Posted: 07/19/15 13:43
by Dave Mindeman
Alright you DFLers in the 2nd District. I am going to share some idea (Postive and Negative) thoughts I have about our 2nd District Congressional candidates, and the race in general, and I want you to help with some explanations.
I don't have particularly strong feelings on any of this, but let's just say I'm thinking out loud. So here goes....
Mary Lawrence - It would seem that Lawrence is willing to commit a good deal of her own resources into her 2nd District run. According to the financial report, she has "loaned" the campaign about $800,000. That is a lot of money. Still, a full commitment will be more evident if she actually puts that money into action within the district.
As to the other funds that she has raised (a bit more modest), a lot of it comes from Wall Street. Donors from Bain Capital, Vestar Capital Partners, Williams Capital Group, Ameriprise Financial, Morgan Stanley, JANA Partners, AIG, Century Park Capital, Black Rock...pepper her financial report. Their are other corporates like Robert Pohlad of Pepsi Americas and Michael White of DIRECTV. (I could not help but notice a $250 contribution from the CFO of PolyMet mining.) And yes, there are some significant small donors through ACT BLUE.
I imagine it is hard to raise the kind of sums needed without tapping into corporate contacts. That seems to be where we are at in this campaign finance world. But it still is hard to imagine that a person can head to Congress and make purely independent decisions with corporate baggage trailing your every move.
Lawrence makes no secret that she will be a pro-business candidate. We will have to let her tell us what that means. Will she back higher minimum wages? Will she support labor in forming more unions? Will she hold the banks accountable? Those questions need to be answered during this campaign.
In addition, Lawrence should make an honest statement about her plan for the endorsement. She may lose some support with an open move to a primary, but I've always felt that pretense on seeking an endorsement is worse. Appearances say she will opt to run in the primary.
I would like to hear some candor....but right now I don't hear much of anything.
Angie Craig - Craig's donor list is built largely with ACT BLUE, but her bigger donors are peppered with St. Jude executives, although that is understandable since that has been her place of employment for a number of years. Other larger donors are more diversified and come from a broader range of professions. The donations are not as large as the ones that appear in the Lawrence report. And Craig has a more modest $7600 in personal loans to the campaign.
Craig is committed to the endorsement. It is the basis of her strategy. And she can make the claim that she outraised Kline during the last cycle. A claim that few who run against him can make. But Craig only has $230,000 cash on hand. Kline has double that and Lawrence, with her $1 million in the bank, could dwarf all of them, should she decide to really spend some of those resources.
Craig will need to keep up with monetary expectations and maintaining that kind of pace will be a challenge. Especially when she will have a possible primary campaign to wage, while Kline watches with token opposition.
She seems like a very progressive candidate. The majority of her issues take the progressive view. She stands with the ACA with the possible exception of the repeal of the Medical Device Tax - (she has clearly stated her support of Erik Paulsen's repeal action) - but overall that seems to be a corporate aberration rather than a sign of supporting corporate ideas.
There is a different dynamic in play for the 2nd District. One of my concerns is the lack of political experience that both candidates have. Mary Lawrence has had significant political connections but she is not very polished in her interactions with the various DFL units...and has not been a resident in this district very long. Craig is more personable but is also a political neophyte and it remains to be seen as to whether or not she can get into the trenches with Kline and stay afloat.
Craig has significant endorsements, including Mike Obermueller who ran against Kline in the last two cycles. Lawrence would seem to have more potential financial resources - especially if she is willing to utilize her own financial wealth, as the early report would seem to indicate.
Looming ahead of them is John Kline. He generally chooses to ignore his opponent until the campaign season gets into full swing. He bottles himself up in his Washington cocoon and stays above the fray. The key to success in taking on John Kline is to get him to engage...to force him to address his record and statements....to make him feel some pressure.
He does not react well to pressure.
It has been good to see some early action in the 2nd District. To see candidates willing to take this race seriously.
How much the 2nd District is in play will be more evident early next year. But the signs are encouraging in that regard.