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Answer to 6th District: Unorthodox Strategy or Chop It to Pieces

Category: Michele Bachmann
Posted: 07/19/09 12:04, Edited: 07/19/09 12:49

by Dave Mindeman

Ah, the 6th District of Minnesota -- home to the strangest US Representative in the country; and also home to the craziest form of electoral politics on record.

In 2010, it will be more of the same. Rest assured, the Congressional Democratic caucus will target Michele Bachmann again. They will assume the biggest loon in the land of the Loons has to be vulnerable. And under normal political circumstances they would probably be right. But the 6th District is still searching for their rational definition of normal political circumstances.

Here's the skinny. As Bachmann continues her zany antics, the Democrats are getting ready for a multiple candidate fight to challenge her. Three candidates are emerging. Dr. Maureen Reed came out early seeking the DFL endorsement, even though her only foray into politics was as a Lt. Governor candidate for the Independence Party. Elwyn Tinklenburg is again seeking endorsement for the third time. He lost to Patty Wetterling the first time. And got the endorsement the second time (along with a dual endorsement with the Independence Party), but lost in the general election, even though he was handed a fund raising windfall near the end of the campaign. And, this time around, State Senator Tarryl Clark is set to join the fray. The popular St. Cloud Senator and deputy majority leader in the Senate has the credentials to be a normally strong DFL contender. However, she is taking her normality into a thorougly abnormal situation.

In 2008, Elwyn Tinklenburg seemed to be in a good position. He won the DFL endorsement outright and was also handily endorsed by the Independence Party. But, since his name could only appear once on the ballot, the primary offered an opportunity for someone else to step in on the Independence side -- and someone did. Given the fact that the Independence Party has absolutely no party discipline and only slightly more party structure, Mr. Bob Anderson entered his non-descript name into the primary and, of course, won. And with a minimal campaign, Mr. Anderson got 10% of the vote in a very close election, sending Michele Bachmann back to Washington to continue embarrassing Minnesota.

But the insanity is not going to end...no way. Heading into 2010, we have more Bachmann favorable conditions developing. As the 3 DFL contenders move ahead, the scenario has multiple end points. Dr. Reed has strong Independent Party ties and would be the favorite to get their endorsement. Tinklenburg and Clark would be the favorites for the DFL endorsement -- and if either one wins, we will probably be left with Reed staying on the ballot for the Independence Party. And based on the strong fundraising numbers that Dr. Reed is showing, that will, again, split the anti-Bachmann vote to an even greater degree than 2008. End result? Bachmann wins again.

You know.....DFLers might want to consider something. To win in an offbeat district, you might have to use an offbeat strategy. Maybe, just maybe, the best scenario is to support Dr. Reed as the DFL endorsee and continue that support through the primary. She might have enough influence to keep another name off the Independence Party primary ballot and thus unite the vote against Bachmann. It is a counterintuitive move because Tinklenburg and Clark are good candidates...strong candidates. But when you are dealing with the 6th District -- normal doesn't seem to work.

Note for the people redrawing district lines....please chop this district up into tiny little pieces.

comments (3) permalink
07/20/09 20:09
As a Republican campaign volunteer for Democrat Patty Wetterling in two elections, I've concluded that the only viable strategy to defeat Bachmann is to shut her down in the September Republican primary -- but that cannot happen if there are contested Democratic races in the 6th District U.S. House or Minnesota gubernatorial races.

Bachmann's Achilles' heel is not her outrageous political rhetoric or delusional conspiracy theories; it endears her to her base. Bachmann's Achilles' heel is Minnesota's open primary system, which allows Democrats and Independents to vote along with reasonable Republicans against Bachmann in the Republican primary.

In 2008, barely 19,000 of the 6th District's more than 430,000 registered voters turned out for Bachmann. Anyone with the means and ability to mobilize 20,000 voters from across the political spectrum in the Republican primary can beat Bachmann.

More detail and number-crunching for my Beat Bachmann strategy at Immelman (dot) US (slash) news (slash) How-To-Beat-Bachmann.

07/20/09 10:48
Or how about the DFL doesn't run a candidate and makes sure that there is no DFLer in the primary. Then the they put all their money behind Reed for the IP. That seems to me to be the only surefire way voters in our most conservative district will vote out Bachmann
07/19/09 13:14

The ?Anderson effect? may be less this time.
I suspect that many of the Dean Barkley / Bob Anderson voters were brought to the polls for the Presidential race and then had to make choice on Congress ? so it was ?anybody but Norm(Michelle) / Al (El). Without a President / Senate race, the turnout will be lower.
The bad news is the turnout motivation will be by the MCCL / NRA side which will help the MN-GOP. Second, the issues will favor Bachmann ? they may not be voting for her, but for her opposition to tax increases. Third, the ?Coleman?s stolen election? will make every MN-GOP voter want to make sure their vote does count ? and defeat Mark Ritchie.

All that said, if I were advising Senator Clark, it would be to hold off this cycle until she can piggyback on Klobuchar?s re-election coattails.
Yes, endorse Dr. Reed ? she can talk the issues and has the credentials to be viable (and may not be as easy to smear as Tink was.)

The problem will still remain with the IP. As I recall, Bob Anderson got on the November ballot by running unopposed in the IP primary when the party endorsed Tink. Unless the party has a way to refuse to put the party name on the ballot, there will be another ?Bob Anderson? in 2010. . Heck, I will bet that ?Lizard People? would have gotten as many votes as Bob Anderson if ?LP? had been on the ballot instead of ?EL?.



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