Wednesday, August 03, 2005
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.
The reality is Peter Hutchinson will do more to hurt Pawlenty then to the Democrat candidate.
People are ready to turn on Pawlenty if they get an option they can support.
Given the fundraising #'s are in the compettive range (Hutchinson has outraised Kelly Doran 20 to 1), and Hutchinson is respected by the business community and the media there is no reason not to believe he has a chance to win.