MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Among the more controversial statements on the stadium all week was one made by House Speaker Kurt Zellers on KFAN radio where he said he hoped the stadium bill passed but he planned to vote against it.
Zellers later said he misspoke but it shows how dicey the political landscape is on the issue.
The reality is, his statement saying he wanted the bill to pass but would vote against it may be exactly where a lot of legislators are right now.
They don’t want to get the blame if the stadium goes down and the team leaves — but they also don’t want to vote for a bill that critics continue to argue is a handout to a billionaire.
Remember, the entire legislature is up for re-election in November. Political analyst Larry Jacobs appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.
“It is a very big gamble on the part of Speaker Zellers but I also think it is a sign of the politics with the Republican Party,” Jacobs said. “Speaker Zellers may be thinking forward to the next statewide election and wondering whether a vote for the Vikings would be kind of a like a bailout of the banks, which is bad news, so there is a lot of politics going on within the Republican party that is helping tie the Speaker and other Republicans in knots.”
Legislators wondering about the political fallout may want to consider what happened to the Hennepin County Commissioners who, in a hugely controversial move in 2006, passed by just one vote a funding mechanism for the Twins stadium.
In the next election, none of those who voted yes were voted out of office.
WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy can be seen every Sunday at its new time of 10:30 a.m.