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Sunday, May 07, 2006 

Convention Report

So, the most important pair of conventions in the state are over, and Minnesota now has a Republican nominee for Congress in the 6th and a DFL nominee in the 5th.

Mr. Sponge has a comprehensive pair of wrap-up posts on the 5th. Keith Ellison won convincingly in what can only be described as a massive upset, and Mike Erlandson's meltdown is something that no one could have predicted. I'm not entirely sold on Ellison yet, but it's hard not to be impressed by his performance yesterday. Chances are good that he'll win the primary; Erlandson doesn't seem to be a particularly appealing candidate, and without the DFL endorsement he has very little to run on besides his record with Martin Sabo. The other primary candidates will probably have an insignificant effect on the outcome. Expect Ellison to win by a comfortable margin. The behavior of the delegates at the convention, as reported by Mr. Sponge, was extremely inappropriate and embarrassing. If they really were acting the way that he says, I'm almost happy about the competitive primary. Endorsements should be respected in general, but the 200-some folks at the convention don't sound like the people that we want choosing the next U.S. Representative from the 5th.

Michele Bachmann's endorsement, which is tantamount to the Republican nomination, is about the best outcome possible for the DFL from that convention. Bachmann, while no pushover by any means, is eminently beatable in November by either DFL candidate. It's hard to handicap the race without knowing the DFLer, but MN Politics has it right: running the right campaign that focuses on the right issues is key.

Has it occurred to anyone that it's entirely possible that the DFL could control 6/8 congressional seats after 2006? Tim Walz and Patty Wetterling/El Tinklenberg are far from sure things, but they're going to be extremely competitive to say the least. The DFL has done a far better job putting up competitive challengers for Congress this year than the GOP has. Reps. Oberstar, Peterson, McCollum have very little serious opposition, and the 5th isn't even going to be a race once the DFL primary is decided.

On that note, it's good that the Republicans have a relatively serious candidate for the 5th in U of M Carlson School consultant/lecturer Alan Fine. He's not going to win the seat or even come remotely close, but I'm glad that there is a challenger able to tie his shoes (or more relevantly string a sentence together). Uncontested seats and joker candidates are bad for democracy.

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