Dayton v. Kennedy

Returning Senator Mark Dayton to the Ranks of the Idle Rich in 2006


Dane Smith on 2006

Dane Smith of the Star Tribune offers thoughts contrary to Sarah Janacek's punditry on Dayton's strength for 2006. From Smith:

Dayton stronger?
Dayton's decision a few weeks ago to temporarily close his Washington office because of fears of a pre-election terrorist attack reinforced Republicans' conviction that he is both too liberal and too eccentric to win re-election. But incumbency is the single most powerful asset a politician can possess, and Dayton has proved to be a savvy tactician and campaigner.
Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy is the most oft-mentioned competitor, but it's unlikely that he will be able to waltz through with no competition for the party endorsement. Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, state Rep. Phil Krinkie, R-Shoreview, and Brian Sullivan, a businessman and entrepreneur who almost defeated Pawlenty for the gubernatorial endorsement, also are often mentioned by activists as possible opponents.
Dayton said he's prepared for a "titanic political struggle" and is greatly encouraged by the developments this year, which started with an astounding DFL turnout at precinct caucuses. Several potent new groups allied with the Democrats, such as America Coming Together, showed that Democrats have new life and lots of skilled organizers.
Dayton, heir of the department store family, has said he doesn't intend to finance his own campaign as he did twice before. But money won't be a problem, he insists.
"I intend to win. I'll raise the money we need ... and when they start smearing me, I'll be ready."

We are delighted that the Senator still has 'the fire in the belly' and stand by our assertion that Dayton will be extremely hard to defeat for the DFL nomination. One card that Dayton can play that no one else can is the "Wellstone protege" card. Look for Dayton to secure the support of the far left of his party (is there anyone else?) over the next 9 months as he seeks to fend off an intra-party challenge. I contend that Senator Dayton will remain a formidable force within his own party (despite fundraising issues) but a particularly vulnerable incumbent for the general election.


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