Dayton’s name and money carry the political day

It could be a Warren Zevon song, “Money, name and Iron Rangers.” But it’s close to the essence of Mark Dayton’s victory in the DFL gubernatorial race. Everyone is on the story, naturally. Rachel Stassen-Berger at the Strib (with additional staff input) applies a bit of an edge, writing, “Dayton leaves the most expensive gubernatorial primary in state history — the three DFL candidates dumped more than $9 million — and enters one where his millions could easily trump his competitors.” Dayton, of course, was outspent by Matt Entenza, who finished a distant third.

Baird Helgeson gets the Strib’s election analysis job: “If Dayton wins, ‘he is one up on Lazarus, who only rose from the dead once,” said David Schultz, a Hamline University professor and political expert. ‘It is also a victory of money and name recognition over the DFL machine. Dayton is the outsider with executive experience.’ But Dayton also has a long-standing relationship with Minnesota voters, who over the years have elected him to statewide office twice.” He adds: “Kelliher’s defeat could raise wrenching questions among party leaders who triumphantly anointed the Minnesota House speaker at their endorsing convention earlier this year. She is the first DFL gubernatorial endorsee to lose the primary since 1998. Several Republicans have said Dayton would offer Emmer the best chance of victory in November.” The phrase “dream candidate” has also been heard. More often before Emmer’s $100K waiter business, obviously.

The PiPress’s Bill Salisbury echoes much the same as Schultz: “Dayton’s win is likely to put another hole in the DFL endorsing system. It showed that party activists couldn’t deliver the votes at the ballot box to make their choice stick. Republicans, by contrast, have routinely backed their party’s endorsed candidates in primaries. Dayton, an heir to his family’s department store fortune, spent more than $3 million on his primary campaign. But Entenza spent more than $5 million of his family’s fortune. Kelliher, whose family is not wealthy, managed to raise more than $1 million for her bid. Dayton and Entenza overwhelmed Kelliher with television advertising.”

The MPR story, written by Tim Pugmire, gets an odd quote from Entenza, who finished a distant third after spending $5 million of his own money: “In a brief concession speech before a few dozen campaign staffers and volunteers, Entenza pledged to support the eventual party nominee. Entenza thanked his running mate, former TV news anchor Robyne Robinson, whom he credited for getting other African Americans involved in the campaign. ‘This campaign, in ways that no campaign has ever done, reached out to our communities of color,’ Entenza said. ‘We have awakened them in a way that’s profound and in which we need to make sure that the DFL continues to do. I’m committed, as I know Robyne is committed, to making sure that the voice of those communities which strongly supported us, and we saw that today, is a voice that will continue to be heard.’ ” Not sure which campaign he’s really referring to there.

Early evening analysis on a race like Tuesday’s can get funky in retrospect. WCCO’s post-poll closing report from about 9:30 last night gets off to a rough start, but Esme Murphy pretty well nails what’s going down.

MPR’s Mike Mulcahy on the station’s ‘Polinaut” blog has Secretary of State Mark Ritchie estimating a meager 10 to 11 percent turnout, with a lot of absentee voting: “Secretary of State Mark Ritchie says it looks like nearly 31,000 absentee ballots were cast in the primary, which is a new record. Unfortunately, after all the publicity around the 2008 U.S. Senate recount, it also look likes about 1,080 absentee ballots were rejected. That’s just about the same percentage as were rejected in 2008.” But did those “Felons for Franken” who got so much attention vote straight DFL?

Power Line’s Scott Johnson doesn’t tippy-toe around  his  breakdown of the night’s action. “Dayton’s television advertising has sought to convey a message of all the good things he will do as Minnesota’s chief executive. In the meantime, Dayton’s family and union friends have run a relentless barrage of attack ads regarding Republican nominee Tom Emmer. The attack ads feature Emmer’s ancient drunk driving convictions, among other things. The attack on Emmer is made on behalf of a candidate who is not only an alcoholic with mental problems, but who fell off the wagon as a United States Senator during his last year in office just a few years ago. Dayton disgraced himself in his single term as United States Senator. He has done nothing to prove himself fit to serve in an executive capacity, but his money has served him well so far.” I suspect we’ll be hearing more on that theme through the fall.

Elsewhere, gay Republican state Sen. Paul Koering lost. The AP story says: “Koering was knocked during the campaign for straying from his party on legislative votes. The race got wide exposure this summer when Koering, who is gay, acknowledged dining with a male adult film star. Koering had complained the state party was engaged in dirty campaigning when it filed requests with area law enforcement for any records authorities had on him.” And, “Koering told the Dispatch he wouldn’t support Gazelka. ‘The (Republican) party has taken a hard turn to the right,’ he said. ‘That’s not where most people are.’ ” And the gay porn thing is a little tough on the rock-ribbed crowd.

