Richard e-mails with an analysis of the abilities of the Bush and Kerry campaigns to draw on Minnesota notables in the wake of the news that St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly, a Democrat, is endorsing Bush:
My brother in Arizona wrote to ask me if Kelly's endorsement for Bush has created much buzz. That got me thinking about who is going to share the podium with John Kerry or George Bush here in Minnesota.
The Democrats have the following politicians:
Mark Dayton, US Senator:
Poster child for a senate psychiatric screening requirement.
Mike Hatch, MN AG:
His daughters are up for misdemeanor assault charges in Chicago.
Martin Sabo, Betty McCollum, James Oberstar US Reps:
These guys only get elected because their districts are so secure.
Collin Peterson US Rep:
His campaign and official websites are devoid of references to his party affiliation. Can he stump for Kerry without getting unelected? Can he get elected if he doesn't endorse Bush?
RT Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis: Not particularly popular even in Minneapolis.
Patty Wetterling, Candidate for Congress:
She may bring in the pity vote, but I doubt will be of much benefit.
Walter Mondale: The only democratic candidate to lose an election in all fifty states.
Paul Wellstone's Green Bus: Undoubtedly more charismatic than Mark Dayton.
Tom Harkin: He's up from Iowa stumping for Kerry. That's how bad is it when you have import Democrats from Iowa?
The Dems celebrity line up includes:
Garrison Keillor: I love PHC, but his political oratory seems to come out a different orifice than does his humor.
Al Franken: He lives in New York and is considering running against Coleman for Senate (who does he think he is, Hillary?)
Jessica Lange: There's MN family values for you.
Analysis: Kerry needs Minnesota centrists to win Minnesota, as well as turning out the base, but face it, nobody on this list is going to be able to energize the base without alienating the needed independents. Likewise, the only centrist in the crowd is Collin Peterson, who is likely to leave the state whenever Kerry comes to town. Thus Kerry is going to have to rely on bringing in celebrities from out of state and his and Edwards own star power to keep Minnesota in his column.
Now for the Republican pols we've got:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty: Still popular despite tough politics this last year.
LT. Gov Molnau, Sec Stat Kiffmeyer, Auditor Anderson:
Republican women who hold the rest the statewide offices!
Norm Coleman, US Senator: Somewhat tarnished for his reversal on ANWAR, and the bitter 2002 campaign is still fresh in everyone's minds. He may be a liability, on the other hand he's a genuine centrist on most issues, which may be key.
John Kline, US House: The only retired Marine Officer in Congress
Mark Kennedy, US House: Probable challenger to Mark Dayton
Republican celebrity line up:
None, except maybe,
James Lileks: Were he to give an introduction speech, I think he'd be awesome (though he'd have to stand on a box).
Schwarzenegger: I think he could help shift MN into the red column, even if not in CA.
Analysis: The Bush Team can hitch its wagon to a number of Minnesota electoral successes, none of whom will suffer for the association. While Democrats may try and portray these as extreme right wing, none are at all Quist-ian. Bush is weak on celebrity endorsements, but then he doesn't really need them does he? If Cheney doesn't poll well here, Bush can just leave him in an undisclosed location.
UPDATE- Thorley J. Winston e-mails to add a couple of more names to the MN GOP line-up:
Shouldn't Jim Ramstad and Gil Gutnecht also be added to the list? The Rammer may be a bit mushy on some issues leading to his general perception as a moderate GOPer but he's quite popular. He's also one heck of an orator and brings a tremendous amount of energy to whatever he does. Gil, well Gil can help deliver the 1CD, and despite his proposal to allowing the importation of Canadian price controls, he's generally pretty solid on most issues and a pretty good speaker (generally quick on his feet and has a pretty good command of the facts).
Seems to me that both of our other GOPer Congressmen are an asset for the Bush-Cheney ticket and ought to be included in there as well.
I'd say that Ramstad is more than a bit mushy. But Thorley is right, he is a good speaker and can work a room with the best of 'em.