I normally wouldn’t do this, but I wanted to share with you a memo from my campaign adviser that will give you an idea of the strong position that we are in. We have momentum on our side and I hope you’ll help us continue by:
- Donating $25, $50, or more today so we can continue sharing our message with voters across the state!
- Pledging your support and joining our growing team.
- Joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about our campaign.
I appreciate your continued support.
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Jon Seaton, Senior Advisor
RE: Caucus Analysis and State of Governor’s Race
Last Tuesday night, some 14,000 activists attended precinct caucuses across the state of Minnesota. Six candidates for governor appeared on the straw poll ballot.
While everyone acknowledges that straw polls are not necessarily predictive of future success, they are without question a good gauge of organizational strength and the extent to which a candidate’s message is resonating with the most active voters in our party.
In this case, the straw poll has added meaning given the fact that many of the participants have now been elected to their BPOU Conventions and will ultimately play a role in determining the Republican Party Endorsement at the State Convention in May.
Having had a few days to analyze the results, we wanted to share with you some observations:
- Three candidates (Thompson, Johnson and Farnsworth) have pledged to abide by the Republican Party endorsement. Dave Thompson was the top vote-getter amongst these candidates.
- It is unclear whether or not delegates are aware that Marty Seifert has refused to abide by their endorsement; he did so in 2010 and his change in positions has not been well publicized.
- While Marty Seifert may attempt to spin his 2nd consecutive straw poll victory as a boost to his campaign, the facts tell a somewhat different story.
- Rep. Seifert’s claim that he just entered the race for governor in November rings hollow when one considers that he has been running for governor since 2009, and was actively seeking support for a 2014 as early as July of this year.
- Rep. Seifert may wish to downplay his 2009-2010 campaign, but regularly cites polls taken comparing him to Governor Dayton, back when he was a candidate 4 years ago.
- Rep. Seifert is actually moving in the wrong direction; in 2010, he garnered over 50% of the total straw poll vote in a 7-way race. In 2014, he dropped over 20 points to 28%, despite the presence of fewer candidates on the ballot.
- Meanwhile, Dave Thompson, appearing on a statewide ballot for the first time on Tuesday night, performed well in his base areas in the 2nd Congressional District, but also showed very strong support in other delegate rich BPOUs which will send the most delegates to State Convention.
- In Wright County, the state’s largest BPOU, Dave Thompson garnered twice as many votes as his nearest competitor, winning over 34% of the straw poll ballot.
- In Carver County, Dave Thompson again won big, besting Marty Seifert by over a 4:1 margin.
- Dave Thompson also was the top vote getter, by a wide margin, in Senate Districts 31, 35, 37 and 39.
- So while both Marty Seifert and Dave Thompson both performed well in their “home turf,” Dave Thompson has expanded his base into new areas of the state, despite having never appeared on a statewide ballot before Tuesday night.
What Does This Mean?
- Dave Thompson and Marty Seifert have emerged as the top two candidates vying for the GOP Endorsement in May.
- While Marty Seifert received more straw poll votes on Tuesday, the makeup of the electorate and the distribution of delegates tilts the board slightly in Dave Thompson’s favor.
- For example, the aggregate total of the BPOU’s carried by Dave would translate to 937 delegates at the State Convention. The aggregate total of BPOU’s carried by Rep. Seifert would translate to 774 delegates.
- Rep. Seifert’s straw poll vote victory was driven by strong performances in Greater Minnesota. For example, his 92-vote win in Lyon County would translate to 11 delegates.
- Dave Thompson carried the 31st Senate District BPOU by 119 votes. This would translate to 40 delegates at state convention.
- Furthermore, only Dave Thompson has effectively expanded his support outside of his natural base.
- Add to that the downward trajectory of Marty Seifert’s performance from 2010 to 2014, compared with Dave Thompson’s status as a first-time statewide candidate, a picture emerges that shows Dave Thompson in prime position to capture the GOP Endorsement in May.
The Road Ahead
- Dave Thompson’s strategy has never wavered: organize at the precinct and BPOU level, capture the GOP Endorsement in May, and continue to build a winning campaign organization, in partnership with the RPM, to win the Republican nomination in August.
- Marty Seifert now finds himself in a similar position to where he was in 2010: with a straw poll victory but structural deficiencies that put him at a disadvantage in the larger endorsement battle.
- In 2010, sensing his weakness, Marty Seifert engaged in a nasty, divisive campaign that did horrendous damage to the eventual Republican nominee.
- A positive campaign that refrains from personal attacks and gutter politics will serve our party well as we rally around our endorsed candidate following the State Party Convention in May.