Political Notes: Horner misses mid-October poll goalST. PAUL — Two of Minnesota’s three major governor candidates can take heart in a poll released just before the weekend.
By: Don Davis, Worthington Daily Globe
ST. PAUL — Two of Minnesota’s three major governor candidates can take heart in a poll released just before the weekend.
But for Tom Horner of the Independence Party, the KSTP-SurveyUSA poll news is not good.
The poll shows Democrat Mark Dayton in front with 42 percent of the vote, followed by Republican Tom Emmer with 37 percent. That still is a close race, given the chance for error in a survey.
However, the poll showed Horner missing his goal of passing the 20 percent mark by mid-October. He had said he needed to hit that level to be competitive, but the SurveyUSA poll showed him falling to 14 percent, one of his worse showings in some time.
Horner needs to be doing well among independent voters to win, but both of the other two major candidates do much better in that area, and the normally late-to-decide independent category matches the overall survey with just 4 percent who do not know who they will support.
On the heels of the SurveyUSA poll, Horner’s campaign sent a message to supporters saying that his campaign has its own “carefully researched poll of the true Minnesota electorate” along with the claim that it shows him gaining momentum.
“As all candidates acknowledge, and as Minnesota gubernatorial history suggests, even polling two weeks out from the election has been an unreliable predictor in an unpredictable state,” Horner Campaign Manager Stephen Imholte wrote.
On that point, Republican operative Brian McClung did some research that showed Democrat Mike Hatch leading the governor’s race at this point in 2006, Tim Penny in 2002 and Hubert “Skip” Humphrey in 1998. All lost.
“So while polls are interesting, be sure and read them with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially in Minnesota,” McClung said.
The Small Business Administration will provide help to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, non-profit organizations affected by last month’s southern Minnesota floods.
Low-interest loans will be available to repair or replace real estate, equipment and inventory.
The disaster declaration includes Blue Earth, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Martin, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan and Winona counties.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty had said he was disappointed that an earlier federal disaster declaration did not provide for individual aid, but the SBA move is better than nothing. The state also can provide some assistance.
Mitt, T-Paw ‘friends’
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a probable 2012 presidential candidate, says he is friends with a potential rival.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, appears in Bloomington on behalf of Republican governor candidate Tom Emmer Monday night, and Pawlenty said he hopes to stand alongside him. However, whether that happens could depend on whether a special legislative session is done by the time the 7:30 p.m. event begins.
Pawlenty said he wants to sign the disaster appropriations legislation into law Monday night if lawmakers are finished in time.
Of course, Emmer is a state representative and will be involved in the session, which begins at 1 p.m. Monday.
Reporters asked Pawlenty about the potential awkward moment with the two would-be presidential candidates standing next to each other. Pawlenty, who refuses to confirm he is running for the White House, simply said that he and Romney are friends. “I like him.”
More than one
The national media jumped on a Washington-based news website’s report headlined: “Oberstar had one donor in his district,”
But U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar’s campaign pointed out to Politico that the respected news organization only counted donors who gave enough to be listed by name in federal campaign documents.
“In fact, nearly half of our Minnesota donors are from the 8th District,” Oberstar Campaign Manager Bryan Yunis wrote in a letter to the Politico editor.
Democrat Oberstar’s northeast Minnesota race has gained quite a bit of attention as of late, with Republicans optimistic they can upset the 17-term congressman.
His opponent, Republican Chip Cravaack, has released a television commercial that insiders call more professional that many they have seen in the district.
Pawlenty for Emmer
Gov. Tim Pawlenty cannot understand why some news outlets reported he just endorsed fellow Republican Tom Emmer to replace him.
Pawlenty did that back in April, when Republicans at their state convention endorsed the Delano state representative as their candidate.
A recent statement by Pawlenty was portrayed by some reporters as an initial endorsement. Not so Pawlenty countered.
And to prove that he supports the GOP hopeful, Republicans released a television commercial in which the current governor talks about Emmer.
Standing outside in front of a tree, a gentle wind blowing the leaves, Pawlenty says:
“Making tough decisions: That’s what being governor is all about. I stood my ground on taxes and now, Minnesota is positioned to lead the nation in job growth.
“Only Tom Emmer has promised not to raise job-killing taxes. Mark Dayton’s plan: raise income taxes. Tom Horner’s plan: expand the sales tax to clothes.
“Only Tom Emmer’s plan will grow jobs by cutting wasteful government spending and holding the line on taxes.”
Rewards of up to $500 are being offered to Minnesotans for information that leads to conviction in voter fraud cases.
Election Integrity Watch, a coalition of conservative groups, announced it would offer the rewards a few days after saying that it will recruit volunteers to watch the polls on Nov. 2 for voter fraud.
“We are putting a price on the heads of anyone who would attempt to organize people with the intent of cheating in our election,” said Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority, one of the organizations involved in the project. “We’ve received reports of organizers enticing people to vote fraudulently with small financial incentives such as gift cards. We’ve also seen evidence of this illegal practice in the official incident logs from the 2008 election. We will now offer individuals a more lucrative incentive for turning-in these organizers of voter fraud.”
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, in charge of elections statewide, says there are few reports of voter fraud across the state. He is a Democrat, but many Republicans call for new laws to reduce what they see as fraud and the potential for more fraud.
Davis works for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Daily Globe.