Thursday, October 28, 2004

See how they run 

Scott Johnson (better known as The Big Trunk to you NARNers) notes that the Taxpayers League has made an impact in the national race by swaying voters in northern Minnesota.

As of October 21, the Rasmussen daily tracking poll showed the presidential race tied 47-47 in Minnesota. On that date the Taxpayers League began running a single radio advertisement on six stations in Duluth, three stations in Hibbing, two stations in Eveleth, two stations in Grand Rapids, one station in International Falls and one station in Ely � all in the Eighth District. The advertisement hammers Kerry on mining, logging, hunting and snowmobiles. The Taxpayers League plans to run the spot over 500 times on those stations by election day.

Tuesday's Star Tribune column by Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman on the snowmobile issue reflects the leverage the issue is providing the Bush campaign in northern Minnesota. Yesterday the Rasmussen tracking poll shows that President Bush has moved into a small lead in Minnesota, 48-45. Taxpayers League president David Strom tells me that the calls he has received from northern Minnesota television and radio stations in response to the organization's ad show that it has struck a nerve, as does the press conference called by the Democratic party to take issue with it. For want of a snowmobile, could the Democrats lose Minnesota? Stay tuned.

David notes on Our House blog notes that he's struck a nerve here in St. Cloud as well.

The St Cloud radio ad is having its intended effect--driving conversation in St Cloud
about the abusive tactics mayor John Ellenbecker is using to push his agenda. He
is trying to get over $100 million in new sales taxes passed, and is doing some
pretty slimy things to do so.

In particular, he threatened the St Cloud chamber with losing a $500,000 contract with the city unless they backed his tax increase.

Anyway, Ellenbecker is royally p****d off, and is making it known to just about everyone.

I'll say! The local paper carries a story where Ellenbecker and various and sundry petite poobahs call David bad names.

Mayor John Ellenbecker said Wednesday he believes the Taxpayers League of Minnesota ad defamed him. He wouldn't rule out seeking a criminal investigation.

"The implication there is that we're engaging in some sort of criminal activity," he said of the ad, which began airing Tuesday. "I find that to be very offensive."

The Taxpayers League ad asks voters to turn down a proposed extension of a half-cent local sales tax. If approved by voters and the Legislature, the tax would be in place for up to 17 years to pay for up to $111 million in building projects.

The ad claims Ellenbecker abused his authority and questions the legality of the proposal.

St. Cloud City Council members, St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Bohnen and St. Joseph Mayor Larry Hosch supported Ellenbecker Wednesday as he defended his actions and called the Taxpayers League "the single most destructive force in Minnesota politics today."

I've already noted the abusive side of Ellenbecker; we now find out he's a thin-skinned bully. Aside the merits of the tax proposal, which to readers outside of St. Cloud will be irrelevant (it's to fund a passel of public spending projects like roads, a new library and expanded civic center), the ferocity of attacks (and begrudging admiration) on the Taxpayers League indicates some real effectiveness. David, you can't buy advertising that good.