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Huh….Must Be Having Fun!

June 23rd, 2010 by Kevin

How is it that the parade I wasn\’t worrying about because I had over a month to plan became the parade I have less than two weeks to plan?

How about you make this easy for me, anyone want to walk in the Apple Valley parade on Sunday, July 4th?

We\’ll feed you afterwards!!  Yeah, you heard me, free food and pop.


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Posted in Gerlach Campaign, SD37 | 1 Comment »

Beating Your Head Against Slate(S)

March 2nd, 2010 by Pat Staley

I have been a BPOU chair since 2005, and a BPOU-level officer since 2001.  In that time, I have seen “slates” employed at BPOU conventions twice: in the hotly contested gubernatorial endorsement races of 2002 & 2010.

In 2002 both major candidates had slates at my convention.  I was on the “wrong” one for my BPOU, and, as a “new guy” in a re-districted BPOU, I was left as neither a delegate nor alternate for the marathon Pawlenty-Sullivan convention.  I went anyway to see some outstanding political theater- and had the benefit of being able to leave at a reasonable hour.

It struck me that despite there being slates, supporters of both sides got elected from my BPOU, beginning with the most recognized “names” such as elected officials and the top leadership.

Fast forward to 2010 and another contested race for governor.  This time, instead of being on the wrong slate, I was on no slate.  This is because 1) I was and remain undecided and 2) I wanted to be able to chair our convention without the appearance of favoritism.  Despite one candidate concluding his speech with an appeal for my support, I re-iterated my uncommitted status in my long, rambling, “vote for me as a delegate” pitch.  And, I was elected.

It seemed to me that just one of the major candidates organized a slate at our convention.    What occurred confirmed the some of the intuition I had in 2002.

We had 10 of our BPOU executive committee members run.  Nine were elected delegates and one is a high alternate.  Whether they were on a slate or not, these folks got elected.

So, if you are an individual seeking to be a state delegate, the surest route to success in our BPOU was to be active as a BPOU executive committee member. This entire group was elected delegate or a high alternate regardless of their “slating” status.  Almost all of these people ran unopposed for their positions at our convention last year.  Great foresight, and/or a reward for folks that had stepped forward as leaders.

We also had nine people run that I consider “core” folks at our BPOU conventions.  These are people that are at almost every BPOU convention and are names and faces recognizable to many of the local delegates. These include current & former elected officials, former BPOU officers, & “long-time activists”.   Seven were elected.  Again being on a slate would have appeared to have no real impact on whether this tier of folks got elected.

So, does this strategy work for a candidate?  If Minnesota Democrats Exposed’s count is to be believed the candidate whose supporters used the slate went from losing the caucus straw poll in our BPOU to winning the delegate count by a substantial margin.  While part of that was winning over some people who presumably would have been elected anyway, the ability to get the more anonymous candidates across the line was huge.  I think this makes sense since slating combines votes that might otherwise be scattered.

Is it unfair?  Looking down the list of who was not elected I am sure a handful of people might think so as their status might be a step below what it was before due to slating.

As a BPOU chair, I have no idea how I would prevent it.  You can’t stop people from discussing who they might want to vote for whatever the reason.  I guess we could have banned all paper on the floor during this process, and people would have to have the information written on their hands Sarah Palin-style.  Practically, I think there’s no way to prevent it.

I am certain that there are “slated” delegates that will go to the state convention and never show up for anything again.  However in past years we have had people elected without slates that went to the state convention and never showed up for anything again.  From an organizational perspective, I don’t see a big loss here.  The flip side is a “slated” delegate who might not otherwise participate may go to the convention, catch the bug, and decide to stick around and help.

Back to an earlier point- in my BPOU the delegates clearly respected the folks who have worked over time for the benefit of the BPOU- the executive committee.  Incrementally votes may have been gained or lost by being on a slate, but the work was rewarded.  Bottom line: if you want to have influence in the process, becoming active and staying active is the best way to gain it.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Political Mumbojumbo, SD37 | Comments Off on Beating Your Head Against Slate(S)

Slates Aren\’t The Problem

March 1st, 2010 by Kevin

For those of you not involved in the Minnesota political scene, you probably didn\’t realize this last weekend, was the local equivalent of Super Saturday.  Approximately 128% of the BPOUs across the state had their BPOU Conventions, where state level candidates were endorsed and delegates were selected to represent the BPOU at higher party levels.  Those selected delegates actually have a lot of duties, but several stand out.  They pick the higher level GOP candidates such as for US Congress or  Governor, they also amend the party\’s platform and modify the constitution of those organization and other such duties.