“Really, officer? I had no idea I was going that fast.” Those words were probably not uttered by the guy ripping down a back road in Wadena County last month … at 178 mph. (The speed estimate comes from his apparently freaked-out female companion, not the cops.) Bob Von Sternberg’s story for the Strib is short and sweet. “The driver of the red Corvette, who was not identified, was the fastest to be busted by law enforcement officials during a statewide sweep against speeders conducted by Minnesota’s law enforcement agencies throughout July.” The runner-up was a Bronco in Kandiyohi County pulled over at 128 mph. (And I get ticketed for expired tabs …)

For their sake, let’s say the heat drove them to it. As Tad Veznor writes in the PiPress, a 20-year-old Frogtown “man” blasted an 8-year-old neighbor kid in the head with a paintball gun, because the kid owed him $5. When the cops showed up he got belligerent and had to be Tasered at which point, more or less, “A 22-year-old female cousin of the man then jumped on the back of the officer’s partner, who pepper-sprayed her. The man was booked into the Ramsey County Jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and obstructing legal process. His cousin was also booked on suspicion of obstructing legal process and disorderly conduct.”

Veznor’s Taser Beat kicks out still another story, this one about St. Paul cops chasing a guy on … a go-kart, with a lawn mower engine … around downtown. “Four squad cars were able to force the go-cart into a parking lot near the main post office. But once there, the man continued to weave around and try to escape, once hitting his neck on a low-hanging chain bordering the lot. He kept his seat and continued driving. Finally, one officer got out of his car, ran up to the man and yelled at him to stop. Still the man refused, police said. The officer pulled out a Taser and fired, connecting and shocking the driver. The man let go of his steering wheel and began to slow, but the shock abated and the man again grabbed hold of the steering wheel and tried to regain control. The officer shocked him again. The second Taser shock ended, and the go-cart slowed and stopped. Officers pulled the driver out of his seat and attempted to subdue him, but he fought with them, and they Tased him a third time.” THREE tasers and he’s still kicking? Send that guy to training camp in Mankato.

Under the file heading of “I always wondered how they did that?”: MPR’s Mark Steil explains the process by which the feds estimate the size of the nation’s crops as the growing season reaches its peak and preparations for harvest … and commodities markets are being made. Imagine if all the corn fields in the nation were stitched together into one giant patch. All together, this field would be some 89 million acres, about the size of Minnesota and Iowa combined.  “Agriculture Department workers help come up with the estimate by heading to individual fields. The start of the enormous undertaking looks about as sophisticated as following an old pirate map. ‘We go in 75 rows, and then we turn south and we start counting out 360 paces,’ said USDA worker Diane Dick on a recent outing.” The much-awaited crop forecasts are due out Thursday morning.

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Comments (27)

  1. Submitted by Paul Scott on 08/11/2010 - 09:42 am.

    Schultz is full of it. “Political expert.” Is there any more embarrassing title? I find it insulting that he and the hed writer for this post calls the Dayton victory one of money and name recognition. Gee, do you think it might have something to do with the fact that Dayton had a coherent, meaningful, persuasive message — “fair taxes” — and his endorsed opponent — “I will unite the state” –did not?

    On a side note Powerline displays its unsophistication about alcoholism. If Emmer has two DUI’s, he too is an alcoholic, albeit ostensibly not using or using within means somehow. Whether or not he or Dayton is using at the present time is a loser’s game. None of us know, and if we really care, we should elect spouses.

  2. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/11/2010 - 09:45 am.

    “The much-awaited crop forecasts are due out Thursday morning.”

    Keep your eye on Clarence Beeks! And look out for the guy driving the baggage cart; I think he’s had one too many.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/11/2010 - 10:31 am.

    HMMM, let’s see now, a race between someone who has a clear grasp on reality and the state of the electorate, who demonstrates empathy and compassion for others, probably because he has issues with depression and occasionally alcohol,…

    as opposed to someone whose delusional hold on reality has him convinced, first of all, that he’s right about everything, including his beliefs that anyone owning a business or, by whatever means, making $1 million a year is above suspicion and beyond reproach, and automatically deserves to make more money and have lower taxes,…

    and who has already demonstrated that he regards those working for wages (i.e. non-owners) no matter what they make as lazy, money-grubbing, worthless folks who, no doubt, are leeching the life out of the owners of the businesses where they work, who need to be punished with lower wages and higher taxes because they’re probably making more than they’re worth.

    I wonder which one will be more appealing to the general public – to those who actually work for a living and make less that $1 million/year (in other words the vast majority of the population of Minnesota), the humble, soft spoken man who is holding up a vision of how we might return to the prosperity we used to know, or the arrogant loud mouth who’s offering us everything we hated about Tim Pawlenty x 2?

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 08/11/2010 - 10:34 am.

