No huge surprises in the primaries yesterday – at least not at the polls.
But the big news in my book? The Strib’s poison-pen endorsements went 1 out of 3, with an asterisk on that “1″.
In the northeast subs, Karin Housley beat Eric Langness despite getting a snide, snotty, insincere little pseudo-endorsement from the Strib that served mostly as a free ad for the DFL candidate, wannabe professional politician Julie Bunn. Hopefully Housley will go on to earn much tut-tutting from the Strib’s editorial board (or, let’s be honest, Lori Sturdevant, who seems to set the board’s political barometer).
But it was in the western subs that the Strib truly came a’cropper.
In HD33B, Tea Party activists (“community organizer”? Hmmm) Cindy Pugh pummeled career Representative Steve Smith by more than 2:1 – notwithstanding that the Strib gave Smith a glowing endorsement. Glowing – but hardly surprising; while Smith had a few conservative issues (he was a solid Second Amendment supporter and had a Taxpayers League scorecard not too out of line with many GOP leaders), the DFL could count on him to vex the conservative caucus on some key issues. That, of course, is why the Strib endorsed him.
That race was never really in doubt; Pugh had a huge lead from time the first returns came in.
The nail-biter came in Senate District 33. Connie Doepke – the former Representative who decided to buck the SD33 Republicans’ endorsement of Dave Osmek – jumped out to an early lead, which became the only real cliff-hanger of the evening. With every wave of precincts that came in, Osmek whittled away at Doepke’s lead, until close to 11PM, when with three precincts to go Osmek took the lead. The final margin was 107 votes in favor of Osmek.
As Buckley once said, you should vote for the most conservative candidate who can win. Both Pugh and Osmek are running in a district that is solidly Republican – something like plus 22, if I recall correctly. I suspect they’ll both win comfortably.
Housley faces a tougher race; the northeast subs of Saint Paul are just about neutral, and the media will be out to try to re-install Bunn. Housley will need some help.