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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Blind optimism

Zach over at MN Publius must be smoking something pretty good: according to him, Becky Lourey's straw poll results means she "has renewed momentum after her strong showing at precinct caucuses and I bet she thinks (and she's right) that she's got a real shot at the endorsement."

Now, I'm not picking on him for any reason other than the fact that I read this and was struck by how ridiculous it sounds. There's optimism, and then there's craziness. There is no way that Lourey has the momentum right now, nor does she have a "real shot" at the endorsement.

I still think that the most likely outcome, barring anybody dropping out of the race beforehand, is no endorsement. There is a small chance that Hatch will get the endorsement, which becomes a big chance should Lourey be his running mate. There is zero chance that Lourey or Kelley will get the endorsement unless Hatch's bus hits Doran's car and they both fall into Ole Savior's personal bottomless pit.

Let's remember the logistics of getting the endorsement: you need 60%. It's not completely accurate to extrapolate delegates from straw poll results, but they are a start. Hatch got 38.3% of the vote, meaning he is just a couple of percentage points away from being able to singlehandedly deny everybody else the endorsement. Similarly, Lourey and Kelley combined can also deny everybody else the endorsement if they hold together.

For Lourey to win the endorsement, she would have to keep all of her delegates, get all of Kelley's delegates, all of Doran's, both of Savior's, and get almost all of the undecideds to go her way. If Kelley was dropped in the voting before Lourey, would they all go to her? Almost certainly not. The same thing applies if the situation is reversed: Lourey delegates would not go to Kelley, especially if Hatch made a big deal about Kelley's stadium support, which is anathema to most liberals. The result is a stalemate and no endorsement.

If Hatch really is going after Lourey as a running mate, that's a very smart move on his part. She is a liberal woman with small business experience from a pretty rural part of the state, all of which make up for perceived Hatch shortcomings. Furthermore, if you take the Molnau dual-role route and offer Lourey control of a state agency, say the Department of Human Services, it may look pretty attractive to her. Plus, such a team would, by the numbers, be close to the endorsement if not already there.

Again, I'm not saying this because I love Hatch or hate Lourey. Governor Hatch, Governor Lourey, either one would be fine for Minnesota. It's just unrealistic to argue that somebody with 22% in a straw poll, barely in second place, has the momentum and a real shot. Lourey and Kelley better start thinking long and hard about their positions and what they can do with them. As should Hatch.


At 10:31 PM, March 10, 2006, Blogger Trillin said...

I am with you. As everyone knows, I am no Hatch supporter, but the reality is that 22% is not momentum. Lets waite to see what the delegate numbers are like coming out of the Senate Districts befor giving Laurie any of the big "Mo"


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