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Status of MN Congressional Races (7-1 Dem?)

Category: Minnesota Politics
Posted: 10/28/08 13:52, Edited: 10/28/08 13:53

by Dave Mindeman

One week to go in the never ending election of 2008. So it's time to take a look at the state of Minnesota's Congressional races:

First District: Tim Walz(D) vs Brian Davis (R)

It looks like Tim Walz will be coasting to re-election. You might equate this to just another symptom of a Democratic wave, but there is more to it than that. Cong. Walz has proven to be a very strong campaign politician, as well as legislator, and I expect that he will be holding this seat for some time -- unless he gets vetted for other "jobs". (And I expect he will at some point). But helping him along has been a 1st District GOP party with no direction. In a change election year, the Republicans nominated yet another social conservative (a Republican candidate type that is rapidly becoming an antiquish '90's icon). Brian Davis never found a resonating message and his "drill baby drill" mantra faded along with a falling economy and falling gas prices. The 1st District GOP seems to be stuck with a declining base of candidate talent and this year was example number one. His only challenger was Dick Day, who tried to run a shoestring ideological campaign without support from the social conservative base. Disaster.

Should be a strong Walz win.

Second District: Steve Sarvi (D) vs. John Kline (R)

When Jim Ramstad retired in the 3rd District, Steve Sarvi's quest for the second district seat got sidelined. The 3rd got a priority on money and resources and Sarvi couldn't raise enough himself. When the election is over, I have the feeling there will be some people kicking themselves that we did not push the envelope in the second. Although there has been little obvious evidence that Kline is very vulnerable, this district has seen a lot demographic changes that have favored Democrats. I think the 2nd will end up being a much closer election than first thought, but the district still leans GOP.

John Kline wins by less than 8%.

Third District: Ashwin Madia (D) vs. Erik Paulsen (R) vs. David Dillon (I)

The money that poured into this race was pretty astounding for Minnesota standards. When Jim Ramstad announced his retirement the floodgates opened. The district has always been coveted by Democrats, but because of the moderate, centrist appeal of Ramstad, the opportunity never presented itself until now. Erik Paulsen has the backing of Ramstad but has not made the case that his politics match Ramstad's moderate nature. Madia has shown a remarkable capability as a fundraiser, but his policy positions get somewhat murky at times. Dillon hasn't been much of a factor. The campaign has been rough and tumble and both Congressional caucuses have weighed in heavily. This will probably be a very close race.

Ashwin Madia wins a close one.

Fourth District: Betty McCollum (D) vs Ed Matthews (R)

Wasn't Ed Matthews a 3rd baseman for the old Milwaukee Braves? Ooops, sorry...wrong Mathews. This race is not on anybody's radar and Betty McCollum has not been seriously challenged. (If only she had been busier here rather than weighing in on the Senate race -- and giving statements for the GOP to use against Franken...hmmmm?)

Betty McCollum wins handily.

Fifth District: Keith Ellison (D) vs. Barb White (R) vs Bill McGaughey (I)

Barb White made an attempt to merge the State Party regulars with the Ron Paul supporters. It didn't work out. She just didn't make it above all the noise out there and has been unable to mount a serious challenge to Ellison. Keith has been building a strong base and will be a force in the Democratic Party for some time.

Keith Ellison wins handily.

Sixth District: Michele Bachmann (R) vs. El Tinklenburg (D) vs Bob Anderson (I)

Has this been a strange election for the 6th or what? A month ago, Bachmann was cruising along with Tinklenburg trying to find some traction. But Christmas came early for Elwyn. Michele Bachmann wanted to raise her national profile....well, mission accomplished. As fast as you can say "anti-American", Bachmann became a national symbol of GOP negative campaigning. Tinklenburg's fundraising shot up and the traction he was seeking became monster truck snow tires. What looked like a solid Bachmann win is now up for grabs.

El Tinklenburg wins by an eyelash -- be prepared to stay up late.

Seventh District: Collin Peterson (D) vs Glen Menze (R)

Collin Peterson is never going to be mistaken for Paul Wellstone but the Blue Dog is popular and a good fit for his district. He hasn't had a serious challenge in some time and this year is not an exception.

Peterson wins handily.

Eighth District: Jim Oberstar (D) vs. Michael Cummins (R)

Jim Oberstar is a Minnesota institution and also a very powerful committee head. Oberstar will continue serving here until he decides to retire. Minnesota will continue to benefit from the additional clout Oberstar will have in the next Congress.

Oberstar wins big.

Well, if everything happens as it appears, the Minnesota Congressional delegation could end up with a 7-1 Democratic advantage. The only caveat resides with the 6th. Bachmann is a consummate survivor and her district leans her way....this last week could cause a swing either way. Get out the popcorn for next Tuesday.

The other thing that bears mentioning is that a massive GOTV drive by the Obama campaign and the potential Democratic wave could even sweep Steve Sarvi into the second. Wave elections always havve a few incredible surprises....the 2nd District could be one.

One more week.....hold onto your hat!

comments (1) permalink
10/28/08 17:56
Dave, I think your predictions are dead on. Unfortunately, that will leave my district, the 2nd, the only congressional district in the state being represented by a Bush Republican. How frustrating.

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