1.) Conservative advocacy groups and a number of Republican state legislators announced the filing of a lawsuit to block Secretary of State Mark Ritchie‘s online voter registration system. The suit will be funded by Minnesota Majority and the Minnesota Voter’s Alliance will team up to pay for the services of attorney Erick Kaardal, and those groups will be joined by co-plaintiffs Reps. Steve Drazkowski (Mazeppa), Jim Newberger (Becker), Ernie Leidiger (Mayer) and Mary Franson (Alexandria). Drazkowski said letting voters sign up online “could be the greatest thing since sliced bread,” but argued the process should be vetted and enacted by the Legislature first. If the lawsuit is successful, the registry system launched in launched in late September would be halted until legislative action is taken. A spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office issued a statement shortly after the GOP press conference began. “We don’t comment on litigation,” Nathan Bowie said, “but we are on firm legal ground providing eligible voters with common sense tools based on Minnesota law.”
2.) Two of the Republican candidates in the 6th Congressional District race would have gone along with House Republicans’ actions during the recent government shutdown, according to the St. Cloud Times, which reports on a GOP debate that took place last night. Former legislator Phil Krinkie and Sen. John Pederson, R-St. Cloud, both said the House GOP caucus had been right to push the White House to a government shutdown in its effort to prevent implementation of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Taking a different tack was Anoka County Commmissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, who argued that the fight had amounted to a “failed strategy” for Republicans, who should instead have let the public focus on problems with the rollout of the federal Healthcare.gov website. The debate was hosted by the College of St. Benedict; absent, of course, was perceived frontrunner Tom Emmer. Instead, according to his campaign Twitter account, Emmer had a “wonderful time” at a smaller gathering with Southwest Metro Tea Party activists.
3.) Internal debate over the possible release of a convicted sex offender did not go unnoticed by one of Gov. Mark Dayton‘s political foes, and the topic could eventually work its way into the gubernatorial race. In response to a Star Tribune story on the plan to transfer Thomas Duvall out of his current incarceration, Rep. Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, penned a letter calling on Dayton to reconsider that move, and another proposal to transfer six offenders to a less restrictive facility in Cambridge. Zellers called the notion “outrageous, offensive and an affront to public safety and common sense.” Zellers has drawn a similar line in the sand before: In 2011, Zellers, then speaker of the House, co-authored a letter criticizing the Dayton administration’s decision to transfer convicted pedophile Clarence Opheim.
COMINGS & GOINGS
- Republican Secretary of State candidate Dennis Nguyen will officially launch his candidacy for that office with a Sunday afternoon announcement in the Capitol rotunda. Nguyen, whose announcement declares him the first Asian-American candidate for statewide office, is the lone GOP entrant in that contest so far, though Republican and former SoS staffer Kent Kaiser told Politics in Minnesota yesterday that he’s still considering it.
- The Secretary of State’s office announced numerous vacancies to various state advisory and oversight boards. Among the openings are three spots on the Board of Judicial Standards, which is looking for one each among its attorney, trial judge and civilian categories, and the Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, which is looking for a general member. See the full list of board vacancies here.
- Phil Cohen, former mayor of Brooklyn Center and one-time head of the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC), died of leukemia over the weekend at age 85, Channel 12 news reports. Cohen, whom many called “Mr. Brooklyn Center,” served as mayor from 1965-1977; according to a tweet from LMC lobbyist Gary Carlson, Cohen had also been a staffer for Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger.
- The DFL Party is hiring for a director of digital media position, and is looking for someone who combines experience with video, social media and web management. Qualified applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree, some background in working for the DFL or a candidate, and video production experience. Applications are due Wednesday of this week. More information here.