Sturdevant notes TwinWest Chamber cutting off own nose; spiting face

Star Tribune columnist Lori Sturdevant noted something this weekend: the TwinWest Chamber of Commerce cutting off its own nose on the issues to endorse Republicans because freedom taxes blah blah blah.

Franzen and Selcer say their positions line up well with those staked out by the business community. To wit:

They're both big boosters of the proposed Southwest Corridor light-rail line. They favor the prompt creation of Minnesota's own health insurance online purchasing exchange. They would have voted for the new Vikings stadium bill. They favor requiring sales tax to be collected on all online purchases -- a big issue with Target and Best Buy, major employers in their districts. So are General Mills and Carlson Co., with whose leaders they agree that the anti-same-sex-marriage amendment should be defeated.

That's why they thought they had a shot at winning the blessing of at least the Twin West Chamber of Commerce when they screened with its political action committee earlier this year.

It wasn't to be. The custodians of west-metro capitalism endorsed their opponents: Republicans Keith Downey over Franzen and Kirk Stensrud over Selcer. That's so even though Downey and Stensrud have not been exponents of the issue Twin West has hammered hard of late, Southwest light rail.

Selcer thinks she knows where she went wrong when she screened with the Twin West PAC. "When they asked me whether [state government] has a revenue problem or a spending problem or both, I said 'Both.'"

Good answer, I'd say. For 10 years, state government has been plagued with both slow-growing revenues and rising costs, particularly for health care. But her answers and Franzen's evidently didn't beat what Twin West screeners heard from Stensrud and Downey -- which I suspect featured some version of "no new taxes."

I wrote about this very thing a couple of weeks ago, and it's great to see the issue continuing to be raised. As I noted then, the TwinWest Chamber is a thoughtful organization, and they generally do a good job vetting the issues and working on them in an honest way (as opposed to the national Chamber, which doesn't) but it's looking like there's a weird schism in the TWC right now: one subgroup looks like it's commanding the endorsement process (favoring partisanship and Republicans), and another subgroup is controlling the media efforts (favoring honesty and the issues to which the organization is actually committed).

And of course, the news that the issue mailer is having a positive effect for Franzen and Selcer is welcome as well.

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