Thursday, August 09, 2018

(Less than) One week out -- Attorney General

While the governor is ultimately more consequential, the attorney general of a state has a lot of power. The incumbent AG, Lori Swanson, lost her endorsement at the DFL convention and decided instead to run for governor. That opened up the door for a bunch of candidates on the DFL side. Of this group, the most prominent is Rep. Keith Ellison, who is giving up his seat in Congress to run for the office. Nearly everyone on the right worries about Ellison, but many do for the wrong reason. Ellison is a Muslim, so some think he'd try to impose sharia law or something like that. That's silly, of course. We have over a decade of evidence to weigh Ellison and it's pretty clear -- the only thing Ellison wants to impose on the people is, well, Keith Ellison. And that is reason enough to oppose him. His dim identity politics and Farrakhan footsie are simply tools in his quest for self-aggrandizement. He wants out of Washington because he couldn't be the big kahuna at the Democratic National Committee. If he can control the power of a state attorney general's office, he can indulge his impulses, including harassing Donald Trump. And he may get his wish.

The other candidates in the field include the guy who won the DFL endorsement, political newcomer Matt Pelikan. Pelikan is a straight-up SJW type and could finish last, because there's no compelling reason for his candidacy. Tom Foley was once the Ramsey County Attorney but hasn't been active in politics for nearly 25 years now, making him well past his sell-by date. Mike Rothman and Debra Hillstrom both come from the more moderate wing of the DFL and would likely conduct themselves in office similar to the way Swanson and her predecessor, Mike Hatch, ran the show. Rothman was Mark Dayton's commerce commissioner and he got an endorsement from the Star Tribune, but he's almost a complete unknown. Hillstrom has been in the Lege for nearly 20 years and has also been a prosecutor in Anoka County. She'd probably do the least harm of the five, but she's not going to beat Ellison in a primary where the key advantage is name recognition. Advantage: Ellison.

On the Republican side, the endorsed candidate is Doug Wardlow, who served one term in the Lege and has subsequently been mostly in private practice. He's a typical Republican candidate -- rock solid on understanding the role of government and more interested in protecting the citizenry than in mounting noisy crusades. He would be great. Wardlow first has to fight off the surprise candidacy of Bob Lessard, who was a big wheel DFLer on the Iron Range since the beginning of the Pleistocene Epoch. Lessard is a big outdoorsman/conservationist and well-known in the state, but is remembered mostly by people who are approaching retirement age. People who know who Lessard is will also know he's not actually a Republican, so in the end I suspect Wardlow will win the primary. It will be interesting to see if any of the big money comes into Minnesota to support his candidacy, especially if Ellison gets the DFL nod. Stay tuned.

No comments: