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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Blog Posts Have Moved

Category: 2018
Posted: 08/21/18 07:11

by Dave Mindeman

To read blog posts I have written you will have to go to:


This site is only an archive at present.

Thanks for your support and please follow mnpact at the new site.

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MN 2018: How the MN Races Look Right Now

Category: 2018
Posted: 07/17/18 14:14

by Dave Mindeman

After that ghastly Trump/Putin "summit" meeting yesterday, it becomes more imperative than ever that Democrats organize to win in November....everywhere.

So what is happening in Minnesota? Let's take a look:

First generally, I feel that the embrace of Trump by MN GOP will be their undoing...instead of turning red, they will be bleeding come the fall. Erik Paulsen has read the tea leaves early and he is starting to run away from the Trump train.


CD1: Dan Feehan is looking competitive in the open Walz seat. Hagedorn and Carla Nelson still have a primary fight going on which will cost them some funding. This district is in flux. They voted Trump in 2016 - but that support is beginning to peel off (very slowly but some). Feehan is positioned to hold the seat which I didn't think likely a month ago.

CD2: Angie Craig is running a super campaign here and Jason Lewis isn't sure how to deal with all the recent Trump fallout. His base is solid Trump and he can't afford to offend them. Craig is matching him dollar for dollar in fundraising as well. Unless there is another national Democratic collapse like there was in 2016, I cautiously think Craig is going to win this one going away.

CD3: Paulsen is running scared. Really scared. There has to be some awful polling data for him because he has reversed course on Trump like a Fast and Furious spin out. Fortunately, the Dems have a solid candidate in Dean Phillips. He's a little behind in money, but his decision to not take any PAC money is giving him an extra push. Still too close to call - but the trend is toward Phillips.

CD4: McCollum is in solid shape.

CD5: With Ellison running for Attorney General, the Democratic field is wide open. And the Democratic primary will probably decide who the next representative will be - once again the GOP has a very weak candidate. GOPer Jennifer Zielinski has only $3,000 cash on hand. But the Democratic field is very competitive. Rep. Ilhan Omar jumped in quickly and leads the field in funds. However, this is much earlier than she expected to have this seat in play and I'm not sure she is ready for a national agenda race. She has a learning curve to work on. Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a former Governor candidate for the DFL, is second in the monetary race and has more experienced credentials. She could sneak past Omar. Senator Patricia Torres Ray has been far behind in money, but she is popular in her district giving her a base to work with - but even if she doesn't end up the candidate, she can still continue her work by going back to the MN Senate. I do not know much about Jamal Abdulahi - he has very little money and is yet to make any impact. The August primary will determine who the next Congressperson from the 5th will be.

CD6: Tom Emmer will probably be returned in the 6th, even though he has gone full Trump. Ian Todd hasn't got any momentum and little money to make anything happen. Emmer will get re-elected.

CD7: Collin Peterson is still the fixture in the 7th. And this time he did a little serious fund raising to make sure he didn't get surprised again. He'll be back for one more term.

CD8: The 8th is going to be interesting. GOPer Pete Stauber has the Republican field to himself, but he may end up regretting that Duluth rally with Trump. The President surprised people by a strong showing in the 8th district, coming out of nowhere. But I believe that has dissipated quite a bit. Especially in light of recent events. The economy has improved greatly and of course the Republicans are taking credit - but other issues might steal the limelight in the end. Rick Nolan (now running for Lt. Governor with Lori Swanson) retired from Congress late and no endorsement could be garnered from the convention. So we have 5 Democrats vying for the November slot.... Jason Metsa, Joe Radinovich, Michele Lee, Kirsten Kennedy, and Soren Sorenson. Kennedy is the North Branch mayor and has not been able to register much yet. Sorenson, (a DFL activist) has $74 to his name right now. That leaves 3 viable candidates. Michele Lee is a former TV personality, but she barely hangs for money and impact. The two major candidates here are Jason Metsa and Joe Radinovich. Both are popular in their home districts so each has a base. Fundraising is even between the two - somewhat behind Stauber but still both are competitive. I don't have any guesses as to which one will emerge in the primary - I expect it will be very close. The general will be as well. I imagine this race will have a lot of outside money to nationalize it - so outside events might be the final factor.

US Senate:

Because of the Al Franken resignation, MN gets to have both Senate seats running for November.

US1 (Amy Klobuchar Incumbent) - Amy should have little trouble getting re-elected. Her opponent is a marginal candidate for viability - and is a right wing nut at that. Amy seems safe.

