A Vote For Chaos

The Pioneer Press has declined to give an endorsement in the Senate District 66 special election:

It’s not that long ago that we endorsed Ellen Anderson for another term as state senator in District 66, covering northwestern St. Paul and Falcon Heights. On Tuesday, voters will select a replacement for Anderson, who resigned last month to accept Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointment as chair of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Their rationale was less a sign of political ecumenicism …:

Anderson is a member of St. Paul’s dominant Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, and her district, like all in St. Paul and Minneapolis, is considered a “safe” DFL seat. So the DFL candidate on Tuesday’s ballot, former state Rep. Mary Jo McGuire of Falcon Heights, will be favored against the Republican, former Maplewood city manager Greg Copeland of St. Paul.

… than localistic power-mongering;

We choose not to make a recommendation in this race. Both candidates have their strengths, but each has a ways to go to reach Anderson’s level of expertise and advocacy. A more competitive profile in the district might require DFLers to broaden their appeal, and might also have stirred more competition on the Republican side.

Which isn’t entirely a bad thing.

It’s a minor victory for Copeland; the PiPress, despite a few high-profile breaks (endorsing Bush in 2004, Coleman in ’08) generally hews to the DFL party line.  “No endorsement” is usually as close as non-shoo-in Republicans will get to a PiPress endorsement.

We heard from both candidates the sentiment that neither side can have its way. That is a message worth taking from the citizenry to the Capitol, whoever wins on Tuesday. And if this remains a “safe” DFL seat, McGuire faces the challenge of using her security to build expertise and influence, as Anderson did in the area of energy and the environment.

Pork!

Still, there’s an underlying sentiment…

More broadly, St. Paul faces the challenge of learning how to speak “Republican.” This is important not so much because control of the Legislature has turned from DFL to GOP, though that matters, but because of the times we’re in. In districts that are too “safe,” favored candidates can win without serious challenge to the premise of their favored policies.

That is not an advantage, because these are premise-rattling times, and the ability to reimagine public priorities and how they’re managed is essential.

…that more of our idiot media could stand to learn from.

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