Republicans talk about Election Day losses in Legislature, amendments

Republicans expressed a certain mystification over the thumping they took on Election Day.

“Nobody saw it coming,” said Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, a 14-year veteran of the House, of Republicans losing the Legislature, a congressman and two amendments.

“I was surprised,” said Jeff Johnson, Minnesota Republican National committeeman and Hennepin County commissioner. “Honestly, I don’t know (what happened).”

What happened, for sure, was Republicans had a bad night.

After languishing for some 40 years under a Democratic majority in the Senate, Senate Republicans two years ago seized control in the Republican-wave election and spoke of a new era. But the era was more of an interlude.

Republican Senate election “losses” included Ted Daley in District 51 (Burnsville and Eagan) and Chris Gerlach in District 57 (Apple Valley, Rosemount and a portion of Lakeville), who resigned from the Senate earlier this year.

The District 57 seat was won by former Rosemount High School Principal Greg Clausen, who is the first DFL senator in the Apple Valley-Rosemount since 1989.

In the House, the list of the Republican fallen includes Diane Anderson (District 51A), Doug Wardlow (District 51B) and a House seat created by redistricting that was won by DFLer Will Morgan, a past state representative from Burnsville.

“I don’t think it was a lack of work ethic,” Johnson said. “Our candidates didn’t leave anything out there. And it wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm.”

Rep. Mary Kiffmeyer, R-Big Lake, points to the presidential race as a source of loss of Republican steam.

“This time the October surprise was a hurricane,” Kiffmeyer said, blaming Hurricane Sandy for sapping the momentum of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Kiffmeyer, who carried the photo ID amendment in the House, believes in regard to the failed amendments, photo ID and the marriage amendment, it wasn’t the case of doing one amendment when they should have done the other.

“I don’t think it would have made any difference at all,” Kiffmeyer said.

Abeler views several things revolving around the amendments that could have added to Republican misfortunes.

For one thing, the marriage amendment invigorated college students in a way President Barack Obama was no longer doing.

“It was something to rally around,” Abeler said.

Beyond this, Abeler wonders whether Republican leaders asked enough questions from the groups who wanted to see the amendments on the ballot.

For instance, did someone inquire into whether photo ID supporters had the financial means to counter attacks on the amendment, such as from former Republican Gov. Arne Carlson, they should have known were coming.

As for the marriage amendment, Abeler doesn’t believe Minnesota churches backed the amendment to the same degree that churches in other states did.

Abeler argues the House could reverse back in two years.

“I presume the DFL will overreach,” Abeler said.

Abeler believes voters by next election will be thinking about DFL tax increases, perhaps same-sex marriage legislation and other social issues.

“They’re (Democrats) going to have the same problems with the left that we had with the right,” Abeler said.

Johnson believes Republicans can bounce back.

He said Republicans first need to analyze what they’re doing, possibly reshape its message and reestablish its finances.

And this can be achieved, Johnson said.

Kiffmeyer indicated that she has no intentions of abandoning photo ID.

“I’ll take the governor at his word,” Kiffmeyer said of Gov. Mark Dayton who has committed to crafting a bipartisan photo ID legislation.

Republicans were caught off-guard by the election results.

“I think the planets all lined up,” Abeler said. “Everything that could go bad went bad.”

  • TAXPAYER28

    The Republic is lost to the mob. If you can’t beat them join them….go Galt

  • Happy Eaganite

    Did you know Ayn Rand was an atheist and thought religion was a degradation of man? I’ve never been able to figure out how conservatives came to idolize her. Can you help me out, TP28? Oh and thanks for paying your taxes that pay for the police and fire depts., and to help keep our roads paved and bridges safe.

    • Jan Dobson

      1) It’s your right, Happy Eaganite, to discriminate against a person because of her religious beliefs. I don’t recommend it, but it is your right.

      2) Rand’s ideas are revered by those of us who embrace American style free market Capitalism. It’s an economic thing. It’s a morality thing. Her attitudes toward religion were her own business and are not really relevant.

      3) Karl Marx, granddaddy of redistributionists, disdainfully referred to religion as the “opiate of the masses.” With that in mind, do your religious prejudices also prevent you from supporting policies of redistribution of wealth practiced by the current administration?

    • TAXPAYER28

      Rand’s main objection on religion had more to do with the religious left’s use of guilt tripping people into an altruistic philosophy. She was an atheist who didn’t find it reasonable to use super-natural experiences to explain for the unknown. The principles of freedom and objectivism are common to those who practice dispensation biblical study. This really has little to do with “conservative” political views. The republican platform is not of much use when looking at candidates because few follow them.
      Happy Eaganite, can you define what a Republic is and the difference between a republic and a democracy? How about Federalism, do you see it being practiced today?

  • RollieB

    If a black Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector’s in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don’t think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.

    • Jan Dobson

      Why are you trying–yet again–to put a racial spin on something that has nothing to do with race?

      • RollieB

        If a Republican president had come in, helped turn around the banking and auto industries (at a profit!), insured millions through the private sector while cutting Medicare, overseen a sharp decline in illegal immigration, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, reinstituted pay-as-you go in the Congress, set up a debt commission to offer hard choices for future debt reduction, and seen private sector job growth outstrip the public sector’s in a slow but dogged recovery, somehow I don’t think that Republican would be regarded as a socialist.

        • TAXPAYER28

          It is yet to be determined whether the auto industry is well, the investors were robbed but the unions were bailed out. Had bankruptcy laws been allowed to work as designed the auto makers would have been able to restructure sustainable union contracts that would have done a better job of “saving the industry”. There is also the reality of the bailed out getting subsidies paid for by their competitors, wow is that redistribution or what. As far as private insurance, you apparently are unaware of the laws unintended consequences: insurance companies doubt if they will survive which is what is intended.
          This law is written in such a way as to lead to universal healthcare, nothing less.

  • Happy Eaganite

    I’m not sure how I am discriminating against anyone, just pointing out some contradictions that I can’t comprehend. Such as many public political figures who are public about both their faith in a god and also their faith in the philosophy of Ayn Rand. And like you say about Ayn Rand, my religious preferences are my own business and not relevant. Do you have any salient points? Redistribution of wealth…a euphemism meaning what exactly?

    • Jan Dobson

      1. Sorry, Happy Eaganite. I mistook the suggestive phrasing of your first two sentences as meant to convey a point. Thanks for clearing things up. I understand now that you have no point, only a lack of comprehension.

      2. Also, faith in God is completely different than adherence to an economic philosophy. The comparison of the two is too flawed to qualify even as an apples and oranges kind of deal.

      3. Redistribution of wealth isn’t a euphemism. It’s the cornerstone of both Marxism and Obama’s governing style.

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