'Excitement' or 'dysfunction'? DFL, GOP leaders reflect on candidate filing frenzy

Coming off a day filled with several last minute and surprise election filings, the view for state Democrat and Republican leaders is very different.

“On the Democratic side, in Minnesota, is in complete disarray, discord and dysfunction,” said Minnesota GOP Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan.

“I would describe it as exciting,” said Minnesota Democratic Party Communications Director Kayla Castaneda. “It was definitely a day where we had a lot coming at us, unexpected movements.”

Castaneda says that excitement is the DFL’s biggest strength. Despite multiple rounds of voting and surprise endorsements at the DFL convention this past weekend plus a flurry of last minute fillings for governor, Congress, and attorney general just before Tuesday’s deadline, she believes the party is not divided in how and who will win come the August primary and November election. 

“Our strategy is to be positive, talk about what Democrats are for, what we are doing for Minnesotans, how we are going to improve their lives and making sure we are saying that to Minnesotans in every corner of the state,” said Castaneda.

On the Republican side, division with the party exists as well - in large part because of former governor Tim Pawlenty, who is running for the seat once more. Carnahan says her party’s biggest strength is the history of the last three election cycles and the fact that the state has become more red, especially in rural areas. 

“We are going to be launching the biggest ground game this state has ever seen in over a decade,” said Carnahan. “That means we will have hundreds of people out canvassing this state, knocking on people’s doors, making those phone calls. Knocking on the doors again. Walking in parades. Making that direct one-on-one contact with voters to be able to share with them in an authentic way.” 

Which party has the winning strategy will be up to voters. 

“This honestly is the most important election cycle in Minnesota since perhaps the 1970s,” said Carnahan.

“This is an exciting year,” said Castaneda.