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Friday, February 03, 2006

Does Hatch Use Staff from his Taxpayer Funded AG Office for Campaigning?

Mike Hatch was on Air America again this morning. I tried to call in to ask whether he is using attorney general staff to do campaign duties. The call screener wouldn't put me on the show.

Craig Cox suggests that the State Auditor might be investigating Mike Hatch's office to check out these allegations. It's about time.

January 31, 2006

We were only half-joking the other day when, speculating with a local political wag about Patty Wetterling’s apparent ambivalence about joining the Mike Hatch ticket, we suggested that “maybe she’s looking for a ticket that might win.” Well, sure enough, we learn today that Wetterling has turned down Hatch’s overture, mumbling something about the lieutenant governor post not being the best venue for her child advocate work.

Wetterling certainly knows a lot more about the politics of children’s advocacy than we do, but it’s hard to imagine a better position than the state’s second-highest elected office for calling attention to those issues. We wonder if her decision might have had more to do with the entrance of Independence Party candidate Peter Hutchinson into the gubernatorial race and the likelihood that a Hatch ticket will fare about as well in November as the Roger Moe-Julie Sabo ticket fared four years ago.

Today’s poll showing that Gov. Tim Pawlenty edges Hatch 47-44 in a two-person race certainly does nothing to mitigate those concerns. Hutchinson is sure to cut into Hatch’s DFL support more than Pawlenty’s GOP base (though some observers argue that Hutchinson has secured a solid base of moderate Republicans), so maybe Wetterling saw the writing on the wall. (There are also rumors floating that the Hatch campaign may be facing an investigation by the state auditor over allegations that he is using his office for campaign work.)

Electoral prospects notwithstanding, Wetterling may have just had a problem working with Hatch. We’re told by sources close to the Wetterling campaign that she was furious that Hatch leaked their meeting to the press and suggested that Wetterling was never really serious about accepting the offer.

Now it seems more likely that Wetterling will run in the Sixth District congressional race, which will not be welcomed by Elwyn Tinklenberg, a conservative DFLer who Wetterling had assured months ago she would not challenge. This will not amuse conservative DFLers in the district who saw in Tinklenberg a pro-life, pro-gun candidate they could get behind. Wetterling and her staff are reportedly planning a meeting with Tinklenberg to smooth the waters before making a formal announcement.

Tinklenberg is also an anti-gay Michele Bachmann wannabee. So far Michele Bachmann and Elwyn Tinklenberg are the only candidates who have taken a public stand in favor of the Federal Bachmann amendment. The other Republican legislators running for the seat have the voting record of supporting the state constitutional amendment. Jim Knoblach appeared in the MFC Bachmann amendment promotion piece.

A commenter responded to a recent post on Tinklenberg:

So does Wetterling's entrance into the race mean that Eva is supporting Patty if she takes GLBT friendly positions?

Where DO 6th CD candidates from both parties actually stand on this issue?

Silence, ala Esmay, Knoblach, and Krinkie, is not a position.

BTW, Krinkie's official campaign blog selected highlights from Tuesday night's SOTU speech-- included was the passage about supporting "traditional" marriage and opposing "activist judges" who threaten it.

Doesn't that imply support for the federal Bachmann Amendment?

I'm not supporting any candidate in the 6th District. It's hard to interpret Krinkie's blog on this. Bush's speech mentioned activist judges, and traditional marriage, but didn't mention the Federal Marriage Amendment (which is an area where Bush and Cheney disagree). I sent the following email to the Krinkie campaign.

From the blog - Krinkie highlighted these areas of agreement with Bush:

"Many Americans have deep concerns about the direction of our culture. They are concerned about the unethical conduct of public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. We must never give into the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that."

Does Krinkie agree with the President or Vice President on the Federal Bachmann amendment?

I'll keep you posted if I get a response.