"The first time Norm Coleman went up against a celebrity for statewide office, he was slammed by former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura....Yeah, Jesse mopped the floor with both Norm and Skip Humphrey--he spoke straight forward because he didn't think he'd win so he had nothing to lose, and instead found people liked that sort of thing.
...Coleman did better against his second famous opponent, edging former Vice President Walter Mondale to win his seat in the U.S. Senate...Well, in all fairness Mondale had a lot working against him in that race.
He took over the ticket from Wellstone who had died too close to the race for Mondale to get out a firm platform (2 weeks) .... so he was perceived by a lot of independents as a 'me-too' candidate, just falling into the 'whatever Wellstone would do, so will I' slot .... it also came across that the only reason he got the position was because he is the highest ranking dem in the state, and that he was grossly out of touch with the people.
Then there was the question of what would happen with the 'absentee' ballots which had already been mailed in ... those for Wellstone were null & void, but the purpose of the mail-ins were for people who couldn't make it to the regular polls, so the only way these people could have been able to vote for Mondale would have been to go to the polls - which would have disqualified them from the absentee-ballot to begin with.
It also didn't help when Wellstone's son had a 'Howard Dean' moment at his father's memorial service - one that caused Gov. Ventura to get up to leave (at that point it stopped being a memorial and became a political rally)
... He's hoping to repeat that success in his third run against a well-tries - Democrat known name in as many Al Franken, the former 'Saturday Night Live' comedian and radio host ...Well, there is enough there in Franken's background that Coleman should be able to squeak out a win, but there are so many party-liners who will vote for a person just because of the party affiliation and not the actual message from the candidates it will be close.
Coleman's political survival could depend on whether he can convince swing voters that Franken lacks the temperament to be a senator. Coleman is a Republican senator in a Democratic-leaning state, and Minnesota's race is at the top of the list of those Democrats believe they can win in 2008.I think this is because he is perceived as being a 'pro life democrat' still .... he had a really really good record as Mayor of St. Paul, although there was controversy when he switched parties because he was elected in with DFL money ... some were calling for pay back of the funds by his election campaign, we never did hear what the outcome of that was - I have a feeling it all came back to 'politics as usual' and was written off ... I could be wrong.
But can Minnesota still be considered Democratic-leaning?? We haven't had a democratic governor for 17 years (Rudy Perpich, 76-79 & 83-91) with only Jesse Ventura for a single 4 yr term, then the state went right back to a conservative Republican again.
Minnesotans seem to like his 'no new taxes' 'no tax hikes' approach ... although you do get the Shouting Minority (as opposed to the 'Silent Majority') who seem to want to tax everything for their personal projects. Most recently is the MN congress overturning the tax-bill veto that will raise not only the State gas tax, but also allow counties around the state to initiate sale taxes of their own to fund road/transportation projects in their areas (presumably because the state will be putting most of their funds into the LRT instead of roads & bridges).
It would be interesting to see what Franken's position is on this ... the gas tax and tax hikes .... as these things tend to hurt the more economically challenged & middle-class families the hardest.
Now during the campaign when Wellstone died, somehow Coleman was accused of politicizing the incident (I never could understand that idea) when it seemed more to people that the DFL party was politicizing it. And Franken -- listen to the video of the funeral, the crowd DID boo some people who came to speak about Wellstone -
SO here's what you've got:
Coleman: experience on both sides of the aisle, plus a record of working with people. An effective mayor who negotiated and worked to revitalize the nearly died downtown area; a senator who has made MN more than just a fly-over state. Some controversy brought up by democratic party over extra-marital affair he had while Mayor of St. Paul. And there was some question about contracts surrounding the XCel Energy Center.
Franken: a radio host & comedian who seems to have a single note (republicans bad) and no real political background (although that is not a req for the position, it is a bonus); recent legal issues not taken care of in former state of residence; moved states just to run in race, although he did grow up in the state (St. Louis Park). He does not believe in appropriation funds for troops over seas (basically leaving our troops without the bullets and basic supplies they will need). And like John Carey he supported the war before he spoke out against it. Apparently there was an incident where he manhandled a heckler at a Dean-rally -- I would love to see video of this to see how bad it was, because the accounts I've read makes it sound like Franken got kind of rough.
So here's a joke my father told me growing up, not very politically correct but its an old joke:
Two men are walking down the street and they see a bum begging for money. The Republican reaches into his pocket and gives the man a card for an agency that will help him find a job and place to live...the man says he has no way to get there and the Republican says 'hey you have to help yourself at some point'.
The Democrat says "I'll give you taxi fare" and reaches into the Republican's pocket and takes the last $50 from the wallet, hands it to the bum with a 'glad to help you' ... the democrat continues on his way, the republican stands there shocked.
"Hey!" yells the bum to the democrat, "I could use a good meal too"
The democrat walks back, slaps away the republicans hands trying to block him and gets a hold of the wallet again ... finding no money inside, this time he hands the bum the credit card [okay dad said 'checkbook'] and says 'get whatever you need'.