Wednesday, August 31, 2005
SoS: MDE has it wrong
Christian Sande is not doing exactly what he said he won't do as Secretary of State. He's campaigning to replace Kiffmeyer, whom he sees as an overtly partisan public official. If you've ever met him or seen him speak, you know he makes it perfectly clear that he sees the chief responsibility of the Secretary of State to make sure that everyone, white, black, Democrat, Republican, Independent, everyone has the right and the means to vote on Election Day. In Sande's view, Kiffmeyer cannot supply that because of her alleged campaign-related work. That's not double-talk and it's not contradictory, that's the right way to make democracy work.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
1. You have to be somewhat non-partisan within the DFL. Obviously I express some opinions in this space, but the simple fact is that almost any DFLer is going to be better than their GOP opponent.
2. At least one post per week. I'd like to keep the content here changing quickly enough to keep it interesting.
3. Quality writing style.
4. That's it.
As noted above, there are many many races going on in the 2006 election cycle. I'm looking for people to cover:
-Secretary of State
-US Congress, CD 1-4
-US Congress, CD 5-8
-State House of Reps
If you're interested, please email me.
Friday, August 26, 2005
MN-GOV: Steve Kelley Press Release
Regardless of the disclaimer, however, this is worth posting. Separation of Powers is an important issue, locally and nationally, but in the case of the recent government shutdown, I think the GOP is making a power play out of a molehill of an issue. The courts sustained funding for necessary medical and social services, which otherwise would have been cut off. Perhaps it's not directly part of the courts' responsibility, but the incentive for legislators to get the job done should be coming both from their constituents AND the Governor. I think Mr. Pawlenty spent more time trying to defend his conservative credentials and those of his party in the Legislature rather than pressuring both sides to get the job done.
But I digress. On to the press release!
PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Publication
For further information:
Kelley for Minnesota
[Contact info redacted]
KELLEY ATTACKS REPUBLICAN “POWER GRAB”
Golden Valley, August 25th - Sen. Steve Kelley, DFL candidate for Governor, today labeled Republican efforts to limit the court’s role in the event of a future state shutdown as a blatant power grab. Citing the “long-honored tradition of checks and balances in our state and federal Constitutions,” Kelley lauded the courts for providing a valuable safety net to citizens in need of vital medical services during the recent historic state shutdown.
“The Republicans are simply going too far,” Kelley said. “They control all branches of the federal government, most of state government – and now they want to tell the judiciary how to operate.”
“Instead of seeking measures to prevent a future government shutdown, House Republicans have opted to lash out at the courts, who prevented serious, even dangerous, outcomes for some Minnesotans,” Kelley said.
“The Court prudently issued an order for continuing certain essential services to those most medically in need,” Kelley continued. “We can all disagree about what services are most essential, but at some point – especially when those elected to do so cannot fulfill their responsibility – the courts may be called upon to prevent dire results.”
Kelley went on to charge that the Pawlenty Republicans with were engaged in just another example of “ideological extremism.”
Kelley questioned Governor Pawlenty’s reaction to the Republican legislators’ actions, noting that the Governor had asked his counsel, during the summer shutdown, to challenge the Court’s ruling for continuing medical services. “The Governor wanted to shut down the entire government a few months ago, why is he surprised when others in his party want to do the same thing now?” Kelley asked.
During the recent special session, Kelley was a leader of a bi-partisan group of House and Senate members seeking to find a resolution to the deadlock. It is the view of some capitol observers that the tenacity of this “rump group” helped pressure partisan leadership on all sides to accept compromise and end the stalemate.
- 30 ------------------------
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
MN-SEN: Mark Kennedy
Monday, August 22, 2005
MN-06: Patty (could come) to the rescue!
(Links lifted from DFL-CD6's website)
I haven't met either of these gentlemen, but being something of a technophile and more than something of a web programmer...these websites don't jump up and yell "professional campaign here!" I'm pretty sure Mortensen's website was exported directly from MS PowerPoint. Tinklenberg's site looks nice, but the lack of solid information on his positions is a big problem, even more than a year away from the election. We're well into the 21st century here folks, the least you could do is hire a decent web designer to edit your position statements for grammar and make them look nice.
