 1986, over 20 years ago. And we can elect a progressive governor who will do us proud and bring a strong campaign to voters in 2010. I believe this candidate is Minneapolis’s Mayor R.T. Rybak. That’s why I’m helping organize the Draft Rybak grassroots movement. Let me explain why for a bit and invite you to our kickoff.

He can win: The latest poll of the race showed Rybak as the strongest candidate, leading Norm Coleman and with the best favorability rating of all DFL candidates. A earlier poll showed him as the second strongest candidate behind Mark Dayton. Obviously polls do not mean much this far out. But Rybak has shown he is a tough campaigner, good debater and can effectively communicate a clear and effective message to the public. He can bring that statewide, he’s already campaigned around the state for Barack Obama and other DFL candidates. He is the strongest candidate on our side running for governor. He can win. And he should win beacuse he’s great on the issues.  

He Should Win:

Rybak has a clear record standing up and doing the right thing on the issues that matter the most. A clear record that stands in stark contrast to the failed Pawlenty Era.

Leading the creation of a new green economy:

This is personally the issue that matters most to me. Rybak has been very active in pushing for investments in the new green economy to spur sustainable growth in our country and in our state. Here are some of the most notable efforts he’s been involved in.

-Promoting Renewable Energy: The city has installed solar panels on three of it’s buildings and Rybak has been working with state leaders who have more authority on the issue to promoting renewable energy with great results already. The ambition of state polices put in place over the next few years is going to determine which states become the leaders in the America’s green economy (as will the federal polices in determining if America is a leader in the world’s green economy). If Minnesota acts now and acts boldly it can be the economic engine that keeps our state great and produces thousands of living wage jobs. Minnesota is already forth in the nation in wind power installed and we have one of the highest potentials in the nation. We should aim to be number one in the nation. And although Minnesota is not seen as a prime location for solar we have better solar potential than Germany which has more solar than any other country.

-A new vision for transit: Rybak presided over the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line and has been working hard to expand light rail to connect with St Cloud and St Paul. He was one of the first mayors to sign onto Transportation for America’s visionary campaign. He’s also developed a plan to begin development of a new streetcar system and his efforts to make biking easier has resulted in Minneapolis being named one of the best places to bike in the world, only Portland has a higher percentage of citizens who bike to work.

Homegrown Minneapolis: A initiative to help promote local food which boosts the local economy in addition to reducing emissions.

In short, Minnesota has the environmental attitude, the spirit of innovation and potential to lead the new energy economy. But we need a leader who provides strong leadership to get us there with bold action. He’s already made Minneapolis one of the greenest cities in the country, we need him to help transform Minnesota.

Minneapolis Promise:

2006 Mayor Rybak made a commitment to Minneapolis students – the Minneapolis Promise – which says to our youth that if they stay in school and focus on where they want to go Minneapolis will help them get there. To achieve that he’s focused on three areas.

-Achieve! Career and College Initiative: Through this initiative Minneapolis has opened AchieveMpls Career and College Centers in all of Minneapolis’s schools. It helps ensure that the youth can transition from high school to higher education and work.

STEP-UP, a summer job program for youth to help them find employment and train them so they have the skills in life to find a job and earn a living. The best way to combat poverty, crime and save the government money in the long term is by giving youth education and the skills to have a good job. This is a extremely important program that should be expanded statewide.

The Power of YOU provides financial assistance to pay for up to two years at Metro State or MCTC if you’ve graduated from highschool in Minneapolis. It’s hard to find a long term job unless you have a degree. This program helps many of those who couldn’t afford it otherwise get that degree and get that upward mobility in life.

Public Safety:

Juvenile crime in Minneapolis has dropped 42% over the last two years exactly beacuse of investments like that in our youth. That is part of a overall record on public safety that again shows what R.T.’s leadership can do. In every precinct in Minneapolis crime has decreased over his tenure. He’s shown a better model for public safety, investing in our youth, investing in our people, that’s what will really reduce crime in the long term.  

