Monday, the dream matchup that DFL and GOP activists have been dreaming about got one step closer to reality. Tarryl Clark filed her official papers to run for the DFL endorsement to run against the CD-6 seat currently held by Michele Bachmann.

This matchup has been the subject of gossip since late June. I first heard about it right before the 4th of July. With this matchup now in place and with Gov. Tim Pawlenty not seeking a third term, Minnesota will get lots of media attention in 2010. the only other state that will attract as much initial attention is Ohio, where Republican John Kasich is attempting to unseat incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland and where Rob Portman is running to keep George Voinovich’s senate seat in GOP control.

I said in this post Tarryl will have some positives going for her but also some significant negatives. On the positive side, Tarryl has built a base even out in conservative Rockville and in St. Cloud. She’s been running for various offices since the mid-1990s so her name recognition is solid.

The things that will give her trouble in MN-6 is she’s staunchly pro-choice and she’s voted for every job-killing tax increase since 2007, many of which hurt small businesses. Tarryl’s always tried portraying herself as a moderate but the reality is that she’s had one of the most liberal voting records in the Minnesota Senate since arriving via special election in 2005.

Before she faces Michele Bachmann, though, she’ll have to defeat Maureen Reed, the former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate, and 2008 DFL candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg. Reed’s raised alot of money in a short period of time. Her test will be in continuing her prolific fundraising or whether Tarryl’s entry into the race causes her funding to dry up, which I think is a distinct possibility.

Rep. Bachmann also has some positives that will help her but also a few things that might hurt her. Rep. Bachmann is a dynamic campaigner, a great conservative voice who excites the activists. She’s also a prolific fundraiser, a true fiscal and social conservative. You don’t get more pro-life than Rep. Bachmann. Rep. Bachmann has a sizeable and loyal following in MN-6’s small business community, too.

Her biggest downside is her penchant for making controversial statements. That’s really her only weakness, though, which is why I still expect her to defeat Tarryl in an entertaining fight to the finish.

Small businesses appreciate how Rep. Bachmann fights for lower income tax rates and spending sanity, a trait that can’t be ignored at a time when trillion dollar deficits are becoming the new normal. That will also hurt Tarryl because she’s voted for one big spending increase after another since joining the Senate.

If Michele does the required in-person constituent maintenance in the rural areas west and south of St. Cloud, then she should defeat Tarryl. That will require alot of work and discipline. The other thing that she needs to do stop giving her opponents so much material to attack her with.

I’m not going too far out on a limb by saying that 2010 should be an exciting year in the Sixth District, especially when the candidates start their face-to-face debates.

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4 Responses to “It’s (Almost) Official: Tarryl vs. Michele”

  • eric z. says:

    We live in interesting times, in the Sixth this cycle. I agree with that part of your analysis.

    And the pro-choice, anti-choice positions are clear; except for Tink trying to be all things to all people and Reed silent on each and every issue.

    I expect flotsam and jetsam will be swept away in caucus, in the DFL, with a sorehead perhaps committing political suicide by running a primary challenge. But we wait and see.

    An interesting post. Indeed, it looks as if Clark has crossed the Rubicon.

  • WOW, Gary, that was just about the most thoughtful and even handed piece I have seen you write on Bachmann and Clark. Good job!

  • Gary Gross says:

    EA, whattya mean almost??? LOL

    Seriously, though, thanks for the compliment. This should be fun tracking this race.

    EZ, Campaigns still matter & both these ladies know how to run good campaigns. Neither lady is without flaws that can be exploited in the right situation.

    This much I’ll say: President Obama isn’t helping Tarryl with Cap & Trade or with health care.

    While single-payer or the public option have strong followings within the DFL, I haven’t seen anything that suggests the public likes the notion of Washington make the decision.

    I know you’ll say that that’s an oversimplification but that’s what John Q. Public believes about it.

  • walter hanson says:

    Well whoever the Democrat nominee is they should have no trouble raising money. What race is left in the country where a real conservative is running that insane liberals want to defeat?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

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