Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

DFL's Decision

The DFL this weekend will endorse a candidate for Governor between Mike Hatch Steve Kelley and Becky Lourey. While it sounds like Hatch has a strong lead anything can happen at a convention. The delegates have a huge responsibility to endorse a candidate who can win the office for the first time in twenty years.

It may be that none of them have what it takes to win, or it could be that all or two of the candidates are capable of winning. The critical factors are as follows. The stadium issue matters, opinion polls might indicate it's not everything, but if you lose on the stadium issue you have a lot of ground to make up. The major Independence party presence in the race forces the DFL to change there game plan, They didn't the first two chances. There are two very different routes of attack on the governor, they need to choose only one to focus on. Working with Peter Hutchinson to defeat Pawlenty can work even if Peter Hutchinson works to defeat both Pawlenty and the DFL candidate.

The candidates are all quality DFL candidates. Mike Hatch has a proven record of election success and while the negatives are high he has already won over a significant percent of the voters. Steve Kelley has been effective at accomplishing his goals as a legislator, the question is do the people of Minnesota share his goals, and the policy he has used to meet them. Becky Lourey is a candidate of conviction, and represents the core of the DFL party well I respect her greatly for the strong stances she has taken even when I disagree with her, but question if she would be able to win the race in November.

If I was a DFL delegate looking to endorse the candidate I thought would do best in November I think I would have to choose Hatch, which is somewhat ironic given as an Independence Party supporter I find Hatch to be the ideal opponent. The reason such a scenario can exist is because he is a polarizing figure, I think the Independence Party can defeat him by inspiring those that have a strong negative opinion of Hatch, but at the same time he might roll over everyone in his path. As I said I don't see Lourey winning, and Steve Kelley would be iffy and potentially bad for the Independence Party depending on what issues the moderate voters focus on. While there will probably be a primary fight I don't see Hatch losing if he has the endorsement.

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