After dragging Minnesotans through the most expensive senatorial race in history in 2008, it seems unlikely that former Senator Norm Coleman would expect voters to rally around him again. Yet, former Republican Rep. Vin Weber says “he’s certainly thinking about it” and claims that Coleman is “getting a lot of people telling him he ought to do it.” (Politico.com)
Whether Coleman has support from “a lot of people” is debatable. In fact, MPR’s Polinaut reports “Former MNGOP Chair Ron Eibensteiner says in an op-ed that Norm Coleman should not run for governor and throws Coleman’s 2008 campaign team and strategy under the bus. The op-ed doesn’t say if Eibensteiner has endorsed another candidate.” But that doesn’t mean Coleman won’t run anyway.
On November 17, 2009, Coleman made an attempt to return to the national stage when he gave a speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School where he admitted, “Republicans have failed to welcome youth, women, Hispanics and gays” [to the party]. Claiming that America is now “a center-right nation,” he urged Republicans to “do a better job reaching out.”
Coleman also spoke at a GOP fundraising event Saturday, January 9 at the St. Cloud Country Club. Republican Rep. Marty Seifert, considered to be a Republican favorite for governor now that Pat Anderson has dropped from the race, was also there. (Anderson is now running for State Auditor – a race she lost to Rebecca Otto (D) in 2006.)
While Coleman claims he’s not made any decisions about entering the race, the signs are all there that he will run for governor or that he is, at least, banking this time in the spotlight for a future bid. He may heed Eibensteiner’s plea for him to stay out of this one and he may also have read the recent Rasmussen poll which matched Coleman against Mark Dayton (D) for governor. (Dayton, who clobbered Marty Seifert 41% to 25%, beat Coleman 41% to 31%. ) However, his unrelenting – and, some say, embarrassing – performance during his last campaign revealed that his priorities don’t lie with the state of the State of Minnesota. So it won’t be too surprising if Coleman, once again, asks Minnesotans to fund another race for him.
Update: On the heels of the release of the aforementioned poll results, Coleman announced he is not participating in Minnesota’s 2010 gubernatorial race. (TwinCities.com 19 January 2010)