Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar

Minnesota is not one of the ten states where Democrats have to hold on to a Senate seat after Donald Trump won in 2016. Weirdly enough, Trump remains deeply convinced Minnesota could have been another of them, if only he'd held one more big campaign rally there, and perhaps insisted Somali refugees in the state were all terrorists. Sadly for Trump, it's not looking like Republicans will pick up either of Minnesota's two US Senate seats this year. November's regular Senate election is almost certain to return Amy Klobuchar for her third term, and the special election for the remainder of Al Franken's term is looking pretty good for Tina Smith, who was appointed to fill the seat and decided not to just be a placeholder. Then again, we know better than to assume ANY seat is safe in this new Hell Universe we've fallen into.

Also, too, can we just say right from the start that if the only thing you want to talk about in the comments is how Dems should have defended Franken to the bitter end, instead of, say, actually discussing Klobuchar and Smith and this fall, we will be very much inclined to glare at you over the tops of our glasses like a seriously disappointed Tommy Lee Jones, because that boat has sailed and wouldn't it maybe be a good idea to focus on 2018 just maybe? Call us crazy for that. We won't be deleting comments for it unless they go full asshole, but a glare? Yeah, you'll get a glare if you go there. Thanks!

That said, let's just say we love Amy Klobuchar because she's she's all-around a terrific senator, an absolute rock on the fight to keep guns out of the hands of stalkers and domestic abusers, and has been one of several prominent Dems who has been out there on the integrity of the Russia investigation and against Trump's SCOTUS nominees. Klobuchar is also the fourth most-popular member of the Senate, with a comfortable 60 percent approval rating and just 25 percent disapproval. While nationally, Republicans took control of the Senate in 2012, Klobuchar won all but two of the state's counties, and won in all of its congressional districts -- including the one then held by Michele McCrazyface Bachmann. They like her in Minnesota. They REALLY like her. See this excellent profile and be glad we have her.

Republicans are putting up a challenger, state Rep. Jim Newberger, who gave a speech at June's state GOP primary where he insisted the "12-year reign of ultraliberal Amy Klobuchar must come to an end" and presented a video in which he claimed she had been "working with people like Al Franken and Tina Smith to destroy America," because sure, that's accurate, you betcha. At the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party convention (they do all three there, so she and Smith are on the ballot as "DFL" not "Dem"). Klobuchar outlined her plans to destroy America:

When we try to do right by people, DFLers, we get results."

She said she wants to bring down the costs of college and airfare, and she wants to take on pharmaceutical companies. She called for the passage of a bipartisan bill aimed at reducing thge price of prescription drug prices for seniors enrolled in Medicare.

Simply terrifying vision, innit? Also, "Jim WHOBerger?"

In the race to fill out Franken's former seat through 2020, Tina Smith also has the DFL endorsement with 75% of the vote, though she still faces an August 14 primary challenger in Republican-turned-Dem(Farmer-Labor too) ethics guy Richard Painter. We have no idea why Painter decided omnipresence on cable TV and his leadership of an effort to sue Donald Trump's pants off over the Emoluments Clause might translate into a Senate seat, and his campaign ads have all been aimed more at Trump than at Tina Smith. He's barely mentioning her, and she's barely mentioning him, but Painter has at least produced the most satisfying ad for pyromaniacs this year (so far), with a spot featuring a literal dumpster fire:

The dumpster fire is Trump, and after the primary, it's unlikely Painter will have any problems doing the whole party unity thing. Honestly, he seems to be running more for the sake of getting the word "impeachment" into the public dialogue than anything else. He's also working diligently to bring attention to the plight of the gravelly-voiced American community. Maybe he and Sherrod Brown could release a spoken-and-pulverized word album.

Smith's likely Republican opponent, Minnesota state Sen. Karin Housley, also easily won her party's endorsement in June but has to win the primary to make it official. Housley's going Full Trump in her own campaign as well. At the convention, Housley accused Smith of putting "the well-being of illegal immigrants above the American people," which is GOP-speak for wanting to fix DACA and thinking it's a bad idea to put toddlers in immigration jails. Smith, for her part, didn't even mention Housley in her DFL convention speech, aiming instead at Trump.

"I am not afraid to stand up to Donald Trump when he and his administration hurt our country," said Smith, a former lieutenant governor and DFL operative. Noting her time as a vice president for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Smith mentioned Trump's recent move to cut off federal Title X family planning funding from organizations that perform or provide referrals for abortion.

"If Trump wants to roll back its funding and block women from the help they need, he'll have to get through me first," Smith said.

Not surprisingly, Housley is portraying Smith's time leading Planned Parenthood, plus her work as Gov. Mark Dayton's chief of staff and then Lieutenant Governor, as evidence that Smith is that most frightening thing in the world, an "insider," although if you want to get all technical about it, Housley has held elective office longer: Housley won election to the state Senate in 2012. And while Smith has been active in the DFL for years, she didn't seek election as Dayton's running mate until 2014, and has only been in the US Senate since she was appointed in December. Horrors! America just HATES people with experience, which is why Trump's team of bumblers (and perennial rightwing insiders, but shhh) is the very best.

Housley is very very sure she'll win, and that this will be the year Minnesota turns red, despite the fact she's well behind in both fundraising and polling. In an NBC-Marist poll released Friday, Minnesota voters went for Smith over Housley by a margin of 49 percent to 35 percent. And no, there doesn't appear to be a lot of Minnesota nice for Donald Trump: his approval rating in the poll is just 50 percent, with 36 percent approving of his job performance. On a slightly different question, 60 percent of respondents said Trump shouldn't be reelected, which is sad news for him. In fact, it has to be fake news, since Trump proclaimed at a rally earlier this month that he's definitely going to take the state in 2020, predicting, "in two and a half years, it's going to be really easy, I think."

That said, there's never any telling how the fall campaign will develop, especially whether big dark-money donors will decide Karin Housley is just the right lady to steal a seat away from Dems. Which is why you should send some money to Tina Smith, and maybe even to Amy Klobuchar if you wanna.

If there's any justice in the world, should the special election tighten, Smith may be able to get some points by reading aloud from Housley's embarrassingly bad 2001 investment advice book, which for some reason was not a bestseller, even with the brilliant title Chicks Laying Nest Eggs: How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street… And How You Can, Too! Among some really unfortunate advice given just before the burst of the tech bubble ("How could [AOL Time Warner] not be the next big thing?"), Housley called for women not to try to be too brainy in investing because their first job is to be wives and mommies, so they should stick to brands they know from the domestic sphere. And for heaven's sake, get Hubby's permission before investing, because naturally men should rule the financial roost (the book is apparently full of brilliant "chick" puns, too). To win male approval for playing in the markets,

"The key is to let him continue to think [money] is his world." Your husband "will try to discourage, or at least belittle" you. He should get points if he "looks you in the eye" after barely listening. Another financial strategy: "Stay perkier than your neighbor," so your husband doesn't run off with her.

Oddly, Housley isn't pushing her success as an authoress in her campaign.

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[CNN / MinnPost / NBC News / Minneapolis Star-Tribune / City Pages / St Cloud Times / City Pages / Amy Klobuchar for Senate / Tina Smith for Senate]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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