Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tim Walz talks about Hillary Visit

CQPolitics talks today about Hillary's visit to the House Democratic Conference yesterday. Walz says,
“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.

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.

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.

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.

1 comment:

Minnesota Central said...

Great post.
I wouldn’t be so confident in the polls at this stage. My wife was called by the KSTP-Survey USA and responded to the Presidential poll. The survey’s questions were too simple to really gauge any real insight other than just a “finger-in-the-wind” result. Although I think that Minnesota’s is Obama’s to lose, he won’t win it by double digits.
Coleman on the other hand must be encouraged. He has become the Trojan Horse. We thought we knew Coleman as a RoveRobot saluting Bush at every instance. But since the 2006 elections, he has learned that the 60-vote cloture rule allows him to portray himself as supporting moderate positions, meanwhile knowing that there are enough Republicans to prevent any votes to really mean anything. Coleman has failed on the job – the Farm bill was long overdue and full of pork (he even voted against Klobuchar’s amendment trying to get the limits down to closer to Bush’s number.) His performance on the Foreign Relations Committee has been to embrace sanctions instead of diplomacy … he should have listened to his fellow Republican committee members Lugar, Hagel and Voinovich.
That said, his lead is largely due to Franken being such a flawed candidate. Using a show biz analogy, Franken worked well as the sidekick/second banana, but is failing when given the lead role. The DFL fell in to the trap that Franken could get fundraising dollars necessary to fight Coleman and appreciated Franken’s campaigning for Minnesota DFL candidates. Klobuchar proved that someone with government experience can compete from within the state. In fact, it was to her benefit that she was stationed in Minnesota while Kennedy had to be in Washington. The DFL should have pressed Betty McCollum to run against Coleman. She’s opposite on Coleman on many issues, would have played nicely with the woman’s vote, and is a proven campaigner.
My recommendation to Franken would be to get Hillary Clinton here. If he has insulted woman, that would help. Second, he’s too quick with the joke … he needs to show his serious side. His best argument is that Coleman has failed in his assignment on Oversight Investigations. I would recommend getting tapes of some of his old Air America broadcasts and put them on CDs and distribute through the DFL county fair booths --- tell people that if you want to know how Franken would act in the Senate, listen to his speeches on the radio.
I am an independent and if the election were to be held today, I would hold my nose and vote for Franken …. Coleman would be just part of the Republican roadblocks to moving forward on issues that I care about --- the national debt, tax fairness, health care reform, and foreign affairs. Plus, don’t you think that if Coleman is re-elected that he would immediately start campaigning for the 2012 Presidential election …. After all, he would be a re-elected Red State Republican from a Blue State that does not stand for election again until 2014 … if so, Minnesota would experience what other states experience when their Senators get the Presidential bug, … inattentive to state’s interests and votes that try to project a more conservative trend to match the GOP base.