Josh Kraushaar writes the umpteenth appraisal of former Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) chances for a political comeback:
The conventional wisdom, fueled by an AP report today, is that he’d be a logical candidate and likely front-runner to succeed Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) in the governor’s mansion.
I wrote much of this back in June, but it hasn’t stopped being true: Coleman is not that popular. He’s run for statewide office three times, losing twice, and winning only after his opponent, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), died in a plane crash and was replaced on the ballot by former Vice President Walter Mondale. Coleman’s clever and delicate 11th-hour campaign against Mondale was impressive, but it still only netted him 49.5 percent of the vote in a very good Republican year. The last Minnesota poll, conducted in April by the Star-Tribune, gave him a 17-point net negative favorable rating. And for much of 2007 and 2008, he was considered the heavy favorite for re-election, considering Al Franken’s long record of potentially controversial jokes, a strange tax issue (he failed to pay taxes on speaking fees in different states) and his difficulty uniting the Democratic base. (After Franken locked up the Democratic nomination at a state convention, he drew a bitter primary challenger who attacked him for his “record of pornography and degradation of women and minorities” and drew 30 percent of the primary vote.)
Add this to Coleman’s ongoing legal problems and considerable debt and it’s really quite strange that reporters handicap his chances for a comeback in an election only 16 months away.