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Minnesota's McLeod county is a good test of a candidates strength- one end of the county includes Minneapolis suburbs while the other end is cows and cornfields. In between you'll find a couple medium sized towns with some industry rubbing shoulders with the grain elevators and feed stores. If any county is a good early test of the relative strengths of Minnesota's Democratic Farmer Labor Party candidates for the U.S. senate, this is it. We just had our caucuses last tuesday, and over the next couple months the the delegates chosen at the precinct caucuses will attend county conventions and pick delegates to the state convention which endorses the Dem candidate for U.S. Senate. A couple counties are already holding conventions this weekend, but McLeod is the most representative of Minnesota's demographics and being that they did the classic "Minnesota Walking Subcaucus" we got an actual measure of the candidate's appeal with the delegates.

Admittedly, Al Franken got the most delegates, but just barely. Of the 80 odd delegates from the precinct caucuses, I heard a count of 35 subcaucusing for Franken, 31 for Mike Ciresi, and 17 for Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. With 6 delegates to be proportionally divided between the subcaucuses, Franken got 3 delegates to Ciresi's 2 only by virtue of mathematical rounding up, with Nelson-Pallmeyer earning 1,

The dynamics of the convention were even more revealing of Franken's weakness. After hearing the 3 candidates speak several uncommitted delegates put on Ciresi stickers and Nelson-Pallmeyer won over a few too. In the first round of subcaucusing there was an uncommitted subcaucus, but they didn't have enough folks to be viable. Both Franken and Ciresi spoke to the uncommitteds, and almost every one of them joined the Ciresi subcaucus. As we have seen before, the more folks hear Franken the more they see through his rambling monologs and poor command of the issues. The more they hear Ciresi and Nelson-Pallmeyer the more they appreciate these candidates deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues.

Most telling was the candidate choice of the handful of 18 year olds, there as precinct level delegates to their first convention. All but one joined the Ciresi subcaucus... so much for Ciresi being the "old guard" candidate! Clearly, this is a wide open race all the way to the state Democratic Farmer Labor Party convention, with Ciresi and  Nelson-Pallmeyer gaining momentum as Franken fades.  

Originally posted to SlyDi on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:20 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At my caucus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Scoutmaster, jetskreemr

    It was all Jack Nelson Pallmeyer, District 62 2-1, liberal south Minneapolis folks want someone with a long-standing commitment to peace and social justice.

    Franken came in second; Ciresi did not get a single delegate.

    I still think Franken has the advantage at this point, but in debates, JNP mops the floor with both of them.

    Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

    by Mi Corazon on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:29:30 PM PST

  •  That was a precinct caucus- (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Other Steve, jetskreemr

    The delegates who make the actual endorsement are elected at the county level caucuses like the one today in McLeod county.

    •  Hello! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm in Minneapolis, and I've organized a large group of MN Kossacks. We've had one meetup already. If you'd like to join in for the future meetups, send me your email address to jetskreemr [at] gmail [dot] com.

      Georgie Porgie Puddin Pie
      All he could ever do was lie.
      When the kids came out to play
      Georgie had planted landmines.

      by jetskreemr on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:42:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can only say that I hope Al Franken is (7+ / 0-)

    the Senator because we definitely need intelligence.  It seems to me that having the eighteen-year-old in one's camp is not a very good sign of maturity and ability to solve problems.  We do not need rock stars.  We need senators who can understand the issues and work toward meaningful solutions.  I know that Al Franken is intelligent and I have confidence that he will work toward meaningful solutions to our problems.

    The soul is not the ego in drag. Ken Wilber

    by macmcd on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:33:32 PM PST

    •  You obviously don't know anything about (5+ / 0-)

      Mike Ciresi.  I could be fine either way, but it is unfortunate that so many in the blogosphere feel as though they are qualified to opine on the merits of the candidates for MN when they only know about Franken due to his national celebrity.

