The Magazine

Gopher Begins with GOP

Should Minnesota go Republican?

Jan 12, 2004, Vol. 9, No. 17 • By BARRY CASSELMAN
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All of this bodes well for President Bush. The Dean organization, as elsewhere, has been visible and highly energized in the state, but Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, and Lieberman supporters here seem more than routinely skeptical of their party's likely nominee. This has intensified since the capture of Saddam Hussein. The Bush reelection organization, for its part, is busy replicating the very capable Coleman 2002 grassroots effort, and is likely to maximize the already strong support for the president in rural and suburban Minnesota. The latest published polls indicate the president has expanded his support level from about 50 percent to almost 60 percent.

The main impediment to Republican control of the state is increasingly the Independence party, now rid of Jesse Ventura and trying to occupy the political center. Unless that party recruits a compelling leader/candidate, however, we may soon see 2002-2004 as the beginning of a Republican era in what used to be one of the country's most reliably liberal states.

Barry Casselman, the national political correspondent of the Preludium News Service, writes a column for the Washington Times.