It’s the 2010 DFL Candidate Endorsement Bracket Challenge!

Can you tell I am excited about the NCAA Basketball Tournament?  I am only part of two NCAA bracket competitions, neither of them for money thankfully because I usually lose to the person who watches no college basketball.  Anyway, in my excitement for bracket challenges, I made my own bracket challenge with the DFL candidates for governor.

(Click on it for a larger image)

This bracket is in a way how I expected the DFL Endorsement process to go, with the expectation that my own sleeper pick would win the big dance.

The DFL State Convention is only three weeks away.  In one sense, the games have already started.  The play-in game has eliminated one team, but the number one seeds are pretty safe, at least during the first round.

Over the last year, I’ve seen all the major DFL candidate for governor, and I’ve met most of them, even if a couple might have just been an introduction and handshake.  During that time, I decided to support Paul Thissen.  I feel like he is the freshest candidate.  He seems young despite his gray hair, is articulate, forward thinking and he communicates well.  He is very intelligent, but he doesn’t have the intelligence arrogance others can have.  He impresses people with his grasp of policy and his understanding of how it affects everybody.  He is dedicated and hard working.

Those who support other candidates might say that describes their candidate too.  That is the great thing about the number of decent candidates we have on the DFL side.  But I will support Paul at the convention in a few weeks.  That said, I am also pragmatic. 

I expected more delegates to feel the way I feel about Paul.  That hasn’t happened.  I recently read John Marty has passed Paul Thissen to move into fourth place in the delegate count behind R.T. Rybak, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Uncommitted.  The total delegates for candidates below Paul on the delegate count wouldn’t give Paul enough to pass Rybak or Kelliher if they all supported Paul.  Granted, Uncommitted dwarves everybody else and anything can happen, but I know there are a lot of “committed” uncommitteds.  I saw it at my Senate District Convention.

So being the pragmatic individual I think I am, I feel like I need to make a decision about who to support if Paul doesn’t make it to the later rounds of the endorsement process.

I’m not somebody who is going to support a candidate come hell or high water when I know that candidate will not win.  I’m realistic.  That bracket above is pretty indicative of my final decision.  If you notice, I stopped at the final four.  I didn’t go down to a final two.  I’m having a really hard time deciding on the next best behind Paul.

Many of the candidates are good, and I could easily support any of them.  In fact at one point, I probably had decided to support each of them before finally deciding on supporting Paul.  The main factor that I think will influence my decision is electability.

Who is the next most electable of the final four after Paul? 

R.T. Rybak is the most charismatic.  Plus, he has the next most name recognition after Mark Dayton.  In recent Rasmussen Polls he beats Emmer and is tied with Seifert.  No other DFLer does.  Even Dayton’s name recognition has him losing to Seifert.  And worse, nobody else beats Emmer.  That will obviously change if Emmer starts campaigning, but still… The problem: 30 second commercials with artistic water fountains and police cuts that can stick negatively despite truly being non-issues.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Waste, the arts over safety, tax and spend liberal. 

Margaret Anderson Kelliher has an Amy Klobuchar factor about her campaign.  There is nothing flashy about her, but she is a good candidate and good communicator who will draw women, even ones that might normally vote Republican.  She stands her ground on issues.  She grew up a farm girl, but is an urban woman.  The problem: 30 second commercials centered around the voter access file flap.  Negative buzz words/phrases: Scandal, trust issues, manipulation, typical politician.

Matt Entenza… I like his personal story, I think he would do a great job, but there are a lot of negative vibes within his own party, let alone the barrage that would come from the right.  He is definitely forth on this list.

So who do I choose?  I probably won’t know until a few ballots into the endorsement process. 

Who would you choose?

3 thoughts on “It’s the 2010 DFL Candidate Endorsement Bracket Challenge!”

  1. For the NCAA novice, isn’t it true that the Big Conferences get all the premo slots while it’s the small school that steals our heart that should be getting the attention ?
    Thus BigGuys (Entenza, Rybak, MAK and Dayton) are the top seeds, yet it’s that talented, well-educated, hard-working little guy that we come to love as the tourney plays out … and so it is … Paul Thissen wins (our hearts and the election.)

    So are we to deduce that Rybak will have to steal Marty’s delegates to move ahead while the other BigGuys easily move forward to the Primary … except for that heart-stealer Thissen who dominates the experienced Dayton ?
    But you fail to tell us who wins the Rybak–v-MAK battle ?
    That is really your question and you have laid out some good “electability” considerations.

