A Republican congressman and his party’s nominee for Iowa Secretary of State are accusing Democrats of a secret plan to rig the upcoming election. But rather than take this warning of impending election fraud to the police, they took it to their fundraising email list.
Democrats and Republicans have paid close attention to Secretary of State campaigns, especially in swing states, ever since the disputed presidential election of 2000. After all, Secretaries of State from Katherine Harris in Florida 2000 to Ken Blackwell in 2004 showed just how influential the office can be in close races.
That’s why Republicans in Iowa are pulling out all the stops to keep control of the Secretary of State seat, especially in advance of the 2016 presidential election.
In an email sent on July 28th on behalf of Republican Secretary of State nominee Paul Pate’s campaign, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) accused Democrats of rigging Minnesota’s 2008 Senate election on behalf of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), using their control of the Secretary of State office. The result was razor-thin, with Franken ultimately topping then-Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) by just 312 votes. Though King didn’t make a specific accusation, Politifact has rated similar claims of fraud as “false.”
“This wasn’t a fair recount,” King wrote Pate’s supporters. “This was a democrat plan put into action two years in advance of Coleman’s re-election campaign.”
However, rather than just re-litigating a close election in the past, King used the episode to warn about Democrats’ supposed intentions for Iowa’s upcoming elections. “There is an important U.S. Senate race in Iowa this year, and Senator Grassley will be up for re-election two years from now,” King wrote. “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what they are up to.”
Read an excerpt of the email here:
Ironically, the most pernicious developments in election law over the past few election cycles haven’t been organized election fraud like King describes, but Republican-led efforts to suppress votes. These measures have ranged from requiring photo identification to vote to rolling back state laws that permit voter registration on Election Day. While supporters of these voting restrictions often argue they are necessary to prevent voter fraud — a virtually nonexistent crime — the laws tend to make it harder for minorities, seniors, students, and poor people to vote. After the 2012 election, Republican officials in Florida admitted that their slew of election law changes were intended to target Democrats.
Pate said he supports bringing voter ID to Iowa, a move that could disenfranchise thousands of Iowa voters, but said he hopes it will be a bipartisan initiative. Implementing voter ID has long been a goal of Pate’s; in 2010 he endorsed (and chaired) current Secretary of State Matt Schultz’s (R) campaign by noting that “He will stop voter fraud by instituting a photo ID, reforming same-day registration, and creating a crime stoppers hotline for voter fraud in Iowa.”
Nationwide, a conservative PAC was recently formed to boost conservative Secretary of State candidates. The organization, SOS for SoS, is preparing to spend $10 million in nine states this year, including in Iowa. A liberal PAC, SoS for Democracy, is looking to provide a counterweight this year.
Republicans are seeking to oust Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who is up for his first reelection after his narrow 2008 win.Franken will be a tough candidate — he’s worked hard to ingratiate himself in the state, and his poll numbers look fairly solid. But Republicans hope with the right candidate they can topple the first-term senator.
Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and John Kline (R-Minn.) are two early mentions for the race.
Paulsen had $725,000 in the bank for a possible run as of mid-October, while Franken had $1.1 million. Kline, who faced his first competitive reelection campaign in years, had just $114,000 as of mid-October, and may have spent some of that in the final weeks of the campaign.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is up for reelection the same year, giving up-and-coming Minnesota Republicans two possibilities for a statewide run.
Franken could prove to be tough to beat, however. The former Saturday Night Live star has assiduously worked to establish himself as a workhorse rather than a show horse in the Senate since his narrow recount victory over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).
heehan said that while Franken has improved his image in the state since his first campaign and incumbents are tougher to beat, Franken benefitted from a Democratic wave election, helped by high turnout driven by President Obama’s first campaign and antipathy in the state towards President George W. Bush.
Republicans are considering revisions to their nomination process, changing the tradition of the state party choosing its nominees at a convention to having an open primary.
Coleman and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) have also been mentioned as possible candidates, though a few state Republicans speculated that if Coleman does decide to make another run for office he might be more likely to run for governor, the office he first ran for in 1998.
Multiple Republicans warned that a Bachmann campaign could be disastrous for them, since she’s popular with the base but not well liked statewide. The former presidential candidate and Tea Party favorite barely won reelection this year in the state’s most Republican district, and an October poll from the Democratic Public Policy Polling showed her favorability rating statewide at just 33 percent, with 55 holding unfavorable views of her.
Two other Republican who are widely mentioned as a possible candidates are Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek (R) and former state Rep. Laura Brod (R), who’s on the University of Minnesota’s board of regents. Republican National Committeeman Jeff Johnson is also expected to make a statewide bid, though most think he’ll run for governor and not for Senate.
#MNSen: Deranged Batshit Loon Phyllis Schlafly: "Senate Should Move to Expel Al Franken" | Right Wing Watch
Eagle Forum’s Phyllis Schlafly believes that Al Franken never would have been elected to the U.S. Senate in 2008 if Minnesota had a voter ID law and that there is now “reason enough for the U.S. Senate to use its constitutional power in Article I, Section 5 to unseat Franken.” Franken won by a mere 225 votes against incumbent Norm Coleman, but Schlafly says in her latest column that it’s because felons cast illegal votes to push him over the top and that only Voter ID laws, which she claims are beloved by minorities, can remedy the situation.
Schlafly cited a report by the right-wing organization Minnesota Majority; however, the study has been largely dismissed as “frivolous” by experts, who also note that voter ID laws will do nothing to stop convicted felons from voting illegally and that the report’s “data include cases associated with the 2010 election, and are not limited to cases involving felons who voted illegally.” People For the American Way’s report The Right to Vote Under Attack also observes that Minnesota’s “Supreme Court wrote in its decision affirming Franken’s victory that neither Franken nor his opponent claimed voter fraud took place and ‘found no allegations or evidence of fraud or foul play and no evidence to suggest that the Election Day totals from the precinct are unreliable.’” Not to mention, how would Schlafly know that nearly every single felon who voted in Minnesota supported Franken?
After all was said and done, Minnesota discovered that 289 convicted felons had voted illegally in Hennepin County, 52 had voted illegally in Ramsey County, and many others voted illegally who were dead or who voted multiple times. That is reason enough for the U.S. Senate to use its constitutional power in Article I, Section 5 to unseat Franken.
Minorities are actually among those most eager to implement photo ID. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said, “You cannot be part of the mainstream of American life today without a photo ID.” The sponsor of Rhode Island’s photo ID law was Harold Metts, who is the only African-American in the state senate.
Just think of all the many occasions when we all must show photo ID: when stopped by the police for a traffic violation, to make a credit card purchase, to check in for any medical treatment, to check into a hotel room, or to board an airplane. Isn’t it just as important to assure that only American citizens are allowed to vote, and to prevent non-citizens from canceling out your vote, and to prevent crooks from voting twice or voting in the name of a dead person who is still registered?
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW