Senator Mike Parry address's Godfathers. (
by Tony Petrangelo
Aug 9, 2012, 7:30 AM

A Look at the Congressional Primaries

Last week I took a look at the competitive state Senate primaries, and Tuesday I looked at the competitive House primaries. Today, in this very post, I’ll check in on the competitive congressional primaries. There’s even a Senate primary of sorts.

Congressional District 1

Mike Parry v. Allen Quist

As most of you probably remember, this race was necessitated by the district Republican endorsing convention’s failure to elect a candidate after 24 ballots. When you consider who they had to choose from though, can you blame them for not wanting to pick one?

Since then, and really before as well, both candidates have had rather anemic fundraising, except for the fact that Allen Quist has broken off a chunk of his personal fortune to bankroll his campaign.

Mike Parry has raised about three times as much money as Quist in individual contributions though, which would normally make you think he had this thing in the bag.

But given Parry’s recent legislative committee grandstanding and even more recent off-the-reservation comments about Mark Dayton, it seems like he’s trying everything he can to turn around what appears to be a sinking ship of a campaign.

Well, that’s Governor Dayton’s take on it at least, and he’s a gentleman who knows a thing or two about political campaigns.

Congressional District 8

Jeff Anderson v. Tarryl Clark v. Rick Nolan

This races has been trapped in the same dynamic essentially since it started. Jeff Anderson is the hometown boy who can’t quite close the deal, Rick Nolan is playing the sort of Roy Hobbs part, and Tarryl Clark is the rainmaker, showering the district with advertising money.

It’s played out to form as well with Nolan getting the DFL endorsement, Anderson getting the endorsement’s of seemingly every notable Iron range politician, and Clark raising way more money than the two of them combined.

These last few weeks they’ve been rolling out their final big endorsements, Clark got the big dog to cut an ad for her, and Nolan got the Minnesota version of the big dog to endorse him, along with a bunch of other old white dudes.

Nolan seems to have the edge, but that’s only because both Clark and Anderson’s paths to victory involve the other two candidates splitting the vote enough for 38%-35% to be enough.

But both Clark and Anderson have conceivable paths to victory nonetheless. I’m also not convinced that second place is Rick Nolan’s floor, as I’ve heard some suggest.

I think it’s conceivable, if unlikely, that any of the three candidates could end up in first, second or third. But it’s also conceivable that Rick Nolan approaches 50%.

This has been a rather interesting race for it’s lack of things happening. All three candidates have just kind of slogged along, playing into the stereotypes that were hastily constructed upon each of their initial entrances into the race.

There was no big name Iron Ranger who came into the race and immediately cleared the field and such candidates surely exist. But they demurred.

2008 wasn’t that long ago, but it seems like a totally different era and the days of a DFLer racking up 65%+ margins in congressional district eight are over. The district wasn’t that strongly DFL to begin with and seems to be moving in the GOP’s direction.

That’s why it’s important to win this seat now, before Cravaack can get comfortable.

Update by Steve: The best part of the photo that Tony chose for the story is Allen Quist sitting in the front row and giving Parry the stink eye : “puttin’ on the hex.”

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