Thursday, April 10, 2014

This weekend in local politics...

....will feature the MN Congressional District Six GOP convention. As delegates to CD6, the fetching Mrs. Carlson and myself will be attending the festivities at Monticello High School on Saturday. Perhaps the most high profile order of business is endorsing a Republican candidate to replace current US House member Michele Bachmann, who is not seeking reelection this year.

If fundraising and caucus night straw poll results are any indication, former MN House member and 2010 GOP candidate for governor Tom Emmer will be endorsed handily. As such, the two remaining opponents for the Republican nod are looking to the primary election this fall.

Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah will take her congressional campaign to a primary election, she announced Wednesday in an interview with the Times.

The other GOP candidate in the 6th District, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, said Wednesday that he won't attend Saturday's convention or seek the endorsement. Krinkie also said for the first time that he's mulling a third-party run but said a Republican primary remains his most likely path.

Both Sivarajah and Krinkie long have left open the possibility of running in a primary. Only Emmer has said he'll abide by the GOP endorsement.

Sivarajah still intends to seek the endorsement Saturday, but said she expects Republican delegates to endorse Emmer on the first ballot.
In comparison to Emmer, fundraising numbers have appeared pretty feeble for both Sivarajah and Krinkie. I fail to see how opting for a primary election will change that (Krinkie may have the resources to self fund, so that may be an option). But even if Emmer's two opponents somehow conjure up even respectable financial resources to make a viable run in the primary campaign, they still have to contend with an incredibly popular candidate (one who also has significant name recognition) who won CD6 by 18 points in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Combine that with the fact that redistricting in 2012 resulted in the Sixth becoming even more red, Emmer appears to be the inevitable nominee.

Many activists are concerned that forcing an endorsed candidate to run in a primary will waste valuable time and money that the candidate could otherwise spend gearing up for the November general election. But in CD6, that's not as salient an issue since anyone with an "R" next to their name should win going away (provided the candidate doesn't have a last name of "Bachmann"). As such, the 12 weeks of campaigning between the August primary election and the November general is ample time for a Republican in the Sixth.

Outside of all that, this weekend's convention should be rather routine.


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