Friday, September 23, 2005

Focus on Plymouth

Illustration: North Star Liberty

This September has been busier than usual here in Plymouth, what with the rematch of high school football rivals Wayzata and Minnetonka, back-to-school curriculum nights, the jam-packed Plymouth on Parade day approaching on September 24, and oh yeah, Gov. Tim Pawlenty's appointment of State Sen. David Gaither (R-Plymouth) as his new chief of staff.

BPOU activists — Republicans, DFLers, and others — are scrambling to prepare for a fall special election to fill Sen. Gaither's Senate seat until the 2006 general election. All concerned have painted a big red target over the fair city of Plymouth and the northern precincts of Minnetonka, where one of only three seats in the evenly divided Minnesota Senate will be up for grabs. First-term Senator Gaither and his Republican supporters were planning on defending Gaither's Senate seat next year, but now all bets are off and the schedule has been moved up significantly.

The blogosphere is abuzz with speculation: Eva Young is taking a special interest in the race. GOPWingman at The Wind Beneath the Right Wing apparently had some inside info on the Gaither appointment. (For the latest on the SD 43 Senate race, do a Google Blog Search ...and stay tuned right here to North Star Liberty.)

Judy! Judy! Judy!

SD 43's annual golf tournament, held under yesterday's brilliant if breezily cool sunshine at Elm Creek golf course in Plymouth, turned into a launch of Judy Johnson's campaign for the Gaither Senate seat. Johnson is Plymouth's effective and popular mayor and President of the Minnesota League of Cities. She has excelled in her current nonpartisan office (even some of her neighbors had no idea she was a Republican) by setting a more cooperative tone on the City Council, and overseeing a vibrant, growing, and well-run city. She intends to run a strong campaign for the SD 43 Republican endorsement and work hard to keep the district's seat in the Republican caucus. Although the endorsement is up for grabs until the soon-to-be-announced endorsing convention, possible contender Bruce Lambrecht is now said to be out of the race, and SD 43 co-chair John Knight is co-chairing Johnson's Senate campaign, with SD 43's other co-chair, Planning Commission member, and civic activist Frank Weir serving as Johnson's campaign treasurer.

Minneapolis blogger Eva Young had this advice for any would-be DFL candidates for the SD 43 seat: oppose the Twins stadium tax. So who might the Dems run in 43?

Terri Bonoff is a member of the Minnetonka Planning Commission and co-chairwoman of the Hopkins School District's Legislative Action Coalition. According to Eva Young, "Terri is running as a candidate who believes that abortion should be legal, and also opposes the Bachmann amendment and supports full equality under the law for gays. Terri mentioned she has a gay brother - so this issue is personal for her."

Tony Wagner, Director for Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Minnetonka City Councilmember.

Buck Humphrey, son of former Minnesota attorney general Skip Humphrey, would connect with Gold Coast DFLers via his work on the Kerry campaign.

The Strib reported today that Minnetonka mayor Karen Anderson has already said no thanks.

With Sen. Mark Ourada (R-Buffalo) planning to resign by year's end to take a job in Washington, D.C., and Sen. Dave Kleis (R-St. Cloud) running for mayor of St. Cloud in the Nov. 8 election, the DFL has a golden opportunity to increase its majority in the Senate by three more seats.

The "other" Johnson

That "other" Johnson in Plymouth, state Rep. Jeff Johnson, is vacating his House District 43A seat to run for Attorney General. The Senate District gave the rising star a set of heavy elephant bookends to help decorate his new office — which will hopefully move from the State Office Building to the Capitol, down the hall from Gov. Pawlenty's office. With Judy Johnson now running for Senate instead of the House, Plymouth Republicans are vetting a new 43A candidate for 2006.

Ron Abrams

For his part, HD 43B Rep. Ron Abrams, elected to the House in consecutive terms since 1988, thanked SD 43 activists in advance for working hard to keep their Senate seat in the Republican caucus, and to keep him happy with a Republican "A-side" colleague in 2006.

CORRECTION: I incorrectly identified John Knight as co-chair of Judy Johnson's campaign. Plymouth City Council member Tim Bildsoe is Johnson's campaign chair.


lloydletta said...

Dan Dobson posted on the MN Politics Discuss list yesterday, about the SD 43 meeting where an attempt was made to oust SD 43 co-chair. It appears that David Gaither's figureprints are all on this.

I've got Frank Weir's letter with the trumped up charges posted here.

John Knight asked me to go to the meeting to testify on his behalf. I reminded the committee about the first amendment - and that John Knight was on the right side of the platform on this issue.

Account of SD 43 Republican Circus is here.

Bruce Weir's letter is here.

lloydletta said...

I emailed the text of Bruce Weir's letter - plus the information that Bruce Weir was treasurer and John Knight was co-chair of the campaign to the gaytwincities elist - and cced Judy. John Knight has a role in the campaign - but he is not the campaign chair. From Judy Johnson.

From Judy Johnson:

Thank you for copying me on your email. I want to correct something...I have filed last week with the campaign finance board and Tim Bildsoe is my Chair. John Knight is the Minnetonka B side co-chair of our senate district and he is involved with my campaign, as is anyone who wants to be part of the effort.

People are welcome to have differing views on issues and still support my candidacy. I hope to bring people together and work hard for our senate district if elected.

If you have any other particular questions on this mattter, please check with me and I would be happy to get you the facts.

Judy Johnson