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MN-02: update on Dan Powers campaign to unseat John Kline

by The Big E on June 29, 2010 · 4 comments

“This is the first solid meal I’ve had in four days,” said Dan Powers as we sat down to lunch.  He must have seen the look on my face.  “I just had two wisdom teeth pulled and I’ve been eating only soft food.”

Like Dan’s quip about his meal, his race needs some explaining, too.

Dan is the DFL-endorsed candidate who wants to take out John Kline in the MN-02 race.  You wouldn’t know it from our state’s TV, radio and newspapers.  Their political coverage has disappeared with their ad revenue.

He handily won endorsement over one-term legislator Shelley Madore by out-working her.  Madore said she’d abide in the run up to the convention, at the convention and in her concession speech.  She changed her mind afterwards forcing Dan to run to the primary.

Dan is campaigning completely under the radar.  He’s appeared at hundreds of DFL events in the district.  He’ll have held 60 townhall style events by the primary on August 10th.  He’ll have marched in every parade he can make, at least 25 but possibly more.  For example, they’re going to pack 6 into this July 4th weekend.  His phone banks and the DFL Coordinated Campaign’s phone banks will have called thousands upon thousands of voters.  The CC’s door knock will have knocked on thousands of doors.
“We’re getting a really positive response,” Dan explained.  “People are really glad to see a candidate against Kline showing up where they haven’t seen Kline’s opponents before.”

“Plus, we know we’ve gotten Kline’s attention,” he continued.  “He’s coming back to the district more than usual for events and parades.”

Kline is notorious for rarely if ever appearing in public.  Kline only appears at events where the contact is either with pre-screened, conservative-only audiences or the questions are screened in advance.  Kline doesn’t debate.

“Plus, we’re getting lots of hits on our website after every parade or event,” he continued.  “People are checking me out further after they first meet me.”

“We’re going to reach the magical nine contacts with each likely primary voter,” added campaign manager Mary Breitenstein.  The accepted metric is that you need to get your candidate’s name in front of a voter nine times before they’ll remember your candidate’s name.  Campaigns usually use a combination of mailings, phone calls/messages and direct contact.  Direct contact can be parades, events and door knocking.

The frustrating thing about this district is that it’s partisan vote index (PVI) is only R+3 and Kline is clearly way more conservative than his district.  Yet, the last three candidates failed to gain any momentum.

In ’08 Steve Sarvi got only 42.55%, in ’06 Coleen Rowley got only 40.04% and Teresa Daly got 40.30% in ’04.  I hope the Powers Campaign’s hard work pays off and the get closer to Kline than any of the previous candidates.  The bottom line is that if Kline does something stupidly rude (he has a tendency to be rude), the Powers Campaign will be prepared to take advantage of the opportunity.

The Powers campaign are doing the hard, unglamorous organizing necessary to win.  While Dan will do everything to win this time, he’s committed to running a second time.

I expect Dan to smoke Madore in the primary.  From everything I’ve been hearing, she has little to no money and isn’t appearing at parades and events very frequently.  If her birthday party fundraising event is anything by which to judge her campaign … it’s anemic to the point of death:

Finally, I want to touch on fundraising.  Dan is working hard, making loads of calls.  As I’ve said before, if your name isn’t Clark or Anderson-Kelliher, fundraising is tough.  Several unions aren’t endorsing until after the primary and everyone except for our state’s top two races is feeling the pinch.

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