Mark Dayton despite a 10 plus point lead in recent polls narrowly beat Margaret Anderson Kelliher in the DFL primary for governor. I spoke with a Minneapolis DFL politico who was supporting Kelliher. Asked him who he thought would win the primary and he said Kelliher because of her ground game. It almost happened.
The feeling among Republicans is Dayton will be the easier target in the general election. Dayton has personal issues and is much more radical on wanting to raise taxes than even Kelliher and Entenza were. I ran into Entenza last weekend and Dayton's tax proposal is one of the things he said to distinguish himself from Dayton.
That said, Dayton and liberal groups will pour boatloads of money into the campaign and his name is a household name to lots of Minnesotans.
I don't think Dayton will be able to avoid the public scrutiny he did in 2000 when he ran against Rod Grams for the US Senate. I recall then he was no where to be found publicly. He just ran tons of ads and avoided public appearances. Today, he won't be able to do that as easily and he'll have his record as a US Senator to live down. I recall it was reported in Time magazine that he was rated one of the five poorest US Senators.
It should be an interesting race for governor. The contrast between Dayton and Emmer will be great.