Monday, May 16, 2022

David Hann's Triumph: Minnesota Republicans Get Out Of Their Own Way

Saturday in Rochester, Minnesota Republicans endorsed Dr. Scott Jensen for Governor, Kim Crockett for Secretary of State, Ryan Wilson for State Auditor & Jim Schultz for Attorney General. 

Despite an initial, severe backlog of delegates and alternates being registered that delayed the start of the convention proceedings, what proceeded was a testament to the new Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, David Hann. Hann was elected after the previous Chair, the sociopath Jennifer Carnahan, resigned after groundbreaking reporting by my friend, independent journalist Rebecca Brannon.  

Minnesota Republican politics is high school writ large. I've said this forever. I haven't written here since October of 2020 because I'm not a writer content with repetition or having nothing new to say. And although there have been plenty of new things since then, they were mostly being said by many others ad nauseam.  But have you heard that the Covid 19 pandemic was a scam? Because it, assuredly, was. Much like the 2020 election. Cue (and click on) Leonard Cohen's "Everybody knows." 

* * * * 

Friday boded both poorly, then well, for the fate of the convention's success. Initially, reports on Twitter were that the long lines were because computers were not being used. This seemed inconceivable and it turned out to be wrong. The flow of people, the configuration within the Mayo Convention Center, was not optimal and this accounted for the snake like lines of people. The Republican endorsing convention started a mere two hours late. Not great, not fatal. 

What saved the day, and indeed the convention as a whole, was that David Hann and his team was able to convince the delegates that the electronic voting system they had purchased for the event was, yes, reliable, secure and transparent. There were well meaning people who insisted that only paper ballots could be trusted. This is true of primary and general elections but not so true within a closed, contained event. The vendor Hann selected had great success at other Republican endorsing conventions. 

A majority of delegates were able to successfully distinguish between the two scenarios and chose to go with electronic voting. Like death or pregnancy, it made all the difference. The races, they were off to.

In quick succession, the delegates endorsed Ryan Wilson who, having no opposition, was easy even for Minnesota Republicans. Then came Kim Crockett for Secretary of State. She was heavily favored and had campaigned hard. I know Kim a bit (I'm not the overly familiar American, the kind who says "I had lunch with Kim once and I know her like a book." Spare us those types, please) and I've always been impressed by her keen intellect and, the more so because it's rarer in this state, her courage. Steve Simon has the first real electoral challenge on his hands since commandeering our election system years ago.

The only interesting wrinkle on the first day was for the Attorney General endorsement. Doug Wardlow, the previous candidate last time out, was the heavy favorite by dint of exhausting tenacity and not a small bit of money, MyPillow or otherwise. Reader, it was not to be.

Tad Jude, a Prince among men, withdrew after the first ballot (or second, I wasn't exactly glued to the Twitter minute by minute) and supported the cipher Jim Schultz, who looks like a bugman that has weak orgasms and is a creation of the local swamp. But, do I need to remind you?, this is Minnesota.

Doug Wardlow came closest to his opponent in the last election than any other Republican candidate on the ballot that year. I find this deserving of respect. But even though we're still in the Age of Trump, who is clearly running in 2024, Doug failed to discern that his people want to win. Possibly now more than ever. Mike Lindell, an honorable man of integrity and success but also some wackiness, proved a millstone around his neck, not a luftballon.

And, as a friend of mine never fails to remind me: "Gilmore, he's on the spectrum." Certainly harsh, possibly true. 

And so it came to pass that the bugman got the nod. With surprising good sense, the delegates had enough self confidence, deserved for a change, to call it a day and start eating and drinking. Mostly the latter. Wouldn't any of us? If I'd attended, which my so called friends Howard Root & Rebecca Brannon, among others, strongly encouraged me to do, I'd have been outside smoking with Sue Jeffers, had she temporarily lost her mind and showed up. Life is short, people, live it while you can. 

* * * * 

Saturday was the main event: endorsement for Governor. A fair amount of drama ensued because how could there be any large scale, consequential, gathering of Minnesota Republicans without it? Did I mention high school?

