The 5th Congressional District Race from My Corner

A couple weeks back, the family and I checked out the St. Anthony Village VillageFest parade (How could we not?). Of course, the candidates for the 5th District were there – well…I shook hands with Ember Reichgott Junge (points for a cool sign and strong German name) and Mike Erlandson (points for Sabo endorsement). I don’t remember seeing Paul Ostrow or Keith Ellison in person (losing points), but their reps were there…I think.

Afterwards, reviewing their positions – read like more a race for who disliked Bush more. Listening to the MPR State Fair debate, they’re tripping over each other on who’s more progressive. At first glance, they all look very similar.

Here’s a quick comparison table highlighting their differences from what I gleaned in the MPR debate. Note, they all talk real fast, so some of the quoting might be off, and yea, most of it is “what I heard”.

Universal Healthcare:
Ellison: We need to stand up to the Healthcare “man” – that’s why we don’t have it yet.
Ember: The Healthcare industry controls the federal government – that’s why we haven’t had it yet.
Erlandson: Democrats need a financing mechanism for universal health care – that’s why we don’t have it yet.
Ostrow: Healthcare is a national issue, needs a national solution – that’s why we don’t have it yet.

Public Transit:
Ellison: We need to stand up to the oil and coal industries.
Ember: We need lots more light rail lines. It takes years for light rail to happen.
Erlandson: All public transit should be free. We can find creative ways to fund stadiums, we need to do the same for public transit.
Ostrow: Me too.

Foreign Policy:
Ellison: I supported the cease fire, before the cease fire was cool. “I’m for talking with people…even those you don’t agree with.”
Ember: The prerequisite of peace is disarmament.
Erlandson: Israel is the only democracy in that region – it has a right to defend itself.
Ostrow: Iraq is a war of lies. The US has no international credibility – we need to rebuild those relationships.

Crime & Safety:
Ellison: I’ve got more street cred than Mike Erlandson.
Ember: Early childhood education is the #1 way to prevent crime.
Erlandson: More education for 3 & 4 year olds. Invest in the neighborhoods and fund education. More cops on the streets.
Ostrow: Republican policies have gutted public safety. We should add serial numbers to bullet casings.

President George Bush:
Ellison: Impeach him – I’ll do it right now.
Ember: Investigate impeachment, Congress needs to get a backbone. Bush needs to be accountable.
Erlandson: Let’s not waste the next two years on impeachment, Let’s fix the financial problems caused by the Republicans. Bush can make a war abroad, but not a peace at home.
Ostrow: Congress needs to put a smackdown on Bush – across the board.

On Raising Federal Taxes…
Ellison: Federal taxes need to be re-appropriated.
Ember: Repeal federal tax breaks for most affluent.
Erlandson: Federal taxes need to be raised on most affluent.
Ostrow: Me too.

On Bringing the Troups Home
Ellison: “I’m the peace candidate.”
Ember: All troups out in 12 months.
Erlandson: Set a date to begin withdrawal, apologize to the rest of the world for Bush’s failed war.
Ostrow: Troops out now, we need an exit strategy.

Final Pitch
Ellison: Vote for me, I’m endorsed by the DFL, and all y’all can help me take down the “man”.
Ember: Vote for me, I don’t like Bush, and I’ve been in office for 18 years and I’m a woman.
Erlandson: Vote for me, I’m endorsed by Sabo and have worked in Washington with him.
Ostrow: Vote for me, I don’t like Bush.

For me, Ostrow and Ember lost this debate. The race is between Ellison and Erlandson. I like Erlandson’s jawline more and his endorsement by Sabo. Ellison seems a little feisty. At this point, I can’t tell what Ellison’s Talk vs. Walk ratio is, so I’m still sticking with Erlandson.

For a longer, even more in-depth and snarky analysis, talk to Mr. Sponge.

5 Replies to “The 5th Congressional District Race from My Corner”

  1. I think Ellison’s walk vs. talk ratio is pretty good. (I don’t know about Erlandson’s) Since I think all four candidates would vote roughly the same, my question is…….do I want a Democratic Congressional representative who is canned, cautious and dull. Or do I want a representative who knows what he believes, says what he thinks and has some passion and fire?

    Or to put it another way, who did I “connect” with better: Wellstone or Sabo? Because they were both good Democrats and voted the way I wanted them to in Congress.

    For me, I liked Wellstone better. Which is why I’m voting for Keith Ellison in the primary.

    If Mike Erlandson wins the primary, naturally I’ll vote for him in the general. But I have to say, as state party chair, he was competent, but uninspiring. His idea of passion was to shout the hackneyed phrases louder. He came across to me as an uber-party hack. Of course, I could be terribly wrong about him. I’ve been wrong about a zillion times before.

  2. Thanks for providing your insight into the CD5 Debate at the State Fair. As a Keith Ellison supporter, I would like to say that Keith does in fact ‘walk the walk.’

    He received the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action’s Legislator of the Year award, he’s passed environmental legslation through the Republican State House and for we progressives, electing Keith is electing one of us.

    In other word, consider Keith a movement candidate. He has been a champion for progressive issues for many years and has done a great job in the House since 2002.

    Once again, thanks for jumping in with your opinion.

    The Big E
    http://www.mnblue.com

  3. The Big E brings up two very important points;
    1. Awards and group endorsements (verses individual endorsements) mean very little to me.
    2. Declaring a common attribute of all candidates (their progressive history) to be a differentiating factor is bullshit.

    Erlandson has more experience working progressive issues at the federal level than Ellison. Ellison has more piss and vinegar and local experience. Piss and vinegar don’t impress me as much as getting things done. All the candidates have done a very poor job of displaying their past accomplishments in a meaningful way. I suspect that’s a problem with politics as a whole. Not the problem with any specific campaign.

    On a related note, neither of these candidates have and RSS feed, let along a blog, and I’ve yet to get their positions on technology issues like Net Neutrality and municipal wireless.

    Lastly, you all know my real, full name – how ’bout the same from The Big E and Midwest Meg. Whaccha hiding from?

  4. I’ve been reading the 5th CD candidates’ websites with care. Ember Reichgott Junge has more detail, demonstrates more mastery of the subjects, and endorses far more concrete policy ideas than the other candidates put together. Why can’t the guys shows as much knowledge of the issues?

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