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According to the Secretary of State’s website, it’s clear that Rick Nolan will defeat Jeff Anderson and Tarryl Clark. He’ll meet Chip Cravaack in the general election this November.

With 423 of the 812 precincts in the 8th District reporting, Rick Nolan had 13,850 votes, followed by Tarryl Clark with 10,843 votes, with Jeff Anderson getting 10,323 votes.

In other primary news, it appears as though Dave Osmek will defeat Connie Doepke in the SD-33 GOP primary. Osmek leads Doepke by 107 votes with all 39 precincts counted. This will trigger an automatic recount.

Cindy Pugh defeated 11-term incumbent Steve Smith by 1,302 votes. Pugh got 70.3% of the vote, trouncing Smith. This wasn’t a surprising outcome. I wrote here that Smith got trounced by a similar margin at the endorsing convention.

Karin Housley won the SD-39 GOP primary, defeating Eric Langness by a 1,941 to 945 margin.

Finally, Al Quist defeated Mike Parry in the First District GOP primary. With 601 of 695 precincts reporting, Quist led Parry by a 11,213 to 9,697 margin.

In all probability, this marks the end of Tarryl Clark’s political career. She lost to Michele Bachmann in 2010 by a 53%-40% margin in a race that wasn’t that close.

Now she’s lost as a carbetbagger living in Duluth. She moved there because she would’ve gotten beaten like a drum had she filed for a rematch against Michele.

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This morning, Tom Hauser hosted a debate between Rick Nolan, Jeff Anderson and Tarryl Clark. His first question for Tarryl was whether things had changed in the Eighth District. Here’s Tarryl’s response:

TARRYL: Well, it’s a very diverse district, going all the way from just north of Forest Lake all the way to International Falls. And I think he sold them a bill of goods. He said he was running to change how Washington was being done and he was going to create jobs. The only jobs I’ve seen him create have been overseas, including some in China.

I’d love hearing Tarryl explain how Chip’s ‘Buy American Steel’ amendment created jobs overseas. I’d love hearing her explain how his work on getting PolyMet open is creating jobs overseas.

Tarryl’s troubles have started when she thought she could say anything and get away with it. The reality is that Tarryl’s helped strengthen China’s economy:

In addition to the environmental groups like the NRDC and the Sierra Club, unions like SEIU have also joined an umbrella organization (the BlueGreen Alliance) to lobby for federal funding for “green” projects. Collectively, these groups have been involved in hundreds of lawsuits with the federal government over stopping fossil energy projects. Key political appointees at the DOI are former employees of the NRDC and other environmental groups.

The BlueGreen Alliance’s lobbying stopped the Keystone XL Pipeline in its tracks. Tarryl’s ties to the BlueGreen Alliance are extensive and troubling.

Let’s see Tarryl explain how an organization she’s had extensive ties to killed union construction jobs. The truth is that she’s tied to the militant environmentalist movement, a movement that’s killing jobs.

Tarryl’s “I’ll fight for you” mantra is fiction. She won’t fight for the Eighth District. She’ll fight for the organizations that’ll support her campaigns. That hasn’t changed throughout the years.

Chip didn’t “sell them a bill of goods.” That’s Tarryl’s specialty. Chip told the miners that he’d fight to make PolyMet a reality. He’s kept that promise. It isn’t Chip’s fault that President Obama’s EPA and Gov. Dayton’s MPCA and Alida Messinger’s Conservation Minnesota keep attempting to shut down the mining industry.

After the KSTP debate, Tarryl stopped past WCCO to be interviewed by Esme Murphy. Here’s that video:

During the interview, Tarryl took a shot at DFL Chairman Ken Martin for not vetting the candidates before the endorsing convention. That’s sour grapes on Tarryl’s behalf. It’s up to the delegates and the candidates to vet the candidates.

Here’s reality: Tarryl isn’t a good fit for the district. While it’s true that they’d elected a Democrat since WWII prior to the 2010 midterms, it’s equally true that they’ve elected pro-life, pro-Second Amendment liberals. That isn’t who Tarryl is.

It’ll be interesting to see who wins Tuesday’s DFL primary. I don’t have a great read on that primary. If Tarryl wins, Ken Martin will praise her effusively. If Tarryl is defeated, however, she will have burned a ton of bridges within the DFL.

