Sparks flew yesterday when Tarryl Clark took her first high-profile shots at her DFL primary opponents:
Clark’s current primary opponents, former Rep. Rick Nolan and former Duluth City Council President Jeff Anderson, are emphasizing deep roots in a district that reaches from the northern Twin Cities suburbs to the Canadian border.
Clark characterized Anderson as inexperienced and claimed Nolan has spent considerable time out of state. She claimed her work and volunteer experience makes her the one with the best connections across the entire district, even better than the incumbent’s.
“One of the real strengths I bring not just to the race but to the office will be having worked throughout the whole district. Congressman Cravaack obviously has been hit for his family being in New Hampshire. Rick has certainly lived in Florida a good chunk of the last 10 years. Jeff is newer to all of this,” Clark said.
Spokesman Steve Johnson said Nolan, who lives on the Cuyuna Range in north-central Minnesota and served in the House from 1975 to 1981, has occasionally vacationed in Florida but is “a son of the 8th District.” Nolan has the backing of the party and Oberstar.
Anderson has served on boards and commissions throughout the district and was a member of the Duluth City Council when Clark moved to town, spokesman Nate Dyvbig said.
Those shots, however, are the least of Tarryl’s problems. This information is a major hurdle for her:
Clark is backed by Emily’s List, a national network that helps female candidates who support abortion rights, and draws on her fundraising experience from the race against Bachmann, who went on to run unsuccessfully for president.
Being the pro-abortion candidate in the Eighth District is perilous at best. While that won’t be a major problem in liberal Duluth, it’s a major problem on the religious Range and throughout the heart of CD-8.
Another big problem facing Tarryl is her ties to the miner-hating BlueGreen Alliance:
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.
Expect the Cravaack campaign to exploit that weakness against the DFL candidate that wins the DFL primary. Rep. Oberstar’s vote for Cap and Trade was the biggest driver for miners abandoning him in 2010. The animosity between the environmentalists and the miners hasn’t healed. It’s festered.
Finally, Tarryl’s other major weakness is her less-than-enthusiastic support for the Second Amendment. That won’t play well in the conservative parts of the district. It won’t play well on the Range, either. That’s a toxic blend on the Range.
The Eighth District isn’t as liberal as people think. In 2010, Charlie Cook rated it as D +3. More importantly, most of the Range Democrats fit into the category of being conservative Democrats.
Tarryl’s legislative history of voting for historic spending increases, unprecedented tax hikes, coupled with her being supported by an abortion-on-demand organization, won’t help.
Being an environmentalist will be the part that finishes Tarryl off.