Dayton v. Kennedy

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

2/28/2005

Ready, Fire, Aim

To run or not to run, that is the question.

Minnesota’s political Hamlet, Gil Gutknecht appears in no hurry to answer that question, with his self-imposed March 1st date of decision potentially being pushed back to March 4th. If and when he announces, he might be surprised to find who may not join him.

Several memebers of the 1st Congressional leadership have apparently committment to the Kennedy campaign despite Gil's interest in the seat. Despite the lack of support in his own home district, the word in the 1st is that Gutknecht is running, such news having come from the mouth of House Speaker Steve Sviggum. Does Gutknecht believe he can secure the nomination? Does he believe that Kennedy doesn’t really have 2/3rds of the GOP leadership and representation on his side (as Kennedy has said)?

Gutknecht’s lack of name ID was certainly prevalent in last week’s Wetterling polling where the Congressman didn’t top 29% in any of the head-to-head match-ups with potential DFL candidates. Gilly’s name ID isn’t tremendously better within the Republican Party as activists outside his district don’t know who he is. Part of the reason is having the southern most congressional district, making it difficult to visit the Metro districts often, but Gutknecht hasn't committed the time to sending out feelers to the GOP base outside the 1st.

If Gutknecht is running (there’s a chance Gil won’t seek reelection--after all, he's bound by a 12 year pledge), he’ll be running without the level of support custom to statewide candidates. Simply put, for all of Gutknecht's positive political qualities, he has not laid the groundwork for a statewide campaign with GOP delegates and activists. That is not great foundation to build from if you’re seeking statewide office.

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