Dayton v. Kennedy

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


Do The Senate Shuffle

The Star Tribune lays out the Doomsday scenario for Minnesota politicos of every stripe (and a veritable horn of plenty for TBFKADVK):

”If U.S. Reps. Mark Kennedy, Betty McCollum and Gil Gutknecht and Attorney General Mike Hatch and Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar and Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer and Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and House Majority Leader Erik Paulsen and House Minority Leader Matt Entenza run for higher office in 2006, their seats will be open. Perhaps dozens of down-ballot legislators and other public officials will run for those seats, vacating their offices in turn….

Commenting last week on the mushrooming field of DFL candidates for Dayton's seat, Jennifer Duffy, an editor of the Cook Political Report, said the list she had compiled "looks like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir."

The 360 members of the Minnesota political establishment seeking the U.S. Senate represent men and women from many different backgrounds and professions and range in age from 25 to 60. They reflect a medley of unique lives and experiences and are brought together by their love for singing and their faith….oh, wait that’s the Mormon Tabernacle Choir….but in terms of numbers, Minnesota’s Senate race is getting close.

However, the Star Tribune may be exaggerating the political pileup on the GOP side when it suggests that Kennedy will have to fend off his share of inner-party contenders:

”Kennedy seems to have a lot of GOP establishment support, including the backing of Sen. Norm Coleman, but the party activists who will confer the all-important endorsement can be oblivious, sometimes rebellious, when they feel that party bosses are dictating their choices.

Kennedy thus is likely to have plenty of competition at the party's convention in the early summer of 2006 and possibly a primary election battle that September. The more competitive the race is, the less likely candidates are to drop out and return to campaigning for their current offices.”

”Plenty of competition”? I suppose it depends on how you define ”plenty” or even ”competition”. Former Senator Rod Grams is in the race despite his lack of formal announcement, but the only other credible candidate potentially in the mix is Gutknecht. Neither are likely to remain in the campaign even to the endorsing convention yet alone launch a quixotic effort to compete in a GOP primary. Is Kennedy that solid of a candidate? Maybe not, but the percentage of activists and delegates willing to buck the establishment’s favorite is about as small as the number of candidates willing to run against him. Grams is no Rudy Boschwitz, the GOP Senator who lost in 1990 to Paul Wellstone and then was re-nominated to face him in 1996, and Gutknecht’s conservative bona fides have been tarnished by his willingness to buck the GOP on a variety of issues and his relative lack of exposure outside his district.

Unless Grams or Gutknecht are able to land some significant endorsements, raise a lot of money early or have a scandal hit Kennedy, expect the Congressman from the Sixth District to represent the GOP in November of 2006.

--Posted by First Ringer


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