    First, please forget the Rasmussen poll. It is flawed beyond words. But if we must, how was Rasmussen’s polling at this stage of the 2008 Senate race ? Did it indicate that the Independence Party candidate would get 16% of the vote ?
    OK, the Senate race would have had two relatively well-known candidates – the incumbent and a “comedian” that had been blasted by the MN-GOP, so there is a pretty good sense that those voters “knew” something about the candidates.
    But with the Governor’s race, could Rasmussen explain how Emmer and Seifert both went from single digits to mid-30% … oh, and look further at the Favorables-versus-Unfavorables, Emmer has a solid 35% of voters that would select him over the DFL candidate or Tom Horner … sound good, until you look at the Fav-Unfav and see that 36% have no opinion … that says they have no idea who this guy is other than the caller was told that he was a Republican running for Governor.
    Once voters start paying attention and the negative ads start to run, those No Opinions will change quickly … and who is most likely to benefit … remember those 16% of people that did not want Coleman or Franken, watch for Tom Horner to get into the 30’s (especially if the MN-GOP picks Emmer.)
    What the poll does say that has been consistent with other polls is that Dayton has High Unfavorables … something that if he wins the DFL primary, could further help Tom Horner.
    The good news for the DFL is that RT Rybak has such strong Favorables.

    But the Rasmussen poll does tell us one very important thing … what is the issue that voters will want answer. It was the last question on the survey – “Is it possible for anyone who really wants to work to find a job?”
    And 54% of the respondents said NO … what does that mean ? How about the only issue that should count is JOBS. What has Governor Pawlenty done to create Jobs ? Which party is thinking of how to create JOBS and which party is thinking how to please the Taxpayers League?

    Your question revolves around electability. Yes, there will be negative ads … right now the GOP is saving money … in other states, they are already out defining the competition just as they did with Franken. In essence, you have already answered the question of who would be hurt least by the negative ads … Thissen.
    The question falls to what areas will overlook the negative ads and still turn out … since you’ve got two Mpls candidates, that area should still turn out — which will be important. But the areas that will determine the next Governor are : Rochester, St. Cloud and Owatonna. Rybak should play well in all those areas — appealing to voters as a Mayor that has had to confront city finance issues. MAK strengths (and she has them on policy issues) does not have anything special to offer to those voters.

    If I am correct that Tom Horner will be a major player, the other question is who can stand up in a debate against him … once again, if it’s policy questions, MAK will prevail, but it its based on “gut reaction by the voters” then Rybak (and Thissen) would offer a better challenge.

    Here’s the good news as far as I am concerned … all of your top three candidates would make EXCELLENT Governors, so performance should not be a concern.

    OK, now can we talk about the Real Tournament ? Besides the upsets, nail-biters and miracle shots, the other important thing is the players’ stories. When Michigan State won it, the focus was on Flint and how those kids grew up. That’s the type of stories that we need to hear. I am disappointed that Kansas lost as Marcus and Markieff Morris who came out of a pretty tough Philly environment and was mentored by their Coach. But, maybe the better story will be Ali Farokhmanesh of Northern Iowa … from the name, many would wonder if he’s an “illegal” but actually he was born in Pullman Washington … but from a personal stance, I will cheer for a kid who went to my high school and is now playing for my alma mater … he’s living my dream (if only my mother’s genes would have made me a foot taller … but then again even more height wouldn’t have compensated for my ball-handling skills.)

  2. FYI : DFL State Senators Jim Carlson, Kevin Dahle, John Doll, Mary Olson, Yvonne Prettner Solon and Kathy Sheran and DFL State Rep. Tina Liebling have signed up to support RT Rybak. All of the members live outside of the Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    This is a strong message not only that it is outstate legislators, but also so many women.

    I view certain cities as key to determining the next Governor.
    Tina Liebling is from Rochester – the city that gave Pawlenty his victory – and she will no doubt have a formadible challenger in November and the “coattails” (either positive or negative) will affect her chances.
    Olson is from Bemidji and she beat an incumbent last time … so she’s gotta watch her back.
    Sheran is from Mankato which is where MAK went to high school – she’s probably as safe as you can get for re-election, but it’s a big endorsement.
    Solon is from Duluth … which I think would means she’s safe.
    I believe that Carlson, Dahle and Doll are all in your region … which will be critical to winning in the fall.

    So, if you are still thinking of who to support as the balloting eliminates candidates, I think it is valuable to look at the people who have something at risk in their own elections.

    I saw your comment on MNPact regarding Powers/Madore … this same philsophy should be considered in determining who you support in that contest. In other words, the Powers/Madore candicacy will have an impact as Carlson/Dahle/etc go neighborhood-to-neighborhood … whom the DFL choose will have an impact on the other races … and they already have problems once the nasty-TV commercials start running blasting the incumbent SOS for stealing Coleman’s election and challenging AG Swanson for what she does on the constitutionality of requiring people to purchase health insurance.

    The key question to ask your fellow delegates is : What has Kline done wrong that the DFL candidate should play-up to win your town ?
    Which leads to the follow up question, would Madore or Powers be better to exploit that issue ?
    In the end, the question is : will Powers or Madore play better in your town ?

    1. I spent an hour or so at a meet and greet with R.T. Rybak last night. He was very impressive. I ate dinner with him last summer, and was equally as impressed, but that was a lot of small talk. This was a pure issues talk. It was very nice to hear him without the time limited response. I am swayed a little by Jim Carlson’s endorsement too. If the endorsement were today and it came down to MAK and RT, I would support RT. I’m still worried about the 30 second commercials about artistic fountains.

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