I’m back from the Minnesota Republican Party’s headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota this evening. I went looking to pick up some kind of dope on the big statewide races and have come back empty handed. Looking at returns, the single most promising pickup here is Tim Pawlenty in the governor’s race. Tim is one of the most talented politicians I have ever met; he is young, handsome, principled, gifted with people, and has a great personal story. He signed the Taxpayer League’s no new taxes pledge at the outset of his campaign. We haven’t talked about him much on this site because of the limited interest in the race outside Minnesota, but if he wins, keep an eye on him.
Listening to the radio on the way home from the hotel, I heard Mondale’s son Ted, who is also an ambitious young politician, on the radio. To me he sounded down about the senate race. Watching Mondale address his supporters at DFL headquarters on television, his smile looks forced, although he’s not the world’s most genuine person under the best of circumstances. More I cannot say on that score at this point. Should Norm pull the race out, however, he too will be vaulted into national prominence, and he absolutely has the political skills to be a player for a long time to come. I’m afraid we’ll have to hold our breath overnight and into the morning.
After Norm’s, the race we have worried most about is that of our friend John Kline in Minnesota’s redistricted Second District. John is running against an incumbent Democratic congressman named Bill Luther, whom I have known for a long time. In his desperation to hold onto his seat, Bill has resorted to bottom of the barrel tactics whose details need not be related at this point. As much as we have grown to dislike Bill as a politician, we admire John. He is a retired Marine Colonel who has rendered great service to the United States and has much more to offer as a congressman in a time of war. It looks at this point like John may well pull this race out. If so, Minnesota will have accounted for one Republican pickup (out of only eight seats) in each of the past two elections. If not, we will have to console ourselves with having held Mark Kennedy’s seat against a self-funded millionaire challenger. I think I should leave it at that for now.
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