Dayton v. Kennedy

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


More From Grumbling Grams

As noted on this blog many times, former Senator Rod Grams has been tossing around "kingmaker" accusations against the state's Republican officials. According to a report in the Star Tribune, Grams seems to be flirting with the notion of turning his grumbling into a campaign theme:

Former Sen. Rod Grams' feud with Minnesota Republican leaders spilled over to Washington, D.C., last week, where a Capitol Hill newspaper pictured him next to a photo of the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Under the headine, "Dept. of No Respect," Roll Call's Thursday politics section featured a defiant Grams vowing not to let state GOP leaders snuff out his bid for the party's endorsement for the 2006 U.S. Senate race.

Grams has accused Minnesota GOP Party chairman Ron Eibensteiner of playing "kingmaker" for suggesting that Rep. Mark Kennedy already has his party's endorsement locked up to seek the seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton. Eibensteiner pointed to the backing Kennedy has received from Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Sen. Norm Coleman, and 26 out of 31 state GOP senators. As he has before, Eibensteiner insisted that he has not endorsed anyone and remains neutral. But Grams wasn't buying any of it. "He can say what he wants," Grams told the newspaper, which is widely read in Congress. "He's just trying to dictate."

Grams says that polling shows he would be just as strong a candidate as Kennedy and that national Republican campaign committees haven't made a choice yet.

Speaking for myself, I thought Rod Grams was a fine Senator. But in his loss to current Senator Dayton, he also demonstrated himself to be a lackluster campaigner. This more than anything else is Grams' problem winning the nomination. He should concentrate less on Eibensteiner, and more on convincing the grass-roots that the 2000 election was a fluke - or at least that he learned to correct his campaigning mistakes.

Yet the one currently hitting the grassroots, in the form of visiting BPOU meetings and personally asking for the support of the party's base, is Mark Kennedy. If he's been "made king" already, someone apparently forgot to tell him. To me it looks like energetic campaigning - exactly the kind of thing party members like myself didn't see in Grams in 2000.


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