Posted: 04/19/12 02:02, Edited: 04/24/13 15:28
by Dave Mindeman
"His intention is to seek the endorsement".
That was the phrasing used by Eagan Mayor Mike Maguire when I asked him if he would abide by the endorsement in District 51. That is an official hedge if you look at the lexicon. Having observed politicians over the years, I have to tell you that Maguire seemed destined to run in a primary from the beginning if he was denied the endorsement.
The convention was over 3 weeks ago and Mike Maguire lost to Jim Carlson. As time went by, I thought maybe my impression was wrong. But wait. There is a problem.
Maguire is asking the party to vacate the endorsement and let primary voters decide who will represent the DFL on the November ballot. Maguire's challenge, filed Wednesday, April 18, says that local party officers last week discovered some vote-counting errors and failures to count votes in the first three of the convention's four ballots.
At the convention, Maguire never got above 43-44% of the vote. On the 4th ballot, Jim Carlson reached the 60% threshhold. Maguire contends that the balloting "irregularities" (between 4 and 6 votes) gave the convention a false assumption of the direction in momentum.
Actually, the best Maguire could have hoped for would have been to keep the voting going until a "no endorsement" was in order and it would have meant that the primary was the only option.
And so, we are headed that way anyway. Just with a different pretense. Maguire is forming a narrative that the endorsement is now "tainted" and that under those circumstances, he is justified in running in a primary even though he stated (excuse me, I meant he "intended" ) to abide by the endorsement.
Let me give some more background. Mayor Mike Maguire is an ambitious guy who assumed that a district endorsement was his for the asking. He did not expect the Carlson organization to be as strong as it turned out to be and thus, he has had to look for a method of obtaining a primary option without looking like he is renegging on his "promise" to abide. (Which he did state at the convention.)
More background. Maguire is close friends with DFL Chair Ken Martin. They both live in Eagan and I have been told they play golf together. Martin didn't look very neutral as he cheered the Maguire camp on during the convention itself. Which makes one wonder if Ken Martin shouldn't recuse himself from any involvement in this "official challenge" to the endorsement.
Another curiousity. After the third ballot, Maguire's wife tried to address the convention to "explain" the mischaracterization of her position as a lobbyist for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. She was ruled out of order because she directly referred to her husband's campaign in her explanation.
Now here is my impression of this. Mrs. Maguire has every right to lobby for Blue Cross. In fact, the campaign to push for a state wide smoking ban was the absolute right thing to do and promoted a healthy environment. But, despite those wonderful intentions, Blue Cross is going to want her to advocate for the insurance companies' interests which may or may not have similar "good" intentions. And Mike Maguire would almost certainly have to be affected by that.
To the point....how likely would you think it would be that single payer would get a yes vote from a Senator Maguire?
I hate to be so blunt, but Mayor Maguire is treading on dangerous ground here. He is blasting an endorsement outcome. He is risking unity for the district Democrats. He is strong arming his way through a pledge to abide by the District endorsement. And he is going to waste precious resources on a primary fight that will give the Republican time to shore up his own resources.
I am offically not neutral here. I think Maguire is wrong to make these weak accusations in order to push the district into a destructive primary. I believe that Maguire had always assumed that he would get party backing with the wave of his hand. He was out organized and lost and now has opted for the 'scorched earth" option.