Fiscal Responsibility:

Minneapolis has successfully balanced it’s budget without cruel cuts to basic human services despite Pawlenty’s destruction of LGA. As Mayor Rybak says

I put Minneapolis’ fiscal prudence up against the State’s any day

The budget problem is not going away in 2011. We need someone who can make the tough and responsible choices as governor, not someone who uses gimmicks and lies to hide his failed fiscal leadership beacuse he’s sworn loyalty to the extremist anti-tax teabaggers.


R.T. has also shown exceptional judgment. He opposed the Iraq War from the start, he was involved in the “Draft Obama” movement and was the first mayor to endorse Obama when he announced and while John Kerry was campaigning against gay marriage, Rybak was standing up for equal rights for ALL Americans.

Those are just a few of the reasons why I am for R.T. Rybak running for governor. And to get him to run for governor we need to Draft Rybak. If we are going to Draft Rybak we need your help. Go to our site and sign up to get involved. Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group. And if you want to get involved or learn more we’ve got our first organizational meeting tomorow. On Facebook you can check out the details and RSVP, it will be a great event.

We are just getting started. We need a governor who will provide bold leadership after years of failed conservative polices. We need RT Rybak to run for governor in 2010.

Join us.  

Help send me to Netroots Nation!

I want to go to Pittsburgh. Not for the G20 summit, not to see the best team in football’s opener, not simply to visit a emerging hub of the green economy.

I want to go to Pittsburgh for the fourth annual Netroots Nation convention. But I need your help. I try not to ask for too much from this community but I need to ask for some help again.

From August 13-16 Pittsburgh will be hosting this years Netroots Nation, I want to be there to appear on a panel, attend other awesome panels, meet you all and do the whole Netroots Nation experience.

I need your help to get there. Democracy for America is running a scholarship competition to help make the costs of attending more affordable. They will be selecting 10 winners from the final round  judged by a variety of factors, but one of them is public support. You can help me win a scholarship by voting for me. It will take less than a minute and I’d really appreciate your help.  Just click here. That will take you to a page where you can either log into your existing DFA account (if you have one) or create a new one, then it takes you to a page where you can write a quick comment of support and click on “voice support” to officially support me. If you want to read my application click here.

It costs money for DFA to provide these scholarships, if you can send them some money to help out with the cost.  It helps send 30 people to Netroots Nation who might not have been able otherwise. It was built out of kid oakland’s original chicago voices effort. So any donations you could send them give a great bang for the buck and help send some great people to Netroots Nation.

Thanks so much for all that you do and for any votes that you could give me.

Sí se puede!

MN-GOV: Pawlenty under 50 in new SUSA poll

We still have 531 days until the 2010 election but the race for governor in Minnesota has already been underway for months. Seven major candidates have entered the DFL field and I continue to hear buzz about five more. Tim Pawlenty remains publicly undecided about if he will run for re-election to a third term or not.

With all that in mind KSTP commissioned a poll from SurveyUSA pitting 9 current or potential DFL candidates against Pawlenty. All announced candidates minus Steve Kelly and plus R.T. Rybak, Chris Coleman and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. It has a fairly small sample size of 552 and doesn’t take into account potential IP or other third party candidates but it’s still interesting to political junkies like me (and probably you if your reading this). It has very good news for R.T. Rybak and Mark Dayton.

In addition it’s very bad news for Tim Pawlenty. When a incumbent is under 50 percent they are considered vulnerable in politics. Three candidates hold him under that mark.  

First here is a link if you want the entire poll, crosstabs and all.

47% Tim Pawlenty

43% Mark Dayton

10% Undecided

This is very good news for Dayton. His camp will use this heavily. He has a nice argument developing for his candidacy. He is the only candidate who has won statewide, he polls the best and has strong stances on the issues to boot. He’s already a household name among DFL activists and has a loyal base of support. Entenza has been making smart staff hires, campaigning hard and picking up endorsements recently so this gives the Dayton camp some much needed momentum.

47% Tim Pawlenty

42% R.T. Rybak

11% Undecided

Out of all the potential candidates Rybak is shaping up to be the strongest. Current legislators seem to be doing poorly, Gaertner and Coleman have RNC issues to deal with and Entenza, Dayton and Kelly are longtime players in statewide politics which could damage them among some. Plus he already has a statewide base of loyal suporters from campaigning extremely hard for Barack Obama and other DFL candidates in 2008. He’s running for re-election in 2009 and so can’t do much until November but I wouldn’t be suprised if he’s already taking a very hard look at running.

