Weather Forecast


From the Left Hand Corner: Endorsement, money and primary election

Next Tuesday is primary election day in Minnesota.

We can be thankful that we live in a state and nation where we are free to vote as we choose without being in danger or subject to repercussion. Our free voting process is just one of the many blessings we can enjoy living in America.

Some folks wanted to stay with our traditional September primary. Some wanted to change to June. So we ended up with August.

Nevertheless, Tuesday, Aug. 12, is the day that the two major parties select their choices to go on to the general and final election on Nov. 4. One of those choices for each office will prevail and represent us all.

Other party candidates and persons declaring "independency" may still run if they filed in June, and may even distort the two-party selection process, but aren't likely to win. Our state experienced that a few years ago with Jesse Ventura, and it is not likely to occur again for awhile.

This is also a year with a somewhat new twist, which is substantial early voting. A number of you have already exercised that newly expanded potential for more convenient voting. I'm an old skeptic, and as long as I'm healthy enough, I will probably wait to vote the traditional way on election day. I still remember what happened after U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone's untimely death just days before the election in 1992.

However, in observation, as we go through this week of run-up to election day, with the flood of last-minute diatribe, it is easy to conclude that earlier voters are likely to be informed and persuaded on better balanced facts in comparison of the contesting candidates.

Earlier voters are spared from the misleading effect of last-minute attack ads and the flood of slick mailers that are saturated with grandiose and phony claims that can't be refuted before election day.

This year, money again has become an excessive and distorting factor in our election process.

The established endorsement systems of the Republican and DFL parties in Minnesota are again under serious attack. We recognize the obvious shortcomings of the process, but it is still the one and only means for interested and capable persons without great wealth to achieve election to political office.

No better example of the merit of an effective endorsement process exists than the example of our Congressman, Rick Nolan. In 2012, he initially went through the arduous, but fair and discerning, comparison with eight other candidates to gain endorsement.

He then prevailed against a flood of outside money in the primary, and again, against another flood of money in the general election to gain a convincing victory.

That is how the system ought to work.

I don't know the Republican endorsed candidate for governor, Jeff Johnson, but hope he wins the primarynext Tuesday, particularly against Scott Honour (not very aptly named) and his millions.

I do know Auditor Rebecca Otto quite well, and fervently hope DFLers honor her unanimous earned endorsement and vastly superior qualifications and select her.

So both parties have primary races that the usually uninterested may call interesting, but are seen in sad reflection by us old party activists. For both parties it will be another unfortunate example and test of merit vs. money.

In the Republican race for governor, it will be Scott Honour, with his money, against the endorsed Jeff Johnson and Kurt Zeller and Marty Seifert. All of the latter three show some degree of qualification, based upon their years of service as legislators and as local public officials, in Johnson's case.

About all that Honour shows is an acquired fortune and willingness to spend it in quest of the governor's chair. Johnson should at least have some statistical advantage with three others attacking the endorsement and dividing up the anti-endorsement vote.

On the DFL side, I don't think being married to, and now divorced from, a woman who shattered glass ceilings in the corporate world and accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in the process, should be any qualification entitling Matt Entenza to fill the very important office of state auditor. Many surmise that this late-issued challenge is the endorsement challenger's schemed stepping stone to governor in 2018.

It is disconcerting that the rich DFL challenger can saturate the market with limitless expenditure and blitz campaign of slick and deceptive, if not false, mailers and TV ads designed to tarnish Otto's exemplary record. A lot of this last-minute attack, even after being court directed against it, comes too late to refute before election, when it counts.

All things considered, let the best man win in the Republican primary and may the best woman win in the DFL primary.