So we had Wetterling's no-brainer leap into the fracas over Dayton's Senate seat, and now we have Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch injecting himself into the governor's race. In a mere formality of an announcement, Hatch joins State Senator Steve Kelley (DFL-Hopkins), and idiot-turned-political-wannabe Kelly Doran (DFL-Huh?) in the race to beat Teflon Tim. Bud Philbrook, a former leglislator who had been campaigning until Hatch's announcement, dropped out of the race. And then there's the dark horse: State Senator Becky Lourey (DFL-Kerrick, who received attention recently for her cameo in Cindy Sheehan's Sister Act III: Showdown at the Western White House. Knowing our DFL, however, these surely won't be the only candidates when all is said and done.
As of right now, there really is no clear front-runner in the governor's race. Six months ago, I would've said the DFL didn't stand a chance to beat Teflon Tim, but after Minnesota Meltdown (and nearly Minnesota Meltdown Part Deux), Pawlenty is looking beatable. No longer do we hear the drumbeat of national ambitions, and really, no longer do we hear much from the Governor's Office beside some moans over a proposed special legislative session to deal solely with the stadium issues. (Wouldn't that be a great idea for a special session, by the way? Forget education, transporation, health, and so on and so forth. Let's focus on the important things, like making sure our beloved professional football players/philanderers have champagne-filled massage tubs.)
Hatch, of course, has already ran-and-lost-and-ran-and-lost the governor's race in the 1990s. Yet, he presents the most aggressive and most intelligent challenge to Teflon Tim. He is the only DFLer who currently holds a statewide constitutional office. He has far more name recognition than any of the other candidates. And, deep down, he is a populist with the best interests of Minnesota at heart. But he's never won fans in the business community, and as a DFLer, I need to ask myself, can I trust a guy to run against one of the most formidable Minnesota politicians since Rudy Perpich, whose already lost the gambit twice?
Paging Roger Moe, anyone?