November 13, 2010

A Modest Proposal for Minnesota...

Hatched by Dafydd

I understand that the gubernatorial election in Minnesota between Republican State Rep. Tom Emmer and Democrat lunatic Mark Dayton is too close to call, and that an automatic hand-recount will ensue, followed by a nearly automatic election contest in the courts.

Current Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's term is scheduled to expire on January 3rd; but it appears the Minnesota constitution may cause that to be extended, if the election contest still is not settled by then:

A lawsuit could delay seating of a new governor. A candidate or any registered voter has seven days after a recount to file an election contest, and a trial wouldn't commence for 20 days after that. The schedule for resolving a challenge could push the race far into January, with fresh GOP majorities set to take over the Legislature.

Under the Minnesota Constitution, the term of a governor runs "four years and until a successor is chosen and qualified." Many, including Pawlenty, read the clause to mean Pawlenty would stay on longer.

I have a suggestion for the Gopher State: When the new Republican legislature is seated, but before the election contest is decided, Minnesota could well have a Republican legislature and a Republican governor. That period would be a dandy time to enact a fair and equitable redistricting bill, which is the most important long-term, structural legislation for 2011, in my modest opinion.

The deadline for redistricting is sometime in September, I believe; but I don't see anything in the rules that prevents the legislature from getting an early start; early January sounds nicely proactive to me. (Perhaps some Minnesota-based lawyers with an interest in politics and an extremely popular blog can check it out and see if it's legally allowed; I name no names, hint, hint.)

According to this seemingly official Minnesota website, it appears that the Minnesota legislature draws the congressional and legislative districts, which must then be approved by the governor; Minnesota does not use a redistricting commission, so far as I can tell from 1,500 miles away.

After the contest is settled, if Tom Emmer ends up governor, all will be well; it won't matter if the redistricting was done early, because Emmer would have signed off on the same plan that Pawlenty will already have accepted. But if Mark Dayton (who currently leads in the initial count by 8,755 votes) prevails, then he will almost certainly veto any redistricting bill that doesn't create a huge, built-in advantage for Democratic candidates. Therefore, the "butter zone" is that narrow window between the seating of the new legislature and the final decision on the new governor.

Time to get on the hump, Minnesotans -- tick tock, tick tock! As a great sage once said, never let a crisis go to waste.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 13, 2010, at the time of 12:53 PM

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The following hissed in response by: snochasr

Seems to me that "fair" redistricting would be the winner in either case, since the courts would inevitably approve what the GOP legislature created rather than the lack of redistricting which a Dayton veto would create.

It also seems to me that it would be far more important for Pawlenty and the GOP to immediately pass a balanced budget and opt OUT of Obamacare, something the previous legislature left to the new governor's discretion.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 14, 2010 4:58 AM

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