Political notebook: AFL-CIO releases 'test' endorsement of Kelliher

ST. PAUL - "Never mind." Those, basically, were the words from the Minnesota AFL-CIO on Wednesday after it e-mailed a news release proclaiming: "MINNESOTA AFL-CIO ENDORSES MARGARET ANDERSON KELLIHER FOR GOVERNOR." The problem was, that never happ...

ST. PAUL - "Never mind."

Those, basically, were the words from the Minnesota AFL-CIO on Wednesday after it e-mailed a news release proclaiming: "MINNESOTA AFL-CIO ENDORSES MARGARET ANDERSON KELLIHER FOR GOVERNOR."

The problem was, that never happened.

The AFL-CIO retracted the Kelliher release soon after it went out, but an

e-mail never really can be retracted. The explanation was that it was a "test" news release that was written just in case Kelliher won the afternoon's vote and was sent by accident.


Left unanswered was where the AFL-CIO got a quote from Kelliher in that "test" release: "I am proud to stand together with hard-working Minnesotans as we fight to get our state back on the job. ... With the help of the more than 300,000 members of the AFL-CIO, we will win this campaign and put 214,000 Minnesotans back to work."

The committee interviewing candidates did not produce the necessary two-thirds vote to endorse anyone. A vote total was not released.

Besides Kelliher, the union umbrella group considered fellow DFL candidate Mark Dayton and Tom Horner of the Independence Party.

Horner's 'urgent' plea

Horner tells supporters that "it's now or never."

While claiming "my campaign is on a roll," an e-mail he sent contains what the Independence Party candidate calls an urgent plea for money.

"We need to keep the pressure on," Horner wrote. "That's especially true this year. With Minnesota's new early primary (Aug. 10), our political calendar now is in hyper-drive. Every deadline has been bumped up."

The deadline that especially concerns Horner is July 19, the date by which he must raise $35,000 in contributions of up to $50 each. If he misses that deadline, he loses up to $400,000 in state campaign funds.


"It's that simple," he said. "We're all in, or we're all out."

Horner said his campaign, polling in double digits against big-party candidates, is halfway to the July 19 goal.

Emmer challenges

If Tom Emmer's campaign thinks someone is unfair, expect it to be posted on, with Emmer's view of the situation.

"You may have noticed that the media and our opponents from the other political parties have been playing fast and loose with the truth about Tom Emmer's agenda for Minnesota," the Republican governor candidate's campaign wrote to supporters. "That's no surprise. In fact, that's politics as usual, and we expected it. Whenever a candidate threatens to shake up the establishment the establishment fights back."

The campaign declares, "We won't let the untruths and the half-truths go unchallenged."

The first challenge was to a Minnesota Public Radio reporter's story about Emmer's lack of specifics when he says he could cut 20 percent of the state budget.

The Emmer campaign claims its candidate never said state government should be cut by 20 percent, only that it could be cut that much.


McClung leaving TPaw

The man who often has been the face of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's office is moving on.

Brian McClung left his job as deputy chief of staff for Pawlenty, who has been his boss the past six years, and opened his own communications and public relations firm. He also will direct MN Forward, a political fund that will spend businesses' money to support candidates.

McClung usually is the only person who can speak for the governor, so at times in recent years he has been more quoted than the governor himself.

As an independent contractor, McClung would be available to help any Pawlenty presidential bid. Laws make it more difficult to do that as a state employee.

Bruce Gordon will replace McClung as Pawlenty's communications director. He has worked for the governor's office for nearly five years, after being the state Commerce Department's communications director.

A Kelliher app

Governor candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher is expanding her apps.


The Democrat's campaign has had an iPhone application for a few months but now is expanding to Android and Blackberry phones as well as the mobile Web.

"Our mobile strategy is consistent with the grassroots focus of this campaign," said Campaign Manager Jaime Tincher. "Adding this application to our arsenal will help us connect even better with voters, volunteers and donors."

The app lists Kelliher events, news, video, biographical information and discussion of issues. And, of course, there are easy ways to volunteer and contribute to the campaign.

Campaigns have been slow to embrace the mobile market, but the Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action fund has an anti-Tom Emmer app that blasts the Republican candidate.

While Kelliher was the first candidate to release mobile apps, DFL opponents Matt Entenza and Mark Dayton have television commercials airing, with Kelliher still not on the tube.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.

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