Election Notebook: No GOP Judicial Endorsements

Minnesota’s Republican Party chairman wants to make sure everyone understands that his party has not endorsed judicial candidates.

“In May, our state GOP convention expressly decided not to endorse any statewide judicial candidate in 2012,” Chairman Pat Shortridge wrote in an email. “Some in our party continue to refuse to accept this fact, a source of growing frustration for us and the members of the State Executive Committee.”

Shortridge was responding to another email, from Bonn Clayton, who sent a link to an online voters’ guide that Shortridge said implied Republican support for some judicial candidates. The official party voters’ guide includes candidates’ resumes and short statements, but does not take sides.

The Republican platform indicates that the party supports endorsing candidates, but delegates opted against that this year.

One of the state high court challengers, Tim Tinglestad of Bemidji, said it is hypocritical of the Republican Party to have a platform that supports endorsements, then not follow through. He faces Justice David Stras in the Nov. 6 election.

The three Supreme Court justices up for election this year all were appointed by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Obama kickoff

President Barack Obama’s campaign launched a statewide tour Monday to get out the vote on Nov. 6.

The “Gotta Vote” tour will make more than 40 stops. Elected Minnesota Democratic officials will join the tour along the way. It runs through Monday.

Tuesday’s stops include Detroit Lakes, Crookston and Moorhead, while it heads northeast to Grand Rapids and Duluth on Wednesday.

Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, does not have a Minnesota office.

Billboard defaced

A Minneapolis billboard supporting a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages was defaced after a group supporting the proposal aired television commercials citing similar examples in six other states.

What looked like paint was thrown on the billboard, proving what amendment supporters said was what Minnesotans can expect if the amendment fails.

“This kind of disrespect is a perfect example of what Minnesotans, who simply believe marriage is between one man and one woman, can expect if marriage is redefined,” said Chairman John Helmberger of Minnesota for Marriage. “Minnesotans need to understand that when marriage is redefined, the lifestyle is not simply one of ‘live and let live.’”

The newest Minnesota for Marriage commercial includes information about a Vermont inn that was successfully sued for not allowing a same-sex couple to say.

 NAACP: ‘Vote no’

The national NAACP president told a St. Paul crowd Monday that he opposes a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

“This amendment should send a shiver down the spine of all leaders who know the constitution should be used to expand rights, not restrict them,” Benjamin Jealous said. “We’re proud at the NAACP to be working all across the country to help protect freedoms for all people.”

 Singing to a crowd

The Republican U.S. House candidate in western Minnesota packed the house in Alexandria with country music singer Lee Greenwood.

The artist who made “God Bless the USA” famous was the Sunday night headliner at an event for Lee Byberg, who is making his second challenge to Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson.

The Greenwood concert was the final in a tour of Byberg’s Northern Lights Freedom Chorus. Peterson himself long has been part of the Second Amendments, a group of congressmen from both parties that from time to time gets together to play oldies and country music.

Byberg’s campaign estimates Sunday night’s crowd in Alexandria topped 2,000.

 Poll: Cravaack trails

A Star Tribune poll shows U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack trails Rick Nolan by 7 percentage points.

The poll, released Monday, contradicts a Survey USA-KSTP poll that showed on Oct. 10 the two were in a dead heat in the 8th Congressional District.

The Star Tribune poll gives Nolan, a Democrat, a 50-43 lead, with 7 percent still undecided.