1.) GOP Rep. Jenifer Loon of Eden Prairie had no announced challenger heading into Saturday’s House district endorsing convention, reports Politics.mn, but Loon came away with no endorsement after activist Sheila Kihne mounted an on-the-scene challenge that lasted several ballots. Convention-goers endorsed no one in the end, but it was clear that Loon’s 2013 vote to legalize same-sex marriage provided the motive force for the strong reaction back home. Neither Loon nor Kihne has yet said whether they will run in an August primary to win the district’s nomination. Of the four House Republicans to vote for gay marriage last year, only one – Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington – retained his local party’s endorsement this year. Rep. David FitzSimmons of Albertville lost his endorsement to challenger Eric Lucero last month, and Rep. Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury is not seeking reelection this year (though she has said her decision had nothing to do with the gay marriage issue).
2.) The Senate Elections Committee will take up two bills dealing with the controversial online voter registration system launched by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. One bill, authored by chair Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport, will act as the DFL’s official approach to the registration issue, whlie a second authored by Sen. Scott Newman, R-Hutchison, serves as a GOP counterpart to Sieben’s bill. One material difference between the two proposals is when, and how, the Secretary of State’s office would need to verify the security of data entered into the voter system. Under Sieben’s bill, a report would be due to the Legislature by mid-December of this year; in Newman’s legislation, a security report would need to be filed within 30 days after the law’s enactment. The committee is also scheduled to debate a bill that would increase the disclosure requirements for legislators.
3.) Speaking of Rep. Pat Garofalo, he is probably not enjoying his near-trending status on Twitter this morning. The Pioneer Press reports that yesterday afternoon, Garofalo tweeted, “Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime.” That observation, immediately denounced as racist on Twitter, made him the subject of items at such high-traffic chatter sites as Gawker, Buzzfeed and Deadspin. “I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate,” Garofalo told Kare11 TV news last night. As of 8:00 a.m. today, Garofalo’s remark had been retweeted 1,084 times.
COMINGS & GOINGS