Tuesday, March 20, 2007

BPOUs convene

As Minnesota's political party BPOUs convene their conventions this spring, they conduct the business of electing delegates and debating platform items, with the ultimate goal of electing a senator and two representatives from their party to represent their local senate district. Although activists at this level are the foot soldiers for statewide and national campaigns as well, the primary mission of the BPOU is to know their senate district, precinct by precinct, voter by voter, and use this intel to deploy the door knocking, signage, parade walkers, campaign literature, phone calls, and fundraising to help get their candidates elected.

BPOUs in the west metro have their work cut out for them. Senate District 43, once upon a time represented by a Republican state senator and two multi-term Republican state representatives, recently lost all three to resignation to pursue higher offices. Democrat Terri Bonoff upset Republican Judy Johnson in the 2005 special election for the open Senate seat, and again in the 2006 general election. Republican Sarah Anderson defeated DFL endorsee Sandy Hewitt for the open seat in House District 43A, while first-time Republican candidate Dave Johnson was defeated by Democrat John Benson in his second run to represent HD 43B.

Candidates may also get various levels of support from their state party and/or legislative caucus. Local candidates may qualify for financial and staff support if they demonstrate — via metrics such as fundraising targets and campaign sign placements — that they have a fighting chance of winning.

Bonoff seemed to enjoy large amounts of these so-called independent expenditures, most visibly in the form of campaign literature mailed to SD 43 addresses, at one point on a daily basis. Yet I saw few such pieces mailed on behalf of Johnson from the Republican Party of Minnesota. You would think that the party would have poured a lot more resources into this race after the unexpected defeat in 2005.

Someone once said that the world belongs to those who show up to the meetings. If you're happy with how things are going in the legislature this session, stay home. If not, get active and get out to those meetings.

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