Pawlenty Ahead, Gutknecht Down

Well, looks like the situation has reversed itself from earlier tonight. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now very narrowly ahead of Mike Hatch in the gubernatorial race, and Democrat Tim Walz is building a sizable lead over Gil Gutknecht in MN-1. Michelle Bachmann appears poised to defeat Patty Wetterling in MN-6.

Pawlenty’s lead is very tenous, but he’s managed to come up from behind, and it seems likely that Hatch will lose, if by the narrowest of margins. The Walz lead is a bit perplexing to me. The early reports indicated that the GOP had strong turnout in MN-1 — which may be true, but that turnout appears to have benefited Pawlenty rather than Gutknecht. It’s possible that Gutknecht will pull enough of a margin in his home turf in southeast Minnesota, but with Rochester and Olmstead County trending more Democratic, that’s not as certain as it may have been in past elections.

It all turns on where the remaining votes remain. Pawlenty, Gutknecht, Kiffmeyer, and Anderson all need some significant help in order to stay in office. Pawlenty seems to have good odds, but today is not a good day for Minnesota Republicans.

UPDATE – 11:15PM Central: The trends are staying steady. Pawlenty is slowly gaining. Gutknecht appears headed for a loss.

The Star-Tribune has called the auditor’s race for Rebecca Otto. Again, that’s a testament to Democratic voting strength, assuming that people are voting straight party line on those statewide positions. If that’s true, it also means that Hatch is doing poorly with DFL voters — and the county and precinct-level figures seem to point in that direction.

2 thoughts on “Pawlenty Ahead, Gutknecht Down

  1. Pawlenty’s almost certain to win. The only caveat is that most of the Iron Range and a quarter of Hennepin County is still hanging out there. Still, it seems unlikely that those two areas alone will save Hatch with so much of the outstate vote left to come. Considering how popular Hatch was outstate as the AG, I’m astounding by how badly he’s getting his clock cleaned there.

    The reason the statewide offices are so strong for the DFL is that voters who usually go third party are not this time. Kind of surprising given the “pox on both your houses” attitude I was sensing.

    Walz seems poised to win. Most of the remaining vote in probably Gutknecht friendly, but it’s in rural areas that won’t produce substantial numbers of votes.

  2. Guv’s race still not over. Most of the remaining vote is on the Iron Range. I doubt it’ll produce more than 30,000 votes for Hatch, but it’ll be a photo finish.

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