That being said, they're running for an open endorsement in an open race until Patty says otherwise, so they're certainly worthy of our attention.
Saturday, August 20, 2005
MN-01 - Tim Walz
But then I noticed that he was somehow associated with Paul Hackett - Walz is also a veteran of the Iraq war. This caught my attention; if you read left-leaning blogs and don't know who Paul Hackett is yet...well, I can't help you. The recent special election in Ohio's 2nd CD went down to the wire, with Hackett using blunt criticism of President Bush and the corrupt Ohio GOP to garner nearly 48% of the vote in a 70% baseline GOP district. While Gutknecht is popular in CD1 here in Minnesota, a similar strategy could be effective--with Bush's approval numbers dropping weekly, hang the President and the war around the incumbent's neck and make sure he can't get out from under the weight of either. Even if it's not enough to beat a popular incumbent in a conservative district, this will rally the progressives and get them out to the polls for other statewide races.
But as for Walz, I will reserve judgment until I (hopefully) get a chance to meet him. Other bloggers have good things to say, so I will defer to their positive opinions. Check him out: http://www.timwalzforuscongress.org/index.php
Friday, August 19, 2005
MN-SEN: Ford Bell Podcast
On a side note, I think I may have to leave the coverage of Mike Hatch's issues and problems as a gubernatorial candidate to Trillin. Great post at MN Lefty Liberal regarding the Attorney General's recent failure with the Medica board and what it means.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
From a recent fundraising letter sent by the Mike Hatch Volunteer Committee:
Republican Newt Gingrich brought a government shutdown to Washington in the '90s. The Republicans did the same thing here in Minnesota. In the 90's, the Republican-line was called "the Contract with America." Today the Republicans call it a "no new taxes" pledge. And the net result today was the same as in the 90's--people suffer. Ultra-conservative Republicans in Minnesota care more about ideology then [ed: excellent grammar] the people they were elected to serve.
[Blah blah blah, please give Mike Hatch money].
It's that simple. Please don't delay. Your check now helps Mike make a decision on his role in the 2006 race. You can help him by sending him a note of encouragement and a check to help raise crucial early money.
[Mike Hatch Volunteer Committee Person]
[Disclaimer before the dis: I'm working for Steve Kelley's campaign for Governor]
Come on, Mike. Make a decision. Democrats aren't going to put up with this for long. Essentially, Mr. Hatch is saying "Give me money, and if you give me enough, maybe I'll run." That's the image and substance of his stance on the race so far.
Now, I understand that running for any statewide office requires money. Lots of it. However, it also requires a sense of oneself and one's values in order to convince voters across the spectrum that one is prepared to lead and fight for them all. I can also understand Mr. Hatch wanting to wait until after his (recently-failed) lawsuit with Medica concluded, but in politics, timing can be crucial. Receiving a call for cash on the same day Mr. Hatch gets slapped down in court leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
There's another larger issue than Mr. Hatch himself here: It doesn't seem he gets the whole "grass-roots thing". Note of encouragement? What exactly does that mean? This letter seems to be an attempt at engaging everyday folks in the not-yet-a-campaign, and at the same time keeps the focus squarely on Republicans. 2004-style campaigning will not work--simply outlining the opposition's stumbles is not enough to convince voters that our candidate is a better option. This is an important point for all Dems to realize and use to our advantage. The longer the focus is on our candidates up and down the ticket, the better we all do next year.
MN-GOV: Medica Wins
As an update to an earlier post on this same topic.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
MN-02: Rowley to Texas
From today's Star Tribune:
ROWLEY, LOUREY PLAN TO JOIN TEXAS VIGIL
The two want to demonstrate solidarity with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan
Two Minnesota moms at the forefront of the anti-Iraq war movement, one of whom recently lost a son in the fighting, are flying to Crawford, Texas, on Thursday to join Californian Cidy Sheehan's expanding, and increasingly controversial, protest near President Bush's ranch.
