Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Because there are four candidates for the CD6 nomination, I listened to representatives for all four there. Janet Knoblach and the two Knoblach kids got up first for Jim. She was nervous but did a fairly good job, speaking without notes. I thought she spent too much time on their background; we know Jim up here, so this was unnecessary. She also was the longest speaker. Jay Esmay came himself as a former district 15 chair. His delivery gets tighter every time I see him. It was a rather unresponsive crowd with a number of first-time caucusers there, so his attempt to get question/response fell flat. He adjusted though and showed excellent energy. Bill Walsh, who's been about every place you can imagine in Minnesota politics, is now working for Phil Krinkie and pitched for him. Bill's been a communications director and it showed. Bill stayed for the entire caucus, indicating Krinkie is interested in his level of support here. (More on this, below.) Lastly there was some confusion over who would present for Michele Bachmann. Two local guys tried to do so. One went down a couple of of tangents on constitutional interpretation, one-world government and the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. Not a high point of the evening; a college student who I know works with Bachmann was there and we commiserated over the experience afterwards.
An SCSU CR got up and read a letter for Mark Kennedy. The young lady was nervous but the letter was very strong. Local SCSU aviation professor Jeff Johnson spoke as well. Jeff missed out getting the nomination for a state senate run in November and now is back for a run this summer and fall. He's very much a social conservative and spoke with more polish than I had expected.
The precinct caucus was enjoyable because I spoke with people who have been here a lot longer than me and who run in different circles. Between this and a few other conversations, I learned,
- there was a desire in my precinct at least to get Esmay out of the race. Knoblach is part of this old guard, and the feeling was that Esmay has not paid his dues yet. I did point out that Esmay was gaining as much name recognition in the Cities as Knoblach (perhaps more, if this rumor is true) and developing as a candidate, but loyalty for Jim among these people is very strong. I've asked around about this, and it's more than just that little table of neighbors, but I can't tell how strong it is.
- the usual lines about Bachmann ("too narrow") were heard. The Krinkie counterargument? "Too conservative." I got a lot of flak for being against Northstar; most began with the line "I'm a conservative, but ..." I bet these people loved Dave Durenberger.
- biggest applause lines were for the Defense of Marriage Amendment, both in the big meeting at first and among caucus resolutions. Those were the most common printed resolutions I saw.
- this refrain "it will be a tough year for Republicans" has hit meme status. Three candidates used it. You know, I don't think Vince Lombardi would have used this tactic to fire up a football team. Just between you and me? Ditch it.
- many, many newcomers, and a fairly good showing for CRs at SCSU (I did not recognize any CSB/SJU students, and my apologies if I missed you!) Most of these students are connected to Jeff Johnson; the young woman who read the Kennedy letter was also helping Esmay.
It was nice to see so many friends, including one who said, "I didn't know you were a conservative!" I hadn't seen Scholar Jack for several weeks, but he plunked down next to me as if he and I had both come in from our cabins in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Good to see Pscymeistr at the caucus as well; he expects to post his impressions as well.
Categories: politics, Minnesota, St._Cloud