Minnesota history was made on April 24th when the Minnesota DFL party nominated Margaret Anderson Kelliher as the Democratic endorsed nominee for Governor of the state of Minnesota. Margaret Anderson Kelliher became the first woman to earn a major-party endorsement for a gubernatorial election in the state of Minnesota.
She is currently the Democratic Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and has held that position since 2007. Because she grew up on a small family farm in rural Blue Earth County she has broad appeal across both rural and urban Minnesota and has already earned numerous labor and farm-based endorsements. Thus the DFL places its hopes in reclaiming the Governor's seat in a Minnesota farm girl who has quickly risen to National prominence.
On the GOP side the night before their convention started in Minneapolis political buzz was created when Sarah Palin announced her backing of Tom Emmer's bid for Minnesota governor. Tom Emmer had already received multiple endorsements from various Tea Party groups but Palin's endorsement seemed to be the final nail in the coffin for his challenger Marty Seifert. Pundits pontificated that if Emmer were to lose the endorsement it would be a huge embarrassment to Sarah Palin's political clout and a giant black eye to the Tea Party movement. After two rounds of balloting state representative Marty Seifert conceded to state representative Tom Emmer.
But in a state like Minnesota where the McCain / Palin ticket lost to the Obama / Biden ticket by a spread of 10% does Palin's endorsement really help or hurt Tom Emmer's chances. Previous comments that Emmer made to the MarshallIndependent.com like "I don't think you can call yourself a freedom-loving American and be a Democrat" also do not appear to be strategically useful in a state that has more registered Democrats than Republicans and has not been won by a Republican Presidential Candidate in more than 38 years.
Not long after the Emmer nomination Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund put out a press statement and hit the social media blogosphere directing people to their new website www.tomemmersmn.org a vision of what Tom Emmer's new Minnesota might be after he had been Governor of Minnesota for a period of time.
By Tom Emmer's own admission he is for the continued redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top 2% by means of more corporate tax cuts, repeal of the corporate franchise tax, lowered property tax on commercial properties, and giving more breaks to health insurance companies.
It is interesting to note that corporate tax collection by the United States as a percent of GDP is already one of the lowest in the world and we are at a 50 year low. Despite these already favorable corporate tax conditions, we as a country are suffering through one of the worst economic recessions in recent memory and the large multi-national companies in the U.S. continue to ship a record number of U.S. jobs overseas. Yet Tom Emmer's solution for a better Minnesota appears to be a further acceleration of these trends.
Progressive groups in Minnesota and the DFL do not think Emmer's message will resonate well with Minnesotans. As a member of a group of independent citizen journalists we did some analysis on Minnesotan sentiment to some recent non-partisan articles in the largest Minnesota newspaper, the Minneapolis Start and Tribune. After analyzing hundreds of readers sentiments to various comments on the Star and Tribune articles we found the following:
Pro-Emmer comments and comments favoring his selection as the GOP nominee only received about 25% agreement from other readers. Comments disagreeing with Emmer's positions and selection as the GOP nominee received about 76% agreement with other readers.
This analysis is depicted below in figure 1 showing Pro-Emmer sentiment at 25.9% with a statistical error of +/- 2.8% (SEM) and Anti-Emmer sentiment at 76.5% with a statistical error of +/- 2.2% (SEM). The comments were analyzed independently of each other and scored merely based on whether the reader agreed or disagreed with the commenter. Comments that were ambiguous were discarded and not included.
It should be noted that this type of analysis was used during the Al Franken / Norm Coleman race and just prior to the election the online sentiment favorability rating for Norm Coleman was 25.6% and for Al Franken it was 77.8%.
The Tea Party movement has morphed in many different directions over the past year or so and has been courted by many high profile politicians including Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain. As a result of this, some of the more libertarian-thinking Tea Party members felt the movement was being hijacked by the Republican Party.
This has led to what some believe is a splintering of the Republican party. Because of the early Tea Party Express endorsement of Marco Rubio in Florida for example the Republian Party in that state, in an effort to continue their courting of the Tea Party movement, pushed their current sitting Republican governor Charlie Crist aside and threw their support behind Maro Rubio.
As a result, the Florida race has become a three-way race with current Republican Governor Charlie Crist now vowing to run as an Independent along with Democratic endorsed candidate congressman Kendrick Meek and Republican endorsed candidate Marco Rubio. This turns what probably would have been a Republican victory into now a toss-up with all three candidates having a realistic shot at winning.