State Sen. Becky Lourey, whose son, Matt, was killed piloting an Army helicopter earlier this year, and FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley, a recently declared DFL candidate for Congress who spoke out early against invading Iraq, said they will join the stakeout at "Camp Casey" -- named in memory of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, 24, who was killed more than a year ago.
Note to all war-opposers and Democratic candidates--Sheehan is not protesting the war. Most of the people who are there with her are, but she is not. She is protesting the use of our soldiers' deaths as a reason to stay in Iraq, which she correctly indentifies as a disgusting and deceitful sham by the Bush Administration. Yet MoveOn and other anti-war groups and Sheehan's hangers-on have allowed Bush to get away with saying "her position is 'get out of Iraq'" when that's simply not the case. Kudos to Rowley and Lourey for their move for solidarity and opposition to the war, but as always, we Democrats, as a national entity are failing to stay on message and failing to frame that message properly.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
It's the privacy, stupid
MN-Gov: Hatch vs. Medica
MPR had a piece this morning on the legal matter currently pending between Mike Hatch and the Medica HMO board:
"Nobody approves of wrongdoing by charities. It's really a wonderful issue for AGs who are political figures. There have been several other situations where AGs have used their power excessively, and I think this may be one," Fishman says.
Solicitor General Lori Swanson didn't wish to comment on whether Hatch's political aspirations played a role in the case. He is often mentioned as a possible DFL contender for governor, but hasn't said whether he'll run next year. But last May, Hatch sent a fundraising letter to DFL contributors, asking them to help him finance a gubernatorial campaign.
Mike Hatch has been somewhat evasive until now concerning the upcoming race for the Governor's office. Is it possible that he's waiting for the outcome of this case? If he wins, he not only gets new powers over the HMO system, but also hits a home run in the media--noble Attorney General fights for the People against evil HMOs. If he loses, however, it's a slap in the face for Mr. Hatch: His political reach is diminished, bad press, and perhaps most importantly, decreased fundraising potential. If the decision goes against him, is it possible that he will call off his candidacy for Governor altogether?
Friday, August 12, 2005
Thursday, August 11, 2005
MN-Sen: Kelly Doran podcast
Idusogie is pretty good, and I'm going to have to start listening to his podcast more often. I'm sure the focus on Doran in the open Senate race is due to being able to get face time with the candidate. It seems that Kelly is doing his best to portray himself as a regular guy who's more in touch with younger voters than any of the other candidates are. I'm not sure that the "non-St.-Paul-type" argument go with someone like Patty Wetterling in the race as well. Having met him a couple times, I can definitely agree that Doran seems to be a genuine and nice guy, but I see him inheriting Dayton's problems--personally financed campaigns mean that the incumbent goes into his next race with no donor base to speak of, meaning another personally financed campaign, and although Senate terms are 6 years long, it's still a lot of money to spend.
Idusogie's full piece on Kelly Doran can be found at http://www.insideminnesotapolitics.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
MN-02: Coleen Rowley Editorial
However--it strikes me that twice, TWICE she repeats the language used by Rumsfeld and Myers. Hasn't she read Don't Think of an Elephant? In my personal opinion, the most hard-hitting insight in that book is not the over-arching model of political discourse, it's that if you use the other side's language, it doesn't matter if you follow it with "is bad" or "is all wrong". The language is all people remember.
Make it "Bush's failed attempt at Mideast peace." Make it "This Administration's Vietnam" (nothing like scaring up a few ghosts in Rumsfeld's closet). Don't just parrot the words that the other side has already used!
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Call to action--that means you, bloggers
Are you a blogger?
Do you live in or have a significant readership in the state of Minnesota?
Do you want to have a real netroots-level influence over the 2006 race for the Governor's office?
If so, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, August 08, 2005
There's been a fair deal of attention placed on Patty Wetterling's Senate run- namely, on the belief that she might do well to run again in the 6th CD, being vacated by Mark Kennedy to run for the same open Senate seat.
What's the feeling IN the sixth? Do we have anyone down there who can give us a better read? I'm looking for folks who are either there or have worked there recently on local or state races. Comments obviously welcome.