48% Tim Pawlenty

37% Chris Coleman

15% Undecided

Solid numbers for Coleman who seems to be making clear signals that he’s in the race but it won’t help that his fellow big city mayor is doing 6 points better then him.

51% Tim Pawlenty

37% Matt Entenza

12% Undecided

Encouraging signs for his campaign that he’s doing better then any current legislators including MAK  but he still has a lot of work to do closing the gap.  

50% Tim Pawlenty

36% Susan Gaertner

14% Undecided

Decent numbers for the Gaertner camp. They can point to the fact that she’s doing better then all the legislators and keeps Pawlenty to 50 percent but it won’t matter much if she can’t put together a viable endorsement campaign.

52% Tim Pawlenty

34% Tom Bakk

14% Undecided

Bakk has a slightly more influential position then Thissen which probably is why he does three points better but he’s never run for statewide office and is from the Iron Range so it’s not hugely surprising that not many people know who he is and thus tell pollsters they wouldn’t vote for him.

51% Tim Pawlenty

34% John Marty

15% Undecided

Marty was on the ballot statewide in 1994 so you’d hope he would do a little better then this. But the gap between him and Pawlenty is about half as much as how much he lost to Arne Carlson by so it’s progress I guess.

51% Tim Pawlenty

34% Margaret Anderson Kelliher

15% Undecided

Not very good news for Kelliher and will probably make her think twice about giving up the Speakership which she could probably hold for decades (she’s in her early 40s) for a risky run for governor.

51% Tim Pawlenty

32% Paul Thissen

17% Undecided

Not great numbers for Thissen but not very surprising. How many people do you think know who he is? He’s a state representative who isn’t in the leadership and has been serving for 7 years. I can’t imagine his name ID was very high.

There you have it. It is a long, long way until the election and if polls decided elections President Hillary Clinton would be sitting in the White House currently (and would be nominating Barack Obama to be Justice Barack Obama?) but this is very good news for Rybak and Dayton and not good news for MAK and the rest of the legislators. It’s interesting that Steve Kelly got left out. What’s up with that KSTP?  

MN-06: A candidate emerges to Dump Bachmann

Could 2010 be the year we finally Dump Bachmann?

Political Muse of Liberal in the Land of Conservative is reporting (and I have been able to independently confirm) that 2006 Independence Party Lt. Governor Nominee Dr. Maureen Reed spoke to a meeting of the 6th District DFL last night and announced that she will be running against Rep. Michelle Bachmann as a DFL candidate in 2010.

This is a very interesting development. Reed would be a very strong candidate. First. Who is she?

Dr. Maureen Reed currently serves as a diplomate in internal medicine with the American Board of Internal Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. She formerly served as medical director for HealthParners and as a member and chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. In 2006 she ran for Lt. Governor on the Independence Party ticket with Peter Hutchinson. If she does indeed run she would be the first candidate to announce a run against Bachmann so far this cycle. 2006 and 2008 DFL candidate El Tinklenberg is also rumored to be mulling a run.

However I don’t believe a Democrat is likely to beat Bachmann unless one of three things happens: Minnesota passes fusion voting in time for the 2010 election, Minnesota passes Instant Runoff Voting in time for the 2010 election or only two major parties run candidates on the ballot in 2010.  

First of all. Why does one of those things need to happen for a Democrat to have a strong chance of winning? In Minnesota three political parties have qualified for major party status. The Republican Party (which will nominate Michelle Bachmann should she run for re-election), the DFL Party and the Independence Party.

In 2006 El Tinklenberg was endorsed by both the DFL Party and the Independence Party. However Minnesota law does not allow candidates to appear on the ballot for multiple parties so Tinklenberg filed to appear on the ballot as a DFLer. You might expect no one to file for the Independence Party seeing as they’d already endorsed Tinklenberg, however someone named Bob Anderson plunked down the 300 bucks to file thus ensuring his appearance on the general election ballot as the Independence Party candidate.