So I naturally expected much analysis and punditry about what happened this last weekend.  What I didn\’t expect is a lot of complaining about slates, especially from people who should be used to it by now.  To put it quite simply a slate is a group of people who are running for delegate positions who share a common goal, in this case it\’s who people favor for the MN Governor slot.  You vote for the others on your slate, and they vote for you.  The idea being that you stack the deck with your own people, and try to prevent others from getting a seat at the table.

Quite honestly it\’s one of the oldest and most simple of political strategies.  Sure it\’s slightly distasteful, because even before you walk into the convention you know who you\’re voting for, and it\’s without regard to any other merit than their position on a single issue.  Is it ideal?  No, but it\’s also been part of the world\’s second oldest profession since it started bearing a resemblance to the world\’s oldest profession.  And quite honestly I\’m surprised people still get upset about it.  Especially when those same people show no problem with Get Out The Vote efforts, which anyone that\’s being honest will admit that you absolutely do NOT want to get THE voters out, you want to get YOUR voters out.  Same concept.

Slates are a political reality, but they also reflect the organizational level of a candidate, and a good organization is absolutely critical for any election year.  As a result, slates make sense for more reasons than just getting \”your people\” to the convention.  It also gives the person with the best organization an advantage for endorsement.  And how does one get the best organization?? Volunteers and money.  And both come from having a platform and a set of principles that resonate within the base.

There is a reason that Herwig and Leslie didn\’t have slates that dominated many of the BPOU Conventions this weekend.  They don\’t have an existing organization willing to commit the time and effort to get the work done needed to generate slates.   If a candidate can\’t get a smooth running campaign going in the endorsement process, who are they going to suffer slings and arrows of an election campaign?  Consider it a trial run, and the slate is a report card of sorts.

As to concerns that delegates have more duties than just selecting a candidate in an election year.  Yeah, that\’s true.  What\’s your point?? Are these delegates any less qualified to do that?  Are you implying that because they had the foresight to organize and the political awareness to gain the advantage, they will suddenly lack those abilities when it comes to fulfilling other duties?  No offense but that\’s silly.

And as to protests that the state convention is still two months away, well that\’s true, but again, what\’s your point?  Nobody on those slates have sworn to anything.  They just stated it\’s their current intention to vote for a particular candidate.  Whose to say that doesn\’t change?  Most of the slates were secret, nobody has anything on the line.  It\’s not like they lose face if they switch candidates.  If my current candidate gets caught sitting on a pile of blow next to a dead hooker, guess what?  I\’m switching candidates…and not just because I didn\’t get invited to that party.

Slates are slightly distasteful but they\’ve been around forever, and politics isn\’t a strawberry festival.  It\’s dirty.  It\’s cheap.  It\’s long and arduous and as such if you don\’t have a top notch organization behind you, you\’re in trouble.  Slates don\’t change that, if nothing else they just prove you can handle the most basic of concepts….organizing your supporters.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Political Mumbojumbo, SD37, True North | 3 Comments »

Lindstrom : Because Apologies Are For The Little People

February 17th, 2010 by Kevin

Well, it looks like Mr. Lindstrom saw my post from last night and realized his mistake, when he posted some libelous statements about Tara Mack and attempted to misrepresent what I said.  Instead of owning up to his mistake and admitting it just as publicly as he made them, he\’s silently removed them from his Facebook page.

Guess what Mr. Lindstrom, just because you take it down doesn\’t mean it never existed.  I\’d say you owe Rep. Mack an apology.

Might want to try actually calling her this time though.


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Posted in SD37 | 1 Comment »

Lindstrom : Apparently Confused By The InterWebs

February 17th, 2010 by Kevin

Derrick Lindstrom, the DFL\’s sacrificial lamb for House District 37A, is a apparently a little confused about how these interwebs work.  For being an educator whose big issue is education, Mr. Lindstrom could apparently use some education himself on how the internet works.  In response to my article on him a couple weeks ago, Mr. Lindstrom posted the following on his Facebook page:

In the last week, Rep. have been misrepresenting my words, claiming I am sexist, and attacking me as a father. Tara Mack even went as far as to imply that I was attacking her for not having kids. The most colorful of statements include… He’s hardly what Minnesota needs right now or really ever. For a donation of $…25 our message can reach 250 homes. Will you set the record straight?

Poor Mr. Lindstrom…apparently so confused by something as simple as a blog post.

Let\’s start with the most comical, the statement he attributes to Rep. Tara Mack :

He’s hardly what Minnesota needs right now or really ever.

That\’s a direct quote from my article two weeks ago.  Despite me signing my articles with my name, he apparently still decided to attribute those statements to Rep. Mack.  Despite my website looking nothing like hers, apparently it\’s close enough for Mr. Lindstrom. Despite the fact that I have no association with Rep. Mack, other than her being my legislator, Mr. Lindstrom thinks I\’m the official spokesman for Rep. Mack.  Is someone this clueless really fit for the Minnesota Legislature?

