Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

Minn. GOP chair race getting hot, hot, hot

Good morning.

Current GOP Chairman Keith Downey sent a letter, which I've obtained, to a party committee, and it's a catalogued oppo dump on Chris Fields, the party's current deputy chairman and a candidate for chair in Saturday's election in St. Cloud. Downey isn't running for reelection, but he clearly doesn't want Fields to win. His letter, including many pages of attachments, lays out Fields' "judgment," his "performance in agreed-upon key responsibilities," and his "treatment of party officer responsibilities." My fave in the "judgment" file, an attached email with this line from Fields: "No, I am not threatening acts of violence." When I called Fields, he declined to respond directly, only saying that he's helped MN GOP campaigns raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and as chair will happily support Downey if the latter is the endorsed candidate for governor. The Downey letter, which I'm told is pretty much unprecedented, was first reported by GOP activist Jeff Kolb over the weekend. I'll have a blog post later this morning with more.

The race for chair, by the way, looks like it's coming down to Fields and former Sen. David Hann in the homestretch. More on the race later this week.

Chatter on my first day back about House Speaker Kurt Daudt wavering about running for governor, now looking at the Eighth Congressional given the strong possibility that Rep. Rick Nolan is running for governor. A GOP source: "Not sure how real it is, but I’ve heard it."

Related, perhaps? Former governor and current lobbyist for the Masters of the Universe Tim Pawlenty will make remarks at a breakfast in Eagan next month.

Richard Painter, the U law prof who worked as an ethics lawyer in the Bush (W) White House, announced on Twitter he's thinking of running for Congress in the Second. In a brief phone interview, he tells me he's frustrated with the lack of oversight in Congress of the new Trump administration. Earlier this year he sued Trump for allegedly violating the Constitution. He says he's an older style Eisenhower Republican -- he has some Illinois roots, so I dubbed him a Dirksen Republican, but he didn't take to it. Still mulling his plans, he said.

Conference committees continue to work at the Capitol in St. Paul today. In the words of a GOP legislative source: "House and Senate Republicans have to unify their legislative positions -- expect there to be some Republican on Republican violence. Low level violence, but violence none the less."

I ran into an administration official in the hallway who said for now Gov. Mark Dayton is waiting on the House and Senate to come to an official position on all the tough issues before he will begin negotiating. Which is the play here -- let the other guys fight it out before you enter the fray. (In the same conversation: More praise for Senate GOP Majority Leader Paul Gazelka!)

Dayton today has breakfast with DFL legislative leaders, a meet with Rep. Paul Marquart and then a meet with Daudt and Gazelka.

The House voted to ban state funded abortions, Ricardo Lopez reports. Unclear if there are votes in the Senate, and a veto is coming anyway.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says she was a childhood victim of child abuse, in an election year Facebook post. Reporters Adam Belz and Emma Nelson got an expert to say the obvious:

But since Hodges’ revelation came with no new initiative, specific local event or in-depth interview — things that could help explain the context for the sudden announcement — LaMarre said she opens herself to criticism from cynics and opponents.

Uncontroversial hypothesis: Minneapolis politics is increasingly not about your ideas or your plans for execution, but how marginalized you are due to your group and/or life experience. Related: Dueling accusations of "vote suppression" in Cano council district: Adam Belz.

Strong baby humor here: Panicked Newborn Didn’t Realize Breathing Would Be On Apgar Test.

I've been asserting this for years, but now Jack Shafer et al. have the data to back it up: Newspapers were once the fount of media jobs, and they were relatively well geographically dispersed. But in the past decade, newspaper jobs have disappeared, while internet media jobs have increased. Those newspaper jobs were all over the country. The new internet media jobs are almost all in elite coastal cities. So, yes, there is a media bubble, but it has more to do with the economics of media and the internet than ideology. But that doesn't change the reality that, yes, an increasing number of media professionals live in the bluest counties. Important piece.

We're at work, and we're not really friends, and that scowl on my face is because I'm thinking hard about something and anyway I hate fake smiles. Now, according to this revelatory piece in Quartz, the evidence is in that being a grump at work isn't so bad after all.

Research also suggests being forced to fake happiness for long periods of time can cause physical and emotional health problems, from depression to cardiovascular conditions. Susan David, author of Emotional Agility and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, has spoken at length about the dangers of simply putting on a happy face every morning. Fighting negative emotions, or suppressing them, will not make us happier, she says. “People who focus on being happy actually, over time, become less happy,” David said recently. “To be clear, I’m not anti-happiness. It’s more that our happiness comes not as a goal, but as a byproduct of engaging in honesty with ourselves.”

More tomorrow, including your parenting advice.

Correspond: patrick.coolican@startribune.com and @jpcoolican.

Have a great day all.

-- J. Patrick Coolican