Filing for Office

Filing for Office

Tips, Hints and One Key Mistake to Avoid!

Candidates for all of Minnesota’s constitutional offices, including State Representative and State Senator, who want their name to appear on the November ballot MUST file an affidavit of candidacy for office between Tuesday, May 20 and Tuesday, June 3. Candidates may withdraw their names from the ballot by by filing an affidavit of withdrawal within 2 days of the end of the filing period, or by Thursday, June 5.

Minnesota Statutes 204B.09 subd.1(d) states “Affidavits and petitions for state offices must be filed with the secretary of state or with the county auditor of the county in which the candidate resides.” This means you can file at the secretary of state’s office located in the State Office Building in St. Paul or at your home county auditor’s office.

Here are some filing suggestions.

  1. The filing fee is $100 for both State Representative and State Senator. Cash, campaign or personal check is accepted.
  2. You must know your district number when filing! If you file in the wrong district, and the paperwork is submitted, you’ll have to withdraw your candidacy and re-file at an additional $100 cost. If you fail to file in the correct district and the filing period ends, you’re out of luck.
  3. DON’T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF USING YOUR LEGAL OR FORMAL NAME WHEN FILING! Instead, use the name by which you are commonly known. For instance, if your legal name is Theodore Andrew McGuire IV, but you are commonly known as Ted McGuire, that is the name you should use.  Don’t use a formal first name such as Stephen, Jonathan, Elizabeth, etc., if everyone knows you as Steve, John or Betty. Don’t add a suffix such as “IV” or “Jr”. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD.
  4. While you don’t have to file the first day, there is no strategic reason to wait. Why not file early — within the first few days — so your opponent knows you’re ready to go! Give him/her something to think about every day.
  5. Bring a camera and take a picture to submit with your filing press release. (Make sure the photo is high resolution and remove the date stamp. Have the photo taken of either you completing the paperwork, handing it to the filing clerk or standing with smile in front of the counter.)
  6. Submit your “filing for office” press release and photo immediately after filing. You are likely to get press so make sure the press release reiterates your “why I’m running for office” message.
  7. The filing fee is a non-campaign disbursement and while it needs to be reported, doesn’t count against your spending limits. Your treasurer should properly code the expense as a non-campaign disbursement on your campaign finance report.

If you have questions about the filing process, or for other ideas that influence, contact us today.

Painless Parade Planning

Why are Parades Important?

  • You have the ability to personally meet and get your name in front of THOUSANDS OF VOTERS
  • You have the opportunity to show energy, excitement and support
  • By working hard at the parade, you can prove to voters you will work hard if elected

Pre-Parade Planning (2+ Weeks Out)

  • Get signed up! Earlier the Better
  • Recruit Volunteers – More is Better!
  • Order Lapel Stickers
  • Order T-­Shirts
  • Order Signs
  • Secure Vehicle to Use
  • Book Photographer
  • Sound System

Pre-Parade Planning (1 Week Out)

  • Doorknock town week before the parade
  • Secure lawn sign locations on main street
  • Recruit volunteers – more is better!
  • Print Parade Program
  • Determine Volunteer Meeting Spot (at end of parade)
  • Shuttle System to Get People to Parade Unit
  • Got Flags?
  • Purchase Candy
  • Purchase Water/Soda for Volunteers
  • Volunteer Reminder Calls (parade line up number if known)

Pre-Parade Planning (Day Before)

  • Wash Parade Vehicle
  • Load vehicle(s) with all supplies (don’t forget umbrellas!)
  • Communicate parade line up number to volunteers

SHOW TIME! – Day of Parade

  • Signs go up early – 3 plus hours before parade
  • Arrive at designated meeting spot a minimum of 90 minutes before parade starts
  • Candidate greets volunteers as they arrive
  • Move parade vehicle(s) and signs, candy, water/soda to line up number and volunteers begin to decorate
  • Distribute t-shirts to volunteers as they arrive and begin to shuttle them to line up area
  • Last shuttle leaves 30-45 minutes before parade starts and brings remaining volunteers and supplies. Drop them off and return to meeting spot at end of parade route
  • 60 minutes before parade starts, candidate, photographer and volunteers walk the parade
  • Volunteers sticker both sides of street
  • Candidate casually works crowd – until parade starts – shaking hands with people on both sides of street – this is prime time for photographs!
  • Candidate joins unit and works parade again from beginning until end
  • One volunteer is the “barker” who announces the candidate along parade route
  • Other volunteers wave signs, pass out lapel stickers and candy, hoot, holler and make noise
  • It’s a parade, not a funeral procession – have fun!