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This ad proves that Tarryl Clark is definitely taking off the gloves in going after Rick Nolan:

This means that the gloves aren’t just officially off. It’s proof that Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan threw the gloves into the corner of the ring before putting on brass knuckles. This article tells ‘the other side’ of the story:

Nolan says former Gov. Rudy Perpich appointed him to establish the center, which he says he did on a volunteer basis for four years before accepting a paid position in 1986. Clark claims that as head of the center Nolan fought for a $200,000 bonus and one of the highest taxpayer salaries. Nolan says the ad is “dishonest.”

“It’s disappointing you now to have someone who moves into the district, comes in with outside money and start denigrating the accomplishments of our governor, Rudy Perpich, and all those who served him, myself included,” Nolan said in an interview. “We’re very proud of what we were able to accomplish at the World Trade Center and make no apologies for it.”

If that’s Rick Nolan’s best response, he’s sunk. Tarryl won’t hesitate in going for the jugular, then ripping it out. If he thinks the DFL machine in the Eighth will save him, I hope he’s prepared for retirement.

If Tarryl’s known for anything, it’s that she’s relentless. I don’t know if Nolan is prepared for that.

We’ll find that out Tuesday.

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True to her colors, Tarryl Clark’s ad says that, if she’s elected, she’ll fight for people:

Tarryl saying that she’ll fight for people is a hallmark of her campaigns. That’s code for saying she’ll fight for the special interests that support her during the campaign. Mostly, it means that she’s a shill for the special interests.

This news report highlights the unusual nature of this primary:

This article highlights the fact that the DFL in-party sniping is starting early:

According to Clark, it’s a necessary move, after the pro–Cravaack TV ads, paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, began airing weeks ago.

“With the United States Chamber of Commerce running ads for him for weeks, it’s important that voters are getting to hear directly from me, so that they know that, indeed, they’re going to have someone who’s on their side, and fighting for them,” said Clark.

“It’s no wonder that Tarryl has to be up this early, and spending all this money on Television. She’s got to convince people that it was a good idea for her to move here, from St. Cloud, just to run for office,” said DFL Candidate, Jeff Anderson.

“Having just moved into the district to run for Congress, and being very behind in the race, she obviously thinks that spending a lot of money on a big media campaign is the way to win the election. And, it’s not going to work,” said DFL Candidate, Rick Nolan.

Meanwhile, Chip will detach himself from the race to a large extent. Instead, he’ll keep tending to the district’s needs.

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If this Weekly Standard article is accurate, and I think it is, the American people’s frustration with President Obama is starting to seep out:

a couple dozen protesters held up signs like, “Out of Hope, Ready for Change,” “Debt Slavery,” “Obama’s Blvd. of Broken Promises” and “Bye Bye on Nov. 6th.” Some of them were calling out something that your pooler couldn’t hear. They were kept behind a yellow police tape far out of view of Potus or his donors.

That isn’t to say that these signs weren’t made by anti-Obama activists. It’s quite possible that they were. Still, it’s the first article I’ve read where activists have protested at one of his campaign events.

Think about this possibility. President Obama’s fundraising numbers have been disappointing. This spring, protest votes in the Democratic primaries have taken the luster off The One. Recent polling shows President Obama in trouble in key states. Couple those things with yesterday’s protests. I think those signs point to a summer of frustration for President Obama. It certainly isn’t a stretch to think that the American people’s frustration with this administration will spill out this summer.

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I’ve been suspicious of the Florida polling because it didn’t reflect the big crowds that Newt was attracting. This morning, I wrote about a credible poll that showed Newt leading. Jim Hoft has just posted Greta’s interview with Florida AG Pam Bondi. It’s today’s must reading. Here’s the scary part of Greta’s interview:

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who’s fighting to repeal ObamaCare appeared on Greta, tonight, defending RomneyCare. She says Romney’s health care plan is not the same as ObamaCare and, in fact, Romney’s plan reduces costs. She goes on to say that Romney wants all states to impose similar laws (including mandates) and that she is all for it.

She went on to explain that she’s going to be on Romney’s Health Care Advisory Team when he’s president!

It’s clear that Romneycare is what AG Bondi was talking about. It’s clear that she had her Romneycare chanting points. I didn’t hear her say, though, that Mitt wants the 50 states to implement Romneycare.

That said, it’s clear that Mitt’s defense of Romneycare isn’t just to save face. It’s clear that he truly believes in it.

It’s clear through this video, though, that Mitt isn’t interested in moving us that far away from O’Care. If that’s the case, we’re in serious trouble.

I’m predicting now that, barring something totally unforeseen happening, Mitt won’t win the Florida GOP primary. Romneycare is as unpopular as O’Care, meaning this interview will hurt Mitt’s chances Tuesday. I’d bet the proverbial ranch that the Gingrich campaign and Florida’s extensive TEA Party network will spread this information from the Panhandle to the Keys.

