Slime Machine cranking up in 48A for Stensrud

In 2010, a local gadfly named Kirk Stensrud happened into a Republican endorsement, ran against the fantastic Maria Ruud, picked up more than $30,000 in special interest slime spending against Ruud, and won by 107 votes.

That slime machine is creaking back to life in 2012.

It started last week with a mailer from the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses, encouraging voters to call Stensrud and thank him for protecting school funding. This is hilarious for a couple of reasons: one, Stensrud supported a budget plan that continues to choke the life out of Minnesota's public schools by shifting more and more funding into future bienniums; and two, why is a business-focused interest group clamoring about schools?

The second one is easy: the CMB cares primarily about driving down taxes on their richest members but recognizes that education is a big issue in our district. Sneaky bait-and-switch, but whatever; it's to be expected these days. The first is a bit more involved, but the reality is this: during his campaign and afterward, Kirk Stensrud has said time and again that lowering taxes on the rich is his number one priority. Public schools and the kids who attend them just don't rate.

The slime machine kept warming up this week, when on the same day, the CMB was back with another piece showering Stensrud with praise for sticking to their tea-infused line, and the Republican Party delivered a similarly sized mailer attacking Stensrud's DFL opponent, Yvonne Selcer, on -- what else? -- taxes.

Yvonne served for several years on the Hopkins School Board, and while there, made some tough decisions that basically saved the district. You want tough leadership? Yvonne Selcer has more in her pinky finger than Kirk Stensrud has in his entire body -- witness his go-along-with-the-party-bosses record on the marriage discrimination amendment, voter restriction amendment, draconian budgets, and partisan warfare against the middle class and their political leaders in St. Paul.

All things being equal, 48A should be a tough district to defend for the GOP. I get that. But the slime machine that helped defeat a committed public servant like Maria Ruud should be called out for what it is, and the candidates on whose behalf it is used should be sent home to think about what public service really means.

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