Posts Published by Michael Brodkorb

Why I am voting for Ryan Wilson for Auditor

I am a Republican, but as I detailed in my endorsement of Governor Tim Walz, I would describe myself as “politically homeless” because I don’t feel at home or even comfortable inside the Republican Party of today.

I also noted that I don’t vote based on party labels but rather on the candidate’s qualities. Unlike my past voting behavior, which was robotic and partisan, I have spent the last decade taking a more thoughtful and deliberative approach to voting.

My evolution in voting has created friction and tension between myself and my more partisan Republican friends. This tension and frustration were fully displayed after I published my endorsement of Governor Tim Walz or Secretary of State Steve Simon, but I firmly stand by my decision.

I am disclosing how I will vote in statewide races because I want to add context to my analysis and commentary. Over the last decade, I’ve offered detailed analysis and commentary on Minnesota politics while casting my vote in the voting booth’s privacy. As I noted previously, I’ve voted for a split ticket.

I am not paid for my analysis and commentary, and who I decide to vote for is based on several factors, but again, the party label is not the top factor. I have no expectation that people will be influenced by my endorsements or by which candidate earns my vote. Again, explaining how I vote will add more depth to my analysis and commentary. People will be able to compare my votes with my take on politics.

In the race for state auditor between DFL-incumbent Julie Blaha and Republican Ryan Wilson, I will vote on Election Day for Ryan Wilson.

I have never seen Ryan Wilson or Julie Blaha speak in public or met either of the candidates. I started following the race for state auditor more closely in late September.

I’ve been impressed by Wilson’s campaign – specifically, Wilson’s focus on issues relevant to the role of state auditor. Unlike other Republican candidates for statewide office, Wilson hasn’t been tripped up or sidelined by distractions.

Let me offer a few examples.

Wilson has been clear that the 2020 election was fair and that Joe Biden is the duly elected President of the United States. It’s refreshing to see a Republican candidate for statewide not using their platform to regurgitate misinformation about the 2020 election.

Abortion has become an essential issue in numerous statewide campaigns, especially in the race for governor. Wilson has wisely stayed away from allowing the politics of abortion to enter the race for state auditor. Wilson told the Sahan Journal, “it’s really not a part of our race.”

As I watched the race for state auditor unfold over the election’s final weeks, I was dismayed by Blaha’s insistence that she had no leadership role or responsibility in the ongoing scandal involving Feeding Our Future. Wilson has made it clear that he views this issue as within the accountability and oversight of the state auditor.

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Why I am voting for Governor Tim Walz

Let me explain my voting philosophy over the last ten years. Elections are about contrast; they are not held in a vacuum. I believe in the two-party system; I don’t believe in writing in candidates or voting for third-party candidates.

On Election Day, my vote will either be cast for the DFL or Republican candidate for partisan office.

As I get older, I become more of an idealist regarding government and politics. I’m less partisan than I was in the past. I still consider myself a Republican, but I think of myself as “politically homeless” because I don’t feel at home or even comfortable inside the Republican Party of today.

Aside from becoming an idealist, I’m also an eternal optimist. I’m a glass-half-full, partly sunny instead of a party cloudy person.

I don’t vote based on party labels but rather on the candidate’s qualities. Unlike my past voting behavior, which was robotic and partisan, I have spent the last decade taking a more thoughtful and deliberative approach to voting.

My evolution in voting has created friction and tension between myself and my more partisan Republican friends. I’m sure this post will generate more disagreements, but I stand by my decision.

In the race for governor between DFL-incumbent Governor Tim Walz and Republican Dr. Scott Jensen, I will be voting on Election Day for Governor Tim Walz.

If you’ve followed my analysis and commentary on social media, I’ve been clear about my concerns with the candidacy of Scott Jensen. I decided long ago that I would not be voting for Jensen.

But it was the final debate between Walz and Jensen – on October 28, 2022 – when I decided that I would vote for Walz AND that I would be public with my decision. I want to explain why.

