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MN-02: What’s up with this GOP field?

by Dan Burns on April 13, 2016 · 5 comments

capitol2There were as many as seven candidates. A couple have dropped out. I suppose that right now, four of them look like “serious” players. Yeah, quite a crew. The Democratic candidate is Angie Craig.

– David Gerson, who in the past ran quixotic campaigns against the retiring/fleeing incumbent, Rep. John Kline (R-MN), keeps winning straw polls. Whether that will carry to more comprehensive success…we’ll see. Dude’s one of those pseudo-libertarian types, whose levels of self-admiration tend to vastly outstrip their real-world political success. Like with Rand Paul’s presidential “effort.”

– Speaking of which, I read somewhere that Jason Lewis wiped his past blogging when he announced, presumably with the intention of trying to get away with acting more reality-based in the here and now. Whether or not that’s true, he seems to have found that like the shades of Borley Rectory the past does not go down so readily, and so he’s determined to embrace the crazy and let it roll.


– John Howe was pretty much a nonentity in the Minnesota legislature, and maybe the idea was that a record like that would make him a “safe” pick. There hasn’t exactly been a groundswell.
– Darlene Miller has been endorsed by Kline, will presumably have plenty of money, and is clearly aiming for the primary.

Gerson might well win at the endorsing convention on May 7. But as for the August 9 primary election, right now, your informed guess is as good as mine. Probably better.
Comment below fold.

From Mac Hall: The delegates have all been selected for the May 7th endorsing convention … and I gotta wonder since Lewis has said he will abide by the endorsement, will he shift tactics to embrace a “no endorsement convention” so that he can go to the primary.
Miller has to go to the primary … her website is worse than MNsure … and has only 143 followers on her twitter feed and only 238 likes on her Facebook account so she has rely on the Chamber of Commerce to get her any support.
Howe could go to the primary depending upon how much of his money, does he want to spend … and how rough the endorsement fight will be. His twitter feed has 899 followers and 342 likes on his Facebook account.
Gerson talks like he is gonna win … and has loyal supporters. His twitter numbers are misleading since they were mass-loaded but has 1,598 likes on Facebook
Lewis is lining up endorsements … Yet, the big question will be answered in the next 72 hours … when the fundraising tallies are announced. Kline had a fundraiser for Miller in DC and Lewis should have national appeal while Gerson got money from out-state donors last quarter.
The primary will be interesting … so far they have attacked each other … but would a Miller attack on Gerson/Lewis/Howe campaign actually provide her name recognition and appeal in November ? Grandma/business-owner could be tough to beat.
Thus far the RNCC and its Patriot Program have not weighed in … and ya gotta wonder how much they will spend in MN02 if its Gerson or Lewis when they have a number of other districts that could need help with a President Trump/Cruz at the top of the ticket.
From Mac Hall: FYI … the fundraising numbers are starting to be announced … for perspective, look at John Kline’s numbers for the past First Quarter
2013 $257,742
2014 $270,817
2015 $325,867
First to announce is Darlene Miller … whom Kline attended a DC fundraiser for her campaign
2016 $206,906 … not shabby, but this does not show great enthusiasm either. It will be a few days before actual documents are available for review, but it will interesting to see where/who the dollars came from.
For reference, Angie Craig numbers show she has been able to attract donors
(excluding loans from Craig)
Second Quarter 2015 $327,381
Third Quarter 2015 $132,586
Fourth Quarter 2015 $152,659
First Quarter press release announced that donors to her campaign contributed more than $400,000 in the quarter — includes over 3,000 individual donors. If that does not include any loans, then Craig had a great quarter.
From Eric Ferguson: There’s no way to know who her opponent will be, but with Angie Craig facing no opposition for the nomination, might as well start now focusing on identifying the Democrats. It’s too soon for GOTV, but it’s never the wrong time to work on party ID. There are lots of registered voters whose party preferences are unknown, and even in a high turnout state like Minnesota, there are eligible voters who need encouraging to register. If advice from the peanut gallery is wanted, then the advice is to forget the Republicans while there’s no way to know the opponent or influence choices, and start knocking doors ASAP to find the Democrats in the district. Once the GOP endorses, that will narrow the field to the endorsee, Miller, and maybe a couple more who can likely be ignored.
From Mac Hall: Eric makes the right point … Angie Craig must raise her profile. The public doesn’t know her … unless they pay attention to the last line in virtually every TV/print story “Craig would be the first openly gay Minnesotan elected to Congress.”
Raising your profile has always been a problem … unless you make outlandish statements whereby you get people talking/defending (Bachmann, Cruz, Trump,etc.), the alternative party will denounce/define you (Clinton). Did you see how the MNGOP has framed Terri Bonoff as a self-interested, tax-raising loser ?
The last report that I saw had Gerson with 158 delegates, Lewis with 111, Howe with 7 and Miller with ZERO … but there are still 30 left to announce their choice. Howe is out with another attack video on Lewis, so with Miller confirmed that she will go to the primary, the most interesting question is : IF, Gerson wins the endorsement, will Howe give up ?
Regardless, there will be months of GOP for the media to cover … and no reason for them to pay attention to Craig (except to add in that last line of every TV/news report– The DFL has endorsed Angie Craig, who would be the first openly gay Minnesotan in Congress, is unopposed in her primary.)
Craig seems to be trying to ramp up DFL supporters but the election will be decided by the independent voters … and they will be swayed by the RNCC and Chamber of Commerce ads (as well as being affected by the Erik Paulsen campaign (his commercials on TV and radio will be helping to sell the GOP brand). BTW: Does anyone remember when RNCC pulled planned ads for Paulsen’s first campaign (against Ashwin Madia) in order to spend it on protecting Bachmann … could Bonoff’s entry and a less than acceptable GOP candidate (Gerson/Lewis) lead them to do it again?
IMO, Craig needs to be making regular appearances at Chamber of Commerce luncheons and every Senior Center in the district … just showing up will get her votes.

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