News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Trump had big coattail in Minnesota for down-ballot candidates in some districts. Republicans increased majority in Minnesota House to 76-57, gained six seats in Minn. Senate for a 34-33 majority. A Republican Presidential candidate hasn't won electoral votes in Minn. since 1972 and Trump came within 1.5 points of doing so. Trump is first GOP pres. candidate to win city of Hibbing, Minn. since Herbert Hoover-MinnPost, 2/13/17. (DFL message: 'Trump bad, us good' is not a message-commenter)

"Trump’s coattail effect was big for down-ballot candidates in some Minnesota districts: after all, he came within 1.5 percentage points of Democrat Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, where a Republican hasn’t won electoral votes since 1972."

As of Jan. 26, 2017, no one knew for sure whether the winner of Minnesota was Trump or Hillary though the state certified that Hillary won. "Minnesota is a same day registration state, and more than 500,000 voters register on the day of a presidential election....Hillary Clinton reportedly won Minnesota by around 45,000 votes." As of 1/26/17, thousands who registered and voted on the same day had yet to be verified by the state. 1/26/17, "Did Donald Trump Carry Minnesota?" Powerline, John Hinderaker 

2/13/17, "Democrats spent more than Republicans on the 2016 legislative election and lost seats. Was it all a waste?", Greta Kaul ("Data reporter")

"In races for seats for the Minnesota House and Senate in November, DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) candidates and their affiliated groups spent about 40 percent more than Republicans, yet the GOP picked up sufficient seats to win control of Senate and increase the size of their majority in the House.

That result raised some uncomfortable questions for Democrats: all that organization, fundraising and spending — significantly more than their opponents — only to lose power in St. Paul. Was it worth it? Had money made any difference at all in the race? With the final reports on spending in the campaign made publicly available this month, MinnPost combed through the numbers, trying to figure out where money mattered in the 2016 legislative races....

Campaign finance filings show nearly $31 million was spent to influence state legislative elections in Minnesota this year. Of that total, which includes spending by candidates, parties and political committees and funds, about 58 percent was spent by those seeking to help Democrats — either by supporting the candidate or attacking his or her opponent....

There’s something big missing from these numbers, though. Spending reports for two active political committees — the Minnesota Jobs Coalition Legislative Fund, which is a major GOP spending group, and the smaller Building a Greater Minnesota, were not filed by the Jan. 31 deadline, and as a result their filings only show independent expenditures reported as spent through Oct. 24. At that time, Minnesota Jobs Coalition had spent more than $638,000 on independent expenditures, so the missing disclosures potentially include a lot of money spent in the weeks before the election. By Oct. 24, Building a Greater Minnesota had spent about $4,000 to help elect a DFLer running for Senate.

MinnPost’s tally does not include spending related to candidates who lost primary elections. It also doesn’t include money we don’t know about — unreported expenditures made through “dark money” groups.

Republicans had a great election night. They increased their majority in the House by three seats and now hold the chamber 76-57 (a special election will determine the fate of the final seat, 32B, on Tuesday). They gained six seats in the Senate for a 34-33 majority. 

If you look at spending patterns in the races themselves, Republicans and affiliated groups put more resources into outspending Democrats in certain House races (where Democrats spent about $1.1 for every $1 Republicans spent), than in Senate races, (Democrat-affiliated spending for Senate seats was about $1.9 for every $1 Republicans spent)....

There’s also the matter of where the money came from: While DFL funding and strategizing largely came from the party, Republicans’ playbook, which relied more heavily on independent expenditure groups, may have allowed them to be more nimble, said Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken Martin.

Despite the attention cash gets, the races with the most spending weren’t always the most competitive. Take House District 17B rematch between incumbent Republican Dave Baker and challenger Mary Sawatzky, where more than $700,000 was spent in total. Baker held onto his seat with a 19 percentage point margin. Nor did candidates who outspent their opponents by a large margin always win....

Many of the closest races did see a lot of spending: More than $1 million was spent, for example, in the Minnetonka Senate District 44 open seat formerly held by DFLer Terri Bonoff it was the most expensive legislative contest last year. That race, between Republican Paul Anderson and DFLer Deb Calvert, resulted in Anderson winning by 0.4 percentage points, following a recount....

Other races that looked like sleepers from the political spending perspective were close: there was very little spending on either side, for instance, in Senate District 5, where Republican Justin Eichorn unseated longtime Grand Rapids DFL Senator Tom Saxhaug with less than a two-point margin (then again, in presidential races, this district went from blue in 2012 to solid red in 2016)....

