Friday, October 26, 2012

Political Money Train

The Political Money Train is unbelievable. Money just keeps pouring in to capture the Presidency and other U.S. and local offices. Do you ever wonder how many people expect to be paid back in one way or another – somehow?
by Charlie Leck

The newspaper I'm reading this morning says that more than 2 Billion -- 2 BILLION -- dollars have been spent on this years presidential campaign. Oh, my!

Let’s get local!
For just a bit here, let’s focus on how some local money is being spent on a small Minnesota State Senate seat over in the community of Edina (ee-dine-a). Granted, this is one of the wealthiest suburban communities in America, but, geez-louise, this is an awful lot of money they are spending over there to win one measly, little State Senate seat.

It’s called Senate District 49. The Republicans are running State Representative Keith Downey for the Senate seat. Melisa Franzen is the Democratic candidate.

Downey has raised approximately $140,000 for the race. That doesn’t sound like a lot compared to the national races, but, believe me, it is. That’s the highest total campaign chest in the state.

Franzen has raised, easily, over 100 thousand. Exact figures will be available sometime early next week. This past Tuesday, Senator Al Franklin was the headliner at a big fund raiser for Franzen.

Now, in a quite liberal state, Edina has always been a bastion of conservative thinking – economically and politically. The chink in this is that it not conservative socially. Edina is a generous community and its people think liberally when it comes to correcting social problems and pushing education and job training. Franzen is trying to take advantage of that thinking. She’s a corporate attorney (Target Corp) and she’s known to be conservative financially; yet, she wants Minnesota to be in the fore-front of correcting societal problems.

Big Democratic dollars have poured into state races this year. Alliance for a Better Minnesota (ABM) and its fund raising partner, Win Minnesota, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and is spreading it around to local candidates. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve given a significant amount of money (for me) to Win Minnesota. The idea is to capture at least one of the two houses of state government this year, if not both!

ABM is placing a number of TV spots that go after Downey. A PAC, Freedom Club, has also run TV ads supporting Downey. TV is expensive and it is unusual to see such ads for local candidates. But, in comes the big money and these little campaigns expand enormously.

The former State Senator from Edina, who gave up his seat, is Geoff Michel. He makes it clear that Democrats don’t have a tinker’s chance to elect a State Senator in Edina. Let’s see if he’s correct.

How much money has been spread around the state?
ABM’s goals are extraordinary, but they’ve raised a lot of money. It will take awhile to see just where that money went. We’ll be able to make pretty accurate guesses after the campaign financing reports come out early next week.

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