In the first few days after the election, the Republican Party of Minnesota, or RPM for short, had a little “good cop, bad cop” game going. Tony Sutton, with his bizarre lawsuits and his trashing of elections officials, took for himself the role of Bad Cop, whereas gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer was cast, somewhat against type for those who remember his family history and opposition to anti-bullying legislation, as the Good Cop.
Being the Good Cop meant promising not to sue or contest the election further if he lost the recount, and letting Tony Sutton be the one to rant and rave and attack elections officials. But in the past week, the Emmer team has pulled back the hood a touch:
— Tony Trimble, one of the Norm Coleman recount lawyers who is now working for Emmer, attacked Hennepin County elections manager Rachel Smith last Wednesday, threatening to sue her for trying to add more counting tables to speed up the count, a count being slowed by the thousands of frivolous challenges being made by Emmer workers, challenges so ridiculous that Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul H. Anderson lectured the Emmer campaign on their abuse of the process.
— Speaking of those frivolous challenges, it was Ms. Smith who the day before had dared to notice stinky behavior on the part of RPM operatives, overhearing Republican recount leaders urging their workers to challenge more ballots in Minnesota’s Gubernatorial recount. Smith deemed the Emmer team’s challenges “a bit unnecessary”, something borne out by a representative sampling of Emmer-challenged ballots.
— Remember the huge data request Tony Sutton made of all of Minnesota’s eighty-seven counties? The one he knew couldn’t be fulfilled in a timely fashion, so of course when it wasn’t he then sued? The Democrats made a similar request a week later (hat tip to Sally Jo Sorensen of BSP), after they knew that the data had already been gathered for the Republican side (essentially, they just wanted copies of whatever the Republicans got, which was easy enough to do once the data had been acquired) — and, unlike the Republicans, they aren’t suing when the data isn’t showing up immediately.
There’s another way the Minnesota Democrats are unlike the Republicans, in that they pay for the costs of putting the clerks to all that trouble. As Sorensen points out, Sutton’s running the Republican side of the recount much like he runs his ailing restaurant franchise (and the finances of the RPM when he was its treasurer not that long ago). Paying bills seems to be a recurring problem with the lad.
The contrast between the two groups goes beyond the recount. The Dayton campaign is behaving responsibly, setting up a transition team whose actions you may read about at the team’s website. Aside from a brief moment over three weeks ago when their transition team was announced, the Emmer campaign hasn’t done anything to prepare for a transition, much less anything for public viewing on a website or anywhere else. The Emmer team knows full well they have no chance. They’re just trying to gum up the recount works, apparently so Tim Pawlenty can stay in office long enough to screw the state out of early Medicaid buy-in, among other things, and also to cast unwarranted doubt on the elections process by smearing and sliming elections officials. The way to stop them from doing this is to shine a big fat spotlight in their direction; they tend to run for cover at the first sign of accountability.