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Post-Primary Look At Minnesota Races

With the primaries completed, let’s take another look at those Minnesota races…

MN-GOV: Current Governor Tim Pawlenty leaves after two terms. Former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton won the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor — Minnesota’s version of the Democrats) primary, while State Rep. Tom Emmer had no serious challenger on the Republican side. Tom Horner will represent the Independence Party. Minnesota has always been a rather contrarian state politically; despite not having voted Republican in a Presidential election since 1972, Minnesota has also not had a Democratic Governor since Rudy Perpich was defeated in 1990. In that span, there have been a pair of two-term Republicans (Arne Carlson from 1991-1998 and Tim Pawlenty from 2003-present), and one independent (Jesse Ventura, 1999-2002). Pawlenty survived the Democrat wave in 2006 to get re-elected. Yet despite the Republican wave that seems imminent this year, this stands as a good chance for a Democrat pickup. Dayton’s two big advantages are in money (self-financing) and name recognition. Dayton’s two biggest problems right now are in being a Democrat in a Republican year, and the fact that he was basically useless as a Senator during his lone term (2001-2006). Still, he leads in the polls right now, but we’ll see what happens as November comes and people learn more about Emmer.

Current Prediction: DEM PICKUP, confidence level 2/10

MN-SEN: Neither Amy Klobuchar nor Acting Senator Al Fraudken are up for re-election this year. Pity.

MN-SOS: Soros-approved Democrat Mark Ritchie, who was instrumental in the installation of Al Franken in the Senate, is up for re-election. He is opposed by Republican Dan Severson. As of now, I’ve heard practically nothing about this race, but I expect we will as election season rolls around. Until something happens, the incumbent has the advantage.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 5/10

MN-AG: See MN-SOS, substitute “Lori Swanson” for “Mark Ritchie” and “Chris Barden” for “Dan Severson”.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 5/10

MN-01: Incumbent Democrat Tim Walz is running for re-election in this R+1 district, opposed by Randy Demmer. Walz came in with the 2006 wave and was easily re-elected in 2008. This is very much a bell-weather race; it is exactly the sort of race that could flip based purely on Republican momentum. Walz is the typical conservative-district Democrat who talks a good conservative game at home, then votes right down the line with Pelosi while in Washington. This is a district that has traditionally been held by either a Republican or a conservative Democrat (back when Congressmen like Tim Penny actually existed), and Walz will receive a serious challenge. Demmer has an advantage that his 2008 predecessor didn’t have: being able to pin critical and unpopular votes (such as Obamacare and cap-and-trade) on Walz. For the moment, I think Walz will barely survive, but that can change quickly.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 1/10

MN-02: Incumbent Republican John Kline is running for re-election in this R+4 district, opposed by former State Rep. Shelley Madore. This is my home district, and Madore was the state representative in my district for one term before losing re-election. She brings nothing to the table that should make Kline at all nervous, especially in the current electoral climate.

Current Prediction: GOP HOLD, confidence level 10/10

MN-03: Incumbent Republican Erik Paulsen is running for re-election in this R+0 district, opposed by Jim Meffert. Like with Kline, I see no reason for Paulsen to worry given the current climate.

Current Prediction: GOP HOLD, confidence level 10/10

MN-04: Incumbent Democrat Betty McCollum is running for re-election in this D+13 district, opposed by Teresa Collett. It would take a massive Republican wave to unseat a Democrat in this district.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 10/10

MN-05: Incumbent Democrat Keith Ellison is running for re-election in this D+23 district, opposed by Joel Demos. Despite the ethically-challenged Ellison being the incumbent, it would take an even bigger Republican wave to turn this seat.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 10/10

MN-06: Incumbent Republican (and current conservative darling) Michele Bachmann is running for re-election in this R+7 district, opposed by Tarryl Clark. This is the main event among Minnesota races, as Bachmann’s star is on the rise, and she is probably the Left’s second most despised Republican woman behind Sarah Palin. This is one of the few House seats that Democrats think they can pickup, but Bachmann is in a much stronger position now than she was in 2006 and 2008. Democrats can huff and puff all they want, but Bachmann’s house is made of bricks.

Current Prediction: GOP HOLD, confidence level 9/10

MN-07: Incumbent Democrat Collin Peterson is running for re-election in this R+5 district, opposed by Lee Byberg. One would think that given the PVI, Peterson might be in trouble, but so far there has been no real indication that he is. Peterson did vote against Obamacare, which likely will help his cause. This could be one of those races that could be taken if the Democrats totally collapse, but for now, Peterson seems safe.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 9/10

MN-08: Incumbent Democrat James Oberstar is running for re-election in this D+3 district, opposed by Chip Cravaack. This is a safe Democrat district in the northern part of the state.

Current Prediction: DEM HOLD, confidence level 10/10

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