End of Parade

  • THANK THE CANDIDATE (who should be physically and emotionally exhausted if they’ve worked hard)
  • Collect t-shirts from volunteers to be used at next parade (better yet, volunteers walk around at the town celebration all day wearing your t-shirt!)
  • Disassemble parade unit(s)

 Parade DO’S & DONT’S

  • Candidate ALWAYS walks the parade route
  • Hustle back and forth from one side of the street to the other mee?ng voters – show them you will work hard!
  • Don’t fall behind and get separated from your unit!
  • Be organized!
  • There are hundreds or thousands of voters waiting to meet you – avoid the classic parade mistake of standing around and talking to volunteers or other candidates before the parade starts – USE THIS TIME TO MEET VOTERS
  • You should not join your unit until the parade starts

Parade Photo MUST-HAVES

  • Large group of supporters holding signs (near unit)
  • Small groups of supporters holding signs
  • Candidate shaking hands with people along parade route (take many of these)
  • Candidate with military honor guard (1st in line)
  • Candidate with police/fire/EMT/ (2nd in line)


P2B Strategies would like to extend our congratulations to Congressman-elect Chip Cravaack and all our other clients who were victorious on election night.

Congressman Erik Paulsen – CD3
Congressman-elect Chip Cravaack – CD8
State Senator-elect John Carlson – SD4
State Senator-elect Gretchen Hoffman – SD10
State Senator Amy Koch – SD19
State Senator-elect Al DeKruif – SD25
State Senator-elect Carla Nelson – SD30
State Senator-elect Jeremy Miller – SD31
State Senator Julianne Ortman – SD34
State Senator Geoff Michel – SD41
State Senator-elect Michelle Benson – SD49
State Representative-elect Dan Fabian – HD1A
State Representative-elect Carolyn McElfatrick – HD3B
State Representative Larry Howes – HD4B
State Representative-elect Roger Crawford – HD8B
State Representative Torrey Westrom – HD11A
State Representative-elect Mary Franson – HD11B
State Representative-elect Mike LeMieur – HD12B
State Representative Steve Gottwalt – HD15A
State Representative-elect Sondra Erickson – HD16A
State Representative Mary Kiffmeyer – HD16B
State Representative-elect Kurt Daudt – HD17A
State Representative-elect Bob Barrett – HD17B
State Representative-elect Chris Swedzinski – HD21A
State Representative Bob Gunther – HD24A
State Representative Tony Cornish – HD24B
State Representative-elect Glenn Gruenhagen – HD25A
State Representative-elect Kelby Woodard – HD25B
State Representative-elect Mike Benson – HD30B
State Representative Greg Davids – HD31B
State Representative Joyce Peppin – HD32A
State Representative Connie Doepke – HD33B
State Representative Pat Garofalo – HD36B
State Representative Tara Mack – HD37A
State Representative-Elect Kurt Bills – HD37B
State Representative-elect Pam Myhra – HD40A
State Representative Keith Downey – HD41A
State Representative-elect Pat Mazorol – HD41B
State Representative Jenifer Loon – HD42B
State Representative Sarah Anderson – HD43A
State Representative Peggy Scott – HD49A
State Representative-elect Branden Petersen – HD49B
State Representative Tim Sanders – HD51A
State Representative Bob Dettmer – HD52A
State Representative Matt Dean – HD52B
State Representative-elect Linda Runbeck – HD53A
State Representative-elect John Kriesel – HD57A
Judge Larry Clark – 1st District Court 8
School Board Member-elect Teresa Lunt – ISD279
School Board Member-elect Jim Burgett – ISD279
School Board Member elect Jane Bunting – ISD728
County Commissioner Robyn West – Anoka District 3
County Commissioner-elect Deb Roschen – Wabasha District 2
County Commissioner-elect Autumn Lehrke – Washington District 4
Three Rivers Park Commissioner-elect Joan Peters – Hennepin District 3
Three Rivers Park Commissioner-elect John Gibbs – Hennepin District 5
City Council Member-elect Michael Alexander – Goodview
City Council Member-elect Michelle Alexander – Winona
City Council Member Tim Bildsoe – Plymouth
City Council Member-elect Christopher Burns – Woodbury
City Council Member-elect Derrick Lehrke – Cottage Grove
Town Supervisor-elect Mark Eiden – Hassan Seat E
Town Supervisor-elect Dan Hunt – Hassan Seat D

Analysts tussle over election outlook at PIM-sponsored election preview

by Charley Shaw
Politics In Minnesota
Published: August 13,2010

Hours after Tuesday’s DFL primary, the Minnesota GOP launched a TV ad attack calling DFLer Mark Dayton “erratic” and wondering out loud what frequency he was on.

