Monday, August 9, 2010

What to watch for on Primary day

This is your 2010 primary returns watching guide.


Looking through the crosstabs of the SurveyUSA poll from last week, there aren’t really any major areas of weakness for Mark Dayton. The few areas where his support might be considered soft are young people and college grads. Looking at the regional breakdown his toplines are strong everywhere, but in the northeast he’s "only" leading Margaret Anderson Kelliher by 10 points 41-31.

I looked at the results of the 2000 Senate primary, Mark Dayton’s last statewide primary race, for any regional weaknesses but his support was surprisingly widespread. The few areas in which he did poorly were somewhat correlated with areas of strength for DFL endorsed candidate Jerry Janezich. Those areas were primarily in the northeast, the same regional area that MAK polls closest in.

If MAK is going to win though, she has to do better in the Twin Cities than the polls have shown. If she can’t get to parity in her base areas she doesn’t really have a chance. In order for her to win her grassroots focused campaign has to turn out the Twin Cities and St. Louis County, otherwise it’s Dayton in the general.

Minnesota Senate

If you have questions about how to read the hPVI listing for the individual districts here is an explanation.


This is the undercard to the Governors primary, pitting current DFL Sen. Satveer Chaudhary against former DFL Rep. Barb Goodwin in a race that will answer the question, can a DFL state senator keep his job even after pissing off virtually everyone in the party.

Living in the district I see about an equal split in yard signs, for whatever that’s worth. This one is hard to forecast but may be a better indicator than the governor’s race of the DFL party’s influence in primary elections.


GOP Sen. Paul Koering is gay. His challenger, Paul Gazelka, is not gay. Sen. Koering had dinner with a gay porn star, Mr. Gazelka did not. For these reasons the state GOP has kicked their incumbent candidate to the curb for a generic republican, who they want you to know is not gay (or at least has not come out yet).

This will be an interesting race to watch for the above reason and the possibility of a DFL pickup in November by nominee Taylor Stevenson. While SD12 is an R+14 district, its two house seats are held by DFLers, making a pickup of the senate seat possible, especially if the two GOP factions have trouble coalescing around a candidate after the primary.


Long time Senator Steve Murphy is retiring in this R+8 district, and there are two DFLers, endorsed candidate Joe Fricke and Bruce Montplaisir, running for the chance to hold the seat from GOP candidate and Red Wing Mayor John Howe.

This race is sort of the opposite of SD12’s, a hold here will be difficult without an incumbent in the race and with both house districts held by GOPers. On the other hand in this political environment maybe not having an incumbent will work in the DFLs advantage against a candidate who is an office holder.


There are nine DFLers on the ballot in this race and the winner gets a senate seat. Here’s a good primer on who some of the candidates are.

Minnesota House


Two DFL candidates are vying for Larry Haws St. Cloud house seat, DFL endorsed candidate Zachary Dorholt and Carol Lewis, with the winner getting the privilege of taking on none other than King Banaian in the general election.

The two candidates are about as different as you can find, Dorholt is 29 and running in his first election while Lewis is 53, a former school board member and has been involved with St. Cloud politics for 20 years. 15B is in Tarryl Clark’s vacated senate district, so there won’t be a single DFL incumbent running for reelection to the legislature in the district, something which may or may not matter in the general.


Jeremiah Ellis and Rena Moran are facing off for Cy Thao’s open seat, the general election being a mere formality in this D+56 district.

This race is worth watching primarily because Ellis is the DFL endorsed candidate and Moran is the TakeAction endorsed candidate, making this a proxy battle of sorts.


Jeremy Kalin is leaving the house after only two terms and Cindy Erickson is running unopposed in the DFL primary to replace him. The action here is on the republican side as two candidates will face off, insurgent Sheldon Anderson and the GOP endorsed candidate Bob Barrett.

At R+15, this is a vulnerable seat and could be in play, but fortunately the two GOP candidates appear to be trying their best to out teabag one another. Bob Barrett won the endorsement against Sheldon Anderson on the fourth ballot, but Anderson claimed the process was unethical and decided to run in the primary even though he promised to abide by the endorsement. Good times.

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