Saturday, July 10, 2010
One Month to Go
It is exactly one month to the Minnesota’s first August primary which takes place on August 10. Frantic are the candidates for the governor’s race (especially DFL) who are securing absentee ballots for voters away on that date. They are also making their last minute pitches to remind their supporters to vote for them, or convince likely voters to convert to them.
Where do we stand today? Emmer for the GOP and Horner for the Independence Party are still the favorites for their parties. For the DFL, Dayton retains his lead, Kelliher second, and Entenza third. But Entenza is the biggest wild card. Recent polls have him gaining the most–largely out of Kelliher’s numbers–and his recent television ads, including a new one on education that features him and Robyn Robinson, are getting better and more frequent. His money and ads seem to be working.
But a few questions surround Entenza. It is yet to see if the ads and new poll numbers translate into real turnout on primary day. This is the groundwars battle and it is not clear where he stands compared to Dayton and Kelliher who have more connections to unions that might be able to drive turnout. Additionally, Dayton’s decision to release his taxes and Entenza’s refusal, the latter’s income from his wife in healthcare and the environment, are raising troubling questions about potential conflicts of interest. I also continue to find that regular DFLers (party folks) continue to see Entenza as having other ethical questions. I spoke at an event Thursday heavily populated by suburban (DFL) Jewish women. They all expressed concern about Entenza’s ethics but several also expressed concern that when several of them had talked to him in the past they said “he looked right though them” and did not really listen to them.
But conversely, Entenza may also be the best candidate to take on Emmer. Emmer needs to be pressed on many issues about taxes, spending, and host of other issues. Entenza may be the best at going for Emmer’s juggler and in debating. Entenza has good speaking skills and knows the issues well. He is a better debater than Dayton and is clearly more aggressive than Kelliher. Both may be critical skills in what will be a difficult general election.
Overall, while right now the smart money is on Dayton for August 10, Entenza is a good long shot for both then and the general election if he makes it that far. He still needs to address concerns about ethics and listen to what these DFL women are saying.