Following the 2014 elections, Congressman John Kline remains the major and senior elected figure in the Minnesota Republican party. The powerful chairman of the House education committee, he will be a central figure in the reform measures ahead to improve the nation’s faltering public school systems.
Kline’s reelection was not in any doubt, but TV comedian Bill Maher thought he could intervene in the election and defeat him. It was a pathetic and uninformed effort (Maher didn’t even know who Kline’s Democratic opponent was). Kline reacted accordingly, raising campaign funds from Maher’s hapless folly and publicizing the comedian’s intrusion into the race. Kline won in a 17-point landslide, and I don’t doubt that Maher’s efforts actually increased his margin of victory.
Along with former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz, Kline is one of the most respected and well-liked political figures in the state. Each of them, incidentally, had significant lives of achievement before seeking elective office. Boschwitz was born to a German Jewish family that fled the Nazis when he was just three years old. In Kline’s case, it was a very distinguished career as a combat Marine helicopter pilot. He later became the man who carried the nuclear codes for two U.S. presidents (Reagan and Carter), and commanded all U.S. air forces in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
The 2014 elections in Minnesota had mixed results for Republicans. They did succeed in winning back control of the state house of representatives (no state senators were up for election this year), and Congressman Erik Paulsen and former state legislator Tom Emmer also won U.S. House seats by landslides in their districts. Victories in statewide offices eluded the GOP, however.
GOP leaders such as Mr. Kline and Mr. Boschwitz will now need to inspire a younger Republican generation or two to bring back the state party’s much better days of only a few years ago.
Barry Casselman is a national political commentator who lives in Minneapolis, and has been a frequent contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. His Prairie Editor blog is at www.barrycasselman.com.
One health insurer in Minnesota, once the top seller on the state' s Obamacare-mandated exchange, is expected to raise its premiums between 40 and 60 percent. Small-business health insurance rates are also expected to go up in Minnesota. KSTP-TV reports the story:
Minneapolis The 2014 race for governor of Minnesota had been placed in the “Safe Democrat” category since it began in earnest. Potential Republican opponents to the Democratic (Democratic-Farmer-Labor in this state) incumbent Mark Dayton were numerous, but most voters told pollsters the state was going in the right direction. Unemployment was lower than the national average, and Minneapolis was growing again
and seemingly booming with new housing construction.
In 1978, Republicans in Minnesota, astonishingly, won all three statewide races: both Senate seats and the governorship. It became known by DFLers (Democrats here run as Democratic-Farmer-Laborites) as the “Minnesota massacre.” Republicans preferred to call it their Minnesota miracle. This year they’re looking for another miracle. One Senate seat is up, as is the governorship, and the DFL incumbents are widely expected to win. If an upset is possible, it might be in the Senate race.
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There’s a refrain familiar to any regular Capitol Hill reporter trying to ask a question of Senator Al Franken, Democrat from Minnesota and Saturday Night Live alum: “I don’t talk to national press. You’ll have to speak to my staff. I only talk to Minnesota press.”
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Americans for Prosperity has two new ads targeting House Democrats in swing districts, both of which make the case that Obamacare "doesn't work" and should be repealed. The first ad, running in New Hampshire, tells Democratic congresswoman Annie Kuster to "stop thinking about politics and start thinking about people." Watch it below:
The chief executive officer for Minnesota's Obamacare exchange resigned Tuesday after reports surfaced she had taken a tropical vacation in November, right when the state's health insurance exchange website was experiencing problems. ABC affiliate KSTP has the story:
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