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Don Davis, Forum News Service, Published January 07 2012

Minnesota Political Notebook: Bachmann didn’t campaign Iowa way

ST. PAUL - Iowans like it when they swipe the Floyd of Rosedale football trophy from Minnesota, they make jokes about Minnesota, and, apparently, Hawkeye State residents enjoy showing Minnesota politicians the door.

Iowa Republicans gave U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann the boot after their famous caucus Tuesday, less than five months after fellow Minnesotan former Gov. Tim Pawlenty set aside his presidential ambitions after a poor showing in a Hawkeye state straw poll.

Bachmann’s caucus effort failed to win a single county, including Black Hawk, where she was raised.

“The people of Iowa spoke with a very clear voice, and I have decided to stand aside,” she said in a statement she read in West Des Moines.

Iowa political observers said a main reason she finished last among those competing in the caucuses was because the Minnesota congresswoman did not campaign like Iowans expect: They want one-on-one opportunities with candidates, and Bachmann seldom delivered.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s big surprise was former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who few Iowans knew before 2011. His supporters said he did well because of his grassroots campaign in a state where that works.

Early in her campaign, Bachmann entered an event like a rock star, to loud cheers from people who did not know her well. That style worked as she was getting her name out, but she did not click with Iowans when it counted – the past couple of months.

Most winning Iowa candidates slog through barnyards, meet with small groups in small-town cafes and take time to answer questions and, often, talk to them individually. That was not Bachmann’s style.

Turning it on DFL

Minnesota’s new top Republican faces a $2 million debt and controversies, but Pat Shortridge told fellow party members in his first email to them that Democratic-Farmer-Laborites face even bigger woes.

“The problem facing the Democrats is much more fundamental: Their ideas don’t work,” Shortridge wrote. “The difference between us and the Democrats is that we can fix our problems and move forward, whereas the Democrats can’t fix their problems without giving up on their core philosophy and legislative agenda. I choose our problems over theirs any day of the week.”

Better military voting

A $226,255 federal grant will help Minnesota military personnel vote absentee, state Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says.

“This is wonderful news for those in uniform who defend our right to vote,” Ritchie said, “because this federal grant will help develop online tools to remove barriers to absentee voting by advancing the electronic options for military and overseas citizens.”

The funds will be used to improve Ritchie’s website by offering video tutorials about how to use the tools on the site, adding a tool to allow voters to view the candidates and questions that will appear on their ballot and other changes.

Hearing delayed

A judge has delayed a hearing about Gov. Mark Dayton’s executive order calling for an election to allow home-based day cares to unionize.

The hearing now will be Feb. 22, more than a month after it originally was scheduled.

Ramsey County Judge Dale Lindman is hearing the case about whether Dayton has the authority to schedule an election to allow day care workers who care for children in their homes to join a union. He issued a temporary restraining order to halt the December election until he could get more information.

Don Davis works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at (651) 290-0707 or ddavis@forumcomm.com