Senate race is another example of money's pervasive influence With the primary fast approaching, recent polls on the Democratic Senate race are highlighting a disturbing reality about our election process: The candidate with the most cash is pulling away from the pack.
Although a quarter of the respondents are still undecided, Mark Dayton is off to a big lead over opponents Mike Ciresi, Jerry Janezich and Rebecca Yanisch. It doesn't appear to be coincidence that Dayton is the candidate who has spent the most on advertising, with a wave of TV commercials that have been popping up with unprecedented frequency for a primary campaign.
In fact, the spending spree staged by Dayton and Ciresi, combined, dwarfs that of any primary campaign seen before in Minnesota.
The more traditional primary campaign aids -- party endorsement and grassroots support among activists -- don't appear to be helping DFL-endorsed Jerry Janezich. While the support of party elite isn't the best way for a candidate to ride to victory, either, it's a better engine than financial clout.
Dayton may or may not be the best Democratic candidate for the job. But his aggressive spending, fueled by his immense personal fortune, makes him the favorite for the candidacy, regardless of his qualifications. Few would question that Dayton has the best of intentions, but in general, when the rich use their wealth to control the political process, the wrong people can rise to power because they can afford it.
Perhaps the typically low voter turnout seen in primary elections will aid Janezich, since his supporters are probably the most faithful.
But the best scenario for everyone would have voters learning about the candidates by their own observation and research, not relying on ads that only represent the biased views of the candidates who muster the most money.
--The Albert Lea Tribune
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