Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Maybe that 11AM unity press conference will happen after all

UPDATE: Kelliher concedes, 11:15 AM


UPDATE: Or ... not. No concession as of 10 AM by Kelliher, 3 PM presser scheduled.

With the lead of Margaret Anderson Kelliher shrinking with every precinct that reported, what had seemed a significant lead early in the night became a razor thin margin . . .

And then, it flipped:

The lead lengthened as precincts reported from northeastern Minnesota, as Duluth (home to Dayton running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon) reported, and it became more apparent.

The AP called the race for Dayton shortly after midnight. Around 12:45 AM, Kelliher stated that they were going to wait and make sure that all the votes we're counted. Dayton followed with a cautious presser that sounded like a candidate who knows that he can't afford to anger Kelliher's activist base. But with the lead lengthening at 1:20 AM to near 5,000, outside the boundary of the automatic recount, the choice to sleep on it seems to presage a morning decision to concede. Perhaps that 11 AM Unity press conference will happen on time after all.

If things hold, it looks like the endorsement has once again failed to yield a Governor for the DFL. It's time we get together and try to solve this problem. The amount of resources spent in the furtherance of what's become a quadrennial exercise in self-flagellation is obscene. But that's another post.

Mark Dayton has restored himself with an economically populist message. In the last debate before the primary, when asked why voters should choose him, Dayton responded "I will raise the most revenue." And that is the most straightforward and honest thing I've heard on the campaign trail this season.

We will get to see the epic battle between the only statewide campaign in the U.S. leading with "tax the rich" as a message and a libertarian who would slash government. More than any time in recent memory, this election will feature classic themes of liberalism and conservatism. It will offer a clear choice on economic philosophy and government. It will be a battle royale for the soul of Minnesota.

It has the potential to be the most negative campaign in the history of the State of Minnesota. And it will be a close election. Only the unified efforts of Minnesota's DFL can win. In this election season that has been characterized by anger, it will take a motivated party to mobilize supporters. It will be a challenge to match the momentum of the right.

The task of the DFL is to find its focus and turn its gaze back toward Tom Emmer, because he must be defeated. This is more than a "ten year election," this is a generational election, a choice between retrenchment and progress.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

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