Tag Archives: 2012 Senate Race

A Democrat’s take on the 2012 GOP Presidential Field

 

Last week, the FOX network continued its push to replace President Obama with its first official piece of business, the first FOX Republican Presidential candidate debate.  While many of the top contenders decided not to attend, five middle and lower tier candidates showed up and excited national Republican political junkies.

Despite the low candidate turnout, and the absence of the most controversial candidates, this particular debate was a bit controversial.  Not just controversial in that 4 of the 5 candidates in attendance said they would support torture as a President… (pause for shake of head)… but it was controversial in that the Associated Press and Reuters chose not to attend because of restrictions placed by the FOX Network on other news gathering organizations.  I guess it just proves that Sirius/XM was correct in their recent reclassification moving FOX “News” from the News station category to the Political station category.

Anyway, it was the first event of the 2012 presidential race.  We will have a better picture of what to expect as we approach the summer and fall. There should be candidates beating down the door to take on President Obama the way Republicans talk about how bad a President he is. I think the reality is that potential candidates realize it would have been really hard to beat Barack Obama even before the recent political events.

Here is my uneducated take on the field of Obama’s potential challengers.

The Serious Presidential Challengers:
Mitt Romney
Former Governor of Massachusetts, dogged within the party for RomneyCare and past “liberal” stances. Most recent polls have him closely behind poll leader Mike Huckabee, second, just like he was to John McCain.  Romney lost to Ted Kennedy in a Senate race not long ago.  In that race Senator Kennedy joked that Romeny flipped and flopped so much that if the election lasted long enough, Mitt would vote for Kennedy instead of himself. Ted Kennedy also joked saying “I am pro choice, Mitt is multiple choice.” I think that flip-flop aspect of his history will keep him in second, regardless of who wins the nomination.  But, if he gets the nomination, he might have a better chance of winning than a lot of these candidates.

Jeb Bush
I included Jeb Bush in the serious challenger list, but not Mike Huckabee, go figure.  Huckabee is obviously a serious contender, I’m just unsure he will run.  I think Jeb will run.  He is obviously hurt by Bush 43 as well as Bush 41, by 43’s policies and result, and 41 along with 43 by the monarchal aspect of a third Bush as a President.  Those are the only reasons he wouldn’t run, but if he jumps in, especially at the last minute into a crowd of dull, lifeless contenders, he immediately becomes a star.  I don’t think he can win the presidency because of 41 and 43, but he could easily get the nomination. 

The Dark Horses:
Paul Ryan
Like Bush, he isn’t necessarily an expected candidate, but neither was Barack Obama.  He is a Midwesterner liked by Tea Party and Republicans, and he has already established a fiscal campaign against Obama. He is technically a dark horse because he isn’t a candidate yet. If he jumped in, I think he would move to the serious challenger level and be labeled by some the second coming of Ronald Reagan (which would be completely inaccurate, don’t get me started.)

Tim Pawlenty
He seemed to be the winner in the recent FOX Network debate according to other’s accounts.  He could win by default because he is non-controversial nationally, yes, he did raise his hand in support of torture.  Of course, how he left the State of Minnesota could really hurt him in a national debate.  But if Mike Huckabee stays out of the race, and he wins Iowa.  He could run away with the nomination a la Bill Clinton. 

Mitch Daniels
Ditto on Tim Pawlenty, but he actually did the things Pawlenty didn’t, like solving a state budget deficit. He also is seen as a little more independent that would appeal to moderates with his decision to avoid controversial social wedge issues, which is a negative to hard core Republicans.  Maybe a good national pick, but might have a hard time getting the Republican nomination.

Michelle Bachmann
I know she got a zero in a recent Iowa poll, but ths is a very shrewd and hard working politician. I consider her a dark horse, not because I think she can win, but because she can get some serious attention and raise a lot of money.  The problem is she has a really good thing going where she is right now, so I question whether she would want to leave the House, especially if her district borders remain unchanged as they appear to be in the first redistricting attempt. On the other hand, if she does enter the race and doesn’t win the nomination, she is poised to fully concentrate on taking on Sen. Al Franken in 2014.  That makes me think she might not mind getting in.

