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Polls don't worry Entenza

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Polls don't worry Entenza
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

That he finishes third among three DFL candidates in the gubernatorial polls doesn't bother Matt Entenza.

"These polls actually have less than no relevance," Entenza, the former DFL House minority leader, said in an interview on Thursday. "This is going to be a low turnout primary; this is about narrow targeting."

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DFL primary voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for DFL-endorsed House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton or Entenza. The winner goes on to face Republican Tom Emmer, who has token primary opposition.

"With the exception of some TV we've done to improve the recognition of who I am, my campaign has been very narrowly targeted at people whom we believe are the most likely to vote," Entenza said.

"Mark Dayton agrees with that too," he added. "He also says he has no faith in any of these polls. Mark, at various times in his political career has been told he's ahead or behind in elections, and he's had both results -- sometimes he's won, sometimes he's lost."

In the latest poll Friday, by KSTP/SurveyUSA, Dayton held a huge lead at 43 percent, followed by Kelliher at 27 percent and Entenza at 22 percent, with a 4.5 percent margin of error.

The results are nearly identical to another poll last week, but Entenza said that poll questioned people of which 61 percent said they would vote in the DFL primary. Minnesota's highest primary turnout has been 20 percent and average primary turnout is 12 percent.

"We're confident that we've targeted the right voters, which is one of the reasons I've been in Bemidji more times than any other candidate," Entenza said. "We believe rural areas like Bemidji are going to be part of the reason why I'm going to win. It isn't sufficient just to have TV ads."

Entenza has been to Bemidji a half dozen times since he announced, followed by Republican Emmer. Dayton and Kelliher have held campaign events once each in Bemidji, with Dayton's confined to the Bemidji State campus.

"We feel very confident that we've got our targeting the right way," Entenza said. "But it's significant that I'm here -- I came to Bemidji the first day I declared that I was running for office on April 21, 2009, and I'm here in Bemidji just 4½ days before the election.

"This region is important and I have a lot of support here," he added.

Entenza was in Bemidji on Thursday to meet with local officials, do a walking tour of downtown businesses, and meet with senior citizens at Havenwood.

Dayton and Entenza are also the big spenders in the race, both with personal fortunes. Dayton reported spending $2.7 million in the latest campaign spending report, and Entenza $4 million. Kelliher's spending was about $900,000.

"All the candidates are on pace to spend more money that most candidates have spent before, but it's a summer primary so we have to do a lot to make sure people even know there's elections," Entenza said. "It's the first time there's a summer primary."

Also, he said, "it's an environment where we know there's going to be a lot of corporate money and special interest money. We have to overcome that, because we're going to see record spending there."

Entenza said he has "almost no special interest money." More than 20 percent of Kelliher's money comes from political action committees and lobbyists, he said. "We have virtually none of that in my campaign, and that means my only special interests are going to be members of the public."

Asked for defining issues of the campaign, Entenza said it is probably his opposition to the federal No Child Left Behind Act with Kelliher, and tax policy with Dayton.

"We're not afraid of accountability in Minnesota, we just don't want accountability that isn't about labeling public schools as failures," he said.

A legislative auditor report shows that if Minnesota continues to follow NCLB, all the state's schools will be labeled as failures by 2014, he said. Entenza would seek waivers from the federal government to go back the state's accountability reporting system.

Kelliher believes there are problems with NCLB, but wants to work with the federal government to make the law better.

And, if no waiver is granted and federal education money is pulled from the state, Entenza said it costs more to do the NCLB paperwork than any federal money the state would lose.

"Parents, teachers, schools all know it's (NCLB) is a failure," he said. "Any kind of a thing like NCLB that's going to label all of our schools as failures, which it will by 2014, clearly is something that was not set up with the best interests of our schools in mind."

Kelliher "has criticized me a lot that we shouldn't withdraw, and we just have a strong disagreement there," Entenza said. "You can't just tinker with something that works this badly. ... You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Entenza said he has "tremendous respect" for Dayton for his proposal to tax the wealthiest Minnesotans who make more than $130,000 a year. "Both he and I would raise taxes on the high end, the difference is he would give a tax rate that is 20-30 percent higher than any other state."

If the tax rate is higher than any other state by a significant margin, "that will hurt our ability to keep business," Entenza said.

:The defining issues at the end are that I'm the only candidate who will scrap No Child Left Behind and Kelliher has strongly attacked me on that," Entenza said. "And with Dayton, it's a question of can we do the economic development and jobs we need to do when we have a tax rate that's so much higher than any other state under his plan."