    Note that Kelliher’s endorsement was due in a large part to the ‘superdelegates’ tied to her through her position in the Leg. Hardly an endorsement by the DFL as a whole.

  5. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/11/2010 - 10:57 am.

    “Whether or not he [sic] or Dayton is using at the present time is a loser’s game.”

    Well, not so much.

    Dayton is on record as publicly consuming alcoholic beverages as recently as two weeks ago.

    Star Trib:

    “Sipping from a bottle of kombucha, a fermented tea that has become a campaign trail staple, this former U.S. senator is trying to revive an up-and-down political career at age 63.”

    Kombucha ….has been pulled from stores in Seattle and across the country because of its fluctuating alcohol content.”

    God only knows what effects alcohol has in combination with the meds Dayton takes to maintain his tenious grip on reality.

    Fact is, Dayton looked mighty “confused” yesterday at his polling place, stumbling around awkwardly in search of the ballot counter. (Quick Dana; the Kombucha!)

    I don’t think I’m alone when I say that Mark Dayton has all the tools in place to raise the bar on Democrat candidate meltdowns this fall.

    Emmer by 15 points.

  6. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/11/2010 - 11:04 am.

    As far as MAK and ‘unity’, my perception is that it appears to be sour grapes on her part. Or perhaps in a state of denial and has yet to hit that part about acceptance and moving on.

    I have to wonder if the DFL will reconsider how their party endorses their candidate in the future. Perhaps the same could be said for the GOP as well. Both parties have candidates that might reflect the party base’s preferences, but not necessarily the best candidate to win an election. The voters will benefit the most. There are three clear choices, a DFL liberal, a GOP ‘strong’ conservative and a moderate republican. All in all, some good choices for the voting public.

  7. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 08/11/2010 - 11:53 am.

    Kombucha contains trace amounts of alcohol (0.5%) that can build up over time but you’re still talking about a beverage with far less alcohol content than 3.2 beer.

    It is, however, the beverage of choice among wait staff earning over $100k a year.

    Kelliher was my first choice, but Mark Dayton is still a good choice. Mostly I’m just very happy that we’re finally about to be rid of Gov. BridgeFail.

  8. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 08/11/2010 - 12:36 pm.

    I see Opposing Thumb plans to stay classy

  9. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 08/11/2010 - 12:56 pm.

    Gotta luv the Delusional over at Power Line. Nice rip at Dayton for being mentally ill and a drunk. Of course Scotty and Tommy, you realize the only difference between Dayton and your guy is Dayton admits to those problems.

    Thanks for the Beeks reference Brian. By the way, whatever happened to those 2 baggage handlers?

  10. Submitted by Joe Williams on 08/11/2010 - 12:58 pm.

    Thomas, that kombucha comment is ridiculous. A bottle of kombucha has about the same alcohol content of a loaf of bread-

    As Andrew Breitbart, the leader of the truth-loving, conscientious conservative community said, “Context is everything.”

    It is truly unfortunate that MAK didn’t win, I think that she would have had a better shot at beating Emmer, but Dayton has locked down his message and shown a lot of discipline in sticking to it. We shall see how well that holds up when the differences between him and his opponents becomes more stark.

  11. Submitted by rolf westgard on 08/11/2010 - 01:00 pm.

    The DFL did the Repubs a favor by not endorsing Mayor Rybak, a man who tends to grow as you get to know him.
    But the Repubs returned the favor by endorsing Emmer, a man who tends to shrink as you get to know him.
    Dayton by a decent margin.

  12. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/11/2010 - 01:06 pm.

    So, you’re suggesting that brave Sir Mark got the green light from Hazeltine to drink alcohol, but just enough to take the edge off.

    Oh, boy; this is gonna be a good one kids!

    UPDATE: This just in from the AP

    Whole Foods drops Kombucha

    Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Business Insights, estimates some kombucha brands might have 2 to 3 percent alcohol, based on reports from producers doing independent testing. Regular beer has about 4 to 5 percent alcohol.

    Hey, I’m seeing a new college drinking game….every time brave Sir Mark says “Tax the rich” everyone takes a shot of Kombucha!

  13. Submitted by B Maginnis on 08/11/2010 - 01:21 pm.

    Ah, Swifty yer killin’ ’em!

    Emmer’s billboards look great, his TV will look even better.

  14. Submitted by Cecil North on 08/11/2010 - 01:25 pm.

    Enough’s enough, Tom. This kombucha thing is over the top, even for you. I bet you $5 you can’t drink enough of the stuff to get a buzz on. Go ahead, try, then report back to us here. I’ll even kick in for the kombucha, if you succeed. It’s pathetic that you have to resort to this kind of blatant misinformation to make your “point”, whatever that may be.

  15. Submitted by Michael Hunt on 08/11/2010 - 01:52 pm.

    “every time brave Sir Mark says “Tax the rich” everyone takes a shot of Kombucha!”