And furthermore Mr. Lindstrom, I\’m not misrepresenting anything.  I\’m using your own words.  If you were misquoted, take that up with the newspaper.  Otherwise let\’s revisit your statements.

As to the me attacking you as a father, I never did that.  Again, I realize you have a problem with the written language but let\’s take a look at what I wrote.

And Mr. Lindstrom, despite being a family man, appears to be hold some rather anti-family priorities.

“Tara missed 27 floor votes, that’s 27 times the people of 37A did not have a voice”

First of all, in the grand scheme of things 27 votes isn’t a huge amount but that’s beside the point.  Rep. Mack missed only two days of the session….so she could attend her grandfather’s funeral when he died unexpectedly.  I know I know…clearly her priorities are a little messed up.  I mean she could attend her grandfather’s military funeral any time, but those 27 votes….well, the world could end.

You attacked Rep. Mack for missing floor votes without bothering to find out why.  She was attending her grandfather\’s military funeral.  But you chose to attack her for that.  So either you knew the reason and still attacked her, making you anti-family.  Or you didn\’t bother to find out the reason, which makes you incompetent.  Your pick!!

And while you may deny attacking Rep. Mack for not having kids, that\’s exactly what you did.  Parentage apparently grants you some sort of magical secret decoder ring to the mysteries of the legislature.  Therefore since you have kids and she doesn\’t, you\’re more qualified?  I\’ve never heard a male politician criticized or marginalized for not having children before, yet in this case it\’s okay?  How about you just stick to pointing out your qualifications (whatever they are) and leave the mudslinging to the pros (that\’s me!).

And because you apparently have problems with comprehension, I\’m typing this last part very slowly for you….

I am not Rep. Tara Mack.  I am Kevin Ecker, Apple Valley resident, local blogger, agent provocateur, and conservative activist.  My thoughts are my own.  If you really have a problem with what I have to say, you can respond to me in the comments.  Or you can continue to complain about me on Facebook, and I can continue to publicly point out your incompetence.

[Crossposted at True North]


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Posted in Minnesota Legislature, SD37, True North | 1 Comment »

Lindstrom : More Talk, Less Substance

February 4th, 2010 by Kevin

As I pointed out a few days ago, precinct caucuses are officially the beginning of the political season.  That\’s right, it\’s time for the phone calling, the door knocking and sadly enough the mud-slinging.  Of course some of it is slung more ineptly and without purpose than others.

Derrick Lindstrom is the sacrificial lamb that the DFL appears to be throwing up (figuratively and/or literally) against first-term Rep. Tara Mack.  He\’s trying to frame himself as a simple family man and a fiscal conservative.  No doubt a winning strategy.  It\’s hard not to like the wholesome image of a family man.  And in this economic climate a fiscal conservative is worth his weight in gold.  Problem is that Mr. Lindstrom appears to be his worst enemy, destroying his image every time he opens his mouth.

No sooner does he announce himself as a fiscal conservative, then he starts talking about raising taxes.

“We need to raise taxes in a sustainable way…the DFL passed the tobacco (fee) increase to get people to stop smoking and to raise revenue. If people stop smoking, there is no revenue.”

That\’s very true, it was a God awful way to raise money in the first place.  But Minnesota is one of the most heavily taxes states as it is, more taxes, however much sense they make, is hardly the answer.  We have a spending problem, not a tax problem.  I shouldn\’t have to explain that to a \”fiscal conservative\”.

And Mr. Lindstrom, despite being a family man, appears to be hold some rather anti-family priorities.

\”Tara missed 27 floor votes, that’s 27 times the people of 37A did not have a voice\”

First of all, in the grand scheme of things 27 votes isn\’t a huge amount but that\’s beside the point.  Rep. Mack missed only two days of the session….so she could attend her grandfather\’s funeral when he died unexpectedly.  I know I know…clearly her priorities are a little messed up.  I mean she could attend her grandfather\’s military funeral any time, but those 27 votes….well, the world could end.

Then Mr. Lindstrom starts attacking Rep. Mack for…..not having children.  For all Mr. Lindstrom knows she has been trying and it just hasn\’t happened, but that\’s hardly the point in any case.  Other than just the pure nastiness of it, there is certainly a sexist streak to it.  I\’m not sure I\’ve ever heard a male politician criticized for not having children.  Yet for some reason it\’s okay here?  Mr. Lindstrom can claim super magical perspectives all he wants, but the fact of the matter is you don\’t need to have children to know that families are hurting all over the state, and that raising taxes on families that are already struggling isn\’t the answer.

When it comes right down to it, Mr. Lindstrom can\’t even live up to his own hype.  And given his tax&spend desires, however, much he claims to be fiscally conservative, he\’s hardly what Minnesota needs right now….or really ever.


