Most non-Minnesotans have a certain view of our political situation. When Minnesota and politics come together in a conversation, the following names and phrases come to mind - Jesse Ventura, Al Franken, Mark Dayton, Paul Wellstone, and voted Democrat in presidential elections since 1972. People forget that we also have had Rod Grams as Senator, numerous Republican governors, and currently have Michele Bachmann and Phil Kline for US Reps and a GOP dominated State House and Senate. Although Minnesota trends left in many ways, it is not a slam dunk for the Democrats.
Amy Klobuchar(D, MN) is a first term Senator up for reelection in 2012. No one knows much of anything about her and that is exactly the way she prefers it. Her reputation is that of a super nice and friendly moderate Senator. She maintains that reputation by avoiding the press and any comments on controversial issues. The truth is that she is anything but a moderate. She has voted consistently with the most liberal members of her party. She has a lifetime rating of 7.2% from the ACU and a 2011 rating of 0%. Her approval rating is around 60% in Minnesota, but when people are informed of her support for Obamacare, Cap and Trade, and other issues, it drops below 50%. She may look unbeatable, but when the light is shone on her record, her vulnerabilities manifest.
The key to beating Amy Klobuchar is having the right candidate. The media will not talk about her record, continuing to do puff pieces about the super nice Senator from Minnesota. The right candidate needs to have a sizable warchest, charisma, and be someone the media cannot ignore.
There are three main candidates on the GOP side:
Kurt Bills is a favorite of the Ron Paul supporters. He is a good speaker and has some interesting things to bring to the table, being a public school teacher and a union member who opposes the DFL. Unfortunately he is a Ron Paul acolyte, and listening to his speeches, it seems he is part of the crowd that believes abolishing the Fed and moving to a gold standard will magically fix all that is wrong. He is too much of a libertarian to bring the strongly social conservative MN GOP to his banner and can easily be painted as an extremist.
Dan "Doc" Severson is a good man. A former legislator and MN SoS candidate, he is well known among the party. Policy-wise he is solid, but he lacks the charisma and appeal to get the buzz generated.
Speaking from my experience as an Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer, Pete Hegseth is the kind of Officer I would have been proud to have lead me and my troops into battle.
Pete Hegseth is the third candidate, and he is the best chance for picking up this seat. He is a GWOT veteran and infantry officer, having served tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and at Guantanamo Bay. He is also a national figure. As Executive Director of Vets for Freedom, he took an organization that was in the red and had few members to powerhouse status. Throughout the 2007-2010 time-frame, VFF and Pete Hegseth dominated the airwaves as the alternative to Code Pink and the media bias against the GWOT. Pete has done hundreds of interviews on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX. He testified to congress opposing the nomination of Elena Kagan to the US Supreme Court. His organization was instrumental in the election of 6 veterans to Congress in 2010, including conservative favorite Allen West.
Pete has the charisma to counteract Klobuchar's likeability. He has the courage to go after her about her record. He has the debating skills to dice her arguments. He is a solid three-legged stool conservative, who has committed to staying on message about jobs and the economy throughout the election. Most of all, he can make the media pay attention to the race and he can raise the money to be competitive. Watch his new campaign commercial: Tough. I think the part from about 1:00 to 1:10 says a lot.
Most importantly, and I cannot offer a higher endorsement: He is a Soldier, and I know he is a good one, even if I can't put how I know that into words. Speaking from my experience as an Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer, he is the kind of Officer I would have been proud to have lead me and my troops into battle - and politics is really a different facet of the same battle for freedom that he and I both fought in the god-forsaken desert. The weapons are different, but the stakes are just as high.
At this point in the contest, Pete's biggest hurdle is name-recognition with the delegates to the state convention. Many have heard of him but know little about him. Look him up at peteforsenate.com . If you like what you see, tell others about him, throw a little money his way, and if you are a delegate to the MN state convention I hope you can give him your support there.
If Pete Hegseth wins the nomination, Minnesota Senate goes from "not competitive" to "possible pick up" for the GOP. Even better, Pete will be the kind of Senator to fill the ranks of Senators like Rubio and Demint. We will never have to worry about him crossing the aisle to get a good op-ed written about him or to gain favor with the DC cocktail crowd.
Cross-posted at UnifiedPatriots.com