Here’s my analysis of the Minnesota political situation based upon the best guesses I can make at the moment. As always, anything can change, so take all my predictions with a grain of salt:
US SENATE: Coleman will pull ahead of Mondale, but only by a nose. Look for a split of about 45% for each, with the others going for the minor party candidates. The Greens will pick up the Wellstone voters who are turned off by Mondale’s more centrist attitude. However, there is a fairly good shot that Mondale might be able to pull ahead as well – however expect no major margins for victory either way.
GOVERNOR: Tim Pawlenty has virtually got this one in the bag. Moe has an outside chance of winning, but even the Minnesota Poll which tends to favor the Democrats show Moe with a 3% lag behind Pawlenty. Independence Party candidate Tim Penny’s campaign will still take more voters from Moe than it will from Pawlenty, however the fact that Penny has been unable to really distinguish himself from the major party candidates means that he will not be able to pull more than 16-20% of the electorate. After this, expect the Independence Party to quickly fade away like other third-party movements have.
SELECTED HOUSE RACES: For John Kline, the third time will be a charm, as he narrowly beats Bill Luther due to redistricting. Most of the other races will preserve the status quo as Gil Gutknecht will soundly thrash Steve Andreasen in the new First District, and Mark Kennedy will overcome in the new Sixth. The other seats are all solid for the incumbent and it would be highly unlikely to see much turnover in the House.
STATE RACES: Mary Kiffmeyer appears to be relatively safe from Buck Humphrey, despite his auspicious name. Pat Anderson-Awada seems to have a safe run for the Auditor’s office, giving Republicans a large amount of representation in statewide offices. Unfortunately, Tom Kelly will have a harder time against Attorney General Mike Hatch, however an upset win is possible, although extremely unlikely.
The Senate race will be the big race of the year, and look for any mistake by the two candidates in the last few hours to potentially throw the race one way or another. There is also the possibility of another extended election as the Democrats use the absentee ballot issue to possibly delay the official certification of results if it appears that Coleman will win, or if it’s exceptionally close.