The GOP’s speedy strike is a harbinger of mudslinging to come – or so said the bipartisan panel of political experts assembled by Politics in Minnesota/Capitol Report for a Wednesday afternoon gathering at downtown St. Paul’s University Club.

“I think the race is going to go negative early. It’s going to stay negative for a while, and then I think it will tone down near the end and spike back up again,” said retiring state Rep. Laura Brod, R-New Prague.

Brod was joined on the panel by fellow Republican Gregg Peppin and DFLers Darin Broton and David Lillehaug.

The panelists said they expect well-heeled independent groups to take advantage of post-Citizens United campaign spending rules to pour more money into the gubernatorial race than campaigns and state political parties will be able to match. These third-party spenders, said Broton, are poised to shape the governor’s race.

“I think it will be negative depending on the level of special interest money that flows into this,” he told the audience. “I think that will set the tone for this cycle.”

While political pros are busy right now reading tea leaves, they are upset about how polls and historical voter turnout data contradicted Tuesday evening’s primary results.

Lillehaug said turnout on Tuesday was larger than anticipated and the polls predicted a wider lead for Dayton over DFL-endorsed candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher than actually materialized.

Everyone misjudged turnout

“News organizations need to make more money so they can spend it on better polls,” joked Lillehaug, a Kelliher supporter who had initially backed Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in the DFL endorsement race.

Lillehaug noted that in the 1998 contested DFL primary for governor, 415,000 Democrats turned out. In the 2000 DFL primary battle that Dayton won, 433,000 Democrats turned out. Though expectations for this year’s primary voter turnout were low because of the date change from September to August, 440,000 DFLers cast ballots.

“Everyone was saying we were going to have a substantial drop-off from that. Au contraire,” Lillehaug said.

Regarding Kelliher’s 7,000-vote loss to Dayton, Democrat Broton said one lesson is that the Iron Range still matters. “I think over the last few cycles we’ve seen the percentage of [Iron Range] DFL voters in the primary keep shrinking and shrinking while the percentage in the metro picks up,” he said.

“[On Tuesday] we saw the reverse happen. The DFL primary voters on the Range showed up in massive numbers. They were still high in the Twin Cities but nowhere could they have countered the massive turnout on the Range,” Broton said.

During the audience question segment, attendees wanted to know why the DFL-endorsed candidate and current speaker of the state House lost to Dayton, whose political career had been dormant since he left the U.S. Senate after one undistinguished term.

The answer, according to Lillehaug, was that Kelliher didn’t do enough to challenge Dayton’s simple but effective message.

After the April DFL Convention in Duluth, said the former Clinton-era U.S. attorney, Kelliher “essentially sat on her hands for about two months from a message-development standpoint. Finally there was the minimum wage issue with Representative Emmer that got them going. Even then, it was a week or so before she got the hotel servers up next to her and really took after him on the minimum wage.”

On the point of Kelliher’s lack of message, the Republicans on the panel agreed.

“I think she is regretting, or should be regretting, the fact that she did not define the differences between her and Dayton very early and very continuously and very strongly,” Brod said.

And what about Entenza’s influence on the outcome?

Peppin noted that Entenza did well in southwestern Minnesota counties like Nobles and in blue-collar Twin Cities areas like Minneapolis Wards 4 and 5. Peppin said Kelliher could have possibly wrested nearly 7,000 votes from Entenza if she had done more to contrast herself to him.

“Margaret can plausibly make the case that Entenza cost her the election,” Peppin said.

The Horner factor

With Entenza gone from the picture, the spoiler question shifts to Independence Party nominee Tom Horner.

Horner lines up politically closer to Entenza and Kelliher than to Dayton, Peppin said, and as a result Dayton could lose highly educated, affluent Democratic voters to Horner.

“I believe there are more egg-head, limousine liberals who will go from Dayton to Horner, than there are moderate Republicans that will from Emmer to Horner,” Peppin added.

Independence Party candidates, such as Tim Penny in 2002 and Peter Hutchinson in 2006, have been regarded as spoilers for Democrats. Lillehaug said that Horner hasn’t done enough yet to define his position in the race.

“I don’t really understand the rationale for the candidacy except he’s not left or right. I don’t think he’s going to get much more than any other Independence Party candidate, certainly not as much as Tim Penny,” Lillehaug said.

Legislative races

The panelists also weighed in on the races for Minnesota House and Senate.

Peppin and Brod expressed high hopes for Republicans in the state Senate, who are seeking to win back a chamber they have not controlled in the past 40 years. They’re expecting strong challenges, for example, from former Sen. Sean Nienow’s campaign against Sen. Rick Olseen, DFL-Harris, and from newspaper publisher Ted Lillie’s run against Sen. Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury.