MN-Gov: Mike Hatch
Star Tribune has a well-balanced article about Mike Hatch, who is "widely rumored to be considering a possible run at the Governor's office next year." I'd say it's a good possibility. Although the article runs a good portrayal of his style and substance--confront the bad guys and go after them tooth and nail--it highlights a problem with him as a leader: namely, he's not. Governors need the ability to consult with all levels and parties within the Legislature, and I don't think Mike has demonstrated that he has that ability.
Of course, making sure his name stays in the news will go a long way toward drowning everyone and everything else out. For better or worse.
[Update] Wow, that was weird. Technical funkiness now handled.
Saturday, August 06, 2005
Senate - GOP notes
Although the White House is backing Kennedy, Cooper says it's a different scenario than Minnesota's last Senate race, in which President Bush and Karl Rove personally appealed to Norm Coleman to take on Paul Wellstone.
"The Bush people really had very little to do with Kennedy's running. I mean there was no anointment, if you will, in that connection," Cooper says. "Kennedy got it because everybody in the Republican Party thought he was the best guy to get it."
Not quite everybody.
Vietnam veteran and retired Army chaplin Harold Shudlick of Apple Valley says he's a candidate too.
Shudlick is among some Republicans who are critical of party leaders' early conclusion that Kennedy will be the GOP Senate candidate. He's been traveling throughout the state meeting with Republican activists.
"I'm going to make the best effort that I can, to give the voters of the Republican Party the best choice they can possibly have as an alternative to somebody selected by the puppet masters. And I think the delegates are responding to that," says Shudlick.
Shudlick says his main issues revolve around tightening immigration and preserving what he calls "American culture." He says Kennedy has voted for too much federal spending. He's also critical of his fellow Republican's positions on some trade issues.
Washington University political scientist Steven Smith closely follows Minnesota politics. Smith says by rallying around Kennedy early, Republicans avoid interparty competition for campaign cash and volunteers.
Smith says infighting could hurt the growing pool of Democratic Senate candidates. But he also says having top-level, outside Republicans campaigning for Kennedy is not without risk for the GOP, particularly if the "kingmaker-puppetmaster" rhetoric sticks.
"This isn't the kind of criticism that Mark Kennedy really needs, because if this kind of criticism is heard and registered, it can affect his campaign in the fall," Smith says. "He will be seen like he's a candidate of the White House and not of Minnesotans."
If only we could be so lucky. This campaign cycle will be a dogfight across the state, and I am all for allowing Minnesota Republicans a fair choice between Shudlick and Kennedy. With personal backing from Bush and Cheney, Kennedy will almost certainly take the nomination, but anything or anyone that keeps the puppetmaster's strings onstage should absolutely get airtime. Given the short description of his issues, it appears that Shudlick could steal some right-wing delegates and/or primary votes from Kennedy as well, cutting his base out from under him. Being careful not to cheer too loudly for a Republican candidate......"Go Harold!"
Cigarette Fee/Tax confusing retailers.....
Can you hear the shock in my voice?
Don't get me wrong for a moment, I think that education funding and quitting smoking are both laudable goals. But this should and will be a gubernatorial campaign issue--why is Tim Pawlenty forcing new taxes on the working class when the upper class has received the benefits of the largest tax cut in their memory.
The other side of this issue is the ethereal nature of this Health Impact not-Tax. His staff estimates that it will bring in 230+ million dollars a year for education. Great. What happens if the working class decides on a large scale to cut back on cigarette purchases? Or worse, goes outside the state or to the Internet to buy cigarettes? What then, Tim? More budget shortfalls simply because you promised a regressive right-wing organization you were their guy so you could get their support. That's not going to play well this time around. The Democrats running for Governor will make sure Minnesotans remember what T-Paw has done, not just what he says he has done.
Friday, August 05, 2005
MN-Gov: Call for Comments
How important is the party endorsement to the final outcome of the DFL primary?
Anyone and everyone with knowledge, experience, or opinions is welcome to give them ALL to me, here or over at dKos. This question comes into my mind because we currently have one official candidate who will abide by the DFL endorsement, and an unofficial one who has, to the best of my knowledge, never done so.
