Friday, June 09, 2006

Crystal Ball - DFL Convention Edition

The Convention will endorse, Amy Klobuchar, Rebecca Otto, Mark Ritchie, and Matt Entenza. No real surprises there. The Governor's race is a whole different story.

Going in, everyone agrees that Hatch is the front runner, but front runners don't automatically get the nod. Hatch has said he would not commit to abiding by the endorsement process. I don't believe this necessarily means he will run in the primary, however. I believe there is a chance that Hatch, himself, may drop out and decide to remain as Attorney General. If the early endorsement ballots don't show him with strong enough support to fend off the anti-Hatch contingent, this is a scenario that may begin to gain some traction.

The anti-Hatch candidates continue to bicker over who has most of the remaining delegates, but that is moot. One of the two, after a few ballots, will have to decide who to throw their support to, and/or withdraw from the process. Kelley is the only candidate that has pledged to abide. Lourey has made it clear she is in this till the end.

I spoke at length with Becky at the DL event she attended. She feels she made a grave miscalculation be agreeing to abide in 2002, and will not make that same mistake again. She is convinced, based on their internal polling at the time, that she would have won the primary, and the general election. I appreciate her commitment and determination, but am not sure I agree with her polling, or prognostication. There is no way any candidate who is committed to winning will show their true hand. I don't give too much credence to those who rule out specific campaign strategies, be it abiding, or wheeling and dealing on convention day.

There is a reason Mike Hatch is laying low, and why he has decided not to select a running mate going into the convention. This is purely speculation on my part, and I have no information from anyone that even suggests this is what he is thinking. But a Hatch/Lourey ticket would be the most competitive slate the DFL could put up against the MNGOP Juggernaut. A unity ticket like this would resolve a big chunk of those who have concerns about Hatch. This would also resolve the contested primary issue and the big bucks that Hatch has fermenting in his coffers can be put to use to defend themselves from the smear of the Right, while helping DFL candidates all the way down the ticket. I sincerely hope that this option is on the table, for it would be the most positive move that could come out of what may be a very contentious convention environment.

If the Unity ticket does not come to fruition, there is only one other possible LG option that could possible serve the same purpose, and that is Judi Dutcher. I know she has said she won't do it, but Edwards refused VP overtures right up until the last moment, and he changed his mind. As for the issues from 2002 . . . . if Sullivan and Pawlenty could kiss and make-up after their 2002 political fisticuffs, I have no doubt that Mike and Judi have already reconciled from their battle. A week in politics is a lifetime, 4 years is an eternity.

I'm hoping to make an appearance in Rochester sometime late Saturday morning. Knowing my luck, all the fireworks will be over, and the endorsement decided, before I even arrive.


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