Senate Key Race: Minnesota
November 7, 2006
Democrat Klobuchar Wins Senate
Amy Klobuchar easily defeated Republican Rep. Mark Kennedy,
becoming Minnesota's first elected female senator.
Republicans had seen the seat left open by retiring Democratic
Sen. Mark Dayton as a prime opportunity. But exit polling
found that the war in Iraq was a major issue for Minnesotans
-- a boon for Klobuchar who focused on Kennedy's continued
support of President Bush's policies in Iraq. "Today you
had the chance to raise your voice for change, and you did
it," Klobuchar said in her victory speech Tuesday night.
August 1, 2006
Scuffle for Open Minnesota
Senate Seat Leaves Two Standing
2006 is a critical year for Democrats who wish to take back
the Senate majority -- needing a net gain of six seats to
take control. So when incumbent DFL Senator Mark Dayton
announced early 2005 that he would not seek re-election
after one term -- blaming his plummeting approval rating
-- a frenzy of candidates jockeyed for a head start in the
race, including Republicans eager to hinder the Democrats'
bid for a majority.
Once viewed as a solid state for the Democrats, Minnesota
is very much a state up for grabs. Currently, the state
has a Republican governor, one senator and four representatives
for each party, and a narrowly split state legislature.
First to enter the fray was 6th district Republican Mark
Kennedy, touted as an up-and-coming star after having won
and defended his swing district in 2002 and 2004. Rumors
of his run for the Senate had been swirling well before
The DFL nominated candidate is elected Hennepin County
Attorney Amy Klobuchar. Although her campaign slightly trails
Kennedy's in fundraising, early poll numbers show her leading
in the polls. Klobuchar has nearly sealed her DFL bid once
her leading opponents Patty Wetterling and Ford Bell withdrew
from the race.
Although both campaigns have stayed "clean" from
any mudslinging -- based on just the first round of television
ads -- Klobuchar's numbers can be attributed to her work
trying to link Kennedy to President Bush, who lost Minnesota
in 2004 by just 3 percent, but has seen a falling approval
rating. Kennedy's first campaign ad countered by introducing
him as an independent thinker who won't blindly vote along
Both have opposition in the September primary, but are
expected to win.