As I listened to Walz and Jensen’s debate for the final time, I wanted to hear the closing message from both candidates.

I was struck by how many times Jensen kept bringing up COVID-19 in the debate. In a recent poll of likely issues that will influence how people will vote to come into the election, the “COVID Response” poll was at 2 percent – behind “Not Sure” at 3 percent.

Why would a candidate spend so much time in his final debate with his opponent talking about an issue that isn’t important to voters? Because it’s Jensen’s top issue.

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Why I am voting for Steve Simon for Secretary of State

For much of my life, I spent every day working to defeat DFL candidates up and down the ballot in Minnesota. The Republican Party I helped build and lead to great success in past elections is hardly existent today. Over the last decade, I’ve offered analysis and commentary about the need for the party and its candidates to change direction and focus.

But when our democratic institutions are under attack, we all have a shared responsibility to speak up. I can’t stay on the sidelines while extremists like Kim Crockett are within a few percentage points of statewide office. Because without those democratic institutions, no political party has any mooring. Therefore, I am voting for Steve Simon for Minnesota’s Secretary of State.

I have never publicly endorsed a Democrat for partisan office in Minnesota. Instead, I’ve waited until Election Day and then, like many Minnesotans, voted a split ticket in the privacy of a voting booth.

I’ve known Steve Simon through many drama-free years. But even in a highly charged political environment, he was never the cause of the drama; rather, he steered a steady course through it. A well-spoken lawyer with a progression of experience in government is almost cliche, but normalcy has become Simon’s greatest asset.

When the pandemic put Minnesota’s status as the leader in voter turnout into question, Simon remained calm. He tailored his policy to Minnesotans’ needs, shepherding a bipartisan package of emergency measures through the legislature in one of the most contentious years for our country.

As a result, Minnesota led the nation in voter turnout in 2020. Minnesota was among the few battleground states to report a winner on election night. Simon’s preparations spared Minnesota from the unrest in Nevada, Arizona, and Pennsylvania.

After the dust settled, Secretary Simon went back to work. In 2021, he collaborated with a divided state legislature to create trust in ballot drop boxes statewide through codified guidelines and grants. Simon also found time in the year to tour every county in the state, ensuring that county officials have a chance to voice their concerns in person.

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In the news: Moving Minnesota’s Presidential Primary

I signed up for a public effort to move up Minnesota’s presidential primary along with former Republican elected officials and party leadership. The new push was started by the Minnesota DFL’s elected officials and party leadership. The Pioneer Press reported the details of the proposal.

To the soundtrack of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” a group of top Minnesota Democrats paraded before the national party Thursday to make their case for allowing the state to move its presidential primary up to be among the first in the nation.

Putting Minnesota in the company of — or perhaps displacing — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, could bring unprecedented national attention and political activity and money to the state, perhaps beginning as soon as 2024.

But for anything to change, the state Republican Party would have to agree, and so far, they’re mum — although some Minnesota Republicans have voiced their support for the idea

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David Hann, chair of the Republican Party of Minnesota, has declined to comment to the Pioneer Press this week. Democrats could be hoping that signals of support from the DNC, as well as potential pressure from other Republicans, could give Hann cover to support the idea. The state Republican party’s profile could raise considerably from that of a flyover purple state to an essential stop on the campaign trail.

So far, a number of prominent establishment Republican figures have publicly stated their support, including former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, former U.S. Rep. Vin Weber, and six former high-ranking officials of the state Republican party: former chairs Rob Eibensteiner and Ron Carey, former deputy chairs Kelly Fenton and Michael Brodkorb, former Executive Director Becky Alery, and former Communications Director Mark Drake.

DFL Chair Martin told the DNC Thursday he’s confident the state party will ultimately support the change. “I’m convinced we get them there,” he said.

The DNC has said it will announce its preferences in August.

Click here to read the complete story from the Pioneer Press.