Eighth District DFL straw poll

The race for Congress from the Eighth District will quite likely be the marquee race in Minnesota next year. The incumbent Republican, freshman U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, the first Republican to represent that district since literally 1946 (!), is deemed vulnerable. A crowded field of DFLers hopes to replace him, but first they will fight each other, apparently all the way to a primary.

There was a small or perhaps medium-sized development over the weekend, as former Congressman Rick Nolan easily won a straw poll among the members of the DFL Central Committee who were present at a fund-raiser. Most of the other candidates scoffed at the exercise and/or declined to participate. But Nolan – who served in the U.S. House for three terms in the 1970s (!) from a different district and who will represent a pretty unusual political comeback if he wins the seat – has a lot of party regular support and appears to be the frontrunner for the DFL endorsement. He is the only DFL candidate who has committed to abide by endorsement process.

Tarryl Clark, known to Minnesotans from her recent leadership position in the state Senate and her recent (unsuccessful) challenge to Michele Bachmann in 2010, is the best-funded candidate in the race and seems to be preparing for a primary run.  Duluth city council member Jeff Anderson and Daniel Fanning, who recently left the staff of Sen. Al Franken to make the race, round out the field.

Of course, the race can’t really take final shape until we find out what the new boundaries of the district will be.

For a more thorough review of the state of the race, check out Minnesota Brown, who lives up there and follows this stuff closely.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Joe Forkeybolo on 10/17/2011 - 11:07 am.

    Charging $35 a head to attend, and then letting only 1/8 of those in attendance to participate strikes me as a rather meaningless exercise. Add to that that Nolan was allowed to buy the night’s appetizers while none of the other campaigns were asked to help, and it becomes abundantly clear that Nolan is the anointed one of the aging party leadership structure that oversaw the defeat of Jim Oberstar and did nothing. The similarities between Nolan and Oberstar begin and end with age.

  2. Submitted by mike simpkins on 10/17/2011 - 12:25 pm.

    All four candidates were allowed to have tables set up outside the venue. The Nolan and Anderson campaigns chose to do so. What the campaigns chose to put on their tables were up to them. From what I saw, having attended the event, the Nolan campaign provided some cookies and apples on their table, hardly the “nights appetizers”. As for who was able to vote in the straw poll, it was open to only members of the 8th CD central committee, a group consisting of volunteer party officers from throughout the 8th CD. Back in July when it was decided to have a straw poll there was much discussion whether to open up the straw vote to all who were going to attend the fundraiser at $35.00 a pop. It was felt by the majority of the central committee that if folks were required to pay the %35.00 to vote it would open up charges of “pay to play”. If one believes that “age” is a disqualifying factor, I would assume you haven’t seen Nolan on the stump…he is a bundle of energy and determination.

  3. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/17/2011 - 01:52 pm.

    That’s what primaries are for.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/18/2011 - 12:03 pm.

    I think people are hugely frustrated with the Democratic party. It’s always a bait and switch. I voted for Democrats they said they wanted to make the wealthy pay their fair share, and now I’m counting on Republicans to kill a billion dollar welfare program for Ziggy Wilf. Why did I vote for Democrats? My Republican representative back in the 90s voted against the Twins stadium deal and helped shoot it down. My Democratic representatives all promised to vote against any deal that didn’t include a referendum, and then all voted to eliminate the referendum. The Republicans are supposed the party for the wealthy.

    So at a time when people are winning elections by less than 1% Democrats are going out of their way to alienate a majority of voters who don’t want to subsidize an out of state billionaire. With protests decrying the hijacking of democracy by wealthy spreading all over the world, these guys announce a big push for a billion dollar gift to a bunch of million and billionaires. Are they stupid or what? So yeah, we’re sick of this crap. When Democrats aren’t losing elections they should be winning, they’re betraying the people who put them into office. We gotta do something to change the way these losers are chosen.

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/18/2011 - 03:40 pm.

    Problem is, it’s hard to start a viable third party; the attempt usually splits your vote and results in the election of the candidate you least like. An argument for the Hare ballot system, sometimes called instant runoff voting.

    And even if you did, how would you avoid the contingencies which corrupt political parties now? We live in a system of one dollar — one vote. As long as voters get most of their information from advertising, money will drive the system, and most of the money comes from big donors.

    What needs changing is not the parties (they’re what people want), it’s the system.

    In the words of Walt Kelly:
    “We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo Possum).

    Keep up the good fight Eric!

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