Couple this unexpected revelation with conservatives’ reaction to Wednesday’s attempt to destroy Newt’s campaign and you’ve got a potent argument that Mitt shouldn’t be our nominee.

Mitt’s gone too far in attacking his opponents. Mitt’s a Massachusetts liberal. Now he wants the states to implement Romneycare. Those aren’t the things that add up to a Florida primary victory.

PS- It’s worth noting that Ms. Bondi isn’t the first Mitt surrogate to hint that Mitt isn’t interested in getting rid of O’Care. Earlier this week, Norm Coleman said that they wouldn’t repeal all of O’Care, a statement that Mitt quickly distanced himself from.

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The opening paragraph to Paul West’s LA Times article is the key to understanding Newt’s momentum throughout Florida:

As Newt Gingrich draws large and enthusiastic Florida crowds ahead of next week’s primary, Mitt Romney is appearing before significantly smaller throngs.

That’s the big overview point. It goes on, though:

While Romney spoke Wednesday morning at a metal distribution facility in Orlando, 300 unused chairs remained stacked off to the side. That was more than the number of people he attracted, no more than 250 in all.

Though Mitt attracted more people than usual, it doesn’t compare with Newt’s crowds:

Gingrich is riding a spurt of momentum after his victory in last weekend’s South Carolina primary. He has now passed Romney in polling ahead of next Tuesday’s Florida primary, the first big-state test of 2012.

The former House speaker drew enormous crowds on Tuesday in the Sunshine State, the final one attracting more than 5,000 people. On the same day, Romney drew about 150 people to a closed speech in Tampa and addressed about 300 people outside a foreclosed house in southwest Florida later in the day.

The crowd of 5,000+ was in Naples. Let’s remember that Newt attracted 3,000+ in Sarasota the same day. According to Mapquest, Sarasota and Naples are situated 115 miles apart. That means they’re culturally different, too.

Those crowds are translating into strengthened national poll ratings, too:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters shows Gingrich with 35% of the vote, representing an eight-point increase in support from last week. Former Massachusetts Governor Romney now draws 28%. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum’s support is little changed at 16%, while Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 10%.

Rasmussen’s Florida polling isn’t comforting to Mitt, either:

Less than two weeks ago, Mitt Romney had a 22-point lead in Florida, but that’s ancient history in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Following his big win in South Carolina on Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich now is on top in Florida by nine.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Republican Primary Voters, taken Sunday evening, finds Gingrich earning 41% of the vote with Romney in second at 32%. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum runs third with 11%, while Texas Congressman Ron Paul attracts support from eight percent (8%). Nine percent (9%) remain undecided.

Mitt needs a big debate performance Thursday night. He needs Newt to stumble, too. If that combination of events doesn’t happen, Mitt’s likely staring at another defeat next Tuesday.

Mitt could’ve shrugged off South Carolina if he hadn’t gotten hammered so thoroughly there. Instead, this map tells the story of South Carolina. Mitt lost 43 of South Carolina’s 46 counties. If Newt wins a solid victory in Florida, a state that’s fairly dissimilar to South Carolina, Mitt’s pitch to contributors will get more difficult.

It’d put Mitt’s electability and inevability arguments on their death beds, too. Republicans that can’t sweep the South and can’t win in Florida can’t win a general election. There goes Mitt’s electability argument.

With only 3 states having voted, it’s foolish to argue that we’re at a tipping point, approaching a do or die moment for Mitt’s campaign. That said, it isn’t a stretch to say that we might be watching the slow motion, not-that-subtle picture of the dynamics to the race changing.

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FNC has declared Newt Gingrich the winner of the South Carolina GOP Primary. I expected Newt to win but I didn’t see this coming.

UPDATE I: Newt’s scheduled to be on 3 Sunday shows. According to this article, he isn’t going on ABC or FNS:

ABC’s “This Week” – 2012 GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

NBC’s “Meet the Press” – 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich; Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.

CBS’ “Face the Nation” – Gingrich; former Gov. Haley Barbour, R-Miss., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

CNN’s “State of the Union” – Gingrich; Santorum; Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C.

“Fox News Sunday” – House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; Stuart Stevens, campaign strategist for 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

UPDATE II: WHOA. When FNC went into their last break, Mitt was leading Newt 38%-33%. When they returned from break, Newt was at 36%, Mitt at 33%.

I know that polls fluctuate as vote totals come in but that’s a major shift. It’s an indication to me that Newt must’ve done exceptionally well in the conservative part of the state. That isn’t good news for Mitt.

