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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Principles, Not Money, Wins Elections. McNamara Outspent Bigham & Lost. Munson Spent Under Half That and Won.

The numbers are in from the cash spent in the February 12th special election in South Washington County's Senate District 54 and in the 23B House race for Tony Cornish's former seat. 

To recap, Democrat Senator Dan Schoen resigned in December of 2017 after allegations of sexual misconduct. The special election was held with Democrat Karla Bigham who beat Republican establishment pick Denny McNamara. It's was an embarrassing loss for the MN GOP who saw Trump win by 6 points and two republican house members Jurgens and Franke also win in this district a year and a half prior. It should have been easy to beat one of the most extreme left wing, tax and spend, democrats to have been in the MN legislature. Bigham, in her final year in the legislature, was one of only six democrats out of 87 in the legislature at the time to get a 0% lifetime rating by the non-partisan Tax Payers League.  Republicans could have offered a clear choice for voters by endorsing the fiscal conservative who was in the primary. But they instead picked the, less liberal than Bigham, moderate Denny McNamara. Moderate is putting it lightly, see: Fourteen Years of Broken Promises. No Problem. Denny McNamara Wins Republican Endorsement  

Turns out the loss is even more embarrassing for the establishment GOP because
McNamara and the party spent $88,200 in the race! This was over $10,000 more than what Bigham and the democrats spent. The cost of the failed campaign equates to about $13 per vote. It goes to show that even with more money and going up against a polarizing far left candidate that you can't beat a liberal with a liberal. To compare, the fiscal conservative Jeremy Munson who won in the same special election only spent $32,196 dollars in 23B. Munson won by 20 points and spent less money in the race than his democrat challenger and under half what McNamara spent. Again, it shows the republican base, and voters in general, would rather have a clear, honest choice that isn't simply less of a tax and spend politician than the democrat option. For reference, District 23B is hardly a republican stronghold. In 2010 the democrat beat the republican by 13 points.

What the Minnesota GOP can learn from the February 12th special elections is to put up candidates like Jeremy Munson who support the party's core values and can communicate how that will improve the lives of voters over the opposing party's strategy of growing government and taxes. Whereas, candidates like McNamara who may say the same things; but have a record of growing government and taxes, but just not as much as a democrat, inspire no one (democrat lite). When moderate Republicans are chosen they're easy to defeat when challenged by even the worst democrat. We all saw the massive amounts of ads against Bigham and her record of voting to raise almost every tax there is to raise. But it's all a waste when the opposing republican can't claim they'd do the opposite and propose legislation to lower taxes and spending. 

It's up to MN republicans to not repeat the mistake of this last election with this upcoming Governor's race. Will the party stick with the more fiscal conservative Jeff Johnson or convince themselves that big money Tim Pawlenty, who was much like McNamara and hardly a fiscal conservative, is who they want on the November 2018 ballot? 

-Matt Behning