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Every State. Every race. Right here.

This is number 42 in a planned series of 50 entries between now and November, looking at each of the 50 states in terms of every race on that state's ticket--Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senate, House, State legislatures--the whole Prairie Home Companion! Special attention paid to identifying and promoting the most important contests per state.

The all-important, solid blue state of MINNESOTA is up for discussion today. Join me below the fold...

Minnesota is a solid blue state with more Democratic Presidential EV allocations than any other.  The Democratic party here is called the "Democratic Farmer-Labor party", which is a masterstroke in reminding the farmers of the farm belt that we, and not the Republicans, are the party that represents them.  Hence, Democratic candidates have a DFL next to their names, instead of just the D.

BLOGS:  MN Campaign Report is the best single-state blog focused on Minnesota. Good job, guys!

PRESIDENT: : Minnesota is the only state in the union to have voted for the Democratic candidate for President in ALL of the last eight elections, and this year will be no exception.  McCain tried hard to get a toehold here, but the spectacle of the police-state convention arresting journalists, coupled with the public dissing of Governor Pawlenty for the VP slot, has pretty much ruined the GOP’s chances here. Safe Obama.

SENATE: No surprise, this is THE BIG ONE for Minnesota 2008! Was there any doubt? The quest of Democrat Al Franken to replace colorless Republican incumbent Norman Coleman is, at the time of this writing, the closest Senate race in the nation, at a time when there are half a dozen tossups in the works.

As is often the case, each side has been its own worst enemy.  In Coleman’s favor, Franken is a colorful comedian and may be a bit too flashy for Minnesota’s famously slow, reserved sensibilities.  In Franken’s favor, Coleman is a colorless nobody who can’t be seen when he campaigns standing in front of an ochre colored background.  Also, Franken is much more than a comedian; he’s a very thoughtful, caring, intelligent and articulate political observer, as anyone knows who has read such books as Lies, and the Lying Liars who Tell them and The Truth (with jokes!). He’ll be an incredible force for good in the Senate.

This is essential in our quest to get to 60 Democratic seats in the Senate.  We need nine pickups (ten, if you refuse to count Joe Lieberman as a Democrat), and it seems to me the Franken race will be pickup #8, if we work like Hell to make it happen (after VA, NM, CO, AK, NH, OR and NC, in about that order), leaving one or two more longshot pickups that must come from among ME, OK, KY, MS, TX, KS, GA and NE.

Go donate to Al, please, make it happen. He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and doggone it, we like him!  Plus, this is the Paul Wellstone seat, and they’re not allowed to keep it!



House of Representatives:  85 DFL, 47 R, 2 Indy. Majority of 38, close to double! Excellent job!

Senate: 45 DFL, 22 R, Majority 23.  That’s a majority of more than the total number of Republicans! Dude, we RULE that Legislature!


District 1— Tim Walz (Inc D). The Iowa border, including Rochester.  The district formerly held by veteran Democrat Tim Penny, this district returned to its solid Democratic roots following a decade-long spell of Democratus Interruptus when a Newtist held the district.  Welcome back, Southern Minnesota.  

This was one of those newly captured districts we figured would be on the defensive this year, but thankfully, the Republicans have their work cut out for them trying to defend their three remaining House districts and one Senate seat, so this one is a likely retention.

District 2—South Metro suburbs. Another swing district that’s been shrinking as the rural districts become larger and fewer, the Second has changed party hands often.  This year, Steve Sarvi, an Iraq veteran and former mayor of Watertown, has an excellent chance of taking the district from incumbent Gooper John Kline.  With some good Obama and Franken coattails, we can do it.

District 3—West Hennepin County. Iraq veteran Ashwin Maida (DFL) is running in an open seat that has been becoming bluer and bluer the more its borders have shrunk with each new redistricting.  This is probably one of the top ten likely pickups this year.

District 4— St. Paul. Betty McCollum (Inc DFL) is safe.

