Dayton v. Kennedy

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


Sabato Saddles Up

The always entertaining pundit Larry Sabato, has a habit of playing it safe with his predictions but is considered usually quite on the money with his political analysis. So pardon TBFKADVK if we scoff just a tiny bit at Sabato’s opening preview of Minnesota’s 2006 U.S. Senate race, even if we like his final conclusion:

Minnesota (Open Seat)
Outlook: Toss-up

If any incumbent were headed for defeat in 2006, it was one-term Democrat Mark Dayton. Try as he might, Dayton just hadn't gone down well, and when he closed his D.C. office for fear of a terrorist attack in fall 2004--the only member of Congress to do so--he likely sealed his fate. Facing the music, Dayton stepped down, and Democrats hope that either attorney Mike Ciresi, who lost the 2000 Senate nomination to Dayton, or unsuccessful 2002 House candidate Patty Wetterling will carry the party banner in 2006. Minnesota often leans Democratic, but at the starting gate the likely Republican nominee, Congressman Mark Kennedy, appears to be the pick of the entire Senate lot in this state. Kennedy is opposed by former one-term Senator Rod Grams, who lost to Dayton in 2000, but Kennedy is a heavy favorite for the GOP Senate nomination. Unless the climate changes, we'd tip this to Kennedy, but for now, since it's early and this is an open seat, we'll hold our horses.

Larry, we’d like to introduce you to Amy Klobuchar and the 49 legislative DFLers who have endorsed her so far. They might disagree with your characterization that the DFL is pining their hopes on Wetterling and Mike Ciresi. Given Sabato’s Virginia location, one could suggest his prediction for the DFL reflects the rumor mill in national recruiting circles. More likely, some prominent members of the DSCC haven’t been on the DFL chicken dinner circuit.

Otherwise, Sabato’s crystal ball has been properly dusted. No one is seriously questioning whether Kennedy will receive the GOP endorsement and saying that ”at the starting gate the likely Republican nominee…appears to be the pick of the entire Senate lot…” isn’t too shabby.

Giddy up, Mark.


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