I refuse to recapitulate the blow by blow because that makes for boring writing given we all know the outcome. Neil Shah, a strangely interesting man in a traditionally ho hum Republican political landscape (I hope he doesn't go away, stays involved), threw his support early on to Mike Murphy, who is something of a scamp but I'm Irish, so I always have a soft spot for scamps. No one saw this coming; most thought the reverse likely. 

From that point onward, for a time, it seemed like a deadlocked three way tie. No endorsement for the top of the ticket. Disaster. 

But then text messages emerged showing that Kendall Qualls was the empty, hack, Black suit anyone with an ounce of intuition and discernment could have said. Murphy took the stage to denounce him as "a sellout," which I thought was rather generous because he's never had anything to sell. He's always been available for purchase. 

People like Ron Ebbensteiner, now ensconced at the Center of the American Boomer, also known as the Center of the American Experiment, donated generously to not White Qualls. He was formerly a chair of the Minnesota Republican Party when my (legit) friend, Earl Gray, mopped the courtroom floor with him. Ron left the party 750K in debt, never once since then having lifted a finger to retire it. Such people deserve your contempt. 

Bugman, Jim Schultz, is also mostly a creation of his. It's too bad because Tad Jude was the far superior candidate but people like Ebbensteiner don't cotton to him because he's his own man. 

I'm glad, I suppose, that the CAE exists but if it vanished, it would make no practical difference in Minnesota politics. I wrote the truth about them years ago, in 2017, for Alpha News and it made me, satisfyingly, persona non grata: Tom Cotton Redpills the Center of the American Experiment.

What we have is a deeply insecure "president" of it who has hired his own daughter. And paid Candace Owens (married to a White man) three times (at 30 to 35K a pop) to appear on stage with him so he can fend off lingering fears of a corrupt media accusing him of being waycist. These people are the past, which is to say Boomers, of whom we can't rid ourselves quickly enough in Minnesota if this state is to have a chance of surviving. "Bronze Age Mindset" should be assigned reading to everyone there. I'm available to be sherpa.

* * * * 

Because I know my audience, thank you always for reading, I know some, if not many, will ask me IRL why I claim this to be to be David Hann's triumph. 

It's because if it had been a clusterfuck, he'd be the first person you'd blame, whether he was responsible or not, and we all know it. It's so easy to be lazy. I'm not exempt. 

This is the pattern of Minnesota Republican politics, the internecine sniping that prevents us from winning. Ask yourselves: why just a few miles east in Wisconsin are Republicans vastly more successful? Could it be that there's an embedded group here who profits from continuous losing? Because there is.

David Hann has his detractors but I'm not one of them. I specifically, and only, went to Pete Hegseth's 2016 Christmas party to apologize to his face for having gotten the repulsive Amy Koch/Michael Brodkorb pathology entirely wrong. He was gracious but somewhat taken aback by my doing it in person. But it's who I am: I'm from South Dakota, not Minnesota, so I understood his surprise. Passive-aggressive is unknown in my birthplace of Sioux Falls. 

It's okay to be wrong, fear of it prevents us from saying many true things. I wrote about it here if you care to click on it: "What I Saw At Pete Hegseth's Christmas Party." 

But when you are wrong, it's liberating to own up to it. I also apologized, to his face, then Senator Dave Thompson before he and the frugal Mrs. T decamped to North Carolina. I asked him to extend my apology to his running mate, Senator Michelle Benson. Is there anything better than a clean sweep? "Know Thyself" was over the entrance to the oracle at Delphi. 

* * * * 

Who was a better person to take over the shipwreck of the party after the sociopathic reign of Jennifer Carnahan than David Hann? Most of you won't stand for election, nor run for party office. I'm in your company. But too often we forget what it takes to do either. 

I suppose the Vineland Vines types (hi Peter), or the grifters at the 1858 Group (hi John, hi Kurt, cringe low I.Q. Andrew, Ben probably lurking around $omewhere) would say something juvenile about Batman and a hero. And then there are the truly talented ones who escaped (hi Maggie). 

But I'm an adult. 

So is David Hann. 

With this successful endorsement convention behind him, Hann has begun to restore the Minnesota Republican Party to something other than a joke at D.C. cocktail parties. And it was, literally.

That's not nothing. Believe me. 

Photo credit: Alpha News