District 5—Minneapolis. Keith Ellison (Inc DFL) is safe.  Ellison is the first Muslim to go to Congress, prompting such wimpy fucktards as Virgil Goode (R, VA-05) to get the vapors and predict the end of Christianity in America (Yes, really). Which raises the question, how can Republicans be expected to be brave in the face of terrorism and economic challenge when they soil their britches in cowardice at the sight of a non-Christian patriotic American in Congress? Will they only fight at odds better than 434 to 1?

District 6—North metro suburbs. A distinctly pink district where Democrats are at a disadvantage. However, as with such other districts as ID-01, OH-02, and NJ-05, the Republicans have overreached and picked Michelle Bachmann, a wingnut so disgusting that even Republicans in this district are not comfortable with her, and therefore the 6th will be competitive for as long as Bachmann continues to stink up the place.  

Our nominee is the delightfully Named Elwyn Tinklenberg, a former state Transportation Director and the mayor of Blaine.  With a name that fun to say, how can he lose? C’mon, all together now, Tinklenberg, Tinklenberg, Tinklen all the way...

District 7—West Minnesota, the site of the Coen Bros. movie Fargo and on paper the most conservative district. However, like Ike Skelton in a similar Missouri district, Colin Peterson is extremely popular and a safe bet for re-election. Ja? Ja!

District 8—The Iron Range of North Minnesota, including Duluth. The most solidly Democratic rural district, due to a deep liberal tradition of the miners’ unions. James Oberstar (Inc DFL) is Representative For Life.

REDISTRICTING MINNESOTA: Our shot at running the table depends on the 2010 Governor election, when Pawlenty will have had his two terms.   By the time of redistricting, Districts 1, 7 and 8 will have further expanded due to declining rural population, districts 3, 4 and 5 will have compacted due to increasing Twin Cities population, and districts 2 and 6 will be like a donut around the Twin Cities.

We’d have a tactical choice to make: we could make the 6th into an unwinnable GOP district while drawing the other 7 comfortably safe for Democrats (in the case of Peterson, comfortably safe for him, anyhow).

Or we could make eight D +1 or 2 districts and go for the perfect 8D, 0R lineup by dividing Twin Cities on a wheel and spoke model, with five districts that include some red suburbs, some swing territory, and some solid blue urban precincts.  If we did that, McCollum and especially Ellison would likely be primaried out in favor of more moderate Democrats, and several districts would be vulnerable to takeover in the event of a GOP wave. In the other scenario, they’d be safer, but—a safe GOP district in blue Minnesota would be bad.  Especially if the one safe Gooper was Bachmann.  There’s something to be said on both sides.

What do YOU think?

 Previous diaries in this series, including THE BIG ONE for each state:

Delaware(lower house of the State Legislature):

Arkansas(Obama, for want of any other contest):

Illinois(Dan Seals, IL-10):

Texas, Part One(Michael Skelly, TX-07):

Texas, Part Two(Rick Noriega, TX-Sen):

Utah(building infrastructure):

Massachusetts(Using our majority to govern well):

North Carolina(Kay Hagan, NC-Sen):

Hawaii(Using our majority to govern well; also, preparation for Governor, possible open Senate race in 2010):

Mississippi(Ronnie Musgrove, MS-Sen):

Oregon(Jeff Merkley, OR-Sen):

Ohio(Tie: Obama, and State Legislature, both houses):

Maryland(Frank Kratovil, MD-01):

North Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):

Alabama(Bobby Bright, AL-02):

California, Part one(Charles Brown, CA-04):

California, Part two(Russ Warner, CA-26):

Vermont(Gaye Symington, VT-Gov):

Iowa(Rob Hubler, IA-05):


Wyoming(Gary Trauner, WY-AL):

Pennsylvania (State Legislature, both houses):

New Mexico(Harry Teague, NM-02):

Kentucky(Bruce Lunsford, KY-SEN):

Nebraska(Scott Kleeb, NB-SEN):

Friggin’ IDAHO (Larry LaRocco, ID-Sen):

Maine (CHEERS to Tom Allen, ME-Sen):

Wisconsin (State Legislature, both houses):

New Jersey(Linda Stender, NJ-07):

Oklahoma (Andrew Rice, OK-Sen):

South Dakota(State Legislature, upper house):


Georgia(Jim Martin, GA-Sen):

Rhode Island(governing well):

Michigan(State legislature, upper house):

Alaska(Mark Begich, AK-Sen):

Missouri (Jay Nixon, MO-Gov):

West Virginia (GORGEOUS Anne Barth, WV-02):

South Carolina (Linda Ketner, SC-01, Rob Miller, SC-02):

Nevada (Jill Derby, NV-02):

New York, Part One (State Senate):

New York, Part Two(State Senate):

Tennessee (State Senate):

Washington (Darcy Burner, WA-08)

Originally posted to AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:16 AM PDT.


