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Tina Smith didn’t show up for her debate with Karin Housley on KSTP last night.

On the one hand, this is the time of the race went under dogs in challengers get that notion, all too often mistaken, that “this could actually happen!”. It’s a time in many races when hearts of plucky challengers start on the road to getting completely, utterly, totally crushed.

On the other hand – this is been an interesting week. The polls in the eighth congressional district jumped 15 points in favor of Pete Stauber as, I suspect, the likely voter model became clearer. The star Tribune “Minnesota Paul” show the governor’s race is very, very tight, and we’re hearing anecdotal reports that Collin Petersen and even Amy Klobuchar are having to actually work, this year.

That in mind – it’s common political wisdom that debates never benefit front runners – all you can do is screw up. At this point in the race, is Tina Smith playing the prevent defense, watching out for last minute flubs?

Fingers crossed, here.