Politics with J. Patrick Coolican

GOP to question MNsure's voter registration efforts

Good morning.

Hope you had a nice weekend. Thanks for asking: anniversary dinner at Heartland, walked through a corn maze, Irish had a blessed bye week, Cubs won the pennant, connected with some old friends.

KSTP poll puts Stewart Mills up on Rep. Rick Nolan by 4. (Hauser notes that Nolan trailed by 8 in their final 2014 poll but won anyway.) The question is whether the Clinton drag in the district (she was trailing by 11 in KSTP poll of the 8th Congressional in September) wipes out the superior DFL ground game. This could also affect other down ballot races like Rep. Tom Anzelc.

House graphic and Senate graphic.

House GOP will hold a news conference this morning at 10: A press conference raising questions about cost, staff time, and other resources being dedicated to voter registration mailings Minnesotans have been receiving from MNsure ahead of next month's critical open enrollment period.

Easy hit here: The individual market is a mess and MNsure is too busy trying to sign up DFL voters to do anything about it. (The issue is the individual market, not MNsure, per se, but nevermind the nuance; this keeps MNsure in the news for another day.)

Push back from Linden Zakula, Gov. Mark Dayton’s Deputy COS: “House Republicans should know that for the past thirty years, state law has required agencies to provide voter registration materials to people who request them.  This failure to understand a statutory responsibility demonstrates once again that House Republicans know almost nothing about state government."

Administration citing this statute: 201.162 DUTIES OF STATE AGENCIES.

The commissioner or chief administrative officer of each state agency...shall provide voter registration services for employees and the public. A person may complete a voter registration application or apply to change a voter registration name or address if the person has the proper qualifications on the date of application. Nonpartisan voter registration assistance, including routinely asking members of the public served by the agency whether they would like to register to vote and, if necessary, assisting them in preparing the registration forms must be part of the job of appropriate agency employees

I guess the question is whether MNsure was just complying with the law or taking a more active role in registering voters. Just found about all this last night, so I have no information to suggest either is correct. Is encouraging people to vote a proper role of government or improper propaganda? Can I predict your answer based on whether your side is hoping for higher or lower turnout?

Rep. Greg Davids takes to the pages of our op-ed page to hit Dayton on MNsure and Ocare.

Check out who's on your ballot: StarTribune.com/myvote gives you information about races and candidates on your ballot, along with the location of your polling place. After the polls close, come back and get results for races on your ballot.

Center of the American Experiment has their fall event at the Guthrie with Jonah Goldberg beginning at 4:30.

Times went to Faribault for a statehouse race, one of 150 where President Obama is trying to help down ballot candidates. (Dems have lost more than 800 state legislators during his tenure, so he owes them.) Patti Fritz in a rematch with Rep. Brian Daniels in this race. (h/t RSB)

Ricardo Lopez profiles the Third Congressional and finds Rep. Erik Paulsen successfully separating himself from Trump, seemingly. Of course it helps that he withdrew his endorsement. There’s only been one public poll. He was far ahead, but we have to assume everyone’s internals are saying the same.

Pat Condon looks at Dayton’s attempt to re-shape the Legislature for his final two years, going all out with fundraisers and events for leg candidates. Maybe not trashing the Affordable Care Act a few weeks before Election Day would also have been helpful, mutter DFLers under their breaths.

Allison Sherry rounds up GOP response to various Trump remarks; Minnesotans are not big fans.

Clinton is looking past Trump at the Senate, making a more positive closing argument, Politico reports, which she can do now with Trump’s numbers so upside down. Times reports the same.

So the new normal: Most people in the political sphere are operating under the assumption that Clinton is going to win. Now it’s a matter of mitigating or deepening the down ballot effects, depending on your point of view.

Is this a good thing? Kindergarten becoming the new first grade, as kids are being pushed to read earlier.

Interesting story about a city council candidate in the exurbs who is on the autism spectrum and whether it means a new wave of people with disabilities serving.

Good story from the weekend by Brandon Stahl about a serial rapist who nearly got away but got justice thanks to the perseverance of a survivor and a cop. Somewhat related, I don’t understand why colleges and universities are investigating rape charges. (By this I mean the various offices of student affairs and so forth.) We certainly wouldn’t accept a church or any other institution conducting rape investigations. It’s a police matter. These allegations should be referred to police, end of story. Maybe a reader can explain this to me.

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

Have a great day everyone.

-- J. Patrick Coolican