“[Senate Republicans have] kind of languished over time and have become the perpetual minority,” Brod said. “I’ve seen some excitement in the Senate where they’re not OK with being the perpetual minority anymore.”

Broton conceded that Red Wing Mayor John Howe, a Republican who is running for the District 28 seat being vacated Sen. Steve Murphy of Red Wing, and Rep. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, who is running to replace DFL Sen. Jim Vickerman of Tracy in SD 22, will probably win. But Broton said the Senate GOP’s campaign is underfunded.

“The Senate is probably a better opportunity for Republicans than the House. The problem that the Senate Republican Caucus has is they’re broke,” he noted.

The House will experience a “correction” that will cut down the size of its 87-47 DFL majority by a net 10 seats, Broton added. But he went on to say many young House DFL incumbents have gone through two election cycles in the majority that has afforded them time “to build deep roots in their community.”

From a GOP standpoint, Brod characterized the results of the legislative primaries as “ho hum.”

“I don’t know if there’s a story to be told,” she offered, “other than being endorsed matters on the Republican side of the aisle.”

Lillehaug delivered one of the best zingers of the afternoon when he noted that Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, DFL-Fridley, lost after a controversy over fishing restrictions and Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley, lost an intra-party battle in which he drew fire for being openly gay.

“Before the primary season a few months ago, if you would have said there’s one incumbent who would have gone down because of a gay porn star and there’s going to be another incumbent who goes down because of a walleye scandal, [could you] choose which party is which?” Lillehaug said.

Caucus election teams scrambling for an edge

by Briana Bierschbach
Published: August 18th, 2010

Dems play defense, Republicans offense in season of expected midterm backlash

For as long as Republican state Sen. Amy Koch has been alive, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party has held control of the state Senate. The 39-year-old Republican senator from Buffalo – who is heading into her first cycle running elections for the Senate GOP caucus – thinks the tide may finally turn this year.

“I think that the majority is within reach,” Koch said by phone from Delano, where she was in the middle of a lit-drop for GOP candidate Joe McDonald. “I think there is going to be a pretty big shift, if not the biggest shift ever.”

Longtime GOP activist Gregg Peppin of P2B Strategies said the veto-proof 46-21 DFL Senate majority is primed for a flip, and that Koch’s efforts are one big reason.

“She is a recruiter, a cheerleader, a motivator and even leader when she needs to be with these candidates,” he said. “She is absolutely tireless in these efforts.”

Koch isn’t the only one who’s hitting election efforts with fervor. The Senate DFL caucus and both parties’ House caucuses have put their point people to work, recruiting candidates and selling them to as many voters as possible in the months remaining before the general election.

Taking the Senate

Koch is teamed up with political consultant Ben Golnik of Golnik Strategies to handle Senate GOP elections this year. Golnik only recently joined the Senate election team after caucus chief of staff Cullen Sheehan left to become campaign manager for party nominee Tom Emmer’s gubernatorial bid.

Golnik said he is excited to be working with the caucus in a year where Republicans are likely to grab seats “up and down the ticket.” Golnik served as executive director of the Republican Party of Minnesota from 2005 until 2007, and worked on John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid. He started his own firm in 2007, and has since worked on House GOP elections and the failed gubernatorial campaign of former House Minority Leader Rep. Marty Seifert.

Koch and Golnik have a tough DFL match-up in Mike Kennedy and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller of Minneapolis. Kennedy has been with the Senate DFL caucus for more than a decade, working full-time to raise money and elect Democrats to the body.

Since senators usually face elections every four years (they serve two-year terms once a decade due to redistricting), Kennedy spends his time between cycles raising money for DFL candidates. When election season ramps up, he adds recruiting candidates, managing campaigns and targeting voters to the list.

Pogemiller has been aggressively hitting the campaign trail as well, getting out personally to many districts to knock on doors and making calls on behalf of incumbent senators, Senate DFL spokesman Gary Hill said.

Many Republican analysts see higher hopes of capturing a majority in the Senate than in the House. But Kennedy said he is confident the Senate DFL will retain a majority after November, despite dissatisfaction with the Obama White House and Democrats in Congress.

“There is no question that Democrats are running uphill this year, but the hill got a little less steep in the last few weeks,” Kennedy said. “I’m not convinced that the Tea Party and voter anger are going to be a huge factor. That’s certainly not what our local candidates are finding at the doors.”

Wind at their backs

In 2008, state Rep. Matt Dean, R-Dellwood, watched his then 24-year-old legislative assistant, Tara Mack, challenge DFL incumbent Shelley Madore in House District 37A. Dean said he saw Mack all the way through the process, from her initial urge to jump into the race to her ultimate 1,000-vote victory.