How did your representative vote on the Bankster Givaway Bill

23%10 votes
28%12 votes
4%2 votes
9%4 votes
23%10 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes
7%3 votes

| 42 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  My Republican congressman voted no (3+ / 0-)

    In order to save taxpayers $700 billion at some point in the future, he voted to lose them $1.2 trillion in one day.

    I was looking forward to going to Minnesota next summer for our annual vacation. Now we can't afford it anymore. But if it doesn't get any worse than that, I'm grateful.

  •  Tips, Recs and Lutefisk (15+ / 0-)

    CENT ONE: I wish Al Franken would appear on A Prairie Home Companion.

    CENT TWO: Garrison Keillor would make a great US Senator, even President, himself. Can you imagine the Fireside Chats?

    "My fellow Americans, it's been a not-too-bad week here in the Oval Office, although a guy could get discouraged looking at all the wreckage on Wall Street. Of course, everywhere there's wreckage, there's a guy in a suit standing next to it, saying how they looked at all the options and not wrecking it would have cost extra..."

    REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

    by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:21:41 AM PDT

  •  Dear Al Franken, (5+ / 0-)


    Moderation in all things-NOT

    by Julie Gulden on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:22:30 AM PDT

  •  2 things.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, Bridge Master
    1. my republican congrsscritter is retiring, ramstrad, and he voted No, which suprised me...
    1. I havnt seen an obama ad on tv in weeks, with good cause.  no way McPain wins the gopher state.

    Mrs. Teasdale: I held him in my arms and kissed him. Rufus T. Firefly: Oh, I see, then it was murder!

    by ratador on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:23:19 AM PDT

  •  I think (3+ / 0-)

    Walz easily retains his seat.

    Madia wins.

    Tinklenberg comes close (I really despise Bachmann).

    Sarvi doesn't have a prayer.

  •  Minnesoota?? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, Allogenes

    We add another State?? Won't folks confuse it with Minnesota??

    Sarah Palin: Dan Quayle in Lipstick and Heels

    by The Baculum King on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:29:09 AM PDT

  •  Nadler voted Yes (2+ / 0-)

    even though he's in a safe seat (NY-08).  

    But I can see arguments on both sides, esp. in NYC.

  •  Minnesota is going BLUE (3+ / 0-)

    graph of senate race


    •  Ya? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, Allogenes

      I'm so happy at this news, I want to give you the Minnesota Hug (two fingers at arm's length)!

      REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:49:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Something's wrong with that undecided line (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AdmiralNaismith, plf515

      It's taken off and gone for the heavens. Call it back!

      © sardonyx; all rights reserved

      by sardonyx on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 08:36:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There was an Elon Univ (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        poll with 30% undecided and two PPP polls with lots of people either undecided or for Cole.

        •  But then shouldn't the (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AdmiralNaismith, plf515

          Franken and Coleman lines be lower so that the numbers add up to 100%? Or am I misinterpreting your graphs?

          In any case, it would help if you adjusted the values on the right so we could see the complete undecided line.

          It's clear you're using far more polls than 538, because they haven't used a poll with a Franken lead since mid-August.

          Actually, this race is a bear to graph because there's a third-party candidate who's pulling in a signficant proportion of the vote, so what you're calling "undecided" probably isn't. WSJ said last week than Dean Barkley was polling up to 14%. Any way you can pull him support out of the mix to get the true Undecideds?

          © sardonyx; all rights reserved

          by sardonyx on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:15:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do it differently than 538 (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AdmiralNaismith, sardonyx

            First, I use every poll I can find, except internet polls.