In some races, though, there’s an argument to be made that spending did make a difference. One of them is House District 42A, which covers Twin Cities suburbs including Mounds View, Shoreview and Arden Hills.  

Here, two-term DFL House incumbent Barb Yarusso lost in  a suburban district that favored Barack Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016....

Republican Randy Jessup’s success can’t really be explained by 42A voters’ presidential politics. Political tides did not push this suburban district toward Trump (a not-uncommon phenomenon) ["Many parts of the state where Trump won precincts — where farming and labor are big economic drivers — were historically DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) strongholds.] Instead, Clinton won the district with 52 percent of votes in November, while Trump got 48 percent (results similar to the party breakdown in presidential votes in 2012).

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Keith Downey contends that Jessup won because he’s a good fit for the district — he’s a business owner who Downey called likeable, with a strong message: his  campaign focused on improving education, lower taxes and health care costs, and roads and bridges. And compared to some new candidates, Jessup likely had name recognition with voters, as the race was a rematch (with close to the opposite results in 2014).

But this was also a contest where Republican groups targeted resources, outspending Democrats by 1.6 to 1....

All that spending doesn’t buy votes, exactly: Staunch partisans who vote frequently are unlikely to change their behavior, so campaign spending is generally aimed at voters who are “up for grabs” — those most likely to switch their vote (usually independents) or mobilize (usually people who affiliate with a party but not strongly enough to vote in every election), wrote University of North Florida political science professor Nicholas Seabrook in a 2010 study on money in state legislative races. So, money can matter more in districts where there are more independent voters and weakly affiliated partisans.

Voter behavior in 42A suggests split-ticket voting, behavior attributed to independent voters. The race was a close one, but it appears as though some 42A voters who voted for Clinton at the top of the ticket chose Jessup further down.

“In districts with higher levels of independents, enough swing voters exist that can be influenced by spending to substantively affect the outcome of elections,” Seabrook writes.

House District 42A wasn’t the only district to swing in the November elections — but they didn’t all swing in the same direction. Did a wave of positive advertisements help a DFL history teacher new to politics unseat the sitting Republican Senate minority leader in a banner year for Republicans?

In September, Steve Cwodzinski called this race between him and longtime Republican Senator David Hann a David versus Goliath one, Minnesota Public radio reported. Indeed, Hann’s defeat would mark “only the fourth time in more than a century that the leader of a legislative caucus was ousted by voters.”

Yet it was a race the Democrats were willing to sink their teeth — and their cash — into. Nearly twice as much money was spent to help Cwodzinski....

DFL groups got an early start. In particular, groups like Alliance for a Better Minnesota, the DFL and Planned Parenthood poured cash into mailers, web and television ads that painted Cwodzinski in a positive light. Most of the independent expenditures spent to help Hann came from groups like the Minnesota Action Network and Freedom Club, with no money recorded from state Republican party groups.

To be sure, you could argue the district’s gotten bluer in recent years: it went for Clinton by a large margin, whereas Obama barely beat Mitt Romney there in 2012. And Hann’s margin of victory shrunk from more than 11 percent in 2010 (before redistricting, he represented Senate District 42), to less than 3 percent in 2012.

But the incumbent seemed pretty sure he would keep his seat.

“The Democrats are probably going to want to spend some money here but they have a lot of seats they need to worry about,” Hann told MPR back in September. “This is a Republican district where I'm at.”

With the advantage of hindsight, the outgoing chair of the Minnesota GOP seemed to disagree with Hann’s carefree assessment: “That is one where I think absolutely (money) made a big difference,” Downey told MinnPost.

Since incumbents already have name recognition in their districts (this can be a double-edged sword, as their records can be used against them), campaign spending is thought to help challengers like Cwodzinski — and Jessup, for that matter — more than legislators defending their seats....

Maybe Cwodzinski wasn’t so unknown, having long been a teacher in the district, but it’s possible all that spending got his name and message out to voters effectively....

A deluge of positive ads and mailers may have helped Cwodzinski, but apparently weren’t enough to help incumbent Vicki Jensen, a moderate DFLer, win in Senate District 24, which encompasses Faribault and Owatonna.  

Did Trump’s popularity drown out the effects of DFL-affiliated spending?

In this swing district, Jensen lost to Republican challenger John Jasinski 

by 17 percentage points— more than three times greater than her margin of victory in 2012.

That’s despite that spending to help Jensen from union, DFL and major donors like Alliance for a Better Minnesota outweighed spending to help John Jasinski from groups like Freedom Club and Minnesota Action Network (there were no independent expenditures from Republican Party groups benefitting Jasinski, according to filings) by more than 3 to 1.

