Category: Congressional Races
Posted: 03/16/13 11:09, Edited: 03/16/13 11:09
by Dave Mindeman
It's still very, very early to be talking about 2014 Congressional races, but it looks like the Minnesota Democrats may be in a pretty strong position to contend with the incumbent Republicans this time around.
The Congressional Democrats need 17 seats to retake the majority in the US House. Because of the GOP gerrymandering advantage, that number is tougher than it should be. But it is still a reachable goal and Minnesota could actually end up being ground zero in the battle.
In the past, I haven't been encouraged about Minnesota races. Usually one race will rise to the top, as Cravaack's seat did last year. But the other districts lagged in possibilities. This year I think we have good reason to be very encouraged and are on the verge of drawing some high profile attention from Washington.
Let me explain.
We have three Republican Congressional incumbents in Minnesota. The districts have been tough for Democrats and the incumbents are entrenched....but this year could be different.Michele Bachmann (6th District)
- Although the district is still very, very conservative, Jim Graves made incredible headway in the 2012 election... to the point of actually doing the impossible - shutting Bachmann up. Her low profile since the election is a sign that she no longer thinks of herself as having a "safe" seat. I guess that is both good and bad in a way - good because we don't have as many crazy statements coming from her and bad because we don't have as many crazy statements coming from her. Graves is looking more and more like a repeat candidate. And although Bachmann has reduced the fodder to attack, Graves should have Democratic help from the beginning this time around.
John Kline, (2nd District)
- Mike Obermueller is sounding like a repeat candidate as well. Although he didn't come as close as Graves did in the 6th, he has a district that can be a little bit more Democratic friendly. Mike wasn't able to fully tap into that advantage in 2012, but with more name recognition this time around, he can work it harder. Rumors are also out there, that Mike will have some competition. Another name will probably be announced very soon; and maybe a little friendly competition will be a good thing. If the unlikely scenario occurs... in that John Kline should decide to run for Senate (I still think this unlikely), then the flood gates will open for candidates - and the seat would definitely be ripe for the taking.Erik Paulsen (3rd District)
- There is a very encouraging rumor going around that Paulsen may be getting some very strong Democratic competition this time - a candidate with good name recognition. There is nothing to confirm this....yet....but if this materializes, we may finally have a race in the 3rd that can attract some attention. I have always felt that Paulsen is not a real fit for this district. He has chameleoned (is that a word?) himself to fit the district on the margins; but his votes are still pretty darn conservative and what we need is a vocal, strong opponent that can draw attention to it. Past races have had good candidates that lacked the name and the resources. This could really change in 2014.
So there you have it. A real possibility that Minnesota Democrats could be on the verge of huge attention -- both statewide and nationally. If Minnesota's DFL could end up sweeping the Congressional seats, the chances of a Democratic House go up exponentially.
In the past, this was all but unthinkable. Now....who knows?