Minneapolis Mayoral race gets its first Republican. Kind of.


There’s a Republican running for Mayor of Minneapolis, and I’m going to rock your politicoblogging world with my next statement:

Cam is a great guy, and I have nothing but good things to say about him. If he were running as a DFLer, then darn it, I’d have to strongly consider cutting him a check.

But he’s not, and I can’t (yet). And I feel really badly about it, because he’s the kind of person we should be encouraging to get deep into policy issues like these, especially by running for office and serving in the public interest. But the GOP has yet to demonstrate that its party platform — a set of principles that candidates are obliged to support — has anything to offer the people of Minneapolis. The city has improved in many areas under R.T. Rybak, and candidates to succeed him would do well to continue his legacy and keep the ball rolling on his policies.

That is unlikely to happen if anyone with an (R) after their name is somehow inexplicably elected to the Mayor’s office, regardless of how awesome the candidate is personally. Perhaps, if some impossibly rare scenario played out in which a candidate like Cam proved himself to be the most legitimately progressive and personally capable candidate in the race, then I would reconsider. But, you know, impossibly rare.

The main reason I’m bringing it up is because Cam’s candidacy presents a really interesting challenge for the Republican Party in the Twin Cities. The party already has big problems appealing to urban voters because everything about them — their platform, their candidates, their rhetoric — drips with disdain for city-dwellers and the urban lifestyle. The Republican Party getting behind a candidate like Cam Winton would necessarily do one of two things:

  1. Break the back of the Tea Party movement, at least in and around the Twin Cities, because they would never, ever, ever support a candidate with as many decidedly liberal views as Cam, and would see their power reduced significantly if the GOP supported Cam despite their opposition, or
  2. Deprive the Republican Party of any claim to political consistency, thanks to a craven willingness to support anyone, anywhere if they thought it could help attract some donations to get their sorry tuchuses out of debt.

I’m not sure if either of these is particularly better or worse than the other. I honestly can’t see the GOP actually endorsing a candidate like Cam, which is really too bad because he’s a great guy with a lot of great experience, knowledge, and smarts to throw at big jobs like this.

But that’s his party’s problem, not ours.