“That’s the perfect example of  

a rural district that saw a huge swing of working class rural voters 

(go) toward the Republicans in this election,” (Minnesota DFL Chairman Ken) Martin told MinnPost. 

Indeed, while Romney won the district with 51 percent of the vote to Obama’s 46 percent in 2012 [five points]

Trump’s margin of victory was a much larger 25 points, with 58 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 33 percent.

“It’s no different than what we saw in most parts of Greater Minnesota,” (DFL's) Martin said. “There was a huge swing — this Trump wave that happened in rural counties that ended up the vote totals not only in Senate District 24, but in Senate Districts 21, Senate District 14, Senate District 2 …the Trump impact clearly affected those races in a big way. Those are things that are outside of the control of candidates and parties and how much money was being spent or not spent.”...

If money were the only factor that mattered in races, the people who spent the most of it would always win, and that’s obviously not the case....

And all kinds of other things going on this year that might have limited the influence of money in Minnesota districts can’t be ignored. For example, some of the DFL’s weakness in November was attributed to voters’ concerns over the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] and MNsure. Now-President Trump’s relative success here and the banner year for Republicans also suggest 

Trump’s coattail effect was big for down-ballot candidates in some Minnesota districts: after all, he came within 1.5 percentage points of Democrat Hillary Clinton 

in Minnesota, where a Republican hasn’t won electoral votes since 1972...

In many, but not all, House races where spending to aid Republican candidates outpaced spending to aid Democrats by a considerable margin, Republicans won. Results were more mixed in House and Senate races with significant spending where expenditures to help Democrats considerably outweighed those to help Republicans.

Maybe Republicans spent more wisely — or maybe the top of the ticket helped in down-ballot races. Maybe both, depending on the circumstances.

Martin said that though there are lessons to be learned from this election, the outcome had a lot to do with forces larger than campaigning and money.

“It wasn’t for lack of efforts, and in some cases, I don’t think, for lack of tactics. You either ride the wave or get swamped by it,” he (DFL's Martin) said."...


Two among comments:


"Do you remember when Citizens United

Guys, as far as this election cycle, it was a continuum of 2010, 2012 and 2014 were liberals lost seats in State Houses, lost both DC houses and multiple Governorships to the tune of 1,000 plus seats lost [nationally]. It had nothing to do with money and everything to do with the 

ACA (ObamaCare), 

10's of thousands of regulations stifling the middle class, 

no Mid East policy, 

 education getting worse by the year and 

safety at home.

You didn't need money to see these policies by liberals and the Obama administration didn't sit well with regular blue collar folks...You know those deplorable non redeemable folks."


"Here's An Idea  

Submitted by Frank Phelan on February 13, 2017 - 12:36pm.

I'm not the only one in this state that could not discern anything approaching a coherent message from the DFL. "Trump bad, us good" is not a message.

(DFL's) Rick Nolan had a message, "No TPP." How'd he do?"


Added: Polls failed to predict "hidden revolution" in Minnesota: "There was kind of a hidden revolution of sorts....A Republican hasn't won the presidential race in Hibbing since Hoover."...Trump won the city of Hibbing, Minnesota by 7 votes:

11/11/2016, "Where Trump did better than Mitt Romney in Minnesota, and where he did worse,", Greta Kaul, Tom Nehil

"Many parts of the state where Trump won precincts — where farming and labor are big economic drivers — were historically DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) strongholds....

On Tuesday, Trump carried Hibbing by seven votes, said Aaron Brown, a longtime Democratic activist on the Iron Range. 

A Republican hasn’t won the presidential race in Hibbing since Hoover,” he said.

Brown was involved with DFL Rep. Tom Anzelc’s re-election bid. Like many DFLers, Anzelc lost — and by a lot, despite pre-election polls that suggested he’d do OK, Brown said.

Brown thinks people involved in politics believed Trump would could do a bit better than the average Republican on the range, but that Democrats would still do all right.

But, he said, “a lot of people who were not leaders, per se … just regular folks, seemed unsure of who might win, and I think of that as a big clue that something was going on in the way people were talking to each other. I think there was kind of a hidden revolution of sorts."

While there weren’t a lot of presidential lawn signs, Trump signs outnumbered Clinton signs by as many as seven to one, Brown said."...

"Minnesota presidential vote by precinct, 2012 and 2016: The maps below visualize the electoral margins of the Republican and Democratic candidates for president in Minnesota in 2012 and 2016. Darker blue or darker red indicates a larger margin of victory for the Democrat or Republicans."


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