Is it just that I've watched too many elections come and go in the last 60-plus years, or has the process gotten too long and too vicious?
I pondered that question as I sat down to write about an election season that seems to have gone on forever, with many, many attack ads and questionable happenings by candidates, both local and across the country.
For example, a few days apart recently there were endorsements for those running for governor in Minnesota. Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, responded to a request from Gov. Tim Walz for an endorsement and did so in a rambling two-minute speech. And Donald Trump endorsed Walz's opponent, Scott Jensen, unbeknownst to Jensen who thanked Trump but didn't seem too excited by his endorsement.
As I heard about those endorsements I wondered if either one would help the campaigns of Walz or Jensen.
Ventura labeled himself a statesman as he went on and on, telling us why he was endorsing Walz, even though he disagreed with him on some things. You may remember that Ventura won the 1998 election with only 37% of the votes in that election, and that he declined to run for another term, probably because polls showed that a very low percentage of Minnesota voters would back him. And he then moved to Mexico, making sure to be there for six months and one day of the year (he made sure to tell us that through the years). And he has come up with some conspiracy theories since then that boggle the mind.
Trump? Why would you want his backing if you were Jensen? Trump is still proclaiming to the world that he won the 2020 election, that it was stolen from him. Two years later he can't accept that he was beaten, the many, many lawsuits filed all being turned down, some by judges who were appointed by Trump. The committee that studied the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol has shown us evidence that he conspired, even before the election, to tell us that the election was stolen, as well as taking documents from the White House to Florida that he shouldn't have.
Maybe Ventura or Trump can garner a few votes for their chosen guy but it likely won't be many.
Which poll do you believe? A few weeks ago a respected poll showed Walz with an 18-point lead over Jensen. Not long ago there was another poll, lesser known, that had the two exactly even. And this week I have heard that Walz is a few points ahead of Jensen again. So I don't pay much attention to those polls, which are sometimes on the money and sometimes way off. Besides, they've never called me.
Then there is the case of a sitting governor refusing, for the first time in 40 years according to WCCO-TV's respected longtime political reporter Pat Kessler, to participate in a statewide televised debate with his opponent. I've heard Kessler, and a couple other radio types, comment on that situation. I even had an ardent DFL voter pose the question of whether or not Walz is running from Jensen. I'm sure Walz's strategists suggested he not participate in such a debate, thus giving Jensen a statewide vehicle to criticize Walz. I think Walz should have participated in such an event, Kessler and others noting Walz has become more and more reclusive as his term goes on, instead of being very open as he promised before the last election. Some will note that reclusiveness when they go to the polls but perhaps not enough to make a difference.
And, although it isn't an election item, there is the case of the husband of U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi being attacked with a hammer by an intruder who broke into the Pelosi home in California. San Francisco police say they saw the assault when they arrived and reportedly have it on tape from a body camera. And yet there are people from the right wing hinting the attack really didn't happen.
Roger Stone, a buddy of Donald Trump, called it an "alleged attack" and said there was a "stench" about the reporting of the incident. Mr. Twitter, Elon Musk, said this on Sunday: "There is a tiny possibility there might be more to his story than meets the eye." Dinesh D'Souza, a right-winter I've never heard of, suggested on Twitter that the attack on Paul Pelosi was a form of intentional misrepresentation. "The Left is going crazy because not only are we not BUYING the wacky implausible Paul Pelosi story," D'Souza wrote on Twitter, "we are even LAUGHING over how ridiculous it is." And the Santa Monica Observer newspaper said that Paul Pelosi was drunk at the time of the assault and "in dispute with a male prostitute." Musk later deleted a tweet referring to that comment and would not respond to an email seeking comment.
Let's make it clear that I am not a Nancy Pelosi fan. But what happened to her 82-year-old husband is reprehensible. And it's a hint to what is happening all around the country these days. Remember the "Hang Mike Pence" chant during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C.? Then we had U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer from Minnesota's Sixth District on a talk show last Sunday. He was asked about a tweet he had posted two days before the Pelosi attack. The tweet showed Emmer firing a weapon and there was a caption included that said he was enjoying exercising his Second Amendment rights and it said Nancy Pelosi should be fired. He refused to answer a question about whether or not the gun was the right method to get his opinion across. I happened to be watching and his performance was pathetic.
Many in the Left have drifted farther to the left and many in the Right have drifted farther to the right. I keep hoping that will change.
Vikings will be tested this month
Most fans of the Minnesota Vikings likely think their team should beat the 4-4 Washington Commanders in Sunday's game in D.C. The Vikings are 6-1 and well ahead of the rest of the Central Division at this time and are a 3-point favorite in the betting odds.
The Commanders have had a resurgence lately with back-up quarterback Taylor Heinicke, a former Viking for two years, at the controls for the last two games of a three-game winning streak. I liked Heinicke when he was with Minnesota but they let him go and he'll get his 18th start for the Commanders.
The Vikings made a big move this week when acquired tight end T. J. Hockenson from Detroit. He has had good games against Minnesota and should have quite a presence with the team, both as a blocker and as a receiver. The offense should be more varied.
