Tomorrow, in Rosemount, I will be one of the delegates selecting John Kline’s challenger. At Rosemount High School, we will learn who the next Representative from the Second Congressional District will be, and for the first time in a decade, I think we will have a person representing us who is truly a Representative of the Second, not just a Congressman from the Second.
As a delegate to the DFL Second Congressional Convention, I have to make a choice between Patrick Ganey, Mike Obermueller, and Kathleen Gaylord. I have yet to officially make my endorsement selection though. I am leaning toward one candidate, but I am waiting to see them on stage at the convention. Maybe I would have made my decision if I hadn’t been out of town last weekend when all three candidates debated in South St Paul. And I might have been able to make my decision based on the MPR online forum Wednesday, if the questions asked hadn’t been so typical that I probably could have answered the questions for the candidates.
AS it is now, I’m up in the air. I have already eliminated one candidate. I will not be voting for Kathleen Gaylord. I was disappointed that she never responded to my invitation to attend the last DFL58 meeting in Farmington. Granted, it was short notice, but I think she should have responded anyway. She didn’t participate in the MPR online forum. It was a waste of time, but is she going to skip campaign opportunities if she gets the endorsement? Her use of social media, at least Facebook and Twitter is practically nonexistent, and I think social media is extremely important. Finally, I haven’t actually talked to her. I’ve conversed with Patrick Ganey and Mike Obermueller on the phone, in person, via email, and even online in chat when one of my questions was posed to the candidates on the MPR online forum. The extent of my interactions with Kathleen Gaylord was a message she left me that I didn’t even hear, it was told to me by a family member that she called.
Picking between Patrick Ganey and Mike Obermueller is difficult. I was very impressed by Mike Obermueller from 2006-2010 as a candidate. In addition, I learned things from him that would have been very useful in my own campaign, unfortunately it was too late. I think he presents himself well, is well spoken, and I could see myself wearing an “I like Mike” pin or sticker on my jacket all summer and fall. On the other hand, Patrick has really impressed me too for many of the same reasons. He may not have the same experience, but his ability to learn and respond quickly has amazed me. He comes across as a natural in front of people, and a very viable candidate.
So you ask, what are my concerns and why can’t I make a decision? Honestly, I think either candidate can give John Kline a run for his money. And although I am hopeful for a John Kline defeat in 2012, I wouldn’t wager any money on it. I’m looking at how each of them respond based on the pressures of the endorsement race, because whether they are running for re-election, or more likely challenging John Kline again, the 2012 candidate needs to run again in 2014.
Do I have fears about either of them? Absolutely. I’m concerned that John Kline could use the fact that Patrick Ganey has only been a city councilor, never mind that John Kline had no political experience before running for Congress. Mike Obermueller lost two of his three campaigns, even if it was a conservative district, and again, never mind that John Kline lost his first three elections. Either of those could be used in a negative way by Kline, of course they could both be used in a positive way too. Ganey isn’t a politician, and Obermueller has won in a conservative district — Tim Pawlenty’s district.
It will really come down to how they respond at the convention. If I had to predict it right now, I think Mike Obermueller would win. I have no idea what the delegate count is, but Patrick Ganey called me yesterday and asked me to support him again, but this time I got the feeling he was a little desperate. My guess is that Mike is racking up the delegates and may win as early as the second ballot. Of course keep in mind I thought Shelly Madore would eventually win the endorsement too, so my prediction means little.
Provided there is a wifi connection at Rosemount High School, I will tweet from the convention using #mn02 as the hashtag. If there is no wifi, I’ll still tweet using my phone, but it won’t be as often, I’ll misspell words, be frustrated that the word complete deosn’t always work, and my battery will probably die early… (sigh) But follow me on twitter: @Quist_Galaxie