My Evening In SD33

Last night I drove out to Wayzata to give a seconding speech for Dave Osmek and his candidacy for the MN Senate.

For starters, I love driving from Saint Paul and its stifling, smug DFL rule to the parts of the state that actually work – and thus are governed by the GOP.  Places built by hard work, merit, frugality – conservatism.  I love the smell of an R+20 district; it smells like…

…freedom.  Freedom and liberty and prosperity and everything that makes America great.

The inclement weather offered an opportunity…

…as I’d hoped there’d be a huge crash of thunder when I hit my big applause line.

That was not to be.  But the rest of the evening went pretty well.

My first clue I wasn’t in CD4 anymore?

There were nearly 300 voting delegates.  In a Senate district.  That’s more than we had in all of CD4.

It's a full house - almost 300 delegates That's retiring Senator Gen Olson speaking.


Dave’s a long-time friend of the NARN, so it was absolutely my pleasure.  He was running against Connie Doepke, as well as longtime conservative activist Bonn Clayton (who, I did not know, is the father of Tea Party majordomo Mara Souvannasoth.  You learn something new every day!).

It took four ballots – which was the maximum according to the convention rules – but Osmek pulled out to an early lead, and was within two votes of the 60% threshold at the third ballot.  Clayton withdrew and threw his delegates to Osmek after the third, which led to an 81-19% endorsement.

Then the district split into two rooms.  I walked to the cafeteria to cover the House District 33B contest between incumbent Steve Smith and challengers Pam Langseth and Cindy Pugh.

I got a sense of the tenor of the event; Smith, a moderate (who’s earned my personal ire by opposing Joint Physical Custody legislation for years) seems to have been districted out of much relevance, at least within the party.  He had a small clutch of supporters wedged between a large group for Langseth, and an even bigger group for Tea Party organizer Pugh.

I had no idea how much bigger, of course; when the first ballot came back, Pugh had about 68% of the vote, blowing past the margin for endorsement.  Langseth netted about 20 points, meaning that the incumbent Smith netted around 10% of the vote.  I was sitting next to his delegation; he did not look happy, and it did sound as if he was ready to go to a primary against Pugh.

As, scuttlebutt had it, Doepke was going to do too, against Osmek; Twitter traffic painted her as still thinking about it.

As to the A side?  That race – former Senate candidate Joe Arwood and another challenger – are going to the primary too.   They came, literally, to a tie; 75 votes each, 35 shy of endorsement.  So to the primary we go!

But that’s all for August.  For last night?

It’s a great sign when a Republican CD votes conservative.  While both Doepke and Smith   made reassuringly conservative-sounding speeches, both seemingly got hung up by positions they’d taken in Saint Paul that weren’t so much; Doepke voted for the New Generation Energy Act and the Stadium, and against Stand your Ground; Smith voted with the Real Americans on Stand your Ground, but has caved on more than a few other issues.  The district didn’t buy it, clearly.

And it’s gratifying to see a district that doesn’t give a crap what Lori Sturdevant’s going to say about it.

It smells like…victory.

9 thoughts on “My Evening In SD33

  1. You make it sound like you left St. Paul and drove to southern Texas. SD33 isn’t quite that. I’m not sure the wisdom of turning your back on two incumbents when holding on to the majority in both houses is an imperative, but we’ll see what the primaries bring.

    It was good to see the large number of pretty high quality candidates.

  2. MoN,

    That’s always the conundrum, isn’t it? What if an incumbent really isn’t all that much help in making having a majority matter?

    If it were White Bear Lake or Inver Grove Heights, I wouldn’t mess with it. But this is a conservative R+20 district; I think it’ll be a hold for the caucuses and a pickup in each chamber for the conservatives we need.

    Just my $.02.

  3. Our majority is always better than their majority. Always.

    In 2008, McCain won 33B by just 3 or 4 points. Doepke won by 19. It’s a solid Republican district, but not solid conservative.

  4. Perhaps, and I’m not intimately familiar with what redistricting did…

    …but Osmek is hardly a radical or un-saleable choice for the district.

  5. No, he’s a good conservative candidate. I’m envious of the quality and number of candidates willing to run in SD33.

    My district SD44 picked up some great precincts from the old SD33. In all, I think both SD33 and SD44 (the old SD43) lean a bit more to the right. Those two senate races are going to be in the spotlight. SD33 because it’s open, and SD44 because Bonoff ought to be vulnerable with the new maps and a better opponent.

  6. When I was going to the U of M I came across Doepke’s daughter, she seemed nice and said her mom was a favorite of the democrats, I knew her time was short but 19% for an incumbent legislator? Ouchies, hard to justify a primary with that, even my DDE would have a tough time selling that one.

  7. Also Doepke has got to want to punch her advisor, she had a safe seat (I think at least) and chose to leave it to run for the state senate, and she clearly underestimated her competitors for the endorsement. With that poor of planning and tactics she doesn’t deserve to even primary him, but if she does she’ll get slaughtered there too probably. Time to hang it up and find a real job Connie

  8. If Doepke woudl have moved on to represent the A side, given the way the endorsement race ended up over there, I think it’s fair to say she’d be safe.

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