            Second, I don't weight the pollsters

            Third (and this is the biggie) I assign everyone to one of the two main candidates.  Why?  Because if a person does not support one of them, their vote doesn't matter to the result.  

            Suppose there are 100 people, and two main candidates A and B, a third candidate X, and some undecided, don't know, stay at home etc.

            A    40
            B    40
            X    15
            DK    5

            now, come the election, the first two will vote for their candidate.  THe latter two will either stay home, or vote for their candidate, or switch to a main candidate.  If they all stay home, the vote is

            A  50%   B 50%

            a tie, which is what my method gives

            If the 15% vote for their guy, and the 5% stay home, the result is

            A  42 %  B 42 %  C 16%

            again a tie.

            In fact, the only way it is NOT a tie is if people in the 15% or 5% switch to a main candidate, and more switch to one than the other.

            So, my method lets you compare polls on what matters: Who would win if the vote were today, and by how much

  •  MN-1 (3+ / 0-)

    District 1— Tim Walz (Inc D). The Iowa border, including Rochester.  The district formerly held by veteran Democrat Tim Penny, this district returned to its solid Democratic roots following a decade-long spell of Democratus Interruptus when a Newtist held the district.  Welcome back, Southern Minnesota.  

    Actually, Penny (who held the district for 12 years) and Walz are the only Democrats to hold this district in well over 100 years.

    And Penny?  He's no longer a Democrat - he ran for Governor 6 years ago as a member of the Independence Party (Jesse Ventura's party) and this year he's endorsed John McCain.

    MN-1 is anchored by Rochester, and that's Republican territory.  Tim Walz (a Democrat) is the exception, not the rule, down there.  Happily, Walz seems to be holding nicely.  The first re-election bid is always the toughest for those who hold districts which normally vote for the "other" party.

    •  Not 100% Correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      While Rochester is traditionally a red area, the DFL has made significant gains there in recent years. They picked up two Rochester area state house seats in 06.

      The democrats have significant pockets of support in Mankato (where Walz is from), Austin (union support is strong), St Peter (College town), Red Wing (union), Wabasha (DFL office there).

      Overall, this is a purple area that will vote for democrats who are strong on rural and farming issues. Democrats will continue to benefit as the Rochester area continues to edge closer to blue.

      The 2nd district is seeing the same movement on its northern side as the areas just south of the Minnesota River are becoming more receptive to the democratic message. In a few elections this should be a battleground district.

      The 6th is a lost cause in my mind. Any district that votes for Michelle Bachmann is a lost cause. They should make this district more conservative in redistricting and make the 2nd and 3rd less so.

      Eventually the democrats will lose the 7th but if they can make the 3rd reliable and maybe pick off the 2nd the dems could see a 6-3 or 7-2 split on the national level quite easy.

      •  Rochester (0+ / 0-)

        Four state rep seats cover the Rochester/Olmsted county area.  3 of them are blue, while the 4th is seeing a very competitive race this year (talking to people on the ground).  Also, I second spy--Penny is no democrat. There is no shortage of resentment towards him-for his name to be praised on a progressive site like the DailyKos is a plague upon this house!

  •  I'm in the 6th. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, parryander

    We've lived in St. Cloud for 19 years, from Des Moines originally.

    I think there is a chance we may oust Bachmann this cycle.  My very Republican neighbor across the street is furious at the Bush Administration for going to war in Iraq, NOT wiping Al Qaida off the face of the planet in Afghanistan, and the doubling of our national debt.  I haven't talked to him the past two weeks since the Wall Street meltdown; I doubt he is supportive of their bailout.

    He told me in June there is no way he will be voting for any Republicans, that he is voting for Obama.

    Obama has not been running any ads that I have seen.  McSames' ads are obvious distortions and bald-face lies.  I think the independents will lean Democrat this year, as well as a number of Conservatives because they realize the Bush Administration has failed the country.  

    Joe Biden for VP in 2008.

    by Bridge Master on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:37:53 AM PDT

  •  Ya know, I just can't see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Al Franken as anything but a sideshow.  I've tried.  I really have.  He's better than Coleman, but...  Yeesh.

    Then again, I'm in Oregon, so who cares?