The Star-Tribune has a recent interview with the lawyer from Eden Prairie who was the driving force behind the recent decision to allow politics into judicial elections. My question is, are judicial elections really a good thing?
When this issue gets media play, it generally sounds palatable to the public--power should come from the people, not allowing full campaigns for judicial seats is tyranny, etc. The product is people like Greg Wersal, who are Republicans, but call themselves populists for wanting to allow citizens a "fair" political picture of their judicial candidates.
There's a slippery slope here, however. If we-the-people are allowed to vote for state judicial races, why not federal circuit courts? If not circuit courts, why not appeals courts (you see where I'm going with this). Why aren't we allowed to vote for nominees to the Supreme Court?
Antonin Scalia, eat your heart out. Courts were intended to be the third equal branch of the United States government under the Constitution, this is true. However, the Founding Fathers intended for the courts to be insulated from the effects of politics, or "factions" as they were known in the parlance of the day. For a judicial nominee to align herself with a political party, she must give up the ability to make truly fair, balanced decisions based on the law of whatever jurisdiction she serves in. She instead becomes a politician like any other, beholden to the donors, parties, favor-brokers, political parties, and special interests that assisted them in their campaign.
The fact that the Republican Party is behind allowing politics into these elections makes me think that it can be used to our advantage. If Democratic candidates can successfully make the case that the courts should be fair, balanced, and outside the political domain, it could play well with Minnesota voters who are angry with the Legislature and Governor for the recent shutdown and want a more fair and less overtly political government. Of which, as is my understanding, there are a considerable number.
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Over at MNLeftyLiberal, Trillin has an impassioned post regarding Mike Hatch and the governor's race. Since I'm working for Hatch's chief DFL opposition, I figured it would be good if I could stay impartial, but I wasn't expecting this much anti-Hatchery. My only hope is that we can get some positive Steve Kelley blog-ink as well.
The only bit I disagree with is leaving a vote for Governor blank. Under no circumstances can I condone handing the election to Tim Pawlenty on a silver platter. I'm sure there are factions within the GOP who aren't huge fans of the Governor, but for them, he's better than the alternative. As the more rational of our two major political parties (most of the time), I think we have to exercise some vigorous cost-benefit analysis, and admit that even if we don't like Mike Hatch, even if he beat our guy in the primary, he would be better than allowing Pawlenty another term.
Name Recognition = Electability?
I have a question specifically focused on Minnesota and its citizens, but anyone is free to respond simply as a Kossack or American reader:
How important are name recognition and electability in a state-wide race?
There are several inherent assumptions in this question: Folks in this community tend to be slightly more politically engaged than John Q. Voter on Main Street. But I'm thinking that voters in a primary (or caucus, in our case) also tend to be more informed and engaged than the general-election voter base as well.
So how important is it that everyone know a candidate this early in the game? Likewise, is it more important for us to put forth a candidate we believe has what it takes to beat the GOP opponent (Pawlenty, Kennedy) or should we find a candidate we believe reflects the values and issues of the base and can attract moderate Republicans and independents?
Here's the core of my thinking: Dean vs. Kerry. I still believe John Kerry was the right candidate to oppose Bush for various reasons, Swift-Boat Debacle aside. However, the lack of enthusiasm for JK among many Dems was palpable - late in the campaign, we ran into several volunteers who told us they were still Dean supporters, but since Dean supported Kerry, they were okay with him.
Seriously. That's no way to run a GOTV effort. If you're not enthusiastic about the candidate, stay home.
It's no secret that independents are where elections state-wide and above are won. We have to realize, especially in a state like Minnesota, that independents and moderates on both sides watch both bases to see how enthusiastic they are for their candidate. If they sense a bad vibe from either about their own candidate, they won't trust the candidate or the campaign.
So, getting back to the original question: Is an "electable" candidate better than one that excites the base, gets them involved, and has the potential to move the massive political system in their direction?
Or perhaps the question can be reframed: Can we find candidates for whom we don't have to make this distinction?
