Monday, April 14, 2008

Sorry, Big E

Eric Pusey raises the question Why is Ron Erhardt attending DFL conventions?

Last Saturday, I saw Rep. Ron Erhardt (R-Bloomington) at the MN-03 convention. This is the second time I've seen him at a DFL event since the budget override. He also attended the SD41 convention at Bloomington Kennedy High School. I saw him talking to DFL Party Chair Brian Melendez last Saturday. What do y'all think they were chatting about? The weather?

It's a little late for Ron to defect as we have an endorsed candidate Kevin Staunton running against whoever wins the Republican primary ... if Ron's still going to run. Obviously, Brian wants DFLers to win in every district and would never do anything to weaken any DFLers chances, but I would love to be a fly on the wall if they two of them ever did meet for coffee or something like that.

Eric is going to draw some flak from an unexpected quarter here, but sigh, so be it.

First, that's Ron Erhardt (R-Cakeville), not Bloomington. Ron has represented Edina, or at least most of it, for nine terms. He is the second-most senior Republican in the Minnesota House, eclipsed only by Dennis Ozment who is retiring at the end of the term. Ron is a popular legislator who has represented the area since a lot of your readers were in middle school, Eric.

Ron Erhardt is the last pro-choice Republican in the Minnesota House. He has consistently voted against the anti-gay marriage amendment foolishness, and he is also an unwavering opponent of the gun lobby's agenda, including conceal and carry. Ron has been a thorn in the side of the likes of Governor Pepsodent, Steve Sviggum, Marty Seifert, and Michele Bachmann for a very long time. He's been in favor of a gas tax increase for many years.

Taking the vote he did to override the governor's veto of the transportation bill on the eve of the Republican endorsing convention in SD 41 was an act of considerable political courage. Erhardt knew he had a challenger for the endorsement, but he voted the way he did anyway.

Ron does not deserve the abuse you imply.

Second, Eric, you don't have a DFL endorsee in 41A: Spot does. Ron Erhardt running in the Republican primary or as an independent is a formidable opponent who would have a lot of appeal to DFLers who have known him for years.

Third, this is America, not Afghanistan. We do not make women, party officials, or anybody else wear burqas and avoid contact with unrelated persons. Brian Melendez can chat amiably - and in public - with Ron Erhardt or anyone else he chooses, and it is hardly a source of gossip or innuendo.

A few days ago, Avidor sent Spotty an image of the poster that was going to be handed out at the Taxpayers' League rally at the Capitol last Saturday. It is emblematic of the vitriol that has been directed at Erhardt by a party that he must hardly recognize anymore.

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