Now that Tom Bakk and David Tomassoni have officially left the DFL, it’s time to figure out why they left the DFL. The tipping point, I believe, was this summer’s DFL primaries. In that primary, DFL candidates defeated pro-mining moderate Erik Simonson. Actually, the DFL candidate didn’t just defeat Simonson. She thrashed him, winning every precinct in the district while winning 73%-27%.

That told Sen. Bakk and Sen. Tomassoni that pro-mining DFL politicians weren’t welcome within the DFL. When Sen. Bakk won re-election with just 55.2% of the vote, the handwriting was on the wall. There wasn’t any escaping the fact that pro-mining DFL politicians were virtually extinct. Bakk usually wins with 65%-70% of the vote so winning with just 55% must’ve gotten his attention.

In his official statement, Sen. Bakk said “People are going to wonder why I’m doing this—and to be honest, there are several reasons. I’m very disappointed by the extreme partisanship going on nationally and right here in Minnesota. Both political parties are to blame. The constant negative and sharp rhetoric is undermining voters’ confidence in our public institutions. It doesn’t have to stay this way.”

“My constituents elected me to serve them to the best of my abilities. The Iron Range has provided the ore that has forged the steel that has made the bridges of America. If we expect to actually bridge the partisan divide, someone must take a proactive step to build such a bridge,” Tomassoni said in a statement.

The metro DFL isn’t interested in bridging divides. That sounds extreme but that’s verifiable fact. The metro DFL was interested in mining a decade ago. When I started paying attention to the state legislature in 2007, Tony Sertich was the House Majority Leader and the Chairman of the House Rules Committee. He was from Hibbing. In this year’s election Republican Rob Farnsworth lost by 40 votes in that district. In 2006, Sertich won with 75% of the vote. That’s a drop of 25 percentage points.

The DFL isn’t the blue collar party. That should bother them mightily because they’ll be in trouble if Republicans ever figure out the way to connect with suburban voters. That’s more of an eventuality than an if. The metro DFL isn’t interested in protecting people, including suburbanites. The sooner that reality sinks in, the sooner the DFL will become the minority party.

2 Responses to “Tom Bakk-David Tomassoni switch in perspective, Part II”

  • eric z says:

    The debate is not about taconite. And the hope is both gentlemen dodged the doorknob on the way out. Many may conclude the DFL is better without them. Do the Republicans want either or both?

  • Gary Gross says:

    The GOP definitely wants them. They simply represent their districts, not their party’s agenda. In the old days, that’s what politicians did.

Leave a Reply