In a media availability held at the Minnesota House Minority Leader's office Friday morning, Republican Marty Seifert expressed great 'disappointment' that voter ID, his caucuses' top priority on election reform, failed to get out of committee this week.
Seifert is fairly confident his caucus will get another shot at the bill on the floor, and Smart Politics asked him about the solidarity of his caucus on the issue:
"We have unanimous support. I have not had one member tell me that they won't support the photo ID."
Smart Politics also asked the Minority Leader how many DFLers he could pry away on a floor vote, in view of the fact that one DFLer, Philip Sterner (37B-Rosemount), joined the GOP caucus in the State and Local Government Committee vote Thursday morning.
"I can tell you that we're down by 20 votes and so what happens now is the Democrats can let off 19 people and still kill things. And so it is very difficult...I would love to have it pass, it's our top election priority, but I think it will conveniently come up just a couple votes short. It'll have unanimous support from my side and on their side it'll just be a couple votes short of being able to make it through. The numbers are so overwhelming right now, it's just difficult to compete with that."
Seifert also refused to give credit to any DFLers who would join his caucus on this issue. The GOP leader stated they were not mavericks, and questioned the motivation for their vote choice:
"You can just take Paul Rosenthal's (DFL, 41B-Edina) button with the Republicans and just put a paper clip in it and send him back to Bloomington. He's just going to vote with us on everything because he can, not because he necessarily believes it's the right thing or wrong thing."
Rosenthal's district voted for GOPer Norm Coleman by 10.0 points over Al Franken in the U.S. Senate contest and for Republican Erik Paulsen by 9.1 points in the 3rd Congressional District race over Ashwin Madia.
So how do you spot a true DFL 'maverick?'
"I've been watching some of these votes, like Sterner and Rosenthal - their voting, and, there's is such a sloppy majority. It's easy to be a maverick when the numbers are a 20-point spread. When we were in charge, when it was 68-66 (after the 2004 election), that's when you have people who really show their true colors, not when it's 87-47. At this point it's just 'vote how you want' - it doesn't matter."