Dayton v. Kennedy

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


“I Don’t…See a Senator”

He said it, not me.

Gil Gutknecht continues to hammer away at fellow Congressman Mark Kennedy on the issue of drug reimportation:

”As he ponders a run for the U.S. Senate in 2006, Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht on Tuesday said that Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy must support a plan allowing Americans to buy prescription drugs from Canada if he expects to replace Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton…

"I'm trying to be helpful here. ... I've told people I don't need to run for the Senate, I'm happy with what I'm doing, I don't wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see a senator," Gutknecht said. "If I ran, I think it would be for the right reasons, and the reason is I might have the best chance of winning based on my positions and a little more independence."

Gutknecht’s comments come on top of polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation on reimportation, to be published next week in American Medical News. Kaiser's polling finds that 73% of Americans believe Congress should allow for drug reimportation. 69% are not concerned with issues of safety, often one of the principle arguments against reimportation. Gutknecht’s latest bill is briefly mentioned in the article.

Minnesota’s Republican Congressional delegation doesn’t seem merely spilt on the issue of drug reimportation:

”In another development, Gutknecht responded to last week's early endorsement of Kennedy by Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Gutknecht said that delegates, not politicians, decide who runs for office, adding: "I do think Minnesotans in particular don't like that kind of stuff."

Rep. Jim Ramstad, the senior Republican in Minnesota's House delegation, agreed, saying: "Minnesotans don't need kingmakers."…

Gutknecht said momentum is on the side of those who favor re-importation: "This is one where people look at it and say, 'You're either with us, or you're with them.' "

Ramstad said most Minnesotans, especially senior citizens, are backing re-importation because they want lower drug costs. And he said "there's no question" the issue will be big in the Senate race. He said it's far too early to endorse a candidate.”

John Kline has already endorsed Kennedy in addition to Coleman. The Kennedy/Kline/Coleman pairing vs. the Gutknecht/Ramstad coalition isn’t surprising as the two newer congressmen and senator have become a political trinity in GOP circles while Gilly and the Rammer are frequently AWOL at Republican events.

Gutknecht hasn’t put in the legwork that Kennedy has (Kennedy was appearing around the state two years ago) and has acquired a reputation as a party maverick. Such a reputation might serve a candidate well in a general election, but is Gutknecht forgetting he has to win his party’s endorsement first? (especially when he’s said he would abide by the endorsement process) Thumbing his nose at the party while trying to pass legislation opposed by many of his fellow Republicans isn’t the route to an endorsement victory. If Kennedy's bothered by Gilly's potential candidacy, he isn't showing it:

”Kennedy, who announced his candidacy Friday, "is not going to change his position on any issue simply to get an endorsement from another Republican, or anyone else," said Heidi Frederickson, Kennedy's campaign spokeswoman.

She said that while prescription drugs will play a major role in the 2006 race, "it's not going to be a single-issue race."

--Posted by First Ringer


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