Dayton v. Kennedy

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

3/18/2005

The “Schizophrenic” Sixth – and More

D.C.’s other major political publication, The Hill shines some light on the battleground contests of 2006, focusing heavily on Minnesota’s U.S. Senate battle royale-to-be and the race in the 6th Congressional District:

”While Democrats have their eyes on Republican-held House seats in eastern Iowa, southern and central Minnesota, eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, the GOP hopes to pick up retiring Democrat Mark Dayton’s Senate seat in Minnesota…

… Mike Erlandson, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Party and chief of staff for Rep. Martin Sabo (D), said that his was the only blue state in the country to give Sen. John Kerry a wider margin than Al Gore enjoyed in 2000.”


Puncture a hole in that theory in two words or less? Sure. Ralph Nader. Nader received over 5% of the vote in Minnesota in 2000 and less than one percent in 2004. But hey, who’s counting?

”Erlandson estimated that it would cost each side roughly $15 million to compete for Dayton’s Senate seat.

Three Democrats are considering bids — Patty Wetterling, who ran unsuccessfully against Rep. Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.) last year; Hennepin County prosecutor Amy Klobuchar; and Mike Ciresi, a trial attorney who has battled tobacco companies.

Kennedy has emerged as the handpicked candidate of mainstream Republicans in the state, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).

Shedding light on how Democrats will run against Kennedy, Erlandson said: “I think it’ll be very clear to Minnesotans that a vote for Mark Kennedy is a vote for the agenda of George W. Bush, which suffered a defeat in 2004.”

Erlandson added that Dayton’s decision to exit the Senate does not reflect poorly on Democrats’ chances of holding on to the seat. “Senator Dayton’s decision to not seek reelection was mostly because … he didn’t have the energy to do battle.”


Or the money, or the approval rating. Naturally, Democrats like their odds with an open congressional seat and with so few in play nationally, anything that looks weak will be targeted at least early on---by both sides. Republicans, nationally and locally, aren’t expressing a great deal of concern with the 6th since 2004 DFL nominee Patty Wetterling’s interest in the U.S. Senate race. The Hill attempts to suggest the 6th is in greater play by describing it as ”northwest” of Minneapolis, which while true, is akin to saying Iowa is in play for Democrats because it’s south of Minnesota.

”Democrats in Washington have voiced hope of snagging Kennedy’s 6th District seat, to the northwest of Minneapolis.

One Minnesota Democratic official described the district as a “schizophrenic” mix of socially conservative Catholic voters of German descent, centrist Republicans and unaligned, working-class families. “It’s Jesse Ventura country,” he said, referring to the independent former wrestler-turned-governor.

NRCC spokesman Carl Forti dismissed talk of the Republicans’ losing the seat. “We don’t have any concern about holding that seat,” he said.”

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