In November Bachmann got only 46.4 percent of the vote. However she still won the election beacuse Anderson pulled 10 percent of the vote which split the anti-Bachmann vote and let her sneak into office again with a plurality. If this happens again and the Independence, DFL and Republican Parties all run candidates I do not think that Democrats have a good chance of winning the seat. However if a former Independence Party member like Reed runs and one of these three things happens I believe we can Dump Bachmann.

1. Pass into law and and implement Instant Runoff Voting before for 2010 elections

This is my preferred solution and probably the least likely to happen. It would allow both the DFL and IP to run candidates and allow voters to choose whoever they thought was the best candidate. As long as a majority picked the DFLer or IP candidate before Bachmann she would be defeated. However it seems very unlikely that this could happen before 2010 as Tim Pawlenty would surely veto it if it came to his desk.

2. Pass into law and implement fusion voting before the 2010 elections.

Fusion voting allows a candidate to be endorsed by multiple parties. It is currently in use in New York. Reed could then run for both the DFL and Independence Party endorsements and appear on the ballot and the candidate for both parties. Had this been the law in 2008 Tinklenberg would have appeared on the ballot for the DFL and IP and I believe he’d be the congressman currently.  

Unlike Instant Runoff Voting fusion would not require replacing the current machines and so it might have a better chance of passing but I still doubt it will be made a priority and get Pawlenty’s signature before 2010.

3.  Have only two major party candidates on teh ballot in 2010

Of the three I believe this one is the most achievable beacuse it does not require a change in law that could be blocked by Pawlenty.

First Reed or another candidate would need to secure the backing of both the DFL and Independence Party as Tinklenberg did. They would then need to make sure that unlike in 2008 no other Independence Party candidate filed and thus put three major party candidates on the ballot.

It may not be necessary to do anything to make sure that happens. Anderson was the only person to file as a Independence Party candidate after Tinklenberg had won the official IP endorsement and perhaps no one would do the same this time making sure the IP had no candidate on the ballot. However it’s always possible that someone WOULD file thus potentially making a split outcome that sends Michelle Bachmann back to Congress.

So how to prevent that possibility? I see only one legal way. Run a front candidate. Now I know that doesn’t sound very nice but if Reed or another candidate wins both the DFL and IP endorsements and wants to win in November I think it needs to happen. Essentially assuming that does happen someone needs to file for the IP primary on a platform of dropping out to make sure the officially endorsed IP candidate doesn’t lose in the general. If it turns out no one else files they can end their campaign up to two days after the filing deadline, if someone else does file they have to win the primary and then they can drop out leaving the November ballot with just two major party candidates and giving the DFL and Independence Parties and chance to unseat the worst member of Minnesota’s delegation to Washington.

Personally I think the final option is the most realistic. If we want to Dump Bachmann Democrats, IP members, independents and sane Republicans are going to need to join together. Dr. Reed is well positioned to do just that. It will be interesting to see how her campaign plays out.

Originally posted at MN Progressive Project

Gregg to be nominated tomorrow

According to The Politico President Obama will nominate Judd Gregg to be his Sectary of Commerce tomorrow. Gregg will almost assuredly be confirmed easily and quickly as he’s well liked by Republicans and Democrats alike.

This now opens up his Senate seat. New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch has all but pledged to appoint a Republican to the seat and Gregg said he only would have accepted with that condition. The most commonly mentioned liberal Republican placeholder is Bonnie Newman who served as chief of staff to Gregg but also endorsed Lynch in 2004.

This almost certainly assures that Gregg will at least vote for cloture on the stimulus which makes it likely that it will pass. In addition Newman is likely to be close politically to moderate Republicans like Snowe during her two years.

Also, after two years she is likely to retire rather then run for re-election. This will make the Democratic candidate (likely progressive Rep. Paul Hodes or Rep. Carol Shea-Porter) the odds on favorite. Likely Republican candidates include former Senator John Sununu and other even weaker candidates.

So in short, this moves the Senate slightly leftward for the next two years and will add a very progressive Senator after that. In return Gregg will get to be a member of the cabinet where he can’t do a whole lot of damage and will be useful selling stuff to Senate Republicans.  