    •  WTF???? (0+ / 0-)

      We need intelligence??? Go with JNP then - definately the smartest candidate in the race.  Ciresi is no slouch either -- he won the case against Union Carbide for the Bhopal disaster, the Minnesota case against tobacco companies, and several other high profile cases. Frankens advantage is that he draws many voters out who would not otherwise vote in this election -- this helps every other candidate on the ballot as they break dem by a significant percentage.  Franken also has the advantage of national name recognition, which will help with fundraising for the race. Plus I like Franken and think he would make great decisions (same can be said for the others too). Ciresi will be able to finance the race easily as well, but JNP might have more problems.

      As for the attack against young voters - I just recently experienced this when a fellow county board supervisor responded to a question from a constituent by responding "what do you care you don't own property here".  I was not aware that voting still had a property requirement, or that older voters counted more than younger voters (they are only worth 3/5 maybe?).

      You could have cut the length of your post, and made it much more clear by simply saying "get off my lawn you damn kids".

      Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt

      by norahc on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 09:17:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is interesting... (5+ / 0-)

    ... from outside of MN, I sort of got the impression Franken was the only Dem running for the seat.

    I'm definitely interested to see where this goes, when do you guys do your voting on this?

  •  The madhouse that was MN caucuses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eartha, The Scoutmaster, jetskreemr

    I was in MN for Obama on Super Tuesday and while I thought what they did for the presidential primary was fine (6:30-8pm) cast your ballot, leave if you wish.  How they did the caucus for the Senate seemed a complete mess.  Be signed in and present at 7pm for subcaucusing while the presidential caucusing was going on with different rules and time.

    Lines were out the door and some caucuses weren't able to close well after 9pm.  That left a lot of people in line who may have wished to caucus for Senate, but unable to because the lines were so long they were late to even get in.

    I'm completely neutral in the MN Senate primary.  Regardless of who won, I can't see how you could have had a fair caucus.  It was too much of a mess to have conducted it in an organized fashion.

    •  Hello! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm in Minneapolis, and I've organized a large group of MN Kossacks. We've had one meetup already. If you'd like to join in for the future meetups, send me your email address to jetskreemr [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll keep you on my list.

      Georgie Porgie Puddin Pie
      All he could ever do was lie.
      When the kids came out to play
      Georgie had planted landmines.

      by jetskreemr on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:43:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a Senate subcaucus? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I saw nothing about this in SD42 on tuesday.  It was a complete madhouse, and we had a tough time finding our precinct.

      •  Most MN Caucuses didn't do anything for senate (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Scoutmaster, lenzy1000

        Most MN Caucuses didn't take a poll or walking sub caucus for a US senate candidate on Tuesday because the focus was on the presidential straw poll or a walking sub caucus wasn't needed in the area to determine delegates to the SD/CU conventions.  

        Where you will really see the Franken support will be at the SD/CU level, when delegates-alternates are elected to the state convention and will declare a sub caucus for a candidate or as uncommitted.  

        Franken has been campaigning with down ticket races across the state since 2003.  He's well known by the party faithful and new attendees alike.  

        I think Franken has the best chance of winning the endorsement and beating Coleman, and not just because he's raised more money, gained more endorsements, or because the polls say's the amount of organizing his campaign has done around the state.  Simply put he's got a superior campaign team.

      •  SD 39 was chaotic as well with no vote on senate (0+ / 0-)

        Franken had some support shown through stickers and comments in my precinct. Some people thought we should be doing some kind of vote on senate candidate preference, but it didn't happen. It was suggested that anyone with a preference could sign up as delegate to district convention, as we filled only 25 out of 37 available delegate spots.  I am going to the district convention to support Ciresi, having decided after hearing him speak a few weeks ago at a local resaturant. His win against big tobacco is especially impressive. I agree with commenter who said Franken is boring, and to my ears arrogant as well. I think Ciresi would run better against Norm.