The Not So Likely:
Newt Gingrich
He announced he is in today.  He is a fundraising powerhouse and he WAS a political powerhouse. I think the “was” aspect is weighing on his ego.  He can make a run, and if he loses, but does well, he gets the extra attention to sell books and continues to get calls from the FOX network to be an analyst.  If he happens to win, even better for Newt.

Herman Cain
Herman Cain was the fan favorite at the FOX Network debate, and to his credit, he was the only candidate who said he would not support torture.  He doesn’t have much of a chance.

Sarah Palin
Fierce loyalty among fans, but doesn’t seem to the have the skills or desire to seriously compete for the GOP nomination, let alone the Presidency. Plus, a bad loss would seriously diminish her ability to be taken seriously on the FOX network…

Ron Paul
Might have a better chance to win the presidency than some of these guys, but he can’t win the GOP nomination.  Plus, there is his son…

The Jokes:
Donald Trump
He was a registered Democrat, vied to run as the Reform Party candidate for president, toyed with running for New York Governor, and now is threatening to toss his hair in the ring this year for President. It is all a publicity stunt to increase his wealth. After all, is the country really going to elect a man who started life with $400 million that his father left him and has been bankrupt 3 times since, divorced twice, had an affair, and thinks he has the right to judge other’s moral and financial decisions?  Recent polls have put him in his place, close to last.

Rick Santorum
Just Google Rick Santorum quotes. No change. Nothing more to say.

Sarah Palin
Could be included here too.

The could haves, but have better things to do:
Mike Huckabee
He has a good gig going. If he gets in he is a “challenger” but I’ve read that he isn’t necessarily interested.  He leads in the current polls, and he might be the only current potential candidate (not including Bush or Ryan) at the top of the list who could unite the Republican base and challenge Obama. 

Haley Barbour
Already out. He is old and wants to spend the rest of his life enjoying it.  The funny thing is that I read he might be Mike Huckabee’s running mate if he runs.  His exit from the race adds to my feeling that Huckabee is out too.

Overall, at this point in the race it seems like a pretty weak pack. If I were betting, and Huckabee stays out, I would put my money on Pawlenty.  But if Bush or Ryan get in, Pawlenty is toast.  They are probably all toast if Huckabee gets in.

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Amy Klobuchar vs. Slick Chris Barden 2012

The StarTribune had a short story last night that Slick Chris Barden, Lori Swanson’s opponent in the 2010 Minnesota Attorney General race is considering taking on Senator Amy Klobuchar in the 2012 Minnesota Senate race.  I say go for it.  Admittedly, Chris Barden was really nice to me at an event we both spoke at during the 2010 race, so I am biased towards him compared to other potential candidates.  The problem was the niceness was completely dishonest.  I forgot my speech, was flustered and stammered through the couple minutes I spoke.  Afterwards, he stopped schmoozing for a moment, came up to me and told me I did a good job.  I’m sure it was pity, even my wife didn’t think I did a good job.  But it was nice of him to say that, dishonest, but nice.  The problem I see in him is that he is such a stereotypical politician.  More than one person said he “oozes slime” as you watch and listen to him.  There is no doubt in my mind that he thinks very highly of himself.  Confidence is not an issue.

So I say go for it Slick Chris!  Take on Amy and give it your best shot.  Sure, Senator Klobuchar already has $2.5 million in the bank, and sure you had a tough time raising money to compete against Lori Swanson, but look at it this way, you have the experience now.  You can do the same thing.  You raised a fraction of what Lori Swanson raised, ran a statewide campaign with just over $100,000, and you only lost by 11 points.  Mark Kennedy lost by 20 points to Amy Klobuchar and he spent more than Amy, $9.5 million, not counting the special interest commercials for him that others paid for.  Experience and logic are on your side.

In fairness, according to the story Dan Severson, Mark Ritchie’s opponent in the Minnesota Secretary of State race is also mulling a run, but let’s face it, Chris Barden is a better politician.  Chris Barden ran a statewide race on a budget that wasn’t that much larger than some local state Senate races spend, and it was against one of the biggest political budgets in the state.  And he barely lost by double digits.  Severson raised tens of thousands more dollars than Barden, and Ritchie raised and spent half of what Swanson did.  I think it is clear.  Barden is the maximize here, and the future star.