Thoughts? Again, looking for MN-centric feedback, but all comments are welcome.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
MNPolitics.com Weekly Report
Disclaimer: I'm currently working on Steve Kelley's gubernatorial campaign. This makes me somewhat partisan to his candidacy. I have no issue with Mike Hatch personally or politically, but I think Steve Kelley is the right candidate both to face Tim Pawlenty and lead Minnesota. However, in this context, I'll cover everything I can about all the 2006 Minnesota races as even-handedly as humanly possible.
Now that the general disclaimer's done with, I find myself asking the all-important question--how do we win? How do Democrats up and down the ticket defeat Republicans, take back the Governor's office, Secretary of State, the House of Representatives, and hold onto the Senate and AG's office? Is there one particular issue that DFLers can run on and win? The war in Iraq? Education? Health care? Taxes?
The quick answer is: I don't know yet. However, at the statewide level, I believe there are several things DFL candidates can do as a unit:
1. Speak to the people, not at them. Minnesotans, especially those in rural areas, tend to be fiercely independent, and politicians who talk down to their audience will spin their wheels.
2. In the spirit of Lakoffian analysis, make sure to frame arguments correctly. It doesn't matter if a candidate falls into the strict-father or nuturant-parent model or if they don't agree with either one, what matters is that they frame their arguments in terms the audience will understand.
3. Never, never, never, never, never back down from Republican attacks. When the GOP attack dogs are unleashed, tell it like it is--their job is to smear and lie and obfuscate until the facts don't matter anymore. We are talking about Minnesota's future, and all they can do is attack our candidates and personnel. Let's move on. It's that simple, and moderates and Independents will listen.
In the spirit of Kos's recent Litmus Test for Democrats, notice the lack of ideology in the guidelines above. DFLers have the right ideas, and with experienced staff and smart candidates, we can get the right people into office.
MN-02: Coleen Rowley
Constitutional Office Races
One need only look to Ohio in 2004 to measure the importance of a political party holding state-wide elected positions other than Governor or Senator. Secretary of State is easy - it's his or her job to administrate voter registration and the actual process of voting, including setting up polling stations, making sure voters' rights are protected (Ken Blackwell, I'm looking at you), and ensuring that voting machines are accurate and unbiased.
It's not just SoS either. There's an organization called Campaign for a National Majority, whose goal is to eventually become the "Democratic Farm Team." The theory is simple - Governors get elected President. Who gets elected to gubernatorial office?
Their research has concluded that state-wide offices - AG, SoS, Lt-Gov, Auditor, etc, tend to move up well into the Governor's office. State-wide name recognition, experience, and other personal factors figure into CNM's research and subsequent endorsement process. They're young, but they've had good success so far, and are in it for the long haul.
Secretary of State: Mark Ritchie and Christian Sande are two quality Democratic candidates for Secretary of State. Mark made a name for himself with the November 2 Campaign, coordinating national voter registration efforts to oust GWB. Christian is an election lawyer, relatively young and very well-spoken, and making some very good impressions across the state.
Attorney General: There's not a whole lot of action on this front reaching my ears just yet. Several possible contenders are waiting for Mike Hatch to officially enter the gubernatorial race, trying not to step on his heels. However, GOP opposition can be expected with the incumbent almost certainly trying to move across the hall into Pawlenty's office.
MN Congress Campaign issues - CAFTA
As I see it, CAFTA's passage should be a big issue at the Congressional level. The whole point of the Democratic FARM Labor Party is an alliance between urban workers and small family farmers, and neither group was very happy about CAFTA or the way it passed.
I recently attended a Minnesota Farmers' Union meeting (in Rollag, about as far into greater MN as you can get without hitting North Dakota) and several questions were asked about CAFTA and its impact on small farmers. Although a lot of ink and airtime has been spent on the sugar beet lobby, even socially conservative farmers are rightfully worried that other crops, especially corn and soybeans in southern MN, will take a price hit as well.