OH-Sen: Voinovich to call it quits

So says Politico

Ohio Republican George Voinovich is expected to announce Monday that he won’t seek re-election to the Senate in 2010.

Cue the music

This is retirement number four for Big Bad John and Co. just five days into the 11th Congress. In addition to that everyone knows that Kay Bailey Hutchison will make a run for governor and may resign to focus on that. Democrats have legitimate chances to pick up all of them.

Republicans likely to take a shot at the seat include Rob Portman and John Kasich. Democrats have a large field of potential candidates including Rep. Tim Ryan and Rep. Betty Sutton but the CW in Ohio says that Lt. Governor Lee Fisher will run and clear the field with Gov. Ted Strickland’s backing.  

The Republicans so far are dropping like flies. Big Bad John Deathwatch Part 1?

Also at this point in the 2008 cycle no Republican had announced their retirement. Wayne Allard announced his retirement on January 15th, 2007. The next retirement wasn’t until August 31. In 2006 only Bill Frist retired for the Republicans.  If I remember correctly Democrats won quite a few seats in those elections, imagine what 2010 will look like.  

Populista’s Predictions

Here goes. Just beacuse.

Presidential Election:

Electoral Votes:
Barack Obama 364, John McCain 174

Popular Vote: Obama +6.9

McCain Pickups: None

Obama Pickups:
Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, Virgina, North Carolina and Florida

I’m a little unsure about North Carolina and Missouri but I’m going to call them for Barack. I think he’ll come up just short in Indiana, Montana and Georgia.

Gubernatorial Elections:

Republican Pickups: None

Democratic Pickups: Missouri

Not much to see. I think we’ll hold in NC and WA.

Senate Elections:

Republican Pickups: None

Democratic Pickups:
Virgina, New Mexico, Colorado, New Hampshire, Alaska, Oregon, North Carolina, Minnesota

And I also predict the Georgia Senate race will go into a runoff and Jim Martin will win it but I’ll have final predictions closer to that election.

House Elections:

Republican Pickups: FL-16, TX-22, PA-11

Democratic Pickups: NY-13, AZ-01, VA-11, NY-25, AK-AL, CO-04, FL-24, IL-11, MI-09, MI-07, NY-29, OH-16, OH-15, NC-08, NM-01, NM-02, CA-04, CT-04, FL-08, FL-25, ID-01, IL-10, IN-03, LA-04, MD-01, MN-03, MN-06, MO-09, NJ-03, NJ-07, NV-03, OH-01, PA-03, WA-08, AL-02, AZ-03, OH-02, VA-02, VA-05.

Net Democratic Gain: +36

Maybe a little optimistic. But I think that’s going to be pretty close.

MN-06: Colin Powell slams Michelle Bachmann

Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama quite eloquently on Meet the Press.

But why did the lifelong Republican endorse Barack Obama, a Democrat? In part beacuse of our very own agent of hate, Michelle Bachmann.

This business from the congresswoman from Minnesota saying, let’s examine all congressman to see who is pro-American or not pro-American.  We’ve got to stop this kind of nonesense and pull ourselves together.  And remember that our great strength is in our unity and diversity and so, that really was driving me.

I’ve had some disagreements with Colin Powell in the past to put it lightly. But he hit the nail on the head. Even Colin Powell, a man who probably could have become the Republican nominee for President  in 1996 realizes the hateful fear mongering of Michelle Bachmann hurts our image abroad and hurts the political debate in our country by bringing it into the gutter.

Hopefully Powell will take some time out of his busy schedule and come to Minnesota to endorse and campaign for El Tinklenberg, the common sense candidate who is running against Michelle Bachmann.

But even if Powell isn’t able to do that, I hope you donate to El Tinklenberg through the Netroots for El page. So far we’ve raised 1,415 from 28 donors and I’ve set a goal of 2,300, the equivalent of one maxed out big money donor. Let’s prove that a politics of hope can win and can defeat a agent of hate like Michelle Bachmann

Goal Thermometer

Donate to El Tinklenberg!

