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Minnesota (Open Seat)

Outlook: Likely Democratic


November 8, 2006 Update:

As the Crystal Ball predicted, Amy Klobuchar (D) defeated Mark Kennedy (R) with 58% of the vote.

November 6, 2006 Update:

Amy Klobuchar (D) will defeat Mark Kennedy (R). The GOP is headed for an unpleasant year in Minnesota, and no matter what new tricks Kennedy tries, Klobuchar’s lead just continues to grow. One sure sign a candidate is headed for defeat: an ad campaign featuring an ending tagline “I approved this message, even if it’s not what you want to hear.” Say hello to Senator Klobuchar.

August 2, 2006 Update:

It is impossible not to pay attention to the polls showing Amy Klobuchar ahead; she is not ahead as much as a recent Minneapolis Star Tribune poll has indicated (19 percentage points). But, the Democratic breeze in Minnesota is becoming stronger. Unless things improve substantially for Pres. Bush and conditions on the ground in Iraq also improve, it is difficult to see how Congressman Mark Kennedy is going to beat Klobuchar in this contest. For now, we list it as Leans Democratis, recognizing that Kennedy may have some aces up his sleeve, though we are hard-pressed to identify them.

March 27, 2006 Update:

We have decided to keep this a toss-up for now, though if a Democratic wave is building in the fall, it is obvious that the Democratic nominee, who will be Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar, will ride that wave. For the most part, this has been a relatively quiet race. There will be fireworks in the autumn, though, because Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy and Klobuchar are so very different–ideologically and personally.


Background

If any incumbent were headed for defeat in 2006, it was one-term Democrat Mark Dayton. Try as he might, Dayton just hadn’t gone down well, and when he closed his D.C. office for fear of a terrorist attack in fall 2004–the only member of Congress to do so–he likely sealed his fate. Facing the music, Dayton stepped down, and Democrats thus face a free-for-all, and it is far from clear which candidate will emerge with the DFL nomination.

Minnesota often leans Democratic, but at the starting gate the likely Republican nominee, Congressman Mark Kennedy, appears to have a reasonable shot at capturing the seat.

However, Minnesota is still a Democratic state and 2006 may well be a Democratic year, because of Iraq and other matters, so a strong Democratic candidate will have a fair-to-good chance to hold Dayton’s seat. Currently, Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar is the Democratic frontrunner.

Candidates

Amy Klobuchar – Democrat – Second Quarter Raised: $1,836,985 | Cash on Hand: $3,506,805
Website

Mark Kennedy – Republican – Second Quarter Raised: $1,622,108 | Cash on Hand: $4,061,414
Website

Ben Powers – Independent – affiliated with the Constitution party, active member for three years
Website

Charles Aldrich – Independent – industrial engineer & USMC veteran
Website

Michael Cavlan – Independent – nurse, former state legislature candidate, seeking Green Party nomination
Website

Robert Fitzgerald – Independent – executive director of Access Television
Website