U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’s victory in the recent caucus straw poll may have been bigger than it appeared, from a delegate perspective. Here’s some data compiled by a DFL operative close to the gubernatorial campaign: Walz won 88 organizing units; State Auditor Rebecca Otto, 21; Rep. Erin Murphy, 5; former St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, 2; other candidates, none.
In other words, his caucus support was wide, winning seven of eight congressional districts (despite Otto claiming that she won her home 6th, she didn’t).
His support was also deep in some places — Walz ran up the score in many organizing units, especially his home First Congressional District. That’s how you score big delegate hauls for the state convention. (Recall the long battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, when Obama racked up delegate hauls in small states in which he dominated the caucuses. It’s closer to a winner-take-all scenario.)
The same DFL source said the count from early last week — all in greater Minnesota — had 45 delegates awarded, with 34 strong Walz and six leaning for Walz. Long way to go, but if you consider superdelegate support for Walz, the momentum is clearly moving in his direction.
Also, Coleman dropped out last week. Although Otto argues she will consolidate the rest of the party against Walz, Coleman’s announcement would seem to be to Walz’s benefit. They were competing for the same building trades endorsements, which should now move to Walz in what will likely be a “Stop Otto” movement, given her positions against mining and pipelines.
Jeremy Munson won the special election in southern Minnesota last week to replace fellow Republican Tony Cornish in the state House, and he won easily, running about even with President Donald Trump’s 2016 result.
This points up a problem for the DFL: The House GOP’s ruthless greater Minnesota messaging — DFL equals city slickers who don’t care about you or your people — continues to work. And/or the DFL’s standing in districts in greater Minnesota has quickly collapsed for myriad possible reasons. President Barack Obama lost the Munson district by just 3 points. Gov. Mark Dayton lost by just 2 points. But now their party is in a 15-20 point hole.
If this trend continues, the DFL would have to run the table in the suburbs, beating some longtime, well-known incumbents, to win back the majority either this year or in 2020.