Friday, September 15, 2006

I got your stadium backlash right here, pal

Dave Bicking, who in 2005 ran unsuccessfully as a Green Party candidate for Minneapolis City Council Ward 9, apparently doesn't have a blog. So I'll post part of his post-primary election analysis of the Hennepin County Commissioner races, which Bicking posted to the CCARL Yahoo! Group. He makes the case that the referendum-less stadium tax issue did in fact make an impact.
In all three cases, the incumbent came in first; but in all three cases, the good showing of the runner-up will greatly boost their campaign. Once it has been shown (as it just has) that they have a chance of winning, their campaign will be boosted by additional volunteers and additional donations. For instance, in District 4, against Peter McLaughlin, Farheen Hakeem got 33% of the vote. She is also likely to pick up most of Jan Nye's voters (10% of the total) because these are protest votes against Peter McLaughlin -
Jan was only a paper candidate, running on the issue of the stadium. I am a Green Party member (as is Farheen), and there is already talk within the Party about concentrating resources on Farheen's campaign because of the very real possibility that she could win. Such is the value of a credible showing in the primary.

An historical example: last year, Cam Gordon (Green Party) got 37% in the Mpls City Council primary against a DFL endorsed candidate with considerable name recognition. That boosted his campaign to the point that he went on to win in the general election with 51% of the vote.
Here is Bicking's analysis of the District 2 race, which is where I live:

Mark Stenglein 8,370 53.0%
Gregory Gray 5,502 34.9%
Steve Wellens 1,911 12.1%

Stenglein seems to be the most vulnerable of the three. 53% is really bad for an incumbent. Steve Wellens ran pretty much on the stadium issue alone, so nearly all his votes will go to Gray in the general election. Gray, as the DFL endorsed candidate, will have considerable resources to run a strong campaign. For comparison, in 2002, Stenglein (already much despised) got 59% in the primary, with the remainder split among 4 other candidates. In the general election, his percentage actually dropped to 57%. Starting at 53% in the primary this year, he can't drop very much or he loses! I would say that Gray is actually the favorite to win in this race.
For more, see the web site, or call Bicking at 612-276-1213. A new PAC, Citizens Against Stadium Taxes (CAST) has been created to raise a ruckus on this issue during the general election. We may be closer to the tipping point than most people realize.


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