Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nope. Next!

While there's been a fair amount of talk concerning potential challengers to Mark Dayton in 2014, so far the list of potential challengers to Al Franken is pretty short. A potential candidate emerged yesterday:
State Rep. Jim Abeler said that he is exploring a run against Democrat U.S. Sen. Al Franken....
Abeler is a long time state representative, who has specialized in human services issues, who has evinced a tender heart for the needy but a libertarian streak regarding government intrusion. Abeler, who supported a gas tax increase when then Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed it, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul last year.

He is a chiropractor who hails from Anoka, which has an strong independent streak. 
Abeler has confused the Star Tribune. What kind of streak was that again? A libertarian streak or an independent streak? And does Abeler have a strong independent streak, or does Anoka? And can Anoka run for the Senate? Fortunately, my friend and ace radio host Brad Carlson is able to translate:
In my opinion, Abeler would be a tough sale amongst Republicans. Despite endorsing Ron Paul for President in 2012, Abeler is notorious for supporting bigger government in the form of mass transit subsidies, the new Vikings stadium and the MN Health Exchange. However, Abeler may appeal to some social conservatives since he voted "yes" on the MN Marriage Amendment two years ago and then, in one of the more passionate defenses of traditional marriage, voted "no" to legalize same-sex marriage last month. Again, given that history as a state rep, it seems an odd juxtaposition that he endorsed the libertarian Paul.
So he's a big government libertarian who supports traditional marriage. No, he's not confused. He's just like Walt Whitman:
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Franken would chew this guy to bits.

I think there's a better candidate out there to run against Franken, but my understanding is that he's more interested in running for governor. Now that the Star Tribune is telling us that everybody loves Dayton, maybe my suggested candidate might reconsider his options. Just a thought.


First Ringer said...

Call it Kurt Bills calculus.

Abeler obviously believes (or at least is betting) that the Ron Paul contingent that flooded the caucuses and convention last year will rematerialize in 2014. By staking out a position early, Abeler thinks he can seize the mantle as "their" candidate - despite the many, many, many contradictions of which you touch the tip of the iceberg.

There are a number of problems with Abeler's theory, not the least of which is assuming that A) The Paulites turn out and B) get elected as delegates. The Paul faction got 27% in the straw poll last year, but became the overwhelmingly majority of convention delegates. They're going to surprise anyone next time; if there is a next time. The Paul contingent largely disappeared between '08 & '12. Will they do so again?

Besides, you would think Abeler would have learned from Kurt Bills' experience. Bills' Faustian bargain with the Paulites wrestled him the nomination - and one of the worst performances of a major party candidate in Minnesota history.

First Ringer said...

Sorry, NOT going to surprise anyone next time. Whoops.

Mr. D said...

Abeler thinks he can seize the mantle as "their" candidate - despite the many, many, many contradictions of which you touch the tip of the iceberg.

No kidding, FR. An exhaustive list would fill the entire page of the blog.

If your assessment is correct, and I think it probably is, it makes Abeler (a) an opportunist and (b) a thoroughgoing cynic. If we want one of those in the Senate, we can just reelect Franken.

R.A. Crankbait said...

Jim (en)Abeler doesn't do much for me. I don't think he'll appeal to the Liberty movement, but at least he knows he needs them.

I believe the "Republican" message and brand is dead; it's been boxed by the opposition and it hasn't demonstrated a measureable difference in governing practice from the other guys. I don't think that dead horse will be dragged across a finish line again, and if it does I'd scarcely look at it as a "win".

Brad said...

On top of all that, Abeler is a terrible stump speaker. That alone would be the proverbial death knell even if he had a solid conservative voting record.

I've gotten to know Jim in the nearly 5 years I've lived in his district and he's always called me back when I wasn't able to get a hold of him in person. Very accountable. But at the end of the day I don't see how he can garner any significant statewide appeal.