The 2014 campaign officially started yesterday at 4:31 PM, this is when every candidate needed to put their money where there mouth is (pay their filling fee) and officially commence the 2014 campaign season. There were a few surprises, but largely everyone thought to be in the pool was actually in the pool.
In large part, the Republican contests are far more interesting then are the DFL. But with there now being a race for State Auditor there will be less opportunity for cross-over voting and shenanigans.
In the US Senate race, incumbent US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) faces token opposition from an unknown person in Sandra Henningsgard. We doubt there will even bea debate during the Primary. On the Republican side is a 5 person field with only two legitimate candidates and some gadflies. They include: Mike McFadden (R-Endorsed), Rep. Jim Abeler (R-35A, Anoka) the clear moderate Republican in the field, David Carlson, Patrick Munro, and perennial filer Ole Savior. On the Independence Party side there are also a slew of candidates: Kevin Terrell (IP-Endorsed) , Steve Carlson, a candidate for Congress in 2010, Jack Shepard a ex-patriot who as we understand from talking to him lives in Italy, and Steven Williams. There is also a Libertarian candidate Heather Johnson.
1st Congressional District
Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN1) has no Primary challenge and will face off against the victor between Jim Hagedorn (R-Endorsed) and Aaron Miller.
2nd Congressional District
Congressman John Kline (R-MN2) also has no Primary challenge and he will face a three-person field including the eventual Democratic victor between Michael Obermueller and Michael J. Roberts, and Independence Party candidate Paula Overby.
3rd Congressional District
Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN3) sans a Primary challenger, and he will only face-off Sharon Sund (D).
4th Congressional District
Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN4) is without a Primary challenger, and she will face two others in November Sharna Wahlgren (R) and Dave Thomas (IP).
5th Congressional District
Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN5) does have a Primary challenge by William P. Brown. After his Primary victory, he will then match-up against Doug Daggett (R), and Lee Bauer (IP).
6th Congressional District
In the open 6th Congressional District seat DFL endorsed candidate Joe Perske (D) and IP endorsed candidate John Denney get an easy run up to the August Primary. While Republican endorsed candidate Tom Emmer (R) will spend his summer fending off Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah (R).
7th Congressional District
Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) starts this campaign season lacking any Primary opponent and can focus his attention directly on Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-12, Elbow Lake).
8th Congressional District
Congressman Rick Nolan (D-MN) will be fending off attacks from all sides. He has Stewart Mills (R) and the US Chamber of Commerce on his right, Ray Skip Sandman (Gr)putting him to sleep on his left, and Eric G. Meyer (IP) biting at his ankles. Fortunately, Nolan will have his sights well trained on November and if Kendall Killian, his campaign manager can steer the campaign ship on the right course defending off all of the spurious attacks, mainly by the Chamber.
In spite of the loss of the seat in 2010 to Chip Craavack (R) over Congressman Jim Oberstar (D-MN8) by 6399 votes or 1.69% and the recapture by Nolan in 2012 by a 31,456 vote margin or 8.99% proves this is a Democratic seat. It will remain as such unless Killian is an incompetent manager.
The best fight on the Republican side is definitely in the Gubernatorial Primary. Where GOP endorsed candidates Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson & former Rep. Bill Kuisle (R), Kuisle is affectionately known around the Capitol as Shrek, face stiff opposition from former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) & Rep. Pam Myhra (R-56A, Burnsville), and former House Speaker Kurt Zellers (R-34B, Maple Grove) & Rep. Dean Simpson (R-New York Mills), Scott Honour & Sen. Karin Housley (R-39, Stillwater) and unknowns Merrill Anderson & Mark Anderson (R).
The fields are set for the General election except in the State Auditor’s race. State Auditor Rebecca Otto (DFL-MN) will need to buttress against an attack from former House Minority Leader Matt Entenza(DFL). Now Entenza’s bid is interesting because his prominence in Minnesota politics comes at the behest of his former wife Lois Quam. If he had been married to Sally Jane Anderson and Ms. Anderson wasn’t an executive at United Health, we would likely have never heard of Matt Entenza. A reading of Entenza’s website shows no sign of Ms. Quam’s name which seems to be a significant omission. In fact, he and Governor Mark Dayton (DFL-MN) could effectively create their own first husband’s club because each has benefitted from the largess of their ex-wives political investments.
The strategy of a DFL Primary campaign is not all that different from a General election campaign. The focus is on the 4th, 5th and 8th Congressional Districts. In Entenza’s case the 2nd Congressional District might come into play since he is from Worthington.
One question we have is will Michael Brodkorb do more opposition research on Entenza and force him from the race as he did in 2008, for Attorney General?
Now Otto has problems in the 8th Congressional District because of her vote on the Executive Committee against the PolyMet Sulfide mining proposal. After giving her assurances to legislators in the Iron Range delegation of her position, she in turn started soliciting campaign contributions from the environmentalists, which has stoked the ire of many Rangers.
Interestingly, there are few reasons to draw out DFLers this Primary season. As we said before, Franken has no serious opposition. We dub his summer campaign endeavors as mere a Hiccup Primary. Similarly, in the Secretary of State’s race where Rep. Steve Simon (DFL-46B, St Louis Park) also faces a cast of Gadflies.
Elsewhere, the following only DFLers have Primary contests: Reps. Deb Hilstrom (DFL-40B, Brooklyn Center), John Benson’s 44B seat is open, DFLer’s are hoping to pick-up Michael Beard’s open seat in 55A, Phyllis Kahn has a tough road in 60B and Jean Wagenius must fight of a challenge in 63A in Minneapolis.
On the Republican side with the retirement of Reps. David Fitsimmons (R-30B, St Michael) and Jim Abeler (R-35, Anoka), and Ernie Leidiger (R-47A, Mayer) creates Primaries for the House seats.
Additionally, seven House members get a cakewalk, lacking an opponent in November. They are: Reps. Tony Cornish (23B, Good Thunder), Duane Quam (R-23B, Byron), Kim Norton (26A, Rochester), Joe McDonald (R-29A, Delano), Marion O’Neill (R-29B, Buffalo), House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-31A, Crown)and Joe Hoppe (R-47B, Chaska). Because Daudt lacks a challenger he will be better able to traverse the state helping out the candidates in his caucus by fundraising at their local events.
This means Otto will have to fight this one largely on her own, but this means consequences for the other statewide DFL candidates on the ticket. Each will now need to state their position on PolyMet, which could affect them in the November election.