PS- Stuart Stevens has been replaced with Mitt himself tomorrow morning.

UPDATE III: Mitt’s unravelling onstage. This is tragic. He’s now attacking Newt for “not having run a business and not having run a state.” This won’t play well. There will be a backlash against Mitt’s spoiled brat attitude. He should’ve been gracious.

UPDATE III: I’m not alone in thinking Mitt’s speech was ill-received:

Romney launches into the usual Obama-bashing, saying he wants to “fundamentally transform” the United States. He says he’ll finally balance the U.S. budget. It all gets the requisite applause—the promise to repeal Obamacare, the rage against his strategy of “appeasement”—but it feels fairly rote. Now Romney is tying President Obama with an unnamed candidate—Gingrich—who “has not run a business and has not run a state.” He accuses people who attack him—Gingrich—as attacking free enterprise. “We have seen a frontal assault on free enterprise,” Romney says, adding we expected it from Obama, but not from within his party. “The Republican Party doesn’t demonize prosperity, we celebrate success within our party.”

Americans will demand “a real choice,” Romney says, between the forces of freedom and prosperity and Obama, “and I think they’ll choose us.” He says the battle over job credentials is “a battle we can win.” Obama says other candidates—Gingrich—who “demonize” prosperity are doing Obama’s work. Then he promises to fight “in every state.”

And that’s basically it. Wow. Earlier tonight, I said that I thought Romney needed to turn in some sort of a humanizing performance tonight, that he had to give a little something extra of himself to defuse the characterization of him as an emotionless money-raising machine. He surely didn’t do that. In the minutes since the speech, the Romney campaign has already announced more appearances for Romney in the media, including a Tuesday speech intended to counter President Obama’s State of the Union address, laying out his plan for the nation. I’m not so sure that any of that matters, unless Romney can manage to change the way he delivers his message.

Mitt’s spoiled brat side is showing and it isn’t appealing. If Mitt doesn’t adjust his presentation, he’ll lose the support of alot of independents.

UPDATE IV: Here’s the video of Mitt’s spoiled brat ‘concession speech’:

Mitt’s bad-mouthing of Speaker Gingrich starts about 4:20 into the video. If Mitt’s right in thinking that conservatives want a candidate with a fighting attitude. Mitt’s crazy if he thinks that conservatives want a candidate who’s in fight mode against the primary winner during what’s supposed to be a moment of humility and graciousness.

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According to this article, the attacks launched by Mitt and his surrogates yesterday didn’t have the affect they’d hoped for:

The seesaw Republican primary has tipped again in a poll conducted Wednesday night, giving Newt Gingrich the lead in the South Carolina primary.

Gingrich reversed the momentum of Mitt Romney who had an expanding lead in the same poll Sunday night.

Gingrich’s 32 percent to Romney’s 29 puts the two inside the poll’s 3.8 percent margin of error, but the 11-point lead Romney held in the Sunday evening survey has evaporated. And Romney’s strength had been building after wins in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

The polls were conducted by InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research. Wednesday’s was conducted for the Augusta Chronicle and the Savannah Morning News of 718 registered voters who said they were voting in Saturday’s GOP primary.

I wrote this post yesterday that Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent unleashed a bitter, over-the-top attack against Speaker Gingrich:

Rep. Molinari characterized Newt’s leadership style as “leadership by chaos.” Later in her remarks, she blamed Newt for Bob Dole’s defeat in 1996 and for House Republicans losing 5 seats in 1998.

When the NYTimes’ Ashley Parker asked if Rep. Molinari was actually blaming Newt for Dole’s defeat, Rep. Molinari quickly backpedaled, saying that turnout should’ve been better than it was. It’s interesting that she blamed that on Newt, not the utterly unexciting Bob Dole.

There’s no denying that Newt’s time as Speaker was tumultuous. Similarly, there’s no doubt that Bob Dole lost because he wasn’t an inspiring presidential candidate. Blaming Sen. Dole’s defeat on Newt is absurd.

That wasn’t the only time that reporters questioned Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent:

When a reporter said that the last they’d heard from Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent was when Newt was riding high in the polls, Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent tried explaining that it’s just coincidence. When the reporter asked if their reappearance wasn’t an admission that Mitt’s losing ground in South Carolina, Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent insisted that they were just worried that Republicans would lose on all levels if Newt became the nominee.

