DISPATCH OF THE DAY — July 11, 2012 — Ritchie, Quist and Parry . . . oh my!
MARK RITCHIE AND THE END OF THE SOS OFFICE AS WE KNOW IT
Much has been written about Mark Ritchie changing the titles of the Marriage Amendment and the Voter ID amendment. There is not much doubt that either he is in direct coordination with the anti-amendment groups, or at the very least following their lead. While it is disappointing he has engaged in this activity, it is not surprising given how important both of these issues are to the left. I am a little surprised at the ham-handedness with which he has done this, which either shows the strength of his personal feelings, the pressure he is under from the left, or both. For someone who accused his predecessor Mary Kiffmeyer of being partisan he now is the most brazenly partisan Secretary of State in Minnesota history.
Minnesotans have always assumed their elections were being administered in a fair way. As we have seen under the tenure of Mark Ritchie that is simply not the case and the amendment flap is but the latest example. Gone are the days of being able to trust an elected official to administer election activities. As sad as I am to advocate this, perhaps it is time for elections in Minnesota to be run by a truly non-partisan appointed official. Perhaps something a long the line of the model of the Legislative Auditor’s Office; a non-partisan official monitored by the legislature.
If the lawsuits challenging Ritchie are unsuccessful, the consequence of this will be a perversion of legislative intent that sets a horrible precedent and will led to all sorts of mischief in the future. Let’s hope for the sake of our system of representative government that the suits are succesful. Let the debate over the amendments be conducted on a level playing field so that the voters can truly decide these issues.
Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie
QUIST – PARRY PRIMARY HEATS UP
My first blog post was about the Quist – Parry primary. This primary is intriguing to me because it is so rare in the MNGOP to have a high-profile primary in which neither candidate is endorsed. Also because it is likely to be the last hurrah for elective office for Allen Quist — someone who has been a very influential figure in Minnesota Republican politics for the past 18 years. By way of full disclosure, I worked for Allen back in 1995. I was down to my last $100 when Allen called to offer me a job (even if we have not always agreed on things over the years since then, I have always been grateful for that job when I needed it). I also got to know Mike Parry pretty well as his special election was the first “win” of my Chairmanship.
With five weeks to go in this primary things have really started to heat up. Elections are about contrasts, and the candidates are starting to draw those contrasts in public. Parry is being aggressive going after Quist’s record by highlighting a pro gas tax vote in 1986 when Quist was a state representative. Quist fired back by going after Parry for his pro-Racino vote. I think we can only expect to see more of this in the days ahead. It will be interesting to see whose message penetrates to primary votes.
Primaries are tricky things, especially summer time primaries (I miss our September primary). Who is actually going to turn out and vote? Advertising is a shot-gun approach at best in this situation, so I think it really does come down to who does the best job figuring out who is most likely to vote, and talking directly to them.
As a political junkie this really is one to keep an eye on.
Allen Quist Mike Parry