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Monday, August 22, 2005 

Minnesota's Next Senator

The dynamics of the U.S. Senate race here in Minnesota continue to interest. A story in today's Star Tribune details the fundraising efforts by the three leading DFL candidates. The differences in style are striking: Amy Klobuchar hits the DFL loyalists, Patty Wetterling gets it from the grassroots, and Kelly Doran simply takes out his own checkbook.

I'm surprised Wetterling is doing so well, as I can't say I understand her strategy here. Raising money and support among the grassroots is all well and good, but her goals are foggy at best. Her support seems to be on the margins, while Klobuchar has more mainstream appeal to the left. Wetterling hasn't moved much towards the middle, but if she does she'll also be squeezed by Doran, who presents himself as a centrist.

I see this race as coming down to Klobuchar, who I'd say has the best shot at this point, versus Doran. Mainstream vs. Money. I have serious doubts about Doran, mostly due to his lack of experience. His strategy also seems suspect: rather than competing with Klobuchar on message or broad appeal, he's building a campaign by throwing a lot of money at the problem. Also, being a strip mall developer is not a career that lends itself to strongly believing in some of the things that a DFL candidate needs to. It may not lend itself to being a good senator for Minnesota, either.

At this point, NSP's endorsement goes to Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. While we've been fortunate to have a very solid slate of candidates for our Senate seat, Klobuchar is the best candidate with the best shot to win.

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