Old-line political operative Jim Goff, part of the short-lived Kelly Doran for Governor/Senator campaigns, apparently is mounting a one-man effort to draft U.S. Rep Tim Walz for the Senate race.
Goff, who did not return reportersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ phone calls or emails, has been circulating a draft petition that would pit the first-term Rochester congressman against his former benefactors, humorist Al Franken and attorney Mike Ciresi.
WalzÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s congressional and campaign staff have emphatically (and repeatedly) said that their man is not interested in entering the Senate race and is intent on winning re-election in the First District.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are really, really focused on re-election in the first,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Walz campaign manager Richard Carlblom. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s very flattering to even be considered, but Congressman Walz is really dedicated to re-election in his own district in 2008.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Carlblom noted that both Ciresi and Franken helped Walz in his upset victory over Republican Gil Gutknecht in 2006 and that Walz Ã¢â‚¬Å“is good friends with both of them.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Andy OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Leary, executive director of the state DFL, said heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d seen a copy of the petition — but knew of no one who had signed it or who intended to sign it. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve had no contact with Mr. Goff,Ã¢â‚¬Â OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Leary said.
Walz has been high on politicos’ radar since his win in what had been a Republican district, but a serious draft attempt would face a major hurdle: a Walz Senate run would leave Dems without an incumbent in the first district and vulnerable in what is already a targeted race for Republicans.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I do know from my conversation with Walz and his staff that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s committed to running in the first district,Ã¢â‚¬Â OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Leary said. “In our minds, this [petition] is a nonstarter.”