I was, to the best of my knowledge, the first blogger in Minnesota to publish predictions to which he has stuck through the campaign (other than the traditional “I’m gonna vote for the party with which I’m identified!” that, let’s be honest, is pretty much de rigeur among partisan bloggers).
So while I reserve the right to do another round of ’em before the election (because, yo, it’s my blog, at least until the Democrats sic the FEC on us all), there’s how the race looks to me, so far:
CD 1: Demmer is going to trip Walz in the home stretch. It’ll be close – maybe within a point – but Demmer’s going to win.
CD 2: Kline by a conservative 25.
CD 3: Paulsen by 12. Meffert has run a fairly inept campaign.
CD 4: See below.
CD 5: See below.
CD 6: Bachmann by ten over Clark, who has run an utterly inept campaign. Indeed, it could be said that when it comes to running a district-wide race, Clark doesn’t know $#!+.
CD 7: See below.
CD 8: I believe Chip Cravaack is going to win this thing. Oberstar’s performance in the Duluth debate was so arrogant, so self-absorbed and scolding and condescending and tone-deaf, that I believe this is the year. Cravaack has run a flawless campaign, and if there is a story where the backstory is shaping up to spell “Cinderella”, it’s Cravaack’s.
Which is not to say Cravaack don’t need help. Volunteer. Knock doors. Drive people to the polls. Every legal, legitimate vote counts.
Attorney General: I think incumbency gives Lori Swanson a huge advantage over Chris Barden. I also believe that if even half of the allegations Barden and the WCCO I-Team have surfaced are true, Swanson (and her puppetmaster, Mike Hatch) will be so damaged that the office is assailable in four years. Will Barden pull it off this year? I think it depends on tsunami-like GOP turnout and diminished DFL response. If there was a year that this could happen, this would be it.
But I think a late surge of people who feel betrayed by the Obama/Reid/Pelosi axis of failure could help put Barden over the top.
Secretary of State: Dan Severson has run a campaign almost as intense and energetic as Cravaack’s. Overcoming incumbency in these constitutional office races – which are usually painfully low-profile – is usually very difficult. If anyone can do it, it’s Severson. I’m calling it a tossup, dependent on turnout. Huge GOP turnout? Severson wins. Your mission is clear, people.
State Auditor: I think Pat Anderson has stated her case pretty impeccably. I think she wins by 2-3.
Governor: :I’ve been predicting Emmer by three points all along. I am going to stay right there. I think it’ll be dead-on for a number of reasons; over the past two weeks, there’ve been indications that independents are breaking powerfully to the right, just as Emmer needs. The Dayton campaign, its putative lead in the last few polls notwithstanding, is campaigning like it’s behind, leading me to think that the DFL has internal polls that show a different story than the public numbers. I suspect that the polling will be driven by the “leaner” questions – the economy, gay marriage – that the polls downplay at this state in the election (Rasmussen doesn’t release ’em at all). I suspect DFL turnout – especially for the off-putting stiff Dayton, who’d be a loser of a candidate even in a good DFL year – is going to be disappointing, and there is evidence that GOP turnout, especially in the Third, Sixth, Eighth and perhaps First and Seventh districts, is going to be really, really intense, in a sense that none of the current polls have the mechanism to model properly.
So I say Emmer by three.
Below: The 4th, 5th and 7th CDs are tricky. Which, in and of itself, is a very good thing; they used to be the simplest districts to predict; they’d always be DFL blowouts by 30-50 points. And they still could be. In a normal year, I’d shake my head and predict that Teresa Collett, Joel Demos and Lee Byberg would be doing well to get over forty points.
If Chip Cravaack is genuinely threatening in the 8th CD, then truly anything can happen. And Collett, Demos and Byberg have all run tough, hard-working campaigns, and all of them have raised vastly more money than their predecessors. If there is an avalanche of independents ready to vote conservative (not necessarily Republican), then Cravaack’s tide could help carry them all, plus Emmer, over the top.
Betty McCollum and Collin Peterson are having to actually campaign in their districts for the first time in years, and while neither of them have humiliated themselves as badly as Oberstar did in last Tuesday’s debate, they’ve both committed gaffes (Peterson’s “my voters are crazy” quip, McCollum’s “Mission Accomplished, now let’s get the Marines working on global warming!” remark) that show they are now residents of Planet Beltway.
In this case, truly, hedging is the honest answer. Collett, Demos and Byberg are all in admittedly extremely tough races against well-entrenched incumbents; under normal circumstances, getting within twenty points would be a moral victory for any them. And I believe they will all score that moral victory.
And I’m not going to rule out bigger and better things. Not yet.
Of course, all of these depend on turnout. Which means if you’re a conservative and/or Republican, this is go time. Volunteer for a campaign. Get out there and knock doors, man the phone banks, update databases, replace vandalized signs, go to rallies – help out.
The good guys can win this one. Let’s make it happen.