Saturday, October 23, 2004

The GOP Insider Interview - Update

For those of you who have been following, I interviewed a Republican Party insider - meaning someone who has held official positions within the Republican Party for a long time - this past Thursday night. The intent was to try to get to some of the nuts and bolts about how the Bush campaign is operating in this state, and to identify anything which may be different in Republican strategy or operations in Minnesota for this presidential election compared to that in 2000.

Tonight I completed transcribing the recording of that interview. But since Mitch got me all skittish about including the umm's and ah's, plus the fact that some of the info was off-the- record, I need to do some cleaning up before it's suitable for posting. It should be coming sometime tomorrow. Here's a teaser a of the sort of thing to expect in the interview:

Me: Here is an observation from a Republican campaign worker in southern Ohio about how poll watching is going to be handled in his area:

“Poll watchers will be armed with lists of voters to be challenged. When a suspicious voter (one on the list) shows up they are to be challenged. As you know the presiding judge in each precinct will be a republican [Ohio law requires the presiding judge to match the party of the governor -ed.]. The presiding judge will then rule if the person can vote or not. If the judgment is against us then the local attorney representing the campaign will be called and a volunteer lawyer will be dispatched to handle the situation.”

Do we have anything like that in Minnesota?

Source: No, and I’ll tell you why.

The first time we used poll watchers… we call them poll challengers… was in 2002. 18 lawsuits were initiated. Every one of them was dismissed, because by state law it all had to go through the State Attorney General - Mike Hatch, DFL [Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party, which is Minnesota's Democratic Party affiliate - ed.]. He dismissed every case.

Washington has been watching what has happened in Minnesota. We haven’t gone for the Republican candidate for president since 1972. In 2000 we came within 2 points. In 2002 we elected a Republican governor and Republican Senator. 57,000 votes were the difference in 2000.

How do we avoid the pitfalls? We can’t go around the DFL Attorney General. What we can do is get people on this thing that are not local, but national.

As a result 2 things are taking place...

If that sounds intriguing, pop back in sometime on Sunday and the full thing should be posted. If that sounds very dull, go watch that very funny and oddly disturbing egg thing Lileks pointed out. Somehow that one always makes me feel happy. And hungry.

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