Thursday, December 7, 2006

MN '08 Senate Analysis

Sen. Norm Coleman has $1,782,367 cash on hand, ranking him 6th out of the 21 Republicans up in '08. That's a good start, but both he and the Democratic candidate will have a lot of work to do in the fundraising department. In the 2002 Campaign, Coleman spent $10,035,279. Sen. Paul Wellstone and Former V.P. Walter Mondale spent a combined $14,479,445.

Coleman was victorious over replacement candidate Mondale 50%-47%, a margin of 61,271 votes.

In the 2006 election, there was plenty of good news for the Democrats. Amy Klobuchar, a Hennepin County prosecutor thumped Congressman Mark Kennedy 58%-38%, winning by 440,342 votes. In that election, Kennedy spent, as of Oct. 18, $8,971,258. As of the same date, Klobuchar spent $7.383,982.

The Democrats also picked up one Congressional seat, with Tim Walz defeating Congressman Gili Gutknecht. This gave the Dems a 5-3 majority in the State's Congressional Delegation. Statewide, Democratic Congressional candidates garnered 228,124 more votes than their Republican counterparts.

In the State Legislative races, Democrats also did very well. Six seats were picked up in the State Senate to strengthen the Dem majority to a 44-23 margin. Dems went from one seat down in the House to flip 19 seats and end up with a strong 85-49 majority.

Looking forward to '08, the overall trend is Democratic. Look at the highlighted margins of victory in 2006 compared to Coleman's margin in 2002. Comedian Al Franken has expressed an interest in being the Democratic candidate. While it would be a somewhat unorthodox candidacy, Franken could be a good fit for Minnesota politics. MN voters have been known to be somewhat "quirky" in the past. Franken also has the potential to be a prolific fundraiser, tapping into MN money, celebrity money, Washington money, and perhaps supporting his campaign personally as well.

Minnesota's '08 Senate campaign promises to be very interesting, especially if Franken is the Democratic candidate. This will surely be one that Republicans will concentrate significant effort to hold, but it will be a major challenge for them to do so. Democrats will be looking to consolidate their majority in the U.S. Senate, and Minnesota is one of the top targets for them to gain a seat.