Tuesday is primary day in Minnesota. Here are a few things to watch for:
1) How does Al Franken do?
Will Franken score a convincing win the DFL Primary against the other DFLers (most notably Priscilla Lord Faris)? If so, it may be a sign that the party has unified behind him and will put a scare into GOP Sen. Norm Coleman. If the DFL contest is closer than anticipated, it could signal that Franken’s base isn’t solidly behind him. It’s clear Franken is looking past this contest. When asked about the primary challenge today, Franken said “I’m voting and I know who I’m voting for.” His campaign has also scheduled a Wednesday morning rally at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center in St. Paul.
2) What happens with Mark Olson?
GOP Rep. Mark Olson is the endorsed candidate in Senate District 16. That has raised a few hackles among Republicans (like Norm Coleman and Republican Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem). They’re worried that an Olson win will force Coleman to answer questions about sharing a ticket with a candidate who was convicted of domestic assault against his wife. The downside for Coleman is that the Republicans in Senate District 16 backed Olson and don’t like outside influences speaking out against the endorsed candidate. Will those folks work for Coleman (and the MNGOP) or decide to stay home in November? Let Freedom Ring has been watching the action closely.
3) Who will be the Independence Party candidate for Senate?
There are plenty of senate candidates running in the I-P primary. Former Sen. Dean Barkley and former I-P Chair Jack Uldrich have been the most active among them. Here’s a question – Will the winner get more than 2,000 votes? Only 10,000 people voted in the 2006 I-P primary.
4) Can a Minnesota House seat influence the presidential contest in Minnesota?
DFL Congressman Keith Ellison thinks it can. He told me in Denver that he’s backing DFL challenger Bobby Joe Champion over DFL incumbent Wilie Dominguez. Ellison told me that Champion will help energize and turn out African Americans in north Minneapolis (which will help Obama in November). Ellison (and his former campaign manager) helped Champion win the DFL endorsement in the race. Dominguez is backed by the House DFL Caucus. The Spokesman Recorder takes a look at the race.
5) What about that Republican race in the 1st?
Brian Davis has the GOP endorsement and a significant cash advantage over state Sen. Dick Day. But some (including DFL Congressman Tim Walz) think Day’s populist appeal will help him carry the day (pun definitely intended) in this primary. If that’s the case, expect immigration to be a big issue this campaign season. Day has been courting and appearing at anti-immigration events over the last few months.
6) Can a member of the Minnesota Supreme Court go down?
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Lorie Gildea faces a primary challenge against three challengers. One of Gildea’s challengers has been particularly aggressive. MPR says the challenger “asked the court to disqualify Gildea from running for election, or running as an incumbent on the ballot. Clark contended the governor’s appointees are only temporary and must step aside at the term’s end.”
The top two vote getters in Tuesday’s primary will move on to the general election on Nov. 4.
7) Who will be the new House member from House 7B?
DFL Rep. Mike Jaros is retiring which has created a DFL feeding frenzy to replace him. Whoever wins the 5 person contest is a sure bet to represent the DFL dominated district. Minnesota Brown takes a look at the race.