One thing bothering some Minnesota fans, and certainly some of the media, is that the Vikings, despite a favorable schedule, haven't been winning by large margins. I took a look at their schedule and found that the six teams the Vikings have beaten have a combined record of 18-29. The only team over .500 in that group is Miami and the Vikings beat the Dolphins when their starting quarterback was sidelined. The Vikes' only loss came to an 8-0 Philadelphia team that is considered one of the top three teams in the NFL right now. And the next four games, beginning Sunday in D.C. are against teams that have a combined 20-11 record.
So the November schedule should give us a good idea of where the Vikings stand.
Oct 31, 1957 - Princeton beat Braham 43-7 and finished 8-0. It was the first undisputed conference championship since 1937 when Eliger Southard, father of 1957 co-captain Dick Southard, was captain. Dick Southard scored four touchdowns against Braham, including an 88-harder on the opening kickoff. He averaged 9.8 yards per cary on the season. Gary Ruis averaged 8.4 and brother Roger Ruis 6.2.
Nov. 1, 1962 - All-conference in football were Dean Hansen, Neal Hofius, John Wesloh, Roger Smith and Steve Lindell . . . Princeton beat Ogilvie 32-6 to finish as the undisputed conference champion. Rick Hobert (8 carries, 81 yards) was the leading rusher.
Nov. 2, 1967 - Princeton's unbeaten string went to 15 with a 6-0 win over Elk River. Tom Enger scored the touchdown. Princeton stopped Elk River on the Tigers' 12 to end the game . . . Five from Princeton placed in the district Punt Pass & Kick competition. They were Cyril Kapsner, Wally Fox, Tom Rogde, Jim Cartwright and Kevin VanHooser.
Nov. 2, 1972 - Princeton won its Homecoming game over Foley 26-14 as Pete Teigen, Chuck Young, Pat Tierney and Jim Cartwright scored touchdowns. Cartwright (5 carries, 68 yards) and Tierney (7 for70) were sophomores.
Nov. 3, 1977 - Princeton beat Milaca 34-7 as Steve Blaske (14 carries, 147 yards) topped the 100-yard mark for the sixth straight game and had an 80-yard touchdown run. Dan Murphy ran for 110 yards.
Nov. 4 1982 - Brad Wesloh caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from Brian Dorr as the Tigers lost 24-6 to Chisago Lakes, Rum River co-champs . . . Princeton beat North Branch in volleyball to end the season as Rum River champs with a 9-0 record. Barb Blomberg and Annette Schimming each had six kills.
Oct. 29, 1987 - Princeton beat St. Cloud Cathedral in volleyball as Lisa Hartmann had 10 kills . . . Princeton finished 3-6 in football with a 38-0 loss to North Branch, its third straight loss in playoff games.
Oct. 29, 1992 - Princeton beat Chisago Lakes 28-0 in the playoffs as Brad Petersen scored 22 points and Jeremy Snow threw for three touchdowns . . . The volleyball team beat Mora and Pine City, setting up a match with North Branch that would likely decide the RRC title.
Oct. 30, 1997 - Princeton led 13-7 going into the final quarter but lost 20-13 to Duluth Central in a section semifinal football game. Jason Kral recovered a Central fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and Matt Wilhelm (81 yards) ran for a touchdown. Joe Nelson caught 4 passes for 91 yards . . . The volleyball team beat Cambridge and Fridley and the 20 wins were the most ever by a PHS team.
Oct. 31, 2002 - The PHS football team beat Hibbing 47-26 in a section semifinal game, scoring seven times in the first nine possessions and had the ball for 11 more minutes that Hibbing. The defense shut down heralded Hibbing quarterback Eli Tintor,who signed that spring with the Minnesota Twins, by intercepting four passes. Adam Miron scored four touchdowns, ran for a two-pointer and kicked two extra points.
Oct. 25, 2007 - The football team beat Big Lake 35-14 and then drew the Hornets in the first round of the playoffs and won 35-12. Phillip Klaphake threw a 72-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Fay on the first play of the game in the first game and Klaphake ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns and Pat Pelzer ran for 94 yards and a touchdown. Pelzer ran for two touchdowns in the second game and Klaphake ran for one and threw a 32-yard TD pass to Casey Milesko . . . Kim Kafka set a new school record in the 100-yard butterfly in a match with Cambridge.
Oct. 25 2012 - The boys cross-country team placed second in the Granite Ridge meet as Ryan Yonak placed eighth and made all-conference . . . The girls soccer team (13-3-3) had a 2- 0 lead over Cloquet but lost in a shootout in the section semifinals. Cloquet then won the section title.
Oct. 26, 2017 - The girls cross-country team placed fourth in the Mississippi 8 Conference meet as Lexi Duscher placed sixth, Lili Opay 14th and Katie Bauman 16th as all three made all-conference. Ryan Young was 14th for the boys team and also made all-conference . . . The girls soccer team lost 4-1 to North Branch in section semifinals, the lone goal coming on the ninth goal of the season by Ashley Tibbets.
(Dorr is the former editor of the Princeton Eagle (2 years) and Princeton Union-Eagle (31 years), and has written about sports in the area for the past 54 years.)