Commentary

Political nuggets: A DFL strategist on Walz’s choice; retirements coming

August 17, 2021 1:32 pm

Gov. Tim Walz in the Minnesota State Capitol Monday, May 3, 2021. Photo by Nicole Neri/Minnesota Reformer.

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I talked to a DFL operative recently who framed out the key strategic choice for Gov. Tim Walz’s reelection campaign: 

Re-run “One Minnesota,” which was an attempt to unify the state around a set of shared values and obligations? Or, run up the score in Congressional Districts 3, 4, 5 and to a lesser extent 2, and hold your own in 1. 

The first requires openness to the struggles and ideals of Greater Minnesota, while the second requires persuading urban Democrats that he’s one of them. 

It’s a key strategic question. 

Somewhat related: This person thinks there’s only one issue that has emerged thus far that can really trip up the Democrats in 2022. That’s Democratic division on defund/abolish police, and the GOP’s ability to use it as a wedge issue. 

I was out when Census data came out last week, and I want to know more before we can judge who benefits most, though the growth of the Twin Cities would obviously help the DFL. Less talked about is that in the face of redistricting, we should expect a lot of retirements, especially on the Senate side, where members will be running for four-year terms. Consider all the rural districts that will be significantly changed by redistricting. 

Just for instance, here’s some tea leaves: Nathan Jesson left as committee administrator for House Taxes Chairman Paul Marquart, one of the last rural Dems, to become a policy advisor in the office of Gov. Tim Walz

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J. Patrick Coolican
J. Patrick Coolican

J. Patrick Coolican is Editor-in-Chief of Minnesota Reformer. Previously, he was a Capitol reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune for five years, after a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan and time at the Las Vegas Sun, Seattle Times and a few other stops along the way. He lives in St. Paul with his wife and toddler son.

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