Now, he is overseeing elections on a much larger scale, taking on his first cycle as the leader of House GOP caucus election efforts. He is assisted by Ian Marsh, the part-time political director for the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) who helps raise funds and manage campaigns.

Retaking the House for Republicans is no small endeavor. DFLers currently hold an 87-47 majority in the chamber. But the House has proven to be a tumultuous body. It was only four years ago that Republicans lost the speaker’s gavel. Dean thinks Republicans will have more than 60 members after the general election, and possibly as many as 78. (They would need 68 total seats to assume majority status.)

“Since 2004, the wind has been in our face. Now the wind is definitely at our backs, and it’s a welcome change,” Dean said. “We don’t know exactly how many seats we will pick up, but we have our candidates keep their heads down and work as hard as they can, no matter what.”

Dean says that with the help of Minority Leader Kurt Zellers, R-Maple Grove, this year’s candidate-recruitment process was a major success. The caucus managed to win over top-tier candidates that it has courted for a long time, he said. While Dean declined to specifically name those candidates, he said they include mayors, council members, county commissioners and influential members of the business community.

House Majority Leader Tony Sertich of Chisholm is running the House DFL’s election team. Handling day-to-day operations for the caucus is Sean Rahn, who took a leave from his position as legislative director for departing House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher to work full-time on campaigns.

Sertich, like the Senate DFLers, expresses confidence that the DFL will stay in power after November. Their caucus campaign model is the same one Kelliher crafted as House Speaker. That means heavy door-knocking, a strong field game and talking about “bread and butter issues,” Sertich said.

Sertich said the wide-open governor’s race, coupled with the absence of presidential or U.S. Senate contests, will make the state’s 2010 elections hyper-local, an advantage for House DFLers.

“I don’t think our election in Minnesota is going to be nationalized,” Sertich said. “It’s really going to be focused on state issues, and whether you’re talking about education, health care, jobs or the economy, that’s where our members really excel.”

You’re invited! Election Preview & Post Primary Party

Join us for conversation, cocktails and canapes

as we recap the results of Minnesota’s first-ever August primary and look ahead to the general election. Our slate of political experts will weigh in on the state’s key races – from legislative and gubernatorial contests to U.S. House.

Managing Editor Steve Perry will moderate a discussion with key political panelists:

  • David Lillehaug – Fredrikson & Byron
  • Darin Broton – Tunheim Partners
  • Gregg Peppin – P2B Strategies
  • Representative Laura Brod – MN House of Representatives

Click to register online.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010:
The University Club St. Paul – Downtown Clubhouse
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
3:30 pm Registration – 2nd Floor
4:00 pm -5:00 pm – Panel Discussion – Grand Ballroom, 2nd Floor
5:00 pm -6:00 pm – Social Hour- heavy hors d’oeuvres and Cash Bar

$35 – Pre-register by Friday, August 6, 2010
$50 – at the door

Click to register online.

