Minnesota: After winning the narrowest of belated victories in 2009, Sen. Al Franken (D) has a decent approval rating in Gopherland, and he enters his first reelection bid as a slight favorite. We suspect he would trounce Rep. Michele Bachmann (R), who barely survived her 2012 reelection bid in Minnesota’s most Republican House district. Another possibility — one-time presidential contender and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) — will not be a candidate, having landed a lucrative job in association-land. The quality of the Republican challenger will determine much here. Minnesota has a reputation for being more Democratic than it actually is.Three brief observations:
- I don't know if Franken would "trounce" Bachmann, but I think Bachmann would be a weaker candidate than some other possibilities, about which more in a moment.
- T-Paw probably won't run, but if he gets bored in "association-land," he might get in the ring.
- Sabato is right that Minnesota's reputation as being Democratic is overstated. Republicans have won in this state and fairly recently.
Maybe Sabato can't think of any candidates, but that doesn't mean there aren't any. So let's do a straw poll. I'm going to throw out a list of potential candidates for Franken's seat, based on nothing other than my own whim; please understand that I have no reason to believe that any of these individuals will actually run, but I'd like at least some of them to consider it. Vote for your favorite(s) -- I've set it up so you can vote for more than one candidate -- and explain why you like the candidate in the comment section. By the way, I'm leaving out Norm Coleman, Tom Emmer and Kurt Bills, because we don't need no steenkin' retreads. You may not think it's fair, but it's my blog. Vote early, vote often people!