In Holly Bailey’s opinion, their reappearance wasn’t coincidental:

Romney’s comments came a little more than an hour after his campaign hosted a conference call with two of Gingrich’s former congressional colleagues—Jim Talent, a former senator and congressman from Missouri, and former Susan Molinari, a former representative from New York—who repeatedly trashed Gingrich as an “unreliable leader.”

They went so far as to claim that Gingrich was responsible for Bill Clinton winning re-election in 1996—suggesting Gingrich’s “leadership by chaos” contributed to the poor public opinion of Republicans that year.

“He made himself the issue all the time,” Molinari told reporters of Gingrich’s tenure as speaker of the House. “The focus is always Newt, and when the focus is Newt the Republican Party loses.”

This isn’t the first time the Romney has hosted a conference call trashing Gingrich. On Dec. 8—as Gingrich began to surge in the national polls—the campaign hosted a similar call with Talent and former Sen. John Sununu to criticize the former speaker’s leadership in Congress.

Asked if reporters should interpret Romney’s remarks and this morning’s call that the campaign sees Gingrich as a threat to Romney’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney’s aides dismissed the question. One aide, who declined to be named, insisted the campaign was merely using Gingrich’s comments as a way to further contrast Romney’s record with Obama’s.

Mitt’s thinly-veiled attacks didn’t fool anyone. Well, hardly anyone. Newt started regaining momentum in South Carolina during Monday night’s debate. That’s the debate where Newt was fantastic and Mitt was defensive the entire night.

While it wasn’t Mitt’s worst night, it certainly was one of Newt’s best nights. Newt’s smackdown of Juan Williams will be talked about for a generation. His smackdown of Ron Paul was stellar, too.

Since then, Mitt’s campaign has noticeably stumbled. Rep. Molinari’s and Sen. Talent’s over-the-top rhetoric was only surpassed in foolishness by Mitt’s foolish argument that tax policies don’t affect job growth and wealth creation.

If Newt wins the South Carolina Primary, he’ll gain more momentum heading into Florida. With Gov. Perry likely dropping out after Saturday’s primary and with Sen. Santorum starved for cash, Florida is essentially shaping up as a 2-man battle.

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I just finished participating in a hit job conference call conducted by former Rep. Susan Molinari and former Sen. Jim Talent.

Rep. Molinari characterized Newt’s leadership style as “leadership by chaos.” Later in her remarks, she blamed Newt for Bob Dole’s defeat in 1996 and for House Republicans losing 5 seats in 1998.

When the NYTimes’ Ashley Parker asked if Rep. Molinari was actually blaming Newt for Dole’s defeat, Rep. Molinari quickly backpedaled, saying that turnout should’ve been better than it was. It’s interesting that she blamed that on Newt, not the utterly unexciting Bob Dole.

It’s interesting that they blamed the 1998 defeat on Newt, not on the fact that Congress, House and Senate both, didn’t get much accomplished that term.

When a reporter said that the last they’d heard from Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent was when Newt was riding high in the polls, Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent tried explaining that it’s just coincidence. When the reporter asked if their reappearance wasn’t an admission that Mitt’s losing ground in South Carolina, Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent insisted that they were just worried that Republicans would lose on all levels if Newt became the nominee.

Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent insisted, too, that Newt wasn’t the right person for the job of leading the Republican Party and “the conservative movement.” I’ve got a good memory and I don’t recall either Jim Talent’s name or Susan Molinari’s name being tied to the conservative movement.

Rep. Molinari and Sen. Talent refused to say even one complimentary thing about Newt during the entire conference call. Within 15 minutes of the call starting, it was over.

The talking points were clear: Newt’s unreliable, Mitt’s a steady leader with lots of conservative accomplishments and Mitt’s the only one prepared to lead the Republican Party.

The reality doesn’t match Mitt’s chanting points. Mitt doesn’t have “lots of conservative accomplishments.” The TEA Party isn’t interested in being led back to the pre-TEA Party go-along-to-get-along GOP.

The question that’s lingering about the conference call is simple: If Mitt’s a superior leader, why isn’t he highlighting his conservative accomplishments while in public office? If he’s that superior, he should ignore Newt and just stay positive, reminding people of his accomplishments.

That isn’t what happened. Mitt trotted out his attack dogs to attack Newt, quite possibly because he’s worried about losing South Carolina.

One thing that isn’t in question is this: Mitt’s on the defensive. He tried dealing with the hits in Monday’s debate but didn’t handle it well. Now, Mitt’s hinting that he might skip a debate or two in Florida. I wrote here that that won’t happen because the image of the supposed inevitable frontrunner hightailing it from the debate stage while his opponents turn up the heat would be devastating.

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