Saturday, April 22, 2006
5pm: No, I wasn't pushing Pscymeistr aside, I just wanted a bagel before we had to go back. Turns out we only spent one more hour, some of which I spent on the phone to the show. There wasn't much to report, so we kept it short.
First, the BPOU leadership decided to create its own slate of delegates and alternates the previous Wednesday. Psyc will have to comment on that, since he was apparently at the meeting the slate was decided. I asked Rep. Krinkie about this arrangement and he thought it was fine. I am an alternate, so I do get a seat at the big dance in two weeks. That's really all I wanted. From what one person who was in a position to know told me, the Wright County process was much more a train-wreck, but it was difficult for many who came to the convention to understand that their ability to get on the delegate slate for their candidate was quite restricted. A few tried, some succeeded, but the process was unclear.
I missed Sen. Bachmann because I was slowed by some bad food from my trip yesterday. I also missed Esmay, but Psyc has reviews of both of them up already. ("June-Cleaver-on-steroids-smile" needs to be trademarked.) From the delegates I spoke to she had nice things to say about everyone.
I arrived as Knoblach was speaking. Jim's kept the same message time after time: He's the "electable conservative who gets things done." He had by far the biggest contingent there, as you might expect, but I didn't sense huge enthusiasm. Most of the slate of party regulars are old friends of both Knoblach and Esmay, but it's excepted most will vote for Jim unless and until he's out. The plan all along has been to finish second on the first ballot and collect support as he goes along, and talking to him after the convention it sounded like he believes he's exactly where he wants to be.
Krinkie was last, and he showed some emotion and a little anger. He's obviously upset about the Twins vote and wonders how Republican legislators can forget who voted them to office and why. I share his disappointment and anger that the same party that wants a vote on the definition of marriage can't allow taxpayers to decide if $2000 of their money should go to a stadium for a guy who's worth billions. But I doubt that anger played well.
I did get an answer from Rep. Krinkie on yesterday's signing of the pledge -- the Bachmann people handed out immediately a copy of the pledge. (Way to keep it positive, Mrs. B!) I was pretty sure he had a meeting at that time, but he instead is handing out this press release, fairly represented in the news reports. He obviously changed his mind, since he's now signed the pledge at the Wright County convention.
I spoke to Jay Esmay last and I thought he did a good job handicapping the race. (He's also developing a blogging addiction, I see.) I see four possibilities, listed in no particular order:
- Bachmann wins on first ballot. If anyone is going to throw a shutout, it's Mrs. Cleaver. She's been able to rely on a shadow campaign with her students and her church supporters out in front. She has managed to keep her apron on, and most importantly, the other three candidates have acted like she's the frontrunner and trying to get out ahead of her isn't important. She's slamming Krinkie but kissing up to Knoblach and Esmay supporters hoping to convince a few she's going to win anyway and perhaps snag that first ballot 60%. Probability of this outcome: 20%.
- Esmay hangs around. This is really a nightmare for Krinkie and Knoblach, because it will be easy for support to build around Jay. He's done well by being personable -- a quality that the other three don't have as well -- and playing a little "aw shucks" with his underdog status. A 40-30-20-10 first ballot is good for him. If he then gets up over 10% the second round, there is going to be some momentum. If he's enough delegate's second choice -- which given the nastiness of some campaigning is not at all out of the question -- he may very well not be the first guy in the loser's lounge. Probability of this outcome: 10%.
- You don't have to endorse anyone. This possibility comes if Bachmann holds at least 40% but can't get to 60%. If you get late in the day, she has to do the calculus that the convention fails to endorse and she runs against possibly both of the K-boys. That would be good. What might happen, however, if Krinkie were to stand aside for Knoblach, who I've told you all along has no cash problems? I don't think that's an outcome she wants. She should be careful that Phil fans don't get to the point of favoring an anybody-but-Bachmann campaign. It might yet come to that. Probability of no endorcement: 10% and rising.
- The old boys come from behind. The race since mid-March has been to see which of the two Ks will be Last Man Standing against Bachmann. I think this is still the most likely outcome, at 60%, but I cannot at this point handicap which of the two wins out. There's little doubt that one will throw support to the other -- while they've been at each other's throats for the second place finish, they have some affinity ideologically and both think Bachmann would lose the general, so they'll in the end do what's needed to prevent that. The question is whether or not they can keep their people together enough to not let her get over the 60% on the subsequent ballots. I think it's the most likely outcome. But which one goes down first? A month ago I was sure it was Knoblach losing out to Krinkie. Now it's looking more like the other way, but that could just be my view from St. Cloud.