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Tuesday, January 31, 2006 

Ciresi, Wetterling, and the State of the DFL

2006 needs to be like 2005, not 2004. The DFL needs to maintain the momentum they've built during the past year.

All the evidence points to Mike Ciresi entering into the Senate race, taking on Amy Klobuchar and a strangely renewed Ford Bell. I think this is a supremely bad idea. Ciresi is obviously entering the race extremely late; Patty Wetterling and Kelly Doran have already entered and dropped out, Ford Bell has made a good run and Amy Klobuchar has racked up money and endorsements and is now the clear frontrunner in the race. Ciresi, who will undoubtedly be using a good chunk of his not-inconsiderable fortune, almost has to go negative to have any hope of overcoming Klobuchar's overwhelming advantage in the short timeframe that he has to work with. At this point in the cycle, because it's going to be expensive for the candidates and troublesome for endorsers, his entrance is going to destabilize the race and it's likely that it'll get ugly fast. I would have been excited for his entry had it occurred six months ago, but it's now going to be the bane of DFLers for the next nine months. Ciresi's entrance is going to make the winner of the primary (which the race will likely come down to) less likely to be able to beat Mark Kennedy, and that is absolutely unacceptable. This blog wholeheartedly stands by its endorsement of Amy Klobuchar. The only way I will even consider supporting Ciresi is if he makes an ironclad promise to abide by the DFL endorsement, something we should regard as highly unlikely. Ciresi, a man who has apparently never held elected office, would have been much smarter to have started his campaign now for Sen. Coleman's seat in 2008.

Patty Wetterling, as most know, dropped out of the Senate race 11 days ago, leading to intense speculation (especially today) about her plans for the rest of this cycle. In short, her decisions make me want to scream. She was always a longshot during the Senate campaign, and despite many pleas for her to drop out and run in the 6th, she constantly rejected them until now, when she's on record promising, both to the public and to El Tinklenberg, that she wouldn't run. If she now chooses to run for the 6th, she will set up a probably ugly primary with Tinklenberg, just about the last thing we want in a GOP-leaning district. I wrote before she dropped that I hoped she'd run in the 6th, but I didn't realize she'd repeatedly stated that she wouldn't. At this point, I have to agree with my colleague Northern Debater - I'm mainly hoping that she doesn't run for anything at all this year.

Please, Ciresi. Please, Wetterling. Don't damage what we've built up over the past year.

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