        •  I'm fairly undecided (0+ / 0-)

          I've heard Ciresi talk on MPR on issues like tort reform and such, and I don't not like the guy.  But I'm not sure he can win against Coleman playing the part of an angry Mike Hatch running for Senate.

          McCollum's endorsement does help, but I'm still unsure.

    •  The Senate straw poll was a botched job. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The precinct caucus conveners were put into a very unfair position. Convene a cause and run a primary polling station while you are at it. It was a mess, but don't blame the conveners!

  •  I've seen YouTube video of Franken and boy is he (0+ / 0-)


  •  i think franken has run (12+ / 0-)

    on hard work and intelligence  not inevitability

    George Bush i sLiving proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 07:39:37 PM PST

  •  hehe. Not what I saw (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, eartha, jhutson, jetskreemr

    plenty of Franken support from what I could see of my neighbors, though no straw polls were taken in the suburbs, where Franken is likely to have strength. And suburban voters were out IN FORCE on caucus night. People want a progressive who can actually beat coleman. Not a purist who will go down in flames, handing coleman 6 more years, while his supporters tut-tut Minnesotans for not being smart enough to vote for him.  

    As for the "rambling", having watched the various debates, I found him well-spoken and far more convincing than the others; he's an excellent public speaker, and addresses the issues just as directly as his competitors.  I say that as someone with an actual degree in rhetoric and public speaking.  

    So will this be the battle of rural vs city vs suburb at the conventions? Will be interesting to see how this plays out geographically.

  •  Franken electable? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Unfortunately Al has a bad habit of saying crazy things in public and trashing the Sierra Club in northern Minnesota while whooing them in the city. Ciresi being a quite successful trial lawyer thinks before he speaks, and Nelson- Pallmeyer is consistent, speaking his mind whether the audience likes what he says or not. The repugs are having wet dreams of running against Franken- they'll probably be deeply depressed when Al doesn't get the endorsement.

  •  Franken has a poor command of the issues? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, eartha, lenzy1000

    The Heck are you talking about?  

    The man may not be a Barack Obama, but he's extremely intelligent, and has a deep command of the issues.


    Economic Left/Right: -8.50

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -8.51

    by MrrarA on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 08:11:03 PM PST

  •  Latest Mn Polls have him beating Coleman 43-40 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, msstaley, eartha

    My precinct 7-5 SD 60 south of Loring park did a straw poll after the predidential balloting went 56 Franken: 14 Pallmeyer 11: Ciresi.. We had 566 votes in the presidential,  but you had to stick around for three hours and run for delegate to impact the Senate race.

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. HST

    by Rotegard on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 08:15:09 PM PST

    •  Straw polls don't endorse... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Real state convention delegates do. By the miracle of rounding Franken got barley 50% of the delegates elected in McLeod County today. A candidate must win a 60% super majority to be endorsed.

  •  That would be too bad (0+ / 0-)

    I'd send Franken money.  I wouldn't bother with any of the others.

  •  I can't believe that (6+ / 0-)

    nobody from Minnesota has pointed out the ridiculous premise of this diary.  

    McLeod County is not representative of how Minnesota will vote in a general election.  Hell, the author himself pretty much either lies or makes a giant delusional  mistake when he says:

    Minnesota's McLeod county is a good test of a candidates strength- one end of the county includes Minneapolis suburbs while the other end is cows and cornfields.

    McLeod County isn't even close to the Minneapolis suburbs.  It's all cow towns and wide open spaces far removed from the metro.  Hell, the east side county line is a solid 32 miles from Eden Prarie, the end of the southwest suburbs.  And the county voted for Bush in 2004.  Their Congressman is a conservative Democrat, but that is only because it is a ginormous district that reaches all the way into the west side of the Iron Range and a bunch of cripplingly poor Indian reservations that vote like 90% Democratic.

    So the whole premise is sloppy at best and dishonest at reasonable face value.  Franken is very strong; Pallmeyer is a bigger threat to him at this point than Ciresi is because of his popularity with the hard core activists.  This just reads like Ciresi campaign spin.

