Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cross one off Erik Paulsen's to-do list

1. Underestimate Ashwin Madia.

Previously on Minnesota Democrats Exposed, and on prominent lefty blogs, the presumptive DFL endorsee for Third Congressional District Representative, current Minnesota SD 43 Senator Terri Bonoff (DFL-Minnetonka), conceded after the eighth ballot to her challenger, one of Bonoff's Plymouth constituents, political newcomer, attorney, USMC veteran, and ex-Republican Ashwin Madia (that's pronounced ASH-win — as in his supporters' chant "Win Ash-win!" — ma-DEE-ah), at the DFL Third Congressional District convention at Wayzata Central Middle School, which incidentially is deep in the heart of Bonoff's SD 43.

State Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) will stand unopposed for the Republican Third District endorsement on Saturday. Look for both candidates to cement their support with their respective party bases, then run toward the center, while portraying their opponents as being too far to the left or right for the Third District.

If Paulsen runs his campaign like an heir apparent going through the motions against a political newcomer, or if his campaign falls into this mindset, he could become the second candidate to be defeated by Madia. Yet there's not much chance of Paulsen running a lackadaisical campaign. As former state director for Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN3), Paulsen is used to campaigning hard and taking nothing for granted.

While the campaigns, media, and blogs will eagerly enagage in a partisan firefight, Third District independent voters will have little patience for such theatrics. The unique dynamics of the candidates and this race may actually steer things toward the mythical "spirited debate on the issues." We can only hope.

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