    Witty remark here.

    by CJB on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:39:58 AM PDT

  •  I know (0+ / 0-)

    Ya know, I just can't see
    Al Franken as anything but a sideshow.

    I think a lot of people think this way.  

    The drip, drip, drip stuff of his past was utterly predictable for a former SNL member.  I can see a lot of Senate seats flipping this year, and I can even imagine 7 or 8 flipping ... without this being one.

    It's too bad.

    I'd certainly take Franken over Coleman (who I loathe) but I think we'd have been better served with a less "colorful" candidate, especially given the recent economic turmoil.

    •  You DO know Franken's leading in some polls (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftneck, ThePrometheusMan

      and has the momentum. And will be a good progressive Senator if he wins.

      Why be such a downer on a genuinely winnable race? It's not as if Coleman is a popular favorite.

      REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I knew he's led in some polls as recently ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... as August.  But Coleman's had the lead in all the September polls that I've seen.

        Why be such a downer on a genuinely winnable race?

        I post my opinions, I don't post as a cheerleader.

        Hey, I can see Franken winning.  I just don't think he will.  Norm Coleman is an extremely good politician.  He is as slick as they come and very good at winning elections.

        But given his anemic approval ratings, frankly, I expect that the DFL nominee should be doing a Klobuchar on him.  And the DFL nominee isn't.

        •  Coleman is a TERRIBLE politician (0+ / 0-)

          He squeaked into the Senate on the fluke of Wellstone's death and the Limbaughization of his funeral (Franken tells the truth about that memorial in one of his books), and on an overall good election for the Republicans nationwide.

          Seems to me Franken is more likely to win this time around. If he doesn't it will be because they see his weaknesses as even bigger than Coleman's, not because Coleman is some sort of rock star.

          REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

          by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:03:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It all comes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        down to turnout

        "Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs collapse." - Al Gore

        by parryander on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 08:32:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  as long as coleman is as badly below 50% (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as he is, I like Franken's chances

    •  It's ironic the Franken ended up in MN (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It would be hard to find a state more gun-shy regarding entertainers-turned-politicians.  If it hadn't been for Ventura, I bet Franken would be five points higher than he is now.

      "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

      by leftneck on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 08:20:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ummm, he *started* in Minnesota (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AdmiralNaismith, parryander

        Oh, he was born in New York, but his family moved to Minnesota when he was four.  He went to high school there, started his career as a satirist and comedian there.

        Coleman, OTOH, didn't move to Minnesota until after he'd graduated from law school.

        The way to win is not to move to the right wing; the way to win is to move to the right policy. -- Nameless Soldier

        by N in Seattle on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:16:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Didn't mean to imply otherwise (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          N in Seattle, AdmiralNaismith

          As far as I'm concerned, Franken's MN credentials are excellent, both in his personal biography and in his approach/stances on the issues.  I guess I should have said something more around the lines of "it's a shame Ventura ended up in MN."

          "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

          by leftneck on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 01:16:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  And for God's sake, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    if you must steal yard signs, don't get caught.

  •  Thanks for the kudos :-) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, parryander, leftneck

    This year could be very good for Dems across the board in Minnesota, from County Commissioner up to the Presidential level.  I hope all the folks hitting the comments here will drop by MNCR on a regular basis -- maybe write up your thoughts in a diary or three :-)

  •  I really thought McCain was going to tip Pawlenty (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, sardonyx

    and I think my reasoning was sound.

    Sure the fellow is a relative unknown, but he (as much as I don't care for him) has good political chops and:

    1. it would have put MN into much tighter contention
    1. Symbolically it would have been a coup for the repus because of the aforementioned long track record of MN voting for the Dem prez (even in '84, when every other state voted for Regan)
    1. Pawlenty does have some (weak) claim IRT being a maverick, he pushed for drug re-importation from Canada.
    1. I thought McCain wanted a Mid-western  presence on his ticket.
    1. Pawlenty is not dumb as a box of rocks, and is not Mormon, nor evangelical.
    1. they might not have had their base as fired up, as with Palin, but they also would not be putting out countless PR fires, McCain wouldn't have had to hold his hand, Pawlenty could campaign solo...

