Evacuatin' Dayton Evacuatin'
After defeating an inept candidate in Rod Grams back in 2000, Mark Dayton has become the last to know that his political career is dead. Today he announced that he will not seek reelection. While it's always surprising to see someone retire after just one term, both parties needed to prepare for this possibility when Dayton's numbers plummeted after he was the only Senator to close his office near the elections for fear of a terrorist attack. The early announcement means that the Democrats will now have an opportunity to field a candidate whose mental stability is not in question. Even so, incumbency is powerful and this will mean that the candidate will have to spend valuable campaign funds on all the puff mailings that come from elected officials.
Speaking of politicians who aren't all there, rumors are flying about the possibility of former Gov. Ventura entering the race. Minnesotans probably wouldn't make the same mistake twice, so the question becomes from which party will Ventura take the most votes? Both because of his socially liberal positions and because DFLers have a history of voting for nut cases, the likelihood is that a Ventura candidacy would be welcomed by the GOP. This race will almost certainly be one of the closest in the country, as Democrats have no choice but to pour money into the state to help a second tier candidate build sufficient name recognition to hold the seat. This is one that they can't lose if they hope to regain the Senate within the next decade, so look for Dems to spare no expense in their attempt to keep this seat blue. Even so, it might not be enough against a strong Republican Congressman, either Gil Gutknecht or Mark Kennedy. Only if Republicans renominate Rod Grams can Dems be truly bullish on this race.