A few preliminary thoughts on the primary.
First, on the turnout. we don’t have final numbers yet, but with 65% of precincts reporting, there are two interesting facts emerging.
1) The number of people who showed up to vote this year is close to twice what would be predicted based on numbers from previous years. That is a conservative estimate. May be closer to thrice.
2) The number of DFLers (what we call Democrats ’round here) was double the number of Russopublicans. Normally the numbers are closer to even.
Also, roughly 800,000 people (by my thumbsuck estimate) will have voted in this year’s primary in Minnesota. Normally the primary gets low turnout because of the time of year it is held. (Minnesotans are all up north in mid August pulling their docks and boats out of the lakes. “Winter is coming” is what we say this time of year.) 800,000 is a much larger number than the usual. Something like 2-3 million people usually vote in the state during normal elections.
On the governor’s race: As you know, I supported Rebecca Otto. Otto honored the DFL endorsement system, so when Erin Murphy was endorsed instead, Rebecca dropped out. Tim Walz did not promise to honor the endorsement. Meanwhile, Lori Swanson, our AG, who had been fake running (very unethically and disruptively in my view) for governor, then fake dropped out, then jumped in again, joined the race legitimately. Many assumed she could just take the primary because of her name recognition, and I believe she was counting on that.
Unfortunately for her, Swanson’s name went from famous to infamous when it was alleged that she had never actually hired campaign staff during any of her campaigns for AG (or at this time, for governor), but instead, used her AG’s office staff. That seems to have not sit well with the voters.
The outcome: I’m calling the race now for Walz. He is handily ahead of Murphy. Swanson finished a distant third. Clearly, the Townspepole have driven Swanson into the swamp.
In the AG race, endorsed candidate Matt Pelikan, my candidate, has come in third behind Debra Hillstrom, whom I like for that job. Congressman Keith Ellison, whose campaign has also been rocked by scandal rather suddenly, won handily and will be our candidate.
The interesting part of the dual Senator races we had this year was former Bush Ethics Lawyer and UMN Law School professor Richard Painter challenging Dayton appointed Senator Tina Smith in a special election for the seat formerly held by Al Franken. I know a lot of people who said they planned to vote for Painter as a protest against Smith’s inappropriate, anti-environmental and ham handed handling of a major land swap that would benefit foreign owned mining companies looking to dig cobalt and copper out of the last remaining wild lands in the state, up north. But Smith won anyway. The protest vote, around 15% may or may not be noticed by her.