Y bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

That he finishes third among three DFL candidates in the gubernatorial polls doesn't bother Matt Entenza.

"These polls actually have less than no relevance," Entenza, the former DFL House minority leader, said in an interview on Thursday. "This is going to be a low turnout primary; this is about narrow targeting."

DFL primary voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to vote for DFL-endorsed House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton or Entenza. The winner goes on to face Republican Tom Emmer, who has token primary opposition.

"With the exception of some TV we've done to improve the recognition of who I am, my campaign has been very narrowly targeted at people whom we believe are the most likely to vote," Entenza said.

"Mark Dayton agrees with that too," he added. "He also says he has no faith in any of these polls. Mark, at various times in his political career has been told he's ahead or behind in elections, and he's had both results -- sometimes he's won, sometimes he's lost."

In the latest poll Friday, by KSTP/SurveyUSA, Dayton held a huge lead at 43 percent, followed by Kelliher at 27 percent and Entenza at 22 percent, with a 4.5 percent margin of error.

The results are nearly identical to another poll last week, but Entenza said that poll questioned people of which 61 percent said they would vote in the DFL primary. Minnesota's highest primary turnout has been 20 percent and average primary turnout is 12 percent.

"We're confident that we've targeted the right voters, which is one of the reasons I've been in Bemidji more times than any other candidate," Entenza said. "We believe rural areas like Bemidji are going to be part of the reason why I'm going to win. It isn't sufficient just to have TV ads."

Entenza has been to Bemidji a half dozen times since he announced, followed by Republican Emmer. Dayton and Kelliher have held campaign events once each in Bemidji, with Dayton's confined to the Bemidji State campus.

"We feel very confident that we've got our targeting the right way," Entenza said. "But it's significant that I'm here -- I came to Bemidji the first day I declared that I was running for office on April 21, 2009, and I'm here in Bemidji just 4½ days before the election.

"This region is important and I have a lot of support here," he added.

Entenza was in Bemidji on Thursday to meet with local officials, do a walking tour of downtown businesses, and meet with senior citizens at Havenwood.

Dayton and Entenza are also the big spenders in the race, both with personal fortunes. Dayton reported spending $2.7 million in the latest campaign spending report, and Entenza $4 million. Kelliher's spending was about $900,000.

"All the candidates are on pace to spend more money that most candidates have spent before, but it's a summer primary so we have to do a lot to make sure people even know there's elections," Entenza said. "It's the first time there's a summer primary."

Also, he said, "it's an environment where we know there's going to be a lot of corporate money and special interest money. We have to overcome that, because we're going to see record spending there."

Entenza said he has "almost no special interest money." More than 20 percent of Kelliher's money comes from political action committees and lobbyists, he said. "We have virtually none of that in my campaign, and that means my only special interests are going to be members of the public."

Asked for defining issues of the campaign, Entenza said it is probably his opposition to the federal No Child Left Behind Act with Kelliher, and tax policy with Dayton.

"We're not afraid of accountability in Minnesota, we just don't want accountability that isn't about labeling public schools as failures," he said.

A legislative auditor report shows that if Minnesota continues to follow NCLB, all the state's schools will be labeled as failures by 2014, he said. Entenza would seek waivers from the federal government to go back the state's accountability reporting system.

Kelliher believes there are problems with NCLB, but wants to work with the federal government to make the law better.

And, if no waiver is granted and federal education money is pulled from the state, Entenza said it costs more to do the NCLB paperwork than any federal money the state would lose.

"Parents, teachers, schools all know it's (NCLB) is a failure," he said. "Any kind of a thing like NCLB that's going to label all of our schools as failures, which it will by 2014, clearly is something that was not set up with the best interests of our schools in mind."

Kelliher "has criticized me a lot that we shouldn't withdraw, and we just have a strong disagreement there," Entenza said. "You can't just tinker with something that works this badly. ... You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Entenza said he has "tremendous respect" for Dayton for his proposal to tax the wealthiest Minnesotans who make more than $130,000 a year. "Both he and I would raise taxes on the high end, the difference is he would give a tax rate that is 20-30 percent higher than any other state."

If the tax rate is higher than any other state by a significant margin, "that will hurt our ability to keep business," Entenza said.

:The defining issues at the end are that I'm the only candidate who will scrap No Child Left Behind and Kelliher has strongly attacked me on that," Entenza said. "And with Dayton, it's a question of can we do the economic development and jobs we need to do when we have a tax rate that's so much higher than any other state under his plan."

bswenson@bemidjipioneer.com

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