Tuesday, July 26, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR: A New Elizabethan Age?

If the front-running finalist to be the next British prime

minister wins the mail-in election now underway, both

the head of state and head of government in the United

Kingdom will be named Elizabeth.

Queen Elizabeth II is already the head of state, and 

Elizabeth “Liz” Truss would become the head of


The postal election by 160,000 qualified Conservative

Party voters is the final phase of the process by which

a successor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who 

recently resigned, will be chosen. A series of votes

among Conservative (Tory) members of Parliament has

now narrowed the original eight candidates to two.

Mail ballots will be tallied by September 5, and the 

winner will become prime minister on September 6.

Truss, the current British foreign minister, is opposed

by Rishi Sunak, the former finance minister. Truss

was generally considered the winner of their televised

debate just held, and leads by a big margin in a poll

just taken.

Truss considers herself to be a conservative in the

tradition of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher,

and advocates lowering taxes. She is also a strong

supporter of Ukraine in its current war with Russia.

A Johnson loyalist, she did not resign as Sunak did,

and her support from other Johnson loyalists, was

key to her becoming a finalist.

Originally an opponent to Brexit, the British withdrawal 

from the European Union in 2020, Truss became a strong

supporter of the controversial action that succeeded

in a national vote. Brexit still has much support among 

Tory members of Parliament.

Should she become prime minister, she would not have

to face the whole British electorate for two years — 

when the five-year term won by Boris Johnson is ended

and a new election will take place. Johnson and the

Tories won a decisive victory over the Labour and

Liberal parties three years ago, but recent polls indicate

that Labour now leads the Conservatives among all



Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

THE PRAIRIE EDITOR : A Minnesota Special Election

The August 9 primary elections in Minnesota will feature 

an unusual double election in the state’s First District 

congressional .contest.

The incumbent, Congressman Jim Hagedorn passed away

in February, triggering by state law a special election the

same day as the normal state primary day, August 9.

On the same day, CD-1 voters will choose party nominees

for the same seat in the regular election on November 8.

To make the voting even more complicated, the recent

redistricting boundaries required every 10 years by the

national census will produce different ballots in some

areas of the old and new district. Those voters living in the

old CD-1, but now in CD-2, will be able to vote in the

special election on August 9, but not  in the CD-1 general

election primary on the same day.

While CD-1 has in recent years sent both Republicans 

and Democrats (in Minnesota called Democratic-Farmer-

Laborites or DFLers) to Congress, the mostly rural area

is generally conservative and is rated as slightly

Republican. The largest city in the district, Rochester, 

however, votes heavily DFL and makes the district

more and more competitive. 

In addition to the two major parties, there are two minor

parties on the CD-1 ballot, the Legal Marijuana Now

Party and the Grassroots-Legalize Cannabis Party.

Although each of their vote totals is usually very small

in November, their number could affect the outcome if

the election is close between the major candidates.

Since the two minor parties’ candidates run on very

liberal issues, they likely diminish the net total vote of

the DFL nominee more.

In the June CD-1 special election primary, FDA

official and former state legislator Brad Finstad

defeated several GOP opponents for his party’s

nomination. Former Hormel Company CEO Jeff

Ettinger defeated several opponents for the DFL

nomination. Political observers generally agree

that each party nominated its most electable


A published poll by a DFL pollster has Finstad

leading 48-47 with 5% undecided (4.5% margin of

error), but all national pundits rate the race strong

or likely GOP.

In another cycle, this race might be more competitive,

especially with a quality DFL candidate like Ettinger,

but 2022, the primary voting indicates, shows voter

enthusiasm of Republicans is notably greater —

caused no doubt by President Biden’s declining

popularity in Minnesota and elsewhere. With GOP

voter registration exceeding the Democrats’ number,

and two left-leaning minor party candidates on the

ballot, the Republican is favored in the special


On the other hand, turnout is traditionally low  for

primary days, and the district is divided enough, for

surprise results. But clearly Brad Finstad has the

advantage in the 2022 cycle.


Copyright (c) 2022 by Barry Cssselman. All rights reserved.