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1-1-2002

Hard to Ignore

Dear Political Diary, 

Happy New Year! Last night's feast of crackers, cheese, shrimp, chocolate truffles, Australian port and classic 1930's movies was followed by a good night's sleep. That's a good start for 2002.

I read the paper and discussed last night's movies with Claudia in the sunroom. By coincidence, It Happened One Night (1934) and 39 Steps (1935) both featured autogyros. They were early versions of the Marine Corps' Osprey with both helicopter and plane propellers. 

I had forgotten that "Night" was a Frank Capra picture. It was every bit as delightful as I'd remembered. In fact, I would have taken another Capra movie, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," if it hadn't already been checked out of the public library.

39 Steps, the Hitchcock classic, hinted at the dark forces which were gathering over Europe after Hitler's accession to power and Casablanca (1943), our third flick, showed a world weary yank defying the storm after its unleashing. 

Later I polished off "Founding Brothers" so that I could add it to my reading list as the first book completed in 2002. The last chapter dealt with John Adams's ill luck in succeeding Washington as President. The poor guy had to be in charge when they closed a high school. It was all he could do to avoid war with France.

The premature vacancy in Sam's senate seat has frozen me out of the competition but left an interesting chess game for political junkies. Our ambitious new House member from western Duluth, Dale Swapinsky, is the most likely candidate. The most formidable candidate would be Samís wife Yvonne, a well-regarded ex-Duluth City Councilor. Other lesser names have been bruited about.

Dick Day called to tell me that the GOP was eager to challenge Dale but inclined to throw in the towel should Samís wife file. If Swapinsky was the only candidate Dick Day was ready to help my favorite county commissioner Joanne Fay. It would be an expensive thirty day campaign. However, if Yvonne files then Day will sit out the election. Joanne Fay would also sensibly shrink from a contest against Prettner-Solon.

I hope that Yvonne does run because Daleís victory would insure that two new incumbent DFLers would be sitting come November. This would happen because Daleís far western house seat would automatically be picked up by some other Democrat after Dale moved on to the Senate. Its much better to let Yvonne fill Samís seat and wait to see what redistricting brings.

I donít know if Yvonne would run for reelection in the Fall but I know I wouldnít run against her if she did. On the other hand, if she abandoned the seat in the Fall to Swapinsky Iíd be quite willing to run against Dale. Of course, running for any House seat would be my best chance at election. I could be pitted against my old rival/friend Mike Jaros, or Tom Huntley or even, perhaps, a vacant office should either of these two incumbents retire.

The Senate holds more prestige but since it will likely remain in DFL hands I wouldn't have much influence. The House, on the other hand, is likely to remain in Republican hands and this would give me some leverage Iíd never have in the Senate. Frankly, The GOP needs me to soften some of it's hard ideological edges. Besides, Duluth could use some legislative clout with all the seniority our area is losing in St. Paul.

I have a feeling that I would be hard to ignore.

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