For additional event information contact:  Courtney Freng 612-584-1574

47 Lessons Learned in Politics

  1. A successful campaign must have a strong, but adaptable strategy that can be put onto paper.
  2. There is no such thing as a bandwagon effect—people will not choose to cast their vote for you simply because they believe you will win. The reverse is more likely to be true.
  3. A united party is essential for victory. If you have a contested nomination, you must secure the endorsement and support of the unsuccessful candidate(s).
  4. Timing is critical. Use sound reasoning on when and where to take positions and make statements.
  5. If something works, use it until it stops working, i.e. certain ads, messages, etc. The opposite is also true; if something is broken, admit it and fix the problem immediately.
  6. Make sure you message is clear, simple and effective. Successful campaigns will target specific groups with a specific message, but all messages should be easily understood by everyone.
  7. Negative attacks are better left to third parties and friendly media, if possible. You should be viewed by voters as the “nice guy.” (see also #23 and #27)
  8. Do not underestimate the power of radio. While there are flashier advertising mediums, few give you better bang for your buck.
  9. Unpopular national administrations often have a significant impact. If you are facing this challenge, you must successfully localize your campaign.
  10. Perception trumps reality every time. It doesn’t matter what you are as much as what voters think you are.
  11. Every aspect of your campaign should remain as simple as it can be, while still being effective.
  12. Secure the votes of your base before going after other votes.
  13. After securing your base, don’t be afraid to invade opposition territory. If you speak to a group of 100 Democrats, you won’t lose any votes, but you may gain a couple.
  14. What you say in one corner of your district will be heard in the others.
  15. Don’t self-destruct. Always choose words carefully.
  16. Do not allow your opponents charges to go unrefuted. Between the candidate, the campaign and third parties, all opposition charges should be answered before they are repeated and stick.
  17. Use endorsements primarily to compensate for your perceived weaknesses i.e., if you are a white collar businessman in rural Minnesota, secure the endorsement of prominent farmers and blue collar workers.
  18. Do not promise more than you can deliver during the campaign. Your credibility is put at risk.
  19. Know your own limitations and be willing to rely on outside expertise.
  20. No campaign is perfect and mistakes will happen. Decide immediately how to address the issue, keeping in mind that the best option is often to move on and forget about it.
  21. Dominate the dominant medium.
  22. Make sure your campaign is fun. Nothing hurts campaign morale and volunteerism more than boredom or pessimism.
  23. If you are going to go negative, your own credibility must be established first. Negative campaigning will backfire if voters do not find you believable.
  24. Voters are smarter and know more than you think. Provide them with information and a reason to vote for you.
  25. You cannot start your campaign too early. If you start late, you do not have fewer things to do, only less time in which to do them.
  26. Be confident, but never overconfident. Overconfidence will harm your perception among voters and hurt volunteer turnout. “I believe I will win, but the election will come down to the wire.”
  27. Do not oppose every position or statement by your opponent. Choose carefully, but make it hurt when you do respond.
  28. If you do not have a natural powerbase, you must start to build one immediately.
  29. You will never please everyone. This is true among voters as well as your campaign advisors.
  30. If you are a second, third, fourth-time candidate, avoid fighting the last campaign. Every campaign is different and you will need to adjust to the current climate.
  31. Just because you made a public statement doesn’t mean anyone heard it or remembers it. Stay with your message and repeat it often.
  32. Make sure you have an immediate communications system. Know how and where to contact essential campaign advisors.
  33. Be polished in explaining why you are running for office.
  34. Be ready to use late breaking news or recent developments to your advantage, but use discretion. Not all news stories are appropriate for immediate use by a political campaign.
  35. Although you should spend as much money as Minnesota law allows, how you spend your money is more important. A House or Senate candidate who spends $5,000 on fancy letterhead or a campaign headquarters is at an immediate disadvantage.
  36. All voices in a campaign are not equal. Different campaign advisors will have different levels of expertise and must be weighted accordingly.
  37. You need to have at least a basic understanding of the politically charged issues facing Minnesota. Always be able to recite the following:  What is wrong with the state, county, city, etc.?  What you will do to fix it?  Why your fix is better than your opponent’s?
  38. Every step the campaign takes must have a reason. The following questions should be answered:Why is the step being taken?  What do we gain from the step?  What are the consequences of not taking the step?  What are possible drawbacks of taking the step?  Is the step the best use of time and money?
  39. You need to have hundreds of good photos of yourself engaging in different activities around your district. Your portfolio must include a great headshot. More people will see your picture than meet you in person.
  40. Preempt negatives that are sure to be used against you in the campaign, but don’t volunteer negatives that may not be used by the opposition.
  41. Know what your opponent is doing. Keep track of the opposition’s public documents, lit pieces, public statements, finances, etc.
  42. Your enemy’s enemy may not be your friend. Carefully verify any information that comes from a former associate of your opponent.
  43. A positive public visual image is essential. Groom and dress neatly, drive a vehicle appropriate for your district, etc.
  44. Let your spouse/family take any reasonable role with the campaign that they choose. Your campaign will be miserable if you don’t keep the support of your family.
  45. This is your campaign and you have the right to make final decisions.
  46. The only way people will donate to your campaign is if you ask them to. Either you must self-finance your campaign or you must ask for money from others.
  47. Use the words “thank you” liberally. Always thank volunteers, staff, donors, etc., if you want future aid from them.

Adapted from Joe Napolitan’s “Napolitan’s Rules: 112 Lessons Learned From a Career in Politics” as published in “Winning Elections.” Joe Napolitan is a longtime political advisor and a founder of the political consulting industry.

The most crowded primary in state history?

Politics in Minnesota – Ever since nine candidates signed up to run in the DFL primary in Senate District 67, PIM’s been trying to pin down the largest such field in state history. With the help of Robbie LaFleur at the Legislative Reference Library, we thought the puzzle had been solved: Matt Dean survived a 10-candidate state House primary to win the GOP nomination in 2003. (Somehow he even managed to get more than 50 percent of the vote.)

But Republican campaign guru Gregg Peppin, who runs the consulting firm P2B Strategies, points out a contest that we’d overlooked. In 1994, Tom Bakk emerged from an 11-candidate DFL primary in House District 6A. The Iron Range race was tightly contested: three other challengers — Lee Ramsdell, Bill Kosiak and Paul Kess — trailed Bakk by less than 400 votes.

Of course, Bakk went on to win a state Senate seat in 2002 and currently chairs the Taxes Committee. He also was among this year’s crowded field of DFL gubernatorial contenders.

