Friday, December 14, 2012

David Hann: Step up or step down

I was at the MNGOP State Central Meeting last weekend, which also served as the unfortunate unveiling of the Draft Senator David Hann for Governor movement.

Hann, if you recall (and you should, considering it was very recent), was just elected to be the minority leader of the MN State Senate.  Flash forward a few weeks and he’s at SCC being tailed by a video camera while we’re all greeted at the door by a guy in a “Draft Hann” T-Shirt.

Hann’s team will have you believe that the Senator had no idea this was coming, despite his son being one of the organizers of the movement.  While I have my doubts about his claim, the reality is irrelevant.  Perception, as they say, is reality, and there wasn’t anyone in that meeting hall who thought Hann was an innocent bystander in this “draft” nonsense.

But the problem here goes beyond a simple amateurish and tin-eared political maneuver.

Hann was just elected by his peers to be the face of the Senate for the next two years.  With this position comes guaranteed media attention.  That attention should be focused on the message of the Republican Party and countering the DFL narrative, not on promoting David Hann’s personal ambitions.

While Hann allows this “draft” to continue, the media, who revel in speculation and horse races, will continue to make Hann’s ambitions the story.  Every move Hann makes will be seen through that lens.  Every press mention will include the phrase “potential candidate for governor” serving as a subtle little reminder that his motives are tainted with the prospect of personal gain.

And every word written about Hann the potential governor is a distraction from the type of disciplined messaging we desperately need.

If David Hann wants to run for Governor, he should declare now and step down as Minority Leader.  If he wants to be the Minority Leader, then he needs to quash this draft movement and get to the work of being a Minority Leader.  I don’t much care what he chooses, but he can’t do both.


I never bought the line that the 2012 elections signaled the death of the center-right nation or any of the other apocalyptic interpretations of the results.

Republicans got outworked, outspent, and our messaging and candidates didn’t resonate.  Sometimes you lose elections. It happens.

Jim Geraghty of National Review wrote a few weeks back that Mitt Romney really lost the presidency by about 407,000 votes, or roughly three-tenths of one percent of the total votes cast.

Here in MN Republicans lost the State House by a similar margin: 3,811 votes.  Or, 0.1%, if you prefer.

Going into the election the GOP had a 72-62 majority in the House.  After the election, the numbers basically flipped: 73-61 DFL.  We needed to keep 8 additional seats to retain control.  There were 8 seats that were decided by fewer than 1,000 votes each in favor of the DFL.

DistrictName%Margin of Victory56BWILL MORGAN50.3217048AYVONNE SELCER50.3420212AJAY MCNAMAR47.4925510BJOE RADINOVICH50.6932311BTIM FAUST51.2348827ASHANNON SAVICK47.765317BMARY SAWATZKY48.380851BLAURIE HALVERSON51.88912

Note also, that in three of these races the winner obtained less than 50% of the vote.  In each of those instances there was an Independence Party candidate on the ballot.  The IP candidate got more votes than the margin in all three.  So it’s good to see that third-party spoiler effect is still in action.

Yes, we lost in November, and we do need to perform the requisite soul searching that comes after a major defeat.

But we also need to make sure that we keep some perspective, and that we’re learning the right lessons.

(h/t Paul Carlson)