Kiffmeyer CAMPAIGN SINKS TO NEW LOW
Mary Kiffmeyer's slogan is "Integrity Counts." To me, integrity includes something very simple: not misleading people for your own benefit.
Kiffmeyer's exploitation of a confused 77 year old man shows anything but integrity.
She is well aware that Minnesota has a problem with perennial candidates who have poor credentials for office and yet get votes simply because their names end in "son." Sharon Anderson has been a thorn in the side of Republicans for years, one year stealing the nomination for Attorney General from their endorsed candidate and this year taking 42% against a favorite of party insiders. Fortunately this year, the endorsed candidate's last name was Johnson, or he would have lost too.
The DFL version of Sharon Anderson is Dick Franson. True, he did actually win a city council election in the 60's, but since then he has run about 17 or 18 times for mayor, for Congress, for Secretary of State, whatever, never coming close. He pays his fee to get in the race, campaigns a little, buys some flyers and some ads, sends a fax to the press once in a while. He has no ideas. He simply has a compulsion to get in the public eye. He is the subject of ridicule on many blogs: here's one of the funnier ones.
At his age, his need for attention has become pathetic. I'm not a psychiatrist, but the facts speak for themselves.
Mr. Franson entered the race for Secretary of State again this year. He made some unsupported comments about Kiffmeyer downsizing the office and said he would "hire more males and veterans." He had no support at the DFL convention. He entered the primary simply by paying a $300 filing fee. His campaign received little attention. He received $100 contributions from two people other than himself. One was Gregg Iverson, another perennial candidate. He did log some travel miles, and he put in more than $10,000 of his own money.
He received 29% of the vote against Mark Ritchie, but his numbers were much lower in the Twin Cities where voters know he's not a credible candidate. (Remember, his 29% was much lower than the 42% Sharon Anderson received or the 36% fugitive-in-Italy Jack Shepard received for the Republican nomination for Congress in District 4 against endorsed Obi Sium.) The only reasonable explanation for the 75,000 votes he got is that his name ends in "son," in a race against a first time candidate.
Instead of preparing for his next futile campaign, Mr. Franson endorsed Mary Kiffmeyer is a public ceremony. Press release In addition, he made radio ads (Crossover) supporting her and wrote letters to newspapers. Why he decided to run for the office in the first place when he now says that Kiffmeyer is doing a "bang up job" is not clear. It may have something to do with his thinking not being clear.
This "endorsement" would be one thing if he were acting on his own. But this is being orchestrated by Mary Kiffmeyer. By thrusting this foolish man into the spotlight, she is misleading voters into thinking that he was a credible, well-supported candidate whose opinion is well informed.
This win-at-all-cost mentality is extremely unbecoming for a Secretary of State candidate. She is supposed to be promoting civic virtue, not misleading voters and taking advantage of misguided elderly men. Add this to her claim that voter turnout was "plummeting" before she took office (we were No. 1 in the nation in 1998--you can't plummet to No. 1) and her equally ridiculous taking of credit for high turnout in 2004 when Minnesota was a battleground state for the presidency. (She neglected to mention that primary turnout during her terms is the lowest in Minnesota history.) There really is no hope that Mary Kiffmeyer will raise her ethical standards to meet what Minnesotans desire from a chief state election official.
More about Dick Franson:
Won City Council seat (then called Alderman) in 1962 when he called himself a Republican. That was the only election he ever won. Served only one term and was defeated.
Some of the offices he has run for unsuccessfully: railroad and warehouse commission, lieutenant governor, Congress (twice), Hennepin County board of commissioners, mayor, secretary of state, city board of estimate and taxation, U.S. Senate, and state auditor.
In a February 1977 special election for Congress, Arlen Stangeland defeated Franson, 97% to 3% in the Republican primary. Again, that's Republican.
Supported Bush in 2004 while running against Sabo for Congress, unusual for a DFLer (but not unheard of).
It's hard to identify from his positions that he's a DFLer but our laws don't really prevent candidates from running in any party they want.