Today is Minnesota’s primary, which has less cachet for Republicans than usual. Kurt Bills won the official party endorsement for the US Senate race in May during the state GOP convention, which often doesn’t mean anything in Minnesota for either party; candidates frequently ignore losses at state conventions to challenge for the official nomination in the primary, as Mark Dayton did in 2010 when he narrowly beat DFL-endorsed Margaret Anderson Kelliher for the nomination on his way to a close victory in the gubernatorial race. This time around, though, Republican opponents to Bills abided by the endorsement, and Bills will merely make his nomination official today.
Bills will challenge Amy Klobuchar for her current Senate seat, and it will be difficult to beat Klobuchar. She has excellent name recognition in the state, has a reputation as a genuinely nice person (which I can confirm as true, in all honesty and fairness), and hasn’t done anything to make herself controversial enough to neutralize those two advantages. In fact, she hasn’t done much of anything at all. That’s the basis of Bills’ first attack ad on Klobuchar, which takes her most notable moment in the Senate and highlights all the problems Klobuchar hasn’t addressed — while focusing on the really important issues, like, er … Twilight. Even Elena Kagan wished she hadn’t gone there:
Bills taught high-school economics, so expect his campaign to heavily emphasize Klobuchar’s total support for Obamanomics, and lack of initiative to address any of its side effects. It’s a measure of how confident Democratic leadership has been in the Senate of Klobuchar’s ability to hold this seat that they haven’t given her anything significant to do in her freshman term, and there’s probably ample reason for that confidence; polling this year has put Klobuchar up 20 points over any other challenger, including Bills. The only real hope here is that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan gain a lot of traction in the state, and that Bills can get the Ron Paul organization that pushed him to a second-ballot victory in May to energize nationally on his behalf. It’s going to be a long shot, but this is a pretty good opening move for Bills.