Before we move on from

Before we move on from post-election commentary, there is one question I am curious about: Where is Mark Dayton? I don’t mean this in a figurative sense. I actually am wondering about his physical whereabouts. Dayton was elected to the Senate two years ago, mainly on the basis of his immense personal fortune. He has not distinguished himself in any way, either before or after his election. But he is, after all, a United States Senator. One would normally expect him to be in evidence during an election, even though he is not running this year–stumping for other candidates, giving interviews to the press, appearing at rallies, whatever. Yet this year, Dayton has been completely AWOL. To my knowledge, he has made no public appearances during this election season. He never appeared with Paul Wellstone or, later, with Walter Mondale. He did not attend Wellstone’s memorial service. I heard that this was because he was in Europe, but what in the world was he doing in Europe in October and November of an election year? And why didn’t he return for the service? Since the election, Dayton’s silence has continued; maybe I missed it, but I haven’t seen him quoted anywhere. Dayton is such a cipher that, I am embarrassed to admit, I hadn’t even noticed his absence until I heard a caller on a local radio show ask where he was and why he hadn’t been seen in public since the last legislative session ended. Maybe this is all just an indication of what a marginal player Dayton is, but I suspect there may be something stranger behind it.

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