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Looking At The Latest 2010 Guv Developments

Posted: 07/15/09 22:40, Edited: 07/03/13 13:45

by Dave Mindeman

We have had a number of developments regarding the Governor's race in 2010 -- on both sides of the aisle. Let's take a look.

1) Ramstad Will NOT Run: This is an important announcement in shaping the GOP side of the equation. Jim Ramstad was probably not going to seriously challenge for the GOP endorsement, but he would have been formidable in any primary battle. Even the threat of a Ramstad campaign would have moderated the rest of the field. His name recognition and financial support could have attracted a number of independents. Now, without any Ramstad threat, the remaining candidates will, again, cater to the base of the party which is not in the mood for any moderating voices. The rightward movement of the Minnesota GOP continues.

2) Pat Anderson is Officially In the Race: Coupled with the Ramstad announcement, this is another important shaping of the march to the 2010 convention for the Republicans. Anderson has been actively courting the Ron Paul faction of the State Party. Her announcement included this;

"My administration will be based on individual liberty and a state government that is limited in scope, acts smartly and is transparent in its exercise of power."

Lots of Libertarian phrases in there. Now the question remains whether she can corral the vast majority of the leadership of this GOP faction. They have assumed a number of local party leadership positions and have already demonstrated an ability to use the convention rules and endorsement process to their advantage. Watch the other candidates cater to this group as well.

3) DFLers Regarding Abiding By the Endorsement: Minnpost columnist Eric Black tracked down the early line on which DFLers will be abiding by the endorsement. Of the announced and close to announcing candidates so far, the ones who will probably not be locked into endorsement or nothing are: Mark Dayton, Matt Entenza, Steve Kelley, and John Marty -- plus a little hedging from R.T. Rybak. The potential for a multiple candidate primary field is nearly a sure thing. Dayton seems to be gearing his campaign for a lengthy run and Matt Entenza, although not as open about it, seems to be doing the same thing. Kelley and Marty have less financial ability in this regard but are keeping their options open. Rybak can afford to be coy about all of it for now, but in the end I think he would have little problem moving into a primary race. The GOP side is probably less likely to move in that direction.... they have a greater tendency to coalesce around the convention consensus.... which is probably more likely in 2010 because there doesn't seem to be any GOPers with large pocketbooks emerging.

A multiple primary for the Democrats allows for a number of scenarios. With several candidates, the winner could emerge with a small percentage of the vote....and if the GOP does not have a primary, the Democrats could either control the news cycle for a lengthy period or, conversely, bloody themselves senseless. (The DFL track record points to the latter).

4) Gender Factor: On the DFL side, two women candidates look like probables -- Susan Gaertner and Margaret Anderson Kelliher. Both of them have already indicated that they will abide by the endorsement. As it looks now, MAK will not be removing herself from the Speaker position while seeking the DFL endorsement. That would allow her to maintain her spot if her attempt at endorsement fails. Both Gaertner and MAK have support from women's groups but with the two of them in the endorsement battle, they could split delegate support. Another potential Gov candidate, Tarryl Clark, is moving toward a run at Michele Bachmann's seat in the 6th District....so it looks like Gaertner and MAK will be the only DFL women involved. MAK at least had a potential to move into a multiple candidate primary and would have made a strong gender appeal (although that certainly would not be her only candidacy appeal). However, her actions so far seem to indicate a desire to hold her Speaker position as a fallback -- I hope that continues.

5. Laura Brod Temporarily Suspends: Rep. Laura Brod has looked like a serious contender in the GOP Governor sweepstakes. But aparently some health issues have sidetracked her intentions for the time being. She asserted that the suspension of activity was just temporary and that her decision on running would have a more final answer in the future. It is unclear and very murky if any of the blogger dustups that are indicated in the next segment had anything to do with her decision -- of course, the official line is "absolutely not".

Her temporary withdrawal probably strengthens the position of Marty Seifert's already official campaign. He can persuade donors that he is the most viable candidate and get a head start on convincing GOP activists about the need for a Seifert endorsement.

5) Blogger Dustups Beginning Early -- Bloggers are already weighing in on campaign rumors. Brian Falldin from the Change We Must Fight For blog, put together some commentary rumors (some of which appeared in comments on this blog) that was directed at Laura Brod. A case was made (although still unproven) that someone high up in the Marty Seifert campaign was behind it all. It got more interesting when Marty Seifert, himself, responded to the allegations.

Dusty Trice picked up on the issue and tried to force a response from Andy Aplikowsky who had intially posted a "confirming" piece on the Seifert/Brod controversy (the post was removed).

Another blog entry that caused a stir came from Jeff Fecke at his Blog of the Moderate Left. A post entitled "Anyone But Entenza" brought out the campaign partisans to be sure (just read some of the 50 plus comments that followed). Although I don't necessarily agree with all of Jeff's comments in the post, he certainly eloquently stated what a number of people have been thinking in regards to Entenza, and that deserves some intelligent discussion. The immediate blowback on his opinion shows that campaigns and partisans are pretty protective of their own message machines. I guess opinions aren't allowed to be simple personal opinions anymore in the blogosphere.

Gosh -- the 2010 election is still 14 1/2 months away...but everybody is already playing for keeps.

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07/17/09 23:21
I agree with your assessment that in a primary next year, "The Democrats could either control the news cycle or, conversely, bloody themselves senseless." However, I believe recent history offers better promise than your conclusion: "The DFL track record points to the latter."

The last three serious DFL primaries for major statewide offices occurred in 1998 for Governor, 2000 for US Senate, and 2006 for Attorney General. I participated in the first two of them. In September 1998, Skip Humphrey defeated the endorsed candidate and four other challengers. Although Skip subsequently lost to Jesse Ventura in the general election, I'm not aware of any credible analysis which blamed Skip's defeat on the primary. (In fact, the first post-primary polls showed him comfortably ahead.)

In September 2000, I defeated the endorsed candidate and four other opponents. To their enormous credit, they immediately endorsed me and supported my continuing effort. My own polling showed that the primary actually improved my public standing, going into the general election.

The crucial determinants in whether a primary will be constructive or destructive are the conduct of the candidates and the content of their campaigns. That will be even more critical next year, as the primary will be late (September 14th), leaving only 7 weeks to the general election.

Obviously, the candidates and their campaigns will highlight the reasons they believe they would be Minnesota's best Governor, and they will contrast their positions on issues with their DFL competitors. The critical determinants will be in how they do so. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had their own sharp clashes (even a couple which crossed my line); but overall, they focused on what they would offer the country and why they were far superior to John McCain.

Our Democratic Party united strongly and enthusiastically behind the winner of its caucuses and primaries; we worked hard together during those final two months; and we elected the Democratic President our country so desperately needed. I am confident that our DFL Party, by following these same principles, will win another critically important election next year.


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