Carol Platt Liebau

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Senator Mark Dayton of Minnesota has backed out of running for re-election.

This is disappointing news -- as Dayton would have been one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the country (as he doubtless knew, or was told). For one thing, he's downright weird -- recently, he was the only person in the Congress to close his office during the recess running up to the November 2 election. He said he didn't want his staffers to be "human shields" -- and incidentally raised fears that there was some "inside" knowledge about terrorist threats that wasn't being generally disseminated.

Even before that, during the Abu Ghraib hearings, he attacked General Richard Myers outrageously -- becoming hysterical at the thought that the military had at one point asked CBS to hold off temporarily on reporting the story because of the potential danger to the troops. (Transcript here.)

Given all this, no wonder the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on Jan. 31 (sorry, can't get the link to work) that his approval ratings had fallen 15 points in just one year to 43% (which is dangerous territory for any incumbent besides Barbara Boxer, apparently -- her ratings have hung around there from time to time, too).

Other than that, Dayton's accomplishments have been incredibly skimpy, and it wouldn't surprise me at all to learn someday that he is not entirely "well."

What a shame. I hate to see him go -- before January of 2007, that is. Oh, well, the Republicans will just have to beat the candidate that the Dems send up in Dayton's place.


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