The Minnesota DFL is estimating 14,585 people attended DFL precinct caucuses on February 4 – a total which would beat the turnout at precinct caucuses for Republicans in Minnesota. The number should be warning sign for Republicans.
In my pre-precinct caucus primer, I encouraged folks to compare the number of total attendees at precinct caucuses for the DFL and GOP. If the numbers were close, I wrote this could be a sign of malaise amongst Republican activists. Even with multiple candidates not abiding by the Republican Party of Minnesota’s endorsement for statewide offices, Republicans should have more attendees at their precinct caucuses.
The Minnesota DFL has only one contested statewide race, as Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is not seeking re-election. Governor Mark Dayton and U.S. Senator Al Franken faced no opposition within the DFL Party. At the time of percent caucuses, there were 12 Republican statewide campaigns – six for governor and six for the U.S. Senate. Republicans also have contested endorsement races in the 6th, 2nd, and 1st Congressional Districts of Minnesota. The battles between the Republicans candidates for congress and statewide office should encouraged more participation by Republicans on the night of precinct caucuses than Democrats. But it seems the Minnesota DFL won the night.
In previous years, the Republican Party of Minnesota, promoted and encouraged attendance at precinct caucuses with e-mails, phone calls and mailings. But this year, less was done by the Republican Party of Minnesota to promote precinct causes. In the days before and after precinct caucus, the Republican Party of Minnesota mailed a new “annual report” to activists in Minnesota, but the traditional statewide mailing promoting precinct caucuses was not sent.
The Republican Party of Minnesota is claiming the attendance at this year’s Lincoln-Reagan Dinner was the largest number in the history of the event. But for Republicans in Minnesota, the question should be this: Would you rather have record turnout at a private fundraising event featuring a Republican elected official from another state or record turnout at public events featuring Republican candidates running for office IN Minnesota? The answer is easy: Republicans should want a strong show of support for their candidates in Minnesota.
But an estimate shows that two incumbent Democrats running for re-election, encouraged more attendees at precinct caucuses for the Minnesota DFL, than did 12 Republican candidates for these same offices, at precinct caucuses for the Republican Party of Minnesota. Republican advocates of the caucus system should be concerned, as there isn’t enough lipstick in the state for that messaging pig.