Thursday, March 6, 2008

3rd Congressional District Update

We are entering an interesting two weeks on the local Congressional District scene. Each of the next two weekends will have a host of local Senate District DFL caucus activity. In those caucuses, delegates are earned toward the endorsement. It is very conceivable that after the 16th, we'll have a good idea of who is running in the general election.

Here is our summary on the candidates:

Erik Paulsen (R) - Eden Prairie: Paulsen is the Republican candidate for the seat. He is a longtime State Representative and a former Ramstad staffer. His voting record indicates that he is further to the right than Ramstad, but his campaign messages have painted a more moderate picture. Paulsen is known to be a student of the issues, well-prepared, and more measured than passionate. He has a strong start to his fundraising effort.

Terri Bonoff (D) - Minnetonka: Bonoff is a two-term State Senator from Minnetonka. She took the seat in a special election, where she upset the Republican candidate in a mostly red district. Her reputation at the capitol is as a fighter for children and education. Bonoff secured many of the prominent DFL endorsements through her campaign, such as that of Walter Mondale. While some view her as the establishment candidate, it is important to note that until her 2005 legislative run she was a citizen activitist with no public office.

Ashwin Madia (D) - Brooklyn Center: Madia is an attorney in Minneapolis and new to the local political scene. He is a former Marine with Iraq experience. It is tough to find alot of information on him other than what his campaign is disseminating. He brings youth (he is 30) to the race and is a polished debater. He is also running an impressively organized campaign. The fact that he moved from Minneapolis to the 3rd CD only after Ramstad announced his retirement may raise questions with some.

Jim Hovland (D) - Edina: The Mayor of Edina was a Republican for many years, but officially switched parties at the time of his Congressional announcement. He is an law firm partner and visible in the Edina area serving on several commissions, including the one focusing on the 494 transportation corridor. The buzz is that he could have some momentum but his campaign has been a bit disorganized in the important delegate race.

We would like to see a Paulsen - Hovland race, as we think it would give the voters of the 3rd a contest most closely mirroring the district ideology. Hovland is relatively moderate, maybe to the left of Ramstad, while Paulsen is further right, closer to Bill Frenzel (Ramstad's predecesser). We will keep you posted on DFL developments as they occur.

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