    When the shots are delievered, don’t forget to tip the waitstaff…even those earning 6 figures.

  16. Submitted by Alie Schipper on 08/11/2010 - 02:05 pm.

    “God only knows what effects alcohol has in combination with the meds Dayton takes to maintain his tenious grip on reality.”

    That comment was entirely gross and totally unnecessary, even for a party shill.

  17. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/11/2010 - 02:19 pm.

    Cecil, you show me one, just one rehab center that is willing to go on record as endorsing a “recovering” alcoholic’s consumption of a beverage containing even .5% alcohol, much less 3-4%, and I’ll concede the point.

    Until then, Dayton’s mental and physical health is a perfectly legitimate area of concern, and his supporters’ mad dash to make excuses remains suspect….especially given what happened the last time he fell off the wagon while in a position of trust and power.

  18. Submitted by Max Sparber on 08/11/2010 - 03:17 pm.

    Will the NIAAA, or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, do? It’s part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

    According to them, there is such a thing as low-risk drinking (, which is to say that, if you drink below a certain amount per day, you’re at low-risk for relapsing. Additional, according to them, one-third of alcoholics, within a year of beginning treatment, are recovered fro, alcoholism, and as long as they stick to no drinking or drinking below the amount that will increase the likelihood of a relapse, they can safely be considered to have ended their dependence on alcoholism.

    Others may disagree — in the 12-step community, there is a case made that you can never drink any alcohol again. But you were looking for just one example, Mr. Swift, and it is one based on credible science.

    I presume, as per your implied promise, that you will not bring this matter up anymore, as I presume you are an honorable man.

  19. Submitted by Jeff Abrahamson on 08/11/2010 - 05:07 pm.

    (And I get ticketed for expired tabs …)


  20. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/11/2010 - 05:15 pm.

    Bunny, I read the stuff at your link, but I didn’t see anything like this:

    “and as long as they stick to no drinking or drinking below the amount that will increase the likelihood of a relapse, they can safely be considered to have ended their dependence on alcoholism.”

    I did see this:

    “Quitting is strongly advised if you have had an alcohol use disorder or now have symptoms” (Check) [or] “have a physical or mental condition that is caused or worsened by drinking” (Check)

    Can you do me the favor of pointing out where you got your information?

    I’m perfectly willing to let the alcohol issue go, Bunny; it’s not like there isn’t a beer barrel full of other issues to hang around Dayton’s neck, I just like to be thorough.

  21. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/11/2010 - 06:39 pm.

    Quitting is easy, I’ve done it many times says Emmer….

  22. Submitted by Lance Groth on 08/11/2010 - 07:18 pm.

    @#17 – Well, rehab centers will have to ban fresh squeezed orange juice then, which has the same alcohol content as most kombucha.

    Pathetic, truly pathetic, if unsurprising. Repubs always go as low as possible, while avoiding discussion of anything substantive. Then again, having handed the current administration a crashed economy, ruined financial system and imploding housing market, and having no vision to do anything different in the future (more tax cuts for the rich, baby!), I guess rolling in the slime is all that remains.

    Say, where are all those jobs the tax cuts for the rich were supposed to produce?

  23. Submitted by Max Sparber on 08/11/2010 - 08:07 pm.

    Here’s the link for that additional information, Mr. Swift:

    And the actual studies:

    It had not occurred to me that you would stop at one page and read no more. I apologize for assuming a desire for self-education that is obviously not there.

  24. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 08/12/2010 - 07:21 am.

    Lance, please don’t make the mistake of confusing ‘trolls’ with most republicans. A troll’s primary intent is provoking other users into a desired emotional response or otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. Republicans have better and more productive things to do with their time.

  25. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 08/12/2010 - 09:32 am.

    People miss the point of the endorsement. A woman with virtually no wealth of her own narrowly missed becoming the next governor of Minnesota running against two multi-millionaires. That is incredible in itself.

    She was a self-made woman. She came from modest means, earned her college degrees and her positions of power by her own effort. And she ran with the big dogs. Without the endorsement process, only the rich would ever win important seats of government. We would have, in essence, nobles oblige.

    The fact that it didn’t work this one particular time is not a condemnation of the process.

  26. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/12/2010 - 10:55 am.

    You read about this on a blog, which you don’t cite, cite a completely different url, but I can’t find the source of your information because I’m a dolt…..

    Anyway, even though you’re relying on an article about ongoing research, I’m going to give it to you Bunny. As I said, Dayton is a pandora’s box of dysfunction; you can have the low hanging fruit.

    Now you’ll have to convince me that a guy with a long history of mental illness and bizarre behavior is the guy I should be following.

    You can start by convincing his former Senate colleagues, GOP and DEM, that they mischaracterized his tenure with them, first.

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