Originally posted by Paul Demko on July 9, 2010 | Permalink

13 could be lucky number for Senate GOP

Politics in Minnesota – Caucus hopes to end a four-decade run in minority

Around convention time in the spring, Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, boasted that his caucus would retake the chamber’s majority in November. Considering Senate Republicans’ 38-year stranglehold on minority status, and the 13 seats that his troops will need to gain to make good on the pledge, it amounts to a tall order.

Republican insiders are touting a strong candidate recruiting class and a number of close 2006 contests in the 67-member chamber as reason for optimism, but a number of Republicans have their doubts about whether it will actually come to pass. One party insider told Capitol Report the Senate GOP could pick up four seats on the low end and possibly as many as 10 seats.

But longtime GOP political operative Gregg Peppin of P2B Strategies goes further: He thinks Republicans can take the full monty. “I think [a Republican takeover] is very definitely within the realm of possibility,” he said. “If you go down the map [of competitive races], the Senate [GOP] has top-tier candidates in virtually all those races.”

Senate DFL Caucus Director Mike Kennedy pointed out that the GOP has its own share of incumbents who squeaked by in the last election and will face strong DFL challengers again.

The GOP is sure to target seven seats that the DFL won by 5 percentage points or less the last time around: Sens. Mary Olson (SD 4), Lisa Fobbe (SD 16), Rick Olseen (SD 17), Ann Lynch (SD 30), John Doll (SD 40), Terri Bonoff (SD 43) and Leo Foley (SD 47).

Six other DFL incumbents won in 2006 by 10 points or less: Sens. Kevin Dahle (SD 25), the retiring Steve Murphy (SD 28), Jim Carlson (SD 38), Don Betzold (SD 51), Sandy Rummel (SD 53), and Kathy Saltzman (SD 56).

Conversely, though, five current GOP senators won by 5 percent or less in 2006: Bill Ingebrigtsen (SD 11), Joe Gimse (SD 13), David Hann (SD 42), Michael Jungbauer (SD 48), Ray Vandeveer (SD 52), and Debbie Johnson (SD 49) who is not running for re-election. While those races may have tightened because of the unpopularity of the Bush Administration at the time, it’s far from certain that the GOP will hold on to all of its incumbent seats. While those districts lean Republican in most cases, DFLers are touting candidates like Ham Lake Mayor Paul Meunier.

Observers from both sides of the aisle have noted that the GOP has fielded a formidable candidate in suburban newspaper executive Ted Lillie, who is challenging Saltzman. (Lillie’s brother, Leon, is a DFL rep from North St. Paul.) Republicans are likewise touting another candidate from the business community, Roger Chamberlain, who is a senior corporate tax accountant with Amerprise Financial in Minneapolis. Chamberlain is challenging Rummel.

Republicans have also put up two former legislators in Sean Nienow, who’s set for a rematch with Olseen, and former Rep. Carla Nelson, who is challenging Lynch.

One factor to watch: the Senate Republicans’ reshuffled campaign elite. Sen. Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, has won plaudits for the job she’s done since taking the lead role in candidate recruitment. The caucus has also brought Norm Coleman Senate campaign manager Cullen Sheehan on board as chief of staff.

For a complete rundown of House and Senate districts where DFLers won by 10 points or less in the last cycle, see the chart on page 2 of this issue.

Notes from the trail

In its rundown of 2010 state legislative races, the national magazine Governing predicts the DFL will likely retain control of both houses of the Minnesota Legislature. But the mag’s analysis deems it plausible that the GOP could return to power, particularly in the House:

“The Democrats are still favored to hold both chambers in Minnesota, but amid much angst over the state’s fiscal situation, a shift of control — especially in the House — isn’t out of the question. A determining factor could be how much blame voters place on the Democrats as opposed to outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.” Republicans need a net pickup of 21 seats to assume control in the House….

In a heated GOP primary battle in District 29A, the candidate who is challenging the endorsed candidate could be vulnerable to sniping about a bankruptcy in her past.

Kerry Stoick, who is challenging the party’s chosen candidate, Duane Quam, was open with delegates about her foreclosure during the convention and said she has worked to correct her financial affairs, according to a GOP source.

“I was very honest about it in my endorsement campaign,” Stoick averred to Capitol Report, and she added that she does not expect her opponent to try to make a campaign issue of the bankruptcy.

Whether the foreclosure will turn into political baggage remains to be seen. A story last month in the Rochester Post Bulletin about the 29A primary race didn’t refer to Stoick’s bankruptcy. But it’s nonetheless registering on some people’s radar: A commenter on the site alluded to the bankruptcy issue and added that Stoick “should solve the money management issue.”

