Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rybak learns his lesson about endorsement

I don't want to pile on in the discussion/debate/bloodshed about the DFL endorsement that's followed the loss of the latest DFL endorsee for Governor. But I do want to point out that in at least one case, future seekers seem to be adapting to what they learned.

One of the features that I find most problematic about the present endorsement system is the enormous advantage it gives to legislators seeking endorsement, particularly those in the leadership. Not only does the superdelegate system give a significant voting bloc to DFL legislators, they are also important persuaders who have a significant influence on other delegates sitting at the table.

To some extent, that should be embraced. They are elected officials and they run for the only partisan offices in Minnesota other than the constitutional offices. But in practice, they dominate the endorsement process and bias the results.

Today, RT Rybak filed the paperwork to form RYPAC, a PAC to fund Minnesota legislative candidates. This is a strong sign that Rybak is not giving up his statewide political ambitions. It's also a canny response to the current endorsement system. While Rybak, or Chris Coleman, or any other mayor who seeks endorsement will be operating at a structural disadvantage, raising money for legislators will help. Additionally, Rybak has a talented and committed core of supporters. If he starts to use these folks to support candidates in key races and is successful, he'll begin to accumulate more influence with legislators. That was his achilles heel in 2010.

Follow me on Twitter @aaronklemz

(Image Credit: Rybak's Facebook page)

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