« Home | Bush to Be Sued by Congress » | Unforgivable » | "Karl and MDE" » | Sen. Dick Day in REALLY Hot Water » | Sen. Day Article » | Day Complaint Followup » | The Company You Keep » | Happy 4th » | Yowling » | Speechless » 

Sunday, August 13, 2006 

AG Endorsement Analysis

Steve Kelley was endorsed by the DFL State Central Committee on Saturday. Unfortunately for him, it won't matter much.

Under normal circumstances, a party endorsement in a contested primary brings a lot of big perks: money in the war chest, voter information, support from respected names, and, perhaps most importantly in a low-profile race like this, name recognition. Of course, these are far from normal circumstances. The only thing that matters now for Kelley, Bill Luther, and Lori Swanson is name recognition. I believe that Luther has the edge as of today.

The AG race is a low-profile matter even in the best campaigns. Because it comes to the voters at the same time as the other constitutional officers, the entire Legislature, the U.S. House, and sometimes the U.S. Senate seat, the average voter is not paying a lot of attention to the race in particular. This is particularly true in a quiet primary in September, before political attention becomes focused. In short, few primary voters are likely to have heard of Kelley as an AG candidate, to have heard of Luther in the past few years, or to ever have heard of Lori Swanson. The person whose name is in a voter's mind when they walk into the booth on the 12th will likely be winning her vote.

With very little meaningful press coverage of the endorsement on Saturday, Kelley has not raised his name recognition much. Further, with his particular opponents in this race, the fundraising and support that would ordinarily be realized by an endorsed candidate will not be as available to Kelley. Luther, an experienced fundraiser, will give Kelley a run for his money (pun intended), though with such a short timeframe money's impact will be minimal. Swanson, on the other hand, has Mike Hatch's backing and is assured of some of the institutional support that he has enjoyed. However, none of it matters without name recognition. Here is where Luther has the clearest and most important advantage: as a former U.S. Congressman, he has a natural constituency whose size is unrivaled by that of Kelley, who represents a relatively small number of people, and Swanson, who doesn't represent anyone at all.

Had I posted this weekend, I would have been on the no-endorsement bandwagon, for the sole reason that this whole affair has futher weakened the already-questionable power of the DFL endorsement. With the extremely short time between the SCC meeting and the primary, Luther and Swanson not competing, and with Kelley's chances on the 12th not much above 1 in 3, an endorsement just didn't make enough of a splash in the race to make it worthwhile. Regardless, it has been made, and we'll see how much it helps Kelley on Sep. 12th. Remember to get out and vote, whether it's for Kelley or for ABK. If I have one, I'll write up an endorsement of my own in early September.

UPDATE: Here's some evidence that Kelley won't enjoy some of that support that he otherwise might. What is Hatch thinking?

Technorati Tags:

I have to disagree on the name recognition issue. People in what's now the 2nd and parts of the 6th may remember Luther, but many voters in the Twin Cities and out in the 1st, 7th, and 8th never really had a reason to know who he was. Kelley, on the other hand, has a warm campaign network ready and raring to go, and he's been travelling around the state for more than a year now. There's also the factor that some of the areas where Kelley played best in his gubernatorial bid are areas where Luther would need to clean up to have a chance in the primary - with more-recent name-rec, Kelley cuts Luther's potential base out from under him.

As for Swanson....spoiler at best. The reality is that Attorney General is an elected position, requiring both legal and political experience. She only has one.

OT, but relevant, considering the not-so-veiled racism being directed at a certain Congressional candidate:

Remember the big stink the Powerline boys made over Minnesota state senator Keith Ellison's having as a college student -- along with many other naive black men who soon learned their lesson -- had the most tenuous and temporary of connections to Louis Farrakhan?

Remember, also, just how much the Powerline boys love Joe Lieberman, their favorite (former) Democrat?

Well, guess what:

Back in 2000 -- long after Keith Ellison and every key black leader and national figure had rejected Farrakhan's bigotry and anti-semitism, guess who was cuddling up to the guy?

Joe Lieberman.

Check it out, right here:

The Lieberman campaign is trying to frighten white voters in Connecticut -- and Democrats in Washington -- by reminding them over and over again that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson support Lamont. This week, the senator's aides told the New York Times that playing the two African-American preachers off against Lamont will enhance Lieberman's appeal on an independent ballot line. "Primary night was the first time that many Connecticut voters saw Lamont on TV, and he's surrounding himself with two of the more divisive and problematic figures in the Democratic Party," said Dan Gerstein, the Lieberman campaign's communications director.

It's true that Jackson and Sharpton, who bustled onto the podium the evening of the primary to grab their share of the Lamont spotlight, tend to be polarizing figures. But what if Lamont had praised an even more polarizing black leader? What would Lieberman say if his rival had reached out to someone really outrageous, like Louis Farrakhan?

If he were honest, he'd exclaim "Great idea!" -- because that's exactly what he said six years ago.

Lieberman can hope to get away with his racially inflammatory strategy only if everyone else forgets not only his habit of sucking up to Jackson and Sharpton but his history of stroking the most bigoted black leader in the world. Evidently he and Gerstein (who was also his spokesman during the 2000 presidential campaign) expect that nobody will mention the embarrassing episode when Lieberman's ambition (and opportunism) led him to praise Farrakhan. Given the laziness and amnesia that afflict the national press corps, they may be right.

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link

Contact NSP