Having spent the evening at a lovely birthday dinner (not mine), I don’t have much to say about tonight’s news. So here are a couple of favorable data points from this morning.
First, here in Minnesota, the KSTP/Survey USA poll has Power Line Pick Stewart Mills leading incumbent Rick Nolan by eight points, 47%-39%. That margin is surprising, but Stewart’s lead isn’t. He is a good candidate and Nolan is running a ridiculous campaign that consists largely of attacking Mills’s hair and complaining about his wealth. This is while Democrat Mark Dayton is running for governor, and Democrat Al Franken for the Senate. As always, for the Democrats there is good money (ours) and bad money (theirs). Nolan’s arrogant campaign is one of the reasons the Duluth News Tribune has endorsed Mills.
More fundamental, however, is the political transformation of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. Traditionally Democratic, the 8th, which includes Duluth and the Iron Range, and much of northern Minnesota, is trending strongly Republican. Democrats are destroying the economy of northern Minnesota by blocking mining projects, and it has become obvious to everyone in the district that the Democratic Party belongs to Twin Cities environmentalists, not northern miners, paper manufacturers and so on. If Stewart wins this year, the 8th could stay Republican for a long time. You can donate to his campaign here. I have, and I hope you will too.
The second data point comes from Colorado, where Cory Gardner is running well against Mark Udall and Bob Beauprez similarly has the edge over incumbent John Hickenlooper. In general, the conventional wisdom is that early voting favors Democrats, who have emphasized it much more than the GOP. But the first returns from Colorado are good: 12,766 Republicans, as opposed to 8,714 Democrats. Of course, that is partly a function of where the early votes are coming from; hardly any are from Denver. Still, a wide early voting lead for Republicans in a purple state may signify an enthusiasm gap that will carry through until November. That’s what we hope, anyway.