Not only do I hope Slick Chris runs, I hope the GOP spends a lot of money on the race.  I want it to be competitive.  I think we all do.  If Amy is going to spend $10 million dollars, I hope Slick Chris can too, and I’m not just saying that so the GOP wastes money, honest…

It is the beginning of a new quarter.  Why wait until the urgent requests at the end of the quarter.  Click here and send Amy $5 now to ensure we have another six years of a leader with Minnesota values.

Tough to beat a solid senator like Amy Klobuchar in 2012

Right about now is when all “the buzz” is supposed to start for the 2012 Senate race.  This is prime Senate candidate announcement time, and the rumors should be flying. 

  • On February 9, 1999, Mark Dayton announced his candidacy to run for Senate against Sen. Rod Grams. 
  • On February 11, 2002, Norm Coleman announced his challenge to Sen. Paul Wellstone. 
  • On February 11, 2005, Mark Kennedy was the first candidate to officially announce his intention to fill the seat being vacated by Sen. Mark Dayton.  Amy Klobuchar was a little later, announcing her intention to run on April 17, 2005. 
  • In 2007, Al Franken announced his run on February 14, 2007.

Generally, it seems a candidate announces their candidacy about February 11.  This year is a little different.  Instead of candidates throwing their hats in the ring, they are keeping them firmly on their head.  So far, Norm Coleman, Laura Brod, Marty Seifert, and state Sen. Julie Rosen have all said no, while other potential candidates are talking about 2014.

So who will it be?  A second tier candidate?  A young upstart?  GOP Chair Tony Sutton isn’t worried.  In a Tom Scheck report “Sutton said he thinks a candidate will still have time to campaign and raise money if he or she announces by the summer.”

Sutton is right, the candidate will still have time to campaign and raise money.  The question is will there be enough time to defeat Amy Klobuchar.  Tony Sutton called Sen. Klobuchar’s support “a mile wide and an inch deep.”

He is right about the mile wide, but his depth estimation seems a little off.  Sen. Klobuchar has been a very solid Senator.  She might not be well liked by the far left or the far right, but she is willing to listen to both sides and she has proven a willingness to make logical compromises to get things done.  That appeals to the massive group of voters in the center.

There are popular politicians that appeal to one group on the left or the right, for example Michelle Bachmann creates splash and attention, just look at her fan base on Facebook and across the country, but Amy Klobuchar is steady and full of substance which appeals to the moderates.  By the way Bachmann has 10 times as many fans as Klobuchar on Facebook, so head over there and click “like.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar should win in 2012, and she should win decisively.  That is why as we enter the normal announcement period, there are no major candidates rumored or ready to step forward.  2012 could be a tough year for Republicans in Minnesota.  I think they will spend 2012 trying to defend their wins in the state legislature and begin the process of running against Dayton and Franken in 2014, rather than try to seriously challenge Sen. Klobuchar. 

It wouldn’t surprise me if a serious candidate did step forward late though.  I’m thinking somebody like a Cong. John Kline.  He could use 2012 as a stepping stone to try and defeat Sen. Al Franken in 2014.

2012 State Senate Campaign Message – I will not be running‏

The following email was sent out to the my 2010 Steve Quist for Senate campaign email list today:

It won’t be long and we will begin to hear a more consistent drone from Republican candidates who plan to challenge Barack Obama and Amy Klobuchar in 2012.  While few of us are looking forward to the upcoming federal cycle that will likely be brought to you by X, Y and Z corporations, it isn’t too early to begin thinking about the local races.

Many people forget that the Minnesota Senate which is generally a four year term is only a two year term in years that end with zero.  That means in 2012, the DFL will not only be challenging Pat Garofalo and Mary Liz Holberg, if they both choose to run again, but we also must challenge newly elected State Senator Dave Thompson for his senate seat. 

Despite an abundance of stickers and donation envelopes in my basement, I will not be running against Mr. Thompson again in 2012.  That means we need to find DFL challengers for Dave Thompson so they can begin raising the cash needed to fight in a competitive race.  If you are interested, or know of somebody who might be interested, I’ve learned a lot in the last year, and would be willing to share my plans, a (too late) developed strategy and a big list of do’s and do not’s.

