Time once again for my long-awaited election predictions. Long-awaited as they signal the end of this interminable campaign. Looking back the the previous years attempts to prognosticate politics (2002, 2004, and 2006), shows that all in all I have a decent track record. The only major blown call was picking Walter Mondale to beat Norm Coleman in the '02 Senate race. Not sure why I thought that old horse was going to come through.
Let's start with a local vote of interest. Last year, the voters of District 281 said NO to a school levy referendum. The school district heard the message from the voters loud and clear and waited less than a year to try to cram down the same levy once again. Shouldn't there be at least a little breathing room? If the voters say no, they should at least get a two year reprieve from having to face the school district's reach for their wallets. Despite the fact that the people of District 281 would likely get a better return on investment if we had a bonfire and burned bags of money, the levy seems likely to pass this year with probably close to 55% of the vote. I can guarantee you that no one is going to push to have a vote on repealing the levy next year. The problem is that while you can postpone a levy, you can rarely ever permanently defeat it. Like the undead, they always keep coming back.
Minnesota Congressional Races
District One: Brian Davis (GOP) Tim Walz* (DFL)
This is a Democratic year and so Tim Walz--who allegedly came in to Congress as a "blue dog Democrat" before voting like Pelosi's lap dog--will retain his seat.
District Two: John Kline* (GOP) Steve Sarvi (DFL)
Unless there's a Democratic tide of historic proportions, John Kline should return to Congress.
District Three: Erik Paulsen (GOP) Ashwin Madia (DFL)
If anyone asks if negative campaigning works, they should analyze this race. The campaign against Paulsen has been unrelenting and often untrue. Paulsen is a good man who deserves better, but I'm afraid that in a tough year for the GOP, he too will come up short.
District Four: Ed Matthews (GOP) Betty McCollum* (DFL)
Matthews has fought a good fight, but this district is a bastion of blue. McCollum sleep walks to another easy win.
District Five: Barb Davis White (GOP) Keith Ellison* (DFL)
If the Fourth is hostile territory for Republicans, the Fifth is even worse. The best (and likely only) chance to beat Ellison was in 2006. This seat is his as long as he wants it.
District Six: Michele Bachmann* (GOP) Elwyn Tinklenberg (DFL)
Easily one of the most talked about Congressional races that Minnesota has seen in recent years. Bachmann was cruising until she made the mistake of showing up on "Hardball" not realizing that Chris Matthews was going to keep throwing high heat at her head until he got a reaction. She still has plenty of supporters in the Sixth and I think that's she'll squeeze this one out in a very close race.
District Seven: Glen Menze (GOP) Colin Peterson* (DFL)
Easily one of the least talked about races in the history of Minnesota politics. Peterson names his number.
District Eight: Michael Cummins (GOP) James Oberstar* (DFL)
Oberstar gets 70+% of the vote and another two years in the House to continue his lengthy reign as king of bringing home the bacon (and bike paths).
Holding their existing seats and taking the Third will give the Dems a 6-2 advantage in Minnesota's Congressional delegation and make talk of turning the state red a quaint memory.
Minnesota Senate Race
A year ago, the idea that this race would be a toss-up was ludicrous. Six months ago it was laughable. Today, the fact that Al Franken (whose campaign motto should have been "untried, untested, and untrue") and Norm Coleman are is a statistical dead heat says a lot about the state of politics in Minnesota. And what it says is no laughing matter. I'm hoping that the enough of the good people of Minnesota have the good sense to vote for the better man. That and I always pick against the bigger a-hole in a close race. Coleman eeks it out.
And the big daddy of them all, the Arts & Crafts Legacy Act:
Again, I go out on a limb and hope that the good people of Minnesota aren't foolish enough to Constitutionally mandate tax increases on their children (how's that for a legacy?) so that an alternative theater troupe in Worthington can put on plays no one wants to watch. Please tell me you're not that foolish. I say that at least 50.2% of voters are wise to this. And yes, it is a shaky limb.
What's that? Oh yeah, that whole presidential thing. With too many factors going against him, McCain needed to run almost a perfect campaign win. Unfortunately, it was inconsistent and undisciplined. His recent close in the polls shows that Obama was vulnerable, but it appears to be a case of too little, too late.
Since the only thing that really matters is the electoral results, I'm seeing this:
Obama 322 McCain 216
And as I've been saying for months, Obama takes Minnesota by eight points.
Now get out there and vote. Unless you're an Obama supporter in which case you stay home, relax, and enjoy your victory.
UPDATE-- Jack from California e-mails:
Sounds like an Elf from Lord of the Rings.
I would not vote for this man/woman(?) if he/she were Ronald Reagan reincarnated.
That reminds me, I have to go tinkle.
That reminds me of one of my favorite write-in candidates of past years, Ivana Tinkle.
UPDATE II-- If you're looking for a brighter outlook for the GOP, check out a Vox Day (you can't say that every day):
My considered opinion is that America would be worse off in the short term and better off in the long term with an Obama victory. But based on my observations, I am forced to conclude that despite the way things superficially appear, John McCain will win the election.