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As others see it: Another blow to party endorsements

Mark Dayton's primary victory over Margaret Anderson Kelliher in the DFL governor's race was razor thin, but substantial enough to avoid a recount.

As Dayton works to rally the rest of the DFL to him and fend off Republican attack ads, it is time for DFLers and Republicans too to look at their endorsement procedures and figure out why it is so hard for the candidate they endorse each year to get on the ballot. Republicans ought to think about it as well.

Anderson Kelliher won the party endorsement over a handful of challengers, but Dayton and Matt Entenza had bypassed the caucuses and the state convention route, planning on going to the voters in the primary for approval.

In 1978, when Rudy Perpich (DFL) and Wheelock Whitney (Republican) made hash of the party endorsement system. Perpich ousted Warren Spannaus and Whitney beat Lou Wangberg to set up a governor's race of candidates that were not their parties' first choices. In 1990 Gov. Arne Carlson, who was the incumbent governor, bypassed the Republican party endorsement when it appeared his own party was taking a "Right" turn to endorse Rep. Al Quist. Quie crushed Quist in the primary and won re-election.

Political party leaders sometimes seem to lose connection with the rank and file members, the people they rely on to go vote for them. When that happens, party endorsements can lose their effectiveness.

New Ulm Journal