I believe, in the long term, that CAFTA will raise the spectre of its predecessor NAFTA, with one important difference - the party in power. With the relative unity of the House Dems on the issue, and widespread opposition in Outstate Minnesota, DFLers should have a good opportunity to capitalize, as long as they can frame themselves as Protectors of the Family Farm and GOPs as out-of-touch free traders who don't care about the little guy.
Speaking of that MFU meeting, while I was there I got to see my first farm auction, complete with MFU official doubling as fast-talking auctioneer. Being a city guy originally from the east coast, this was quite an experience.
Encouraged by the actual readership of my previous musings, I'm back for more. The blogosphere is an amazing place, to read and participate too :)
Lucky for the length of my extended entry, there are fewer viable candidates for the Governor's mansion in the 2006 election here in Minnesota.
The two main DFL candidates are extremely different--one is a Twin Cities-metro guy, the other a statewide constitutional officer; one is combative and has rubbed some Dems the wrong way, the other isn't yet well-known outside Metro areas; one is a fighter, and the other more soft-spoken. Although some other Dems have toyed with the idea of running, Mark Dayton's announcement that he would not seek another term in the Senate shook things up a bit and changes some plans. So, in tonight's main event, my picks for the Caucus/Primary heavyweights:
Mike Hatch: Although he isn't officially in the race yet, he's the elephant in the tea room. As the Attorney General, he's made a lot of news with high-profile legal action across various issues, especially health care. Hatch is a bulldog, and has a more combative style than the next guy. He has state-wide name rec and most Dems are convinced that he's going to at least be a candidate if not the candidate.
Steve Kelley: With an early announcement of candidacy back in June, the state senator from Hopkins in the west 'burbs has been concentrating on fundraising and increasing his name recognition across the state. In the legislature he's known as the Education Senator, and Tim Pawlenty does not like him. A stark contrast with Hatch, Kelley is a genuinely nice guy, and has a very personable approach on the stump.
Peter Hutchinson is also running on the Independence Party ticket (Ventura's old party under a different moniker), but he has little potential besides stealing more votes from DFLers than from GOPs. Former school board superintendant, didn't make many friends in that role.
Welcome to MN Campaign Report
Somehow, someway, it feels like Minnesota has faded somewhat from the national blogosphere scene, left and right. This doesn't make much sense:--Traditional Blue state--Republican Governor whose term is up in 2006--Retiring Dem US Senator with a Bush-anointed GOP candidate already declared (Mark Kennedy)--GOP foot soldier in the other Senate seat (Norm Coleman)--Evenly divided Congressional delegation
Ergo, I feel it my duty to get more information about The State That Used To Work out there for everyone to know and get involved. This being my first real experience with dKos diaries, I figured I would start with a Who's-Who in the game in these parts. So, with the caveat that I'm working for one of the gubernatorial candidates, on with the Diary-ing! Mmmmm, extended entry...mmmmm.
US Senate: Messy, messy, messy. To date, four DFLers (Democratic-Farm-Labor party...it's a Midwest thing, I was a bit confused too) have entered the race.
Amy Klobuchar: At this point, must be considered the front-runner. Currently the Hennepin County (Minneapolis and west-burbs) County Attorney, she's the daughter of a well-known and liked newspaper columnist and has long roots in MN. Has raised lots of money, and does well with urban liberals and with out-state country folk. Recently got stuck with two jars of pickles for $25 at a farm auction, which was pretty darned funny.
Patty Wetterling: Known initially for the disappearance of her son and her subsequent advocacy for childrens' safety programs. Ran against Mark Kennedy for his seat in the House in 2004 and lost by a relatively slim margin considering the baseline numbers in that CD. Has also raised a good deal of money.
Ford Bell: Background in veterinary medicine, but has no elected experience other than long-time involvement in DFL caucuses. Grandson of James Ford Bell, who founded General Mills. Is well-spoken, but has to be considered an outsider at this point.
Kelly Doran: Real Estate developer, has cited his business experience and acumen as a selling point in terms of attracting independents and moderate Republicans to vote Democratic. Has invested a good deal of his own money in the race, including a massive highway billboard ad buy, which is a bit weird at this point in the race.
More to come in a future post on the Gubernatorial race, where I have a bit more information and opinions of my own :)