    All in all I suppose it is best McCain went with the MooseHunter. (reports after the VP pick seemed to suggest Pawlenty was #2 in line)

    I am from MN and if you think our caucuses are undemocratic I have a lake to introduce you to.

    by edgeways on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 07:54:06 AM PDT

  •  So, if MN is so Blue (0+ / 0-)

    why does it have a Repuglican governor and Sen. Coleman?

    I ask this as an Illinoisan who has lived with numerous Repug governors (some of them actually good!)

    •  If Massachusetts is so Blue ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle, AdmiralNaismith

      ... why were the four Governors who preceeded Patrick all Republicans?  Some states are just like that.

      Here's why Minnesota has a GOP Governor:
      *In 2006, the Democrat came off as seriously unlikeable and a week before the election, his runningmate had no idea what E85 was.  So Pawlenty won by 1%.
      *In 2002, the Democrats nominated Roger Moe.  'nuff said.  But there's also the fact that it was a four-way race, with a former Democrat running as a third party candidate and a Green Party candidate running.  Guess who they siphoned votes away from?

      As for Coleman?

      A plane crash and a memorial service that was politicized by distraught friends, and then the politicization was turned into the Worst-Thing-Ever(tm) by the usual suspects.

      •  More complex than that (0+ / 0-)

        MN has always been a state that likes balance.
        We've often had a mix of repub and demo office holders, usually a few of each across the board. Remember Durenburger and Boscwitz (oh god I know I'm misspelling) - the plywood MN guy?
        Minnesota is not a Blue State, as much as folks want to think of it that way. We have just bred some terrific democrats.

        "Junkies find veins in their toes when the ones in their arms and legs collapse." - Al Gore

        by parryander on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 08:38:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think the 8th deserves a closer look (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AdmiralNaismith, parryander

    Maybe not in this diary specifically, since it is pretty election-oriented, but certainly in general. While I'm sure the influence of miner unions is part of the reason the 8th is so solidly blue, is it really the whole story?  If it were, couldn't we expect more out of states like West Virgina?  I know of no geographically larger districts with a hue like the 8th, and this despite the fact that culturally it looks like most of rural America. There are pickup trucks everywhere, country music stations outnumber the rest 2 to 1, and firearms training is as much a rite of passage as getting one's driver's license. Oberstar is pro-life, but in practice this usually means he backs efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies that everyone can get behind; otherwise he is quite liberal.

    I've often wished authors like Joe Bageant and Thomas Frank would head up to northern Minnesota, they might find an interesting control group for their examinations of rural Red America.

    "While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free!" -Eugene V. Debs

    by leftneck on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 08:17:58 AM PDT

    •  We do get a lot out of WV (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's solid blue at everything but President and the 2nd Congressional district--and even at those levels, the Barth-Capito race is the one to watch and it voted blue for President 3 times out of the last 5.

      Gun issues are important, but Democrats who get to know the voters, who con't come across as snooty city slickers, and who offer red meat on economic union and new deal issues while favoring the Second Amendment usually do quite well. See also Bart Stupak in MI's upper peninsula, David Obey in WI-07, Rick Boucher in VA-09, the entire North Dakota delegation, Tom Harkin in Iowa...the strategy is there for those with the will to resist corporate money and actually REPRESENT working people instead of pandering to them.

      My experience is that establishment Democrats tend to lose the farm belt, but liberal populists not only win but are among the most liberal politicians in America AND the most popular in the midwest.

      REPUBLICANS: The Older White Meat.

      by AdmiralNaismith on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:10:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite diary series (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am proud to admit that I come from one of the districts that had the least votes for George W. Bush in the entire country.

    by ThePrometheusMan on Tue Sep 30, 2008 at 09:48:08 PM PDT

  •  Legislature (0+ / 0-)
    Jumping in late:  the MN Senate has a veto-proof majority.  The MN Leg is 6-some votes from that margin.  There was a hubub in the spring when a transportation package that included (gasp!) a gas tax increase was passed over the veto.  Of those 6 switchers, a couple retired, some got primaried out, and one is from a safe district that is getting some pork out of the deal.

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