Photo by Aaron Landry

MN-06: A Minnesotans thoughts on Michelle Bachmann

Michelle Bachmann has turned into quite a hot topic here in the netroots after her disgraceful performance on Hardball that that you can watch for yourself here.

It’s hard to even begin on how horrifying that McCarthyesque, hateful interview was. But a lot of us Minnesotans have known about Michelle Bachmann and her hateful, extreme ways for years. Thankfully we’ve got a real shot at beating her this year, and you can help send her and her hateful brand of politics packing. Keep reading to find out how!

The Bachmann Record:

First a little more about Michelle Bachmann and why it is so critical that we win this race. You already know about her shameful performance on Hardball. But Michelle Bachmann has been embarrassing Minnesotans for a long time on a lot more then just that.

Blames Economic Woes on Minorities:

Just recently she blamed the financial crises on minorities,

Anti-Gay Zealot:

She was Minnesota’s leading anti-gay politician and now she’s a favorite of the anti-gay movement. When there was a march for GLBT rights on the day the Minnesota legislature voted down a hateful anti-gay constitutional amendment of hers she literally hid in the bushes and spied on them, I’M NOT KIDDING! During her rallies for her hateful amendment people carried signs calling for the murder of gay and lesbian people and she’s since said she’s proud of that rally.

Energy Dumb:

Bachmann is a global warming denier despite all the evidence out there. She also thinks if those horrible Democrats didn’t take over Congress gas would magically be 2 dollars a gallon. Yes she’s from the “Drill Baby Drill” school of thought.

Worst Person in the World:

Michelle has been appearing frequently on Keith Olbermann’s Worst Person in the World segment for over two years now. Here was her first time

and here is her latest

If you want to know more about why we need to Dump Bachmann head over to the good folks at Dump Bachmann who have been working hard to do just that since before she was even in Congress!

Send El to Congress!

Photo by Aaron Landry

Thankfully we’ve got someone great running to replace her. Elwyn Tinklenberg. El was a city councilman and mayor of Blaine (a big city in the district), Minnesota Transportation Commissioner and is currently president of the The Tinklenberg Group a transportation consulting firm. He’s a big advocate for public transit, strongly pro-union and for smart economic policies, supports universal healthcare, is for ending the war in Iraq and is a strong advocate for a transition alternative energy and a green economy.  

But he win?

Yes! A recent poll showed him only 4 points behind Bachmann or within the margin of error with 15 percent undecided. El’s got a perfect profile for the district but while Bachmann has raised 2 million as of the end of Q3 Tinklenberg has only managed to raise 1 million. In short, he needs our help to get his message out and win.

So donate!

Every little bit counts.

Goal Thermometer

I set up a fundraising page with a goal of 10,000 so we can show Michelle Bachmann that we reject her politics of hate and so we can tell El Tinklenberg and his campaign that we embrace his politics of hope.

So donate to El Tinklenberg!

If Bachmann wins this race it will be a lot harder to beat her in the future and her politics of hate and fear could be in Congress for a generation. This is our best shot to prevent that. Michelle Bachmann is a disgrace to Minnesota and decent people everywhere in our nation.

So please, please. Donate to El Tinklenberg.

Originally posted at The Populista Report

VA-05: Great new ad from Russ Feingold’s ad team

Tom Perriello is one of my favorite congressional candidates in the country. He’s got a amazing background, he’s helped take down Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, was a major player in the peace and reconciliation process in Sierra Leone, helped found the online grassroots people-powered humanitarian movement Avaaz.org and many other things. Now he’s running against Virgil Goode, a proud bigot and one of the worst if not the worst member of Congress. And he’s been running some great ads created by the best ad firm in the country (IMO) Eichenbaum & Associates

Here is another great ad he’s running

And what’s Goode running ads about? That Tom used to have a scary beard.

It’s fear mongering, plain and simple. But that’s what Virgil Goode has built a career off.

It’s a tough district to win but Virgina Gov. Tim Kaine won it in 2005 and I think Tom can win it too. The latest poll showed him down 13 which may sound like a lot but it’s a 20 point gain since he started running ads.

With your help he can close that gap and win. Donate to him today.

Originally posted at The Populista Report