    •  No metro county units have held conventions yet. (0+ / 0-)

      If anything, Ciresi and Nelson-Pallmeyer will run even stronger in the metro area. Franken's been making fun of GLBT folks for decades, and they're cool to him. I like Nelson-Pallmeyer, but he's too single issue- GLBT issues aren't even on his radar. Ciresi has been a supporter of the GLBT community for decades, his company provides domestic partner benefits, and he'll get most of the GLBT support.

      BTW, the biggest issue for the McLeod county Democrats is transportation- many of them commute into the metro area to work. The author of a resolution on ag policy had to explain it to the majority of nonfarming delegates.

      •  and yet (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joe Bob, lenzy1000

        you don't respond to someone pointing out that your first person experience is laughably irrelevant for drawing conclusions about candidate strength statewide.  

        I'm not interested in horse race; I'm interested in how dishonestly you have presented the basis for your "evidence".

      •  Franken is strong in the metro and with GLBTIAQ (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Left 2004, mcfly, lenzy1000

        From the SD62/CD5 Senate Debate on 11/27/07

        8:31 p.m.: Next question is about GLBT issues. Franken says they should have the right to marry which gets applause. He says hes been married for 32 years and its the best thing thats happened to him and doesn’t think others should be denied that right. Says we used to have laws against whites marrying Filipinos and blacks. Hopes we can look back and think that preventing gays marrying was that ridiculous. Talks about how Massachusetts has the lowest divorce rate which shows it isn’t a threat.

        source: I don't hate America

        As for the metro area, he's been out to every event from bean feeds to the largest event in the area:  Twin Cities Pride, with over 450,000 attendees.

        Learn more about Franken's experience at TC Pride by reading his on the trail blog.

    •  Last I checked McLeod county was cows and (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob

      cornfields on both ends of the county. I live a few miles to the east and that isn't suburbs either.

    •  Um, yeah. (0+ / 0-)

      Lester Prairie and Glencoe are Minneapolis suburbs now? That's news to me. You could call them remote exurbs, but even that's pretty generous.

      Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

      by Joe Bob on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 09:48:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Brown County Convention went to Franken Today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I saw this blog report and wanted to pass it on:

    While our convention is early, we're were beat by a day by Democrats in the New Ulm area. The Journal reports Brown County DFL supports Franken:

       Seven of the ten delegates and four of the ten alternate delegates had expressed their support for Franken to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in November.

       Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas, had one supporter among the delegates and two among the alternates. Ciresi, the attorney whose law firm led the state’s suit against the big tobacco companies in the 1990s, had two supporters among the alternates.


    PS: for those of you Kossaks who are not familiar with Brown County, it's in the First Congressional District and the convention was held in New Ulm.

    •  Brown County didn't subcaucus (0+ / 0-)

      Given the usual drop out rate, many of those delegates won't attend the state convention in Rochester in june. Alternates will take their place, and even then they probably won't have a full delegation. So of 20 delegates and alternates 11 said they supported Franken yesterday. That's 55% and 60% is needed for endorsement. Brown County's delegates aren't "pledged", so Franken will likely lose the support of more by the time the convention is held two months hence... Franken is looking as "inevitable" as Hillary!

  •  Franken received about 50% in Falcon Heights P-2 (0+ / 0-)

    It made me wonder if he could get endorsed. Endorsement requires 60% at the state convention as I recall. Franken reminds me of Hubert Humphrey; hard working, right on issues of compassion, wrong about war. Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is probably the closest, philosophically to Wellstone. Ciresi is a good guy too.

  •  You should feel honored (0+ / 0-)

    You have taken the best of the Clinton/Obama hitjob diary style and applied it to a state caucus for a Senate candidate. I'm pretty sure I have not seen that done before, so consider yourself a trailblazer.

    So, keep up the good work! With any luck Ciresi will do better than he did against Mark Dayton the last time he ran for this job.

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 10:04:26 PM PST

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