MINNESOTA 10 Electoral Votes

To put some perspective on 2004 it helps to note that Republicans won both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in 2002 and the Bush had made Minnesota a tight race in 2000.  The 2002 Senate race was particularly intense following the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone during the campaign, and Norm Coleman's surprising win.  Bill Amberg, DFL communications director, states,

"We heard for two years (really four) about how Minnesota was becoming Republican/conservative and how the Democrats/liberals were in decline in this Democratic/liberal state.  A cursory look over the last 50 years of Minnesota political history would show that this analysis of Minnesota was stone cold wrong, but no one ever bothered to look up the simple fact that in the heyday of Hubert Humphrey and Orville Freeman the state legislature was always GOP-controlled and most governors were GOP.  Pawlenty may have won the governor's office in 2002 due to the four-way race, but if Wellstone had lived, Norm Coleman would be selling used cars right now.

"Starting in 2003 but then really gathering momentum at our Super Tuesday caucuses, the MN DFL grew by an unprecendented level...  We had 58,000 precinct caucus attendees, whereas 12,000 was about the top turnout over the last 20 years.  The number of NEW and YOUNG people that became involved this cycle was truly amazing.  Three-quarters of our state convention delegates were new; over 30% of our national delegates were under age 35!  Fundraising topped $1 million from small donors in Minnesota for the first time in party history."

Republicans made a strong push as well.  During the final three days of the campaign, over 11,000 volunteers made phone calls, knocked on doors, and made the case for the President Bush.  Over four days the unpaid volunteers made 983,222 phone calls and knocked on 345,299 doors.  However, the campaign had a number of hurdles to overcome as Chris Faulkner, who directed the Republican Victory effort in Minnesota, notes,
  • Large slices of the behavioral Republicans chafed under the President's social conservative message.
  • The Iraq war was deeply unpopular here and again hurt in Republican areas as well as firing up liberal activists.
  • CAFTA was painfully unpopular with rural voters in northwest Minnesota (sugar beets).
  • Minnesota also has the longest unbroken streak of voting for a Democrat for President in the nation.  Not since Nixon's landslide of 1972 has a Republican won its electoral votes.
  • Minnesota was one of just a handful of states where Kerry improved upon the Gore victory margin.  The Democratic margin went from 2.4% to 3.5%.  Some 389,702 more votes were cast in the race for president (an increase of 16.0%); Bush improved upon his 2000 total by 237,036 votes (21.4%) and Kerry obtained 276,748 more votes than Gore had (up 23.7%), while Nader's total shrank from 126,696 votes (5.20%) in 2000 to just 18,683 votes (0.66%).  For Republicans success statewide often depends on holding the western suburbs of Hennepin County and doing well in southern Minnesota.  Amberg point out that the Democratic ticket made gains around the state.  For example, on the northern border, Koochiching County (International Falls) went to Bush in 2000, but Kerry carried the county in 2004, despite a rally by the Cheneys in International Falls on October 28.  "The Republicans always make a big play for northern Democratic votes and always fail to move anyone," stated Amberg.  Olmsted County in Southeast Minnesota (home to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester) is the fastest growing area of the state.  Kerry did better than any Democrat in memory in Olmsted County.  (In addition two of three Republican-held state house seats fell to the DFL candidates, and the third seat the DFL came within 311 votes of winning, or a 51-49% race).  Edina -- the quintessential wealthy Republican suburb -- went for Kerry, the first Democrat ever to win there.  Success was not limited to the top of the ticket.  Amberg states, "In 2004 we also had an amazing surge at the state House level, defeating 14 Republicans and going from 53-81 to a near tie, 66-68."  [All 134 state House seats were up.  The state Senate was not.]  Overall in Minnesota, Kerry beat Bush by +98,000 votes; state House Democrats ran at +120,000; and U.S. House Democrats  ran +193,000 votes ahead of the Republicans.

