“It was about unifying and addressing the issues that really matter to working families,’’ said Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., who endorsed Obama after the Illinois senator won Minnesota’s Democratic caucuses in early February.Does this mean the Democrats are finally united??? We'll see...
Meanwhile, Al Franken's candidacy continues to tank. The latest RCP analysis:
After some early polls showed a competitive race, incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman has opened up a sizable lead and is over the magic 50% mark, a new poll shows. Coleman's Democratic opponent, satirist Al Franken, has undergone one of the worst few months in recent political memory, and the fact that he remains at least close should inspire Coleman to take Franken's threat seriously.
There's still hope for Al, but I have to imagine Mike Ciresi is starting to give a little more thought to running in September. Can you blame him or Minnesota DFLers for wanting him back? This should be an easy win for Franken given Minnesota's current political climate. On the other hand, November is still months away and there is still ample time for Franken to shift attention to Coleman, but if the campaign narrative continues in this vein for much longer, Franken is toast.
General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Coleman......51 / 17 / 92 / 55 / 57 / 45
Franken.......41 / 76 / 4 / 35 / 37 / 45
From back taxes to failure to offer certain kinds of insurance to his employees to a flap over an article he wrote for Playboy Magazine, Franken has been battered for months by national Republicans. Still, the race remains close, showing off the state's natural Democratic tilt. Franken's impressive fundraising ability will help some, but Coleman's no slouch in the bank account department.
For Coleman, an attentive campaigner who has distanced himself from the Bush Administration and is playing up his bipartisan credentials (though not to the extent of, say, Gordon Smith), the way to run this campaign is increasingly clear: If the election is about Al Franken, Coleman will win another term. If it's about President Bush and that "R" after Coleman's name, Franken will be very competitive and could pull it out.
Particularly telling are the numbers for Democrats and Independents. Nearly 20% of DFLers are bailing for Coleman. That is really remarkable given the sizable lead Obama has in MN at this point (54-37 over McCain according to RCP). It should not be a shock considering that in 2006 despite overwhelming wins for the Dems in Minnesota, Pawlenty was able to win largely because of Hatch's meltdown. Minnesotans have and will split their ballots. Even worse than the DFL numbers is the Independents. A 20-point lead for Coleman raises a lot of questions about how Franken's acerbic wit is playing with people that avoid partisanship like the plague. Interestingly, Coleman and Franken are tied among women. This is unexpected given that most of the publicity surrounding Franken's past writings would be most offensive to women (or am I just old-fashioned?) Nonetheless, Franken needs to win women voters, a core constituency of the Democratic party, pretty handily if he is to win the seat.