I know, I know, that's quite a while yet, and there is a very important election date between now and then. But, we're all politics junkies here, right? There was some internal discussion, and one of the admins suggested getting it online, to see if others want to weigh in.
The context is that the Minnesota GOP is a hot mess right now. There's no way that I know of, to predict with confidence how the power struggles among corporatists, conservative evangelicals, and pseudo-libertarian Ron Paul forces will play out. Also, while I'm not suggesting for a nanosecond that it's guaranteed that DFLers will take back the legislature this coming November, "more likely than not" seems to me to be a valid descriptive phrase, in that context. In other words, GOPers will quite possibly have had two years of seething with impotent rage (how much rage, precisely, will depend on the Conservadems) when November 2014 arrives.
(Mr. X): Revenge is a powerful motive. It's why my guess is Norm Coleman both runs and gets the nomination (for the U.S. Senate).
(Mr. Y): But Norm could never garner endorsement. He's a RINO. He's a self-serving gadfly who's never met one of his own principles that he can't violate for personal gain. (Tea Partiers) hate him. Paulbots hate him. And that only leaves him 25% or less of remaining MNGOP delegates.
Continued below the jump.
(X): Norm won't get his revenge if he doesn't run. My sense is he's bitter, and I think he'll make the financial sacrifice to run. He's developing a funding base through his astroturf group that he'll be able to call on. Republicans hate Franken and want revenge, and a different candidate is a different race, not the do-over of 2008 that I think they want. My prediction is those motives overcome all else.
As long as we're going out on limbs, I predict Pawlenty runs for governor again too. Not for revenge, but because he can't help himself, and Republicans will be sick enough of losing to nominate someone they think can win. Besides, remember how thin their bench is.
(Y): So how would Norm or TPaw get past the base? Just run in the primary? Avoid the endorsement convention like Dayton did?
(Mr. Z): Nobody asked me, but I think Pawlenty will run for Senate, via the primary. I don't know who will be the gubernatorial candidate, though I'm sure David Hann (Minnesota State Senator from Eden Prairie) will try hard.
(X): I think Coleman (I hate calling that empty jacket "Norm" like I know him, and I think we all know we don't mean Chris Coleman) will be endorsed. I think the desire to win a 2008 do-over will make the base get over any RINO concerns. I think Pawlenty is in good enough shape with the base, especially with having won twice, that they'll endorse him too.
I'll make prediction B though. If I'm wrong and Coleman doesn't run again, Pawlenty goes for Senate and some now obscure nutjob businessman is their gubernatorial candidate.
(Z): Norm's damaged, in fact junk heap, goods, as far as ever running for high office in MN again. For the 2014 Senate run, the MN GOP will look for either a Jim DeMint or a Rand Paul ideological type, depending on which wing of the party is really in charge.
But what they'll get, from the primary, if he wants it, is Tim Pawlenty.