Barely an hour after the polls closed, in his steamy, crowded and noticeably multicultural campaign headquarters in St. Paul’s Midway area, Matt Entenza offered a brief and surprisingly upbeat concession Tuesday night.
A few of the college-age volunteers hugged and cried, but Entenza and running mate Robyne Robinson had to know their chances were tough; but could they have anticipated such a small — 18 percent — result? And barely 22 percent in Ramsey County, his home county.
In a broad analysis, he said Mark Dayton had a long record, and Margaret Anderson Kelliher had the DFL endorsement. “Both of them are strong candidates, and one of them will become the next governor of the state of Minnesota.”
He added: “It is clear that the voters have turned to the experience and the strength of the other two candidates,” he said.
For more specifics, Entenza declined to offer an an analytical post-mortem, saying he wanted to wait until the DFL candidate was decided.
He did, though, emphasize what he saw as his campaign’s strength among minority communities, such as the African-American, Hmong, Somali and Latino voters. He said he wants the DFL to continue to tap into those voters.
But here’s a sobering fact: With $5 million of his family’s fortune invested in the campaign, and with his total number of votes, when all is said and done, likely to come in at about 80,000 votes, it looks like it will cost him more than $60 per vote. An expensive defeat.
Which leads to this: What’s next for Entenza?