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Posted in 2010 Elections, SD37 | 1 Comment »

Post-Caucus, Pre-Crash Roundup

February 3rd, 2010 by Kevin

Great turnout at Precinct Caucuses, and joined a few other attendees to unwind a little afterwards, and exchange impressions of various part of caucuses.  Overall good turnout, lots of enthusiasm, and people volunteering for stuff pretty freely, which is very nice to see.  Lot of enthusiasm and passion for the issues.  Even precincts that typically don\’t turn out lots of resolutions submitted a bunch, which tells me people are very impassioned and engaged in the process.

The turnout was nothing like \’08 (thank goodness!) but for a non-presidential year, very substantial.  And considering the number of people in each precinct, the precinct meetings still lasted quite awhile.  To me that means people are involved and aren\’t just sitting back and letting things happen.  They want to make their voice heard and heard now.

I only got to spend a very short time in my precinct, as most of the night I was running our \”office\” and serving as the collections point.  When I did get a chance to walk around to various precincts I liked the energy I saw.  I liked seeing new names on a lot of the forms.  In fact, early in the night our chair asked how many were attending for the first time, and almost half the room raised their hand.  After every one plus their grandmother turned out for caucuses in \’08, it\’s hard to believe there were still people in the district that had not already attended a caucus.  Somewhere people are still coming out of the woodwork to get involved and it\’s glorious to see.  I only hope we continue to offer them something that they want so they stay involved.

At this point, after a long night and hanging out with other attendees afterwards, it\’s very AM so I\’ll turn it over to you.  For those of you that attended your precinct caucuses (you did….RIGHT????), how did your experiences differ?


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Posted in 2010 Elections, SD37 | 2 Comments »

Meet the 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Candidates!

January 29th, 2010 by Kevin

Here\’s your chance to sit down and chat with your 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Candidates.  Get to know each candidates and their policy positions, as well as any bad table manners they may have, as you join them for an delicious Asian cuisine!

The event will take place this Saturday, January 30th from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Song Long Restaurant, located at:

14871 Granada Drive
Apple Valley, MN 55124

The public is welcome and we only ask $10 at the door, with your meal included in the price.

This is your last chance to get to know the candidates before the 2010 Precinct Caucuses.  Once you know which candidate you support you can go to your precinct caucuses and become a delegate so you can have a chance to support that Gubernatorial candidate in the endorsement process.  If you\’ve complained about the quality of candidates before, this is your chance to get to know the candidates, pick the one you like best and then join the process to make sure they are the one up for election.

If you stay home, not only will you be hungry, but you miss a chance to participate in the democratic process and ensure the GOP has quality candidates going into 2010.

See you there!

[Event is sponsored by the Senate District 37 Republicans]

[Full disclosure : I\’m part of the Senate District 37 Republicans]


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Posted in 2010 Elections, SD37, True North | Comments Off on Meet the 2010 GOP Gubernatorial Candidates!

Hi, I\’m That Guy In The Corner

July 6th, 2009 by Pat Staley

Just to introduce myself, I am the \”guy in the corner\” Kevin described in a post a week or so ago. 

I followed with a longish post about Cap & Tax, but didn\’t introduce myself.

My political claim to fame is that I am a mid-level Republican Party apparatchik in the greater Rosemount area.  I acknowledge that this is fame on par with the guy who works the express checkout at Target, but it does make me a popular phone-conversation-buddy of GOP gubernatorial candidates.

My professional background is as an accounting and finance consultant.  I\’m a CPA and MBA.  Business has been weak this year (Hire Me!), so in my underemployment I\’ve decided to do some blogging.

My biggest interest area, from my financial background, are economics and taxation issues.  This probably compliments Kevin\’s favorite axes of Immigration and 2nd Amendment .

And, for the record, I have yet to meet Drunk Guy.


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Posted in EckerNet Happenings, SD37 | 2 Comments »

Unallotments Announced

June 17th, 2009 by Kevin

So unallotment was already explained, but now the Governor has announced that actual items he plans to unallot.  You can can get the summary and the details here.  Although one of the programs being unalloted is the Political Contribution Refund program.  Basically this program allows each person to make a donation of up to $50 to any political organization or candidate of their choice and the state will reimburse you.

The unallotment take effect on July 1st.  So before that each of you should donate $50 ($100 for you married folk) to some group.  And if you\’re having problems choosing, may I suggest here.  You\’ll be contributing to an effort to get another DFLer out of the state legislature.  It\’s a district Republicans have won in the past and just didn\’t this past year.  So it\’s more than ripe for turnover.  And I can guarantee it\’ll be well spent….cause I\’m one of the people deciding how it gets spent.

You trust me right?? Totally.  So pull out your wallets and checkbooks and get to it!


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Posted in SD37 | Comments Off on Unallotments Announced

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