Thursday, June 08, 2006 

Endorsement: Long-Awaited Gubernatorial Selection

And now, ladies and gents, the moment you've all been waiting for: the North Star Politics endorsement for governor of Minnesota.

And it goes to no one; I honestly cannot decide who I like. Each candidate has a strength and a weakness, and I am simply unable to decide which strengths are stronger and which weaknesses are less weak.

AG Mike Hatch, the front-runner, is a very good candidate. His obvious strength is his hold on the DFL faithful and the electability that his status as a constitutional officer (elected in 2002, a bad year for Democrats) implies. It's quite likely that he'll be endorsed, and, if so, will win a primary against Sen. Becky Lourey hands-down. The problem with Hatch is that he's not very exciting and, as Minntelect says more than once, is a polarizing, partisan figure on the order of Tim Pawlenty, which will put him at a serious disadvantage right out of the gate. He could quite possibly win the race if he creates a more positive image of himself, but the chances of his doing this aren't great, to put things mildly.

Sen. Becky Lourey apparently stands in second place for the endorsement. She has a tenuous grip on the left wing ("The Democratic Wing", as Paul Wellstone might say) of the DFL, which she will be fighting with Steve Kelley for at the convention. Sen. Lourey has an inspiring personal story and a strong campaign organization (see her website and the apparent volume of her delegate contacts). In contrast with Hatch, though, her electability is in serious question - are voters willing to accept a candidate who is as unabashedly left-wing as she is?

Sen. Steve Kelley appears to be in third place going into Saturday. He will be competing with Sen. Lourey for the left wing's votes, though he may pick up a good chunk of moderates as well. Kelley's strength is his policy wonkishness; everything he does makes it clear that he knows excatly what he's talking about. He's smart, and he lets people know it, though he manages to do so without sounding arrogant. His weakness is that he's a fairly bland figure and may lack the magnetism to get the base, much less the moderates, fired up about his candidacy. This weakness may be exactly the one that loses it for him at the convention.

I honestly like all three of these candidates. They're all good people and they all will make good governors if they win the election. I'll be happy to vote for any of them; the question is about how many others will. Good luck to them all, and may the best candidate win.

I'll be following the convention with REW's liveblogging and MPR's feed (via Polinaut). Should be interesting.


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Wednesday, June 07, 2006 

Pre-Gubernatorial Endorsements

There's not much left to endorse.

Months ago, back when there were several candidates for the Senate race, I threw my weight behind Amy Klobuchar's candidacy. That was the right choice at the time, and of all the candidates who have come in and out of the race, Amy is still our best candidate to run against Mark Kennedy. Heck, even Power Line loves her. Ford Bell's decision to run in the primary was a poor one, a selfish move which won't boost his own chances and will make it that much more difficult for Amy to win in November. Thus, I'm proud to continue to support Amy Klobuchar for Senate.

The attorney general's race hasn't made a lot of headlines, but it's an important one nonetheless. Fortunately, endorsing Rep. Matt Entenza is easy, and not just because he's unopposed at the convention. Entenza has proven a strong leader during his time at the helm for the House Democrats, and he'll undoubtedly continue to be one as our AG. His opponent is Rep. Jeff Johnson, and, again, though the race has largely flown below the radar it's a crucial one for DFLers this fall.

Finally, Rebecca Otto is running unopposed for the auditor nomination. Reggie Edwards has apparently dropped out (someone correct me if I'm wrong), leaving Otto the only choice. Otto has impressed me by catching errors made by current auditor Pat Anderson, which can't be easy to do while campaigning. Further, Otto is running with a promise to be an advocate in the office, something that Anderson has miserably failed to do. Once again, running unopposed makes it easy, but Rebecca Otto bags the NSP endorsement.

Check back this evening for the grand finale, the gubernatorial endorsement. Will it be Hatch, Kelley, or Lourey?

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006 

Endorsement: Mark Ritchie for Secretary of State

Commenter EB was right...it's Mark Ritchie over Christian Sande for Secretary of State.

I have to say that I have been impressed by both candidates in this race. Both seem highly qualified for the job. But in the end, Mark Ritchie has the experience, leadership, dedication, and passion to be Minnesota's next SOS.

Mark's experience in particular is phenomenal, and it's what sets him apart from Sande - it's too much to go over, but you can look for yourself. At the heart of his readiness to be our Secretary of State is founding of, and his work on, the November 2 campaign. As a private citizen with a non-profit, he has been doing much of Mary Kiffmeyer's job for her; just think of how much more he'll be able to do once he has her office!

The only other thing that sets Ritchie and Sande apart is their electability. Sande's campaign has seemed to focus on putting out slick little pamphlets about their candidate, while Ritchie's has worked to build an organization that will give him the ground game to beat Kiffmeyer in November. It might just be luxury that Ritchie's status as the front runner allows, but it's one of the biggest factors in landing Mark Ritchie the coveted North Star Politics endorsement.


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Pre-Convention Endorsements

I'll be releasing endorsements, for what they're worth, over the next few days as the convention approaches. I'm sure everyone is waiting with bated breath for North Star Politics' endorsements. First up will be the SOS endorsement, and that should be posted momentarily tomorrow morning.

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