My decision not to run was difficult.  When I first decided to seek the 2010 endorsement, I had planned for it to be a one-time thing to ensure the DFL had a name on the ballot.  Once I started to campaign, I kind of liked it and decided maybe to consider a second attempt in 2012.  But, despite having a great time meeting people and talking to people, I never felt really comfortable being a candidate.  I think I am more suited to be a behind the scenes participant, than a front and center candidate.  Even as I became more comfortable and I considered the idea of running again in 2012, I still thought there is a better candidate somewhere in Senate District 36.

My original plan for 2012 was to announce I would not seek the DFL endorsement allowing the district to find another candidate to take my spot.  At the same time, my intention was to continue to raise a little cash until a new candidate stepped forward.  My thought was if another candidate stepped forward I could pass the cash on to the other candidate, or in case a new candidate didn’t step forward, I would have a little bundle to start the 2012 campaign with.  But on the advice of several local DFLers and fundraising people, I have been advised not to continue to raise cash or to keep the door open to a possible 2012 run, so I will end my fundraising and campaigning immediately.

I thank you for your donation of money, we ended 2012 in the black, with a little surplus thanks to recent donations, as well as your donation of time, prayers and well wishes.  I look forward to helping the 2012 candidates and continuing to be involved with Senate District 36, Congressional District 2 and working to move the DFL forward as a member of the DFL State Central Committee.  Aside from the state Senate seat, we are working on messaging in our district and will work to get that message out on a consistent basis throughout the election cycle.  I encourage you to think about how you can help.  We need letters to the editor, donations to Senate District 36, participation at DFL events and candidates to support for City Councils, School Boards, Township Councils, as well as State House and State Senate seats.  Please get in touch with me if you want to be involved, feel free to “friend” me on Facebook, follow me (MNDem) on Twitter or contact me through my personal email.

I look forward to seeing and talking to you in this exciting new year.

Thank you,
Steve Quist

Prepared and paid for by Steve Quist for Senate, 18208 Empire Trail, Farmington, MN 55024

Sen. Amy Klobuchar – Nanny or Advocate? Advocate!!!

It is interesting to me that the knock I seem to hear coming from the Right about Senator Amy Klobuchar is that she cares about the well-being and safety of people.  I guess that actually sounds good to me, especially in this period where corporations seem to be becoming increasingly more important than individuals.  The Right likes to throw the word “nanny” out a lot.  They use it to describe Sen. Klobuchar.  They use it to describe the government when politicians try to protect us from the greed of corporations.  They use it when advocates try to make our society safer.  I think I want more advocacy, not less, and using a pejorative like the word “nanny” to create a political wedge when it comes to public safety and security is a complete red herring.

We are lucky to have a Senator like Amy Klobuchar.  Amy has always been watching out for the average person.  Going back to the 1990s, before she was an elected official she was responsible for ensuring insurance companies could not dictate how long a new born baby and new mom should stay in the hospital.  She worked to ensure a minimum stay to ensure the well-being of both the new mother and the new baby.

Since being elected to the Senate, Amy has been a leader in working to keep greedy corporations from taking shortcuts by importing toxic toys and other products into to the U.S. from foreign countries like China that regard safety as less important than the bottom line.  She worked to make swimming pools safer, despite the concerns over “the costs” after the horrific injury, and eventual death of the little girl in Edina who was disemboweled by a pool filter.  She has worked to reduce the multitude of ways cell phone companies take advantage of consumers.  She has worked to keep children safe from sex offenders.  And she is working to make food safety a priority to protect the people that are most susceptible to food caused diseases like children.

In my opinion, Sen. Klobuchar is working for the safety and well-being of the lower and middle classes in everything she does.   That doesn’t seem so bad to me.  I think a lot more than half of the population could use a little more protection.  If right-wing bloggers and talkers want to turn “nanny” into a pejorative, fine, but Amy Klobuchar and her work and accomplishments should never be tied to their demeaning language because she is working for us all the time.  I have faith that she will do the right thing, regardless of the right’s attacks.