There are a couple of fundraisers in the offing to benefit legislative candidates in hotly contested races in Eagan. District 38, on the south side of the Minnesota River, is represented entirely by DFLers. That’s a switch from 2004, when the GOP controlled the entire suburban district.

On Monday Ted Daley, who is running against Sen. Jim Carlson, DFL-Eagan, will raise money at the Eagan home of Sandy and Gary Wiese. Contributions are $50 per person and $80 per couple. Diane Anderson, who is challenging Rep. Sandy Masin, DFL-Eagan, will raise money Tuesday at Granite City Food and Brewery. Minority Leader Kurt Zellers and conservative bloggers and radio hosts Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey are expected to attend. On Thursday, Senate President Jim Metzen, DFL-South St. Paul, and Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, are holding a fundraiser for Masin at the home of Eagan City Council member Meg Tilley….

Not only are people writing lots of checks in Eagan, they’re also planting lots of campaign lawn signs. Apparently too many, at least for the tastes of Mayor Mike Maguire. The Pioneer Press quotes Maguire as saying the signs are “real visual noise out here in the suburbs.” He’s asking candidates to pledge to forego campaign lawn signs until Labor Day….

There are few races in which candidates’ notable names precede them as emphatically as in the District 57 Senate race in the suburbs south of St. Paul. The area is represented by state Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Newport. She comes from a local political dynasty that includes her father, former Rep. Mike Sieben, and her uncle, former House Speaker Harry Sieben, Jr.

Sieben is being challenged by a name that is also famous, especially to those in the hockey-loving suburbs. Karin Housley will be the Republican on the ballot in November. Her husband, Hall of Fame hockey player Phil Housley, is the second-leading scorer in NHL history and is considered the peer of legendary defensemen like Chris Chellios and Ray Borque. Perhaps fortunately for Sieben, Housley coaches high school hockey outside the district in Stillwater….

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the members of the DFL-dominated City Council will hold a fundraiser for the House DFL Caucus on Monday. The event at Sweeney’s Saloon in St. Paul will feature eight members of St. Paul’s legislative delegation. Suggested contributions are $100, $250 and $500.

When reporters ask campaigns and caucus officials for the final tally of money collected at fundraisers, they almost always decline to be specific. So it was unusual when GOP candidate Tim Utz said in an e-mail that he raised $1,300 at a fundraiser in Columbia Heights attended by GOP gubernatorial endorsee Tom Emmer. Utz is running in House District 50A against incumbent DFL Rep. Carolyn Laine.

Originally posted by Charlie Shaw on July 9, 2010 | Permalink

The first 26 steps every smart candidate should take

The first 26 steps every smart candidate should take

  1. Prepare your family for the rigors of your run for office. Specifically, discuss what role your spouse will play in the campaign.
  2. Make arrangements for the impact of a campaign on your work life and financial affairs.
  3. Seek advice from those who have run for office before.
  4. Make the irrevocable decision to run and run as hard as you can.
  5. Be able to articulate your reason for running in 25 words or less.
  6. Begin to raise money. Make a list of potential donors.
  7. Consider the possibility of making a loan to your campaign
  8. Complete a detailed and accurate resume.
  9. Complete a 2-3 page autobiography.
  10. List possible strengths and weaknesses for yourself and your opponent.
  11. Begin acquainting yourself with local delegates.
  12. Find or create adequate space (without cost!) that can be used exclusively as a campaign headquarters.
  13. Assemble a campaign committee starting with at least a campaign manager and treasurer.
  14. Compile a local press list: TV, radio, newspapers.
  15. Take a tour of your district. Make notes of your findings (i.e. schools, senior homes, business districts, etc.) Secure photos of yourself at these locations.
  16. Begin to research state and local issues that affect your district.
  17. Assemble a volunteer group. Letter writers, parade walkers, doorknockers, etc.
  18. Working with your campaign manager, develop and write down your campaign plan detailing a budget and strategy.
  19. Create the simple message that will be your rationale for running for office during the campaign.
  20. Design campaign logo and slogan.
  21. Announce your candidacy.
  22. Prioritize precincts. Look at district demographics and list precincts from best to worst.
  23. Prepare yourself physically and mentally for the day-to-day grind. Campaigns are a marathon, not a sprint.
  24. Have as a goal the completion of at least one thing each day for your campaign. It may be big, it may be small, but do at least one thing each day.
  25. If you have a faith, practice it. Go to church weekly to stay grounded and remember what is really important.
  26. HAVE FUN! It’s government. How bad can we really screw it up anyway?

(Adapted in part from Ron Faucheux’s The First 25 Steps Every Smart Candidate Should Take, as printed in Campaigns & Elections Magazine)