    Amberg sums up,

    The Republicans made a huge run for Minnesota, with Bush/Cheney making 25 personal visits in four years, a tremendous amount of resources, Coleman and Pawlenty campaigning everywhere, cabinet secretaries with big checks weekly, and it didn't work.  They lost ground.  I don't know if it was the "do nothing" state House that created an undercurrent that hurt Bush, but I think Bush got the "war-time prez" benefit of the doubt vote here in Minnesota he did across much of the electorate.
    Bush-Cheney '04 Kerry-Edwards 2004
    Organization details...  details...
    BC'04 Executive Director: Ben Whitney

    Victory 2004 Director: Chris Faulkner

    Republican Party of Minnesota
    State Chair: Ron Eibensteiner
    Exec. Director: Corey Miltimore
    Office: 525 Park St. Suite 250, St. Paul

    KE State Director: Roy Temple

    Coordinated Campaign Director: Jennifer Siems Ford

    Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Laborer Party
    State Chair: Mike Erlandson
    Exec. Director: Jennifer Siems Ford
    Office: 255 E Plato Blvd, St. Paul 

    Travel  compare...
    Final Month (Oct. 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
    George W. Bush - 3 visits (3 days)
    Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 4 visits (4 days)
    Laura Bush (solo) - 0 visits
    John Kerry - 2 visits (2 days)
    John Edwards - 5 visits (5 days)
    Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 0 visits
    Elizabeth Edwards (solo) - 3 visits (3 days)
    Eight Months (March 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
    George W. Bush - 8 visits (8 days)
    Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 7 visits (7 days)
    Laura Bush (solo) - 3 visits (3 days)
    John Kerry - 7 visits (8 days)
    John Edwards - 7 visits (8 days)
    Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 1 visit (1 day)
    Elizabeth Edwards (solo) - 4 visits (4 days)

    Newspaper Endorsements source: Editor & Publisher
    Saint Paul Pioneer Press  (10/31/04)
    Bemidji Pioneer  (10/24/04) >
    Star Tribune  (10/17/04)
    Duluth News Tribune  (10/17/04)
    St. Cloud Times  (10/29/04) 
    The Free Press (Mankato)  (10/17/04)
    Also: The Rochester Post-Bulletin had a "no-endorsement" endorsement of Kerry that was noteworthy given the publisher's conservative bent.

    More Endorsements
    Saint Paul Mayor Randy Kelly (DFL)   --08/02/04
    Elected in 2001; previously served in the Minnesota State Senate representing District 67 and chairing the Senate Transportation Committee.  Worked at 3M for ten years and recently worked with his brother in a small family-owned business.
    Winona LaDuke, Ralph Nader's 2000 and 1996 running mate   --10/13/04
    Member of the Anishinaabe nation who lives on the White Earth Reservation in Northwest Minnesota (Mahnomen, Becker, and Clearwater Counties). 

    Third Party and Independent
    State Coordinators
    Nader: Danene Provencher
    Cobb: Michael Cavlan, Jenny Heiser
    Badnarik: Cisse Spragins

    More Candidate Visits
    October 26-27, 2004
    Oct. 26 Evening campaign speech at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.
    Oct. 27 Morning press conference at the Ramada Inn Thunderbird Convention Center in Bloomington, MN.

    September 16, 2004
    Press conference in Campus Center followed by campaign speech in The Weyerhaeuser Chapel at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN.
    Campaign speech in Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota-West Bank Campus in Minneapolis, MN.

    April 20, 2004
    Panel Discussion: "A Conversation about Corporate Responsibility," Q & A and book signing at Campus Auditorium in Rochester MN.
    Speech: "The Current Climate for Corporate Responsibility," Q&A and book signing at Rochester Century High School auditorium in Rochester, MN.

    September 20, 2004
    After overnighting at the home of Dean Zimmermann and Jenny Heiser in South Minneapolis, David Cobb did an environmental tour of Minneapolis, with stops scheduled for Gluek Park, Mill Ruins Park and the Arsenic Triangle; he visited the Green Institute and held a press conference nearby with local candidates; and he spoke at a rally at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.

    October 10, 2004
    Michael Badnarik spoke at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.

    Copyright ©  2004, 2005  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.

    The 2004 Campaign on the Web--Minnesota  11/01/04
    Republican Party of MN
    MN Democratic-Farmer-Laborer 
    Party      www.dfl.org
    Libertarian Party of MN
    Green Party of MN
    Constitution Party of MN
    Independence Party of MN