US2 (Tina Smith appointed) Tina Smith will be running as a statewide candidate for the first time here, but it is not like she hasn't got political experience. She has been campaign manager for Ted Mondale, Walter Mondale's late replacement bid after Wellstone died, R.T. Rybak's gov campaign, and Mark Dayton's first Governor campaign win. Then during Dayton's 2nd campaign, she became the Lt. Governor. And then appointed Senator after Franken left. So she is far from a political novice - most of it was behind the scenes but excellent learning potential. So the idea that she is not capable of winning a full campaign as a candidate seems odd to me. She knows how this works. She has a primary opponent in Richard Painter. Painter is a former George W ethics chief and has gained some notoriety as a full boar Trump critic on talk shows. But that has not translated into monetary support as he only has $13,000 in the bank with a primary and a general election looming that will be heavily contested by a pretty well funded GOP candidate Karin Housely. I have confidence that Tina Smith's political acumen will win the day in the end, especially since here fundraising has been stellar.


The attention getting race will be Minnesota Governor. We have three very viable candidates running in the primary. 1st District Congressman Tim Walz (LtGov Peggy Flanagan), Attorney General Lori Swanson (LtGov Rick Nolan), and Rep. Erin Murphy (LtGov Erin Maye Quade). Murphy is the endorsed DFL candidate winning an upset bid at the June convention. Murphy went all out for the endorsement and depleted her funds to a dangerously low level. She has the party backing her now, but she is up against some formidable opposition. Lori Swanson has raised a lot of money quickly using the Hatch network - and Walz has been raising funds well all along. Still, this is going to be a close 3 way race as each has a solid base of support. Murphy in the Metro. Swanson in the North. And Walz in the South. To me, it looks like how the Metro splits will determine the winner. The Dem winner will probably be taking on the retread, Tim Pawlenty. He will be faced with a different electorate this time around but he will pour unlimited resources into the campaign.

There. That's the basic outlook. Lots of great races and the Democrats are in a better position then they were a few months ago. Still have a ways to go.

So make sure you VOTE!
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Some DFL Gov Analysis and Thoughts

Category: 2018
Posted: 06/07/18 15:37

by Dave Mindeman

OK, I am going to offer up a discussion of the governor's race here. I want to make it clear from the outset that I am not promoting or endorsing any particular campaign. Not at all. I am still deciding what to make of all this - so some of this is just thinking out loud.

So with that said, here are those thoughts.

I don't buy the idea that the Democrats are in disarray and hurting their November chances. All of these filings will take some time to sort out but you can make a case that the DFL attention going into the primary could be a very positive thing - even if some of it means airing a lot of dirty laundry.

The Republicans have their own divisions - they have always done better at internalizing those issues in their tribal ways. But that does not make them any less of a factor. A Pawlenty/Johnson race will probably get nastier than anything Democrats might deal with.

The catalyst of most of the Democratic activity probably centers around Keith Ellison's decision to leave his Congressional seat and file for Minnesota Attorney General.

I think his reasoning is real and actually very logical. He can be more effective in dealing with the Trump administration by serving Minnesota from the AG office. California is the prime example and Ellison teaming up California AG Xavier Becerra to tag team Trump's administration in a legal sense is a great, grand strategy.

But for Democrats, there is another aspect which is more important. With Ellison running for re-election, the CD5 race would be a sleepy race with a slight uptick in turnout to vote for Governor. But the Ellison filing turns CD5 into a Democratic turnout juggernaut. Our core voters will be weighing in on a CD5 primary and November election. The national interest will be significant with Ilhan Omar in the mix. And with her legislative seat now in play, and that, in turn, will affect turn out in 60B.

So who benefits? Frankly, it probably benefits the endorsed Erin squared ticket. These are the most metro and most blatantly liberal voters in the state - and they will be coming out in the primary in droves.

So there is one point to ponder.

But let's look at it in another way. Lori Swanson and Rick Nolan provide a working base in the 8th District. Democratic mining and 2nd Amendment people can find a home in that campaign. And again, it will probably benefit turnout in the Range, where there still is a basic core Democratic base. This ticket has more geographic balance, however, Swanson has alienated a significant portion of the core liberal vote.

Walz/Flanagan has been counting on an appeal to a statewide constituency. Their base will be in the rural first district. The early addition of Flanagan to the ticket was a wise choice. She automatically brings in a progressive base appeal - balances the ticket geographically -and enhances the youth and female vote. That strategy may have gotten a hiccup from all the last minute filings. The statewide strategy is still a good one meant for the general election - but now it will have to overcome a primary electorate which will be more left than expected.

So, any issue of disunity in the party is probably going to be made up for in turnout expectations. Democrats will be very engaged. Candidates that can emerge from the primaries without getting into negative warfare, will have a clear path to win in November.

Like I said before, I have the feeling that the negative aspects of a primary contest are larger for Republicans because the Trump schism in the party will have to be aired out in public. Don't underestimate that problem.

So, when you see people shaking their heads about "Democratic disarray", don't buy into it. The interest is with Democrats and if the GOP thinks they have a window of turning Minnesota red - they are wrong.
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