Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The issues we win on

In three way races against two more powerful parties there are very few issues you can win on. We have a basic set of unshared principals (special interest money, positive campaigns...) that we've used to build a solid base of around 6%, but it is rare that we have an issue we can stand on that has wide spread appeal. In 2002 I believe Tim Penny’s fatal blow came when he stood beside Roger Moe on the non citizen drivers license issue, whatever support could be gained by taking the stance Penny took (ignoring the details as most voters do) went to Roger Moe, while Penny shared all the opposition.

This year the biggest issue of the last decade is on the verge of blowing up to the tune of a billion dollar price tax, that being the stadium issue. If even one stadium is approved it will come with a Tim pawlenty signature, and significant DFL support. Mike Hatch will have to be very careful in choosing a running mate if he wants any hope of being able to oppose the governor on the issue. Peter Hutchinson has a great shot of being able to stand alone on a huge issue.

Another thing he has going for them is he's not going to play up his stance on hot button issues, sure the voters will know his stance, but by not standing side by side with an opposing candidate he will have a better chance of getting the effect of the supporters of his stances, while taking less of a blow from the opposing point of view.

And finally he will be able to give voters his bold vision that any good politician shares (free flowing transportation, great schools, inexpensive health care...), with the ability to point out where he's done it before, and the role special intrest money plays in this.

The 2002 campaign was difficult because no critical issue aligned into Tim Penny's exclusive vision. If the stadium issue either gets resolved at our expense, or is voted on in a way that makes it impossible for the governor and the DFL deny there support, the path to another Independence party victory will be wide open.

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