From Blois Olson’s Morning Take.
THURSDAYTAKE: While the focus of Minnesota politics is wrapping up the legislative session, behind the scenes GOP candidates for Senate and Governor are feverishly working to prepare for the May 30th state convention in Rochester. In the gubernatorial race, the overly crowded GOP field presents the potential for very divisive and expensive August primary. Sen. Dave Thompson and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson have the edge for the endorsement, and with so many candidates there is a potential for “no endorsement” however that could be worse for Republicans chances against Dayton. Winning crowded primaries is exhausting, it wears out the volunteers, it takes time to re-unite the party and it drains the checkbook. While Marty Siefert starts TV ads tomorrow, and Rep. Kurt Zellers and businessman Scott Honour look for running mates, incumbent Gov. Mark Dayton raises money and has a long summer of ads and organizing to prepare for whoever his GOP opponent will be. Dayton and the DFL are savoring this as an unexpected treat that will keep them focused on touting Dayton’s record rather than responding to a Republican opponent until August.
The strategy of Seifert, Zellers, and Honour of going to the Primary is the number one thing that will aid Dayton’s reelection chances.
Selfishly pushing off the focus on Dayton and the DFL’s record of failure and incompetence until mid August and instead trying to inflate their own egos is exactly the type of thing Democrats need to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The key to Republicans winning statewide is focusing voters’ attention on the DFL’s record and radical agenda, not allowing them to see a messy food fight between Republicans. The arrogance of some Republican candidates thus far to mislead and distort fellow Republicans’ records to gain an upper hand is going to spill over into a Primary contest and alienate critical swing voters from considering it a two party race.
My hope is that the Republicans assemble in Rochester and endorse a candidate so overwhelmingly that anyone selfish enough to run in the Primary is ignored sees their supporters abandon them because the real opponent is Dayton and his legions of leftwing political special interests and deep pocketed Progressives who are trying to destroy this state.
Go Team Thompson!