Dayton v. Kennedy

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

3/28/2005

"It's Laughable"

Or so says Jennifer Duffy, managing editor of the Cook Political Report, when asked about Fmr. Senator Grams' hopes to be re-hired in this morning's Pioneer Press piece by Charles Homans.

Steven Schier of Carleton College agrees: "I would say that Rod Grams' trajectory is steep and uphill."

As we've commented before, Senator Grams will always have a warm place in the hearts of Minnesota conservatives. And with April 15 approaching, all working families with children should think well of Sen. Grams' legislative achievement of the $500-per-child tax credit. Be that as it may, Grams' accusations of "kingmaking" on the part of Party Chair Ron Eibensteiner would seem just a bit more plausible if Grams had made even one appearance at local Republican BPOUs in the last several weekends:

As a senator, Grams was reluctant to hype his own achievements. Four years out of office, he still considers his legacy to be that of a quiet, hard worker who accomplished things like the $500-per-child tax credit without drawing much attention to himself. He also was loath to kick back at the taxpayers' expense.

"In the eight years I spent in Washington, I never played one round of golf," he said proudly.

But other observers suggest Grams might have been wise to wile away at least a few hours now and then networking on the green. Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Eibensteiner argues that Grams hasn't spent enough time shaking hands and raising money back home, and that his low profile — in party circles as well as with the public — leaves him at a disadvantage to the visible and well-connected Kennedy.

Eibensteiner has been quoted recently saying there is "no race" for the Republican nomination and that Kennedy's victory is a "fait accompli." The comment sparked anger from Grams.

"What kind of Third World politics does he want to impose on the Republican Party?" Grams said. "The delegates won't be elected for another year. The convention is 18 or 17 months away. And (Eibensteiner) wants to have a single name on a slate. That's kingmaking."

Eibensteiner insists he's not playing favorites in the race, just calling it like it is.

"In the last three to four years, Mark Kennedy has worked very hard," he said. "He's out there with the activists, he's raising money for other candidates, he's helping other candidates. And what has Rod Grams done in those four years? He's never helped other candidates get elected or been a part of the process. He's been missing in action for the last four years."

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