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Thursday, December 20, 2007 

Possible Ramstad Un-Retirement

Rep. Jim Ramstad flip-flopping and deciding to run for re-election is big news. His doing so would save the NRCC an enormous amount of money and likely save the seat for the GOP.

Republican leadership is leaning on Ramstad to run, but Ramstad maintains that "he has no plans to run for reelection". The implied caveat, if you read the article, is that he may do so if Congress doesn't act on his mental health parity legislation.

Needless to say, Democratic leadership should make this a top priority once they come back from their holiday recess. It doesn't seem as if Ramstad actually wants to run again; if he did, I don't think that he would have announced his retirement, and the Republicans urging him to change his mind would have prevailed later anyways. On the other hand, all the incentives he's being offered, plus the perception that he left unfinished work in Congress, could be enough to convince him to return.

Ramstad running would be a huge blow to Democrats here in Minnesota. In 2008 we have the chance for practically a clean sweep - beating Sen. Coleman would make Gov. Pawlenty & Lt. Gov. Molnau the only statewide elected officials, and taking Ramstad's seat would make the House delegation 6-2, with only the very conservative 2nd and 6th districts remaining red. As things stand right now, the state GOP and NRCC will be forced to pour resources into the 3rd CD to try to hold onto the seat, resources that cannot be spent on other races. With Rep. Walz running for his first re-election and a tough race shaping up against Sen. Coleman, keeping Republican resources spread thin will be crucial. Further, a close race in CD3 will help in turning out DFLers to vote in the presidential, senate, and local races.

Ramstad remains quite popular in his district, and if he runs his victory is practically assured, all without a significant dedication of resources from outside the district. This is in distinct contrast to Erik Paulsen, the currently leading Republican candidate, whose campaign does not seem to be gaining much steam.

Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Reid: PLEASE put mental health parity legislation on the fast track. Not only is it good policy, it's good politics too.

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