Former State Senator Tarryl Clark angered many in the DFL last month by announcing that she intends by pass the party’s endorsement and force a primary in the 8th district congressional race.
In a surprise move (?) sure to rankle many more in the DFL, Clark announced on Sunday that she is also by passing the endorsement process in CD1…and 2… and 3… and 4… and 5… and 7. Clark is now running in every congressional district in the state with one notable exception: CD6, ironically the only congressional district in which she actually owns a home.
Clark bristles at the suggestion that she is carpetbagging, and insists that she actually does live in each and every congressional district in which she is running for office. She and her husband own condos in Mankato, Red Wing, New Hope, Stillwater, Minneapolis, Moorhead and Duluth, the St Cloud homeowner claims.
In a prepared statement, Clark recognized her multi-district campaign strategy is unprecedented but said she was doing this only for sake of the people :
The stakes are too high to let politics and process override the voice of the people. Today, I’m announcing that I will let the people decide who will be the DFL nominee in the election this year. As a former party leader – a former Associate Chair of the DFL, I vow to work with all DFL’ers to organize and bring more people into the party – to reach out to those who feel disenfranchised and disillusioned. It’s critical that we engage each and every voter in Minnesota’s [insert district here] to take part in the decisions that affect our futures. I’m the only candidate in this race that has been fighting for the priorities of our families and communities for the past 23 years. I’ve worked to make life better for our seniors, working families, veterans, and communities throughout Central and [insert area here] Minnesota. We have the opportunity to create jobs here in the [insert district here] while strengthening programs and Social Security, but our current member of Congress is more interested in advocating for the Ryan Plan to kill Social Security and gut Medicare.
Despite an exhaustive search, MPP was unsuccessful in locating Clark in the 8th congressional district, but we were finally able to catch up with her at a campaign stop in the 2nd district. We arrived in southeastern Minnesota just in time to hear Clark’s opening statement:
I’ve served as a youth minister, worked with the Girl Scouts, founded Central Minnesota Habitat for Humanity, fought for Seniors as an attorney, worked with Community Action agencies throughout the region, focused on our families, and communities as a state senator, and now am national co-chair of a jobs creating campaign. From my grassroots campaigns to being a leader in the MN Senate, I’ve been, and will continue to be, a strong voice for our priorities.
“Gee, that’s real nice for the people of St Cloud, but Red Wing isn’t in Central Minnesota,” observes an obviously confused young voter. Without batting an eye, Clark quickly defends her reference, fuming “Red Wing even named their high school CENTRAL High,” in response to the local criticism.
The audience sits in stunned silence, several minutes ticking by until another resident cautiously approaches the microphone.
“We always welcome new residents Tarryl, but there’s no record of you owning a condo anywhere in Goodhue County,” says a perplexed farmer, scratching his head. “And how can you possibly afford to own so many condos throughout the state,” he wonders aloud.
Clark counters that she is taking advantage of virtual technology, referring to a holosuite program featured on Star Trek: Deep Space 9. “My condos are every bit as real as Vic Fontaine’s Las Vegas nightclub,” she declares with a hearty dose of indignation.
The dazed audience shifts nervously in their chairs as the farmer quietly backs away.
“So, where do you get your mail?” queries an amused college student in the front row. “I own a post office box”, Clark shoots back. “Umm, you do realize that a post office box is not a condo, right?” the student asks rather nervously. Clark stares at him blankly, her trademark Stepford smile firmly frozen in place.
“Tarryl, your home obviously is in St Cloud and you vote in St Cloud. Why aren’t you running in the 6th district,” another resident wants to know, this time calling from the back of the room.
“I don’t need lines on a map to tell me where home is,” snaps Clark, as she stuffs things into her packsack in preparation for her trip to New Hampshire to take on Chip Cravaack. But it’s clear that her love affair with voters in her home district is over. “I was a much better candidate than that loser Elwin Tinklenberg, but the voters in the 6th just weren’t smart enough to appreciate an obvious winner the way they should have,” she continues petulantly.
“But Tarryl,” a local political science professor counters, “El lost by only 7,000 votes. In just two years you increased that margin of defeat to 35,000.” Obviously displeased, Clark glares at the woman in response but quickly recovers her Stepford-like composure. “Everyone else in the country recognizes how special I am and absolutely loves me,” she stubbornly insists, triumphantly lifting her FEC report to the sky like a beacon to the gods.
The reaction from other democrats to Clark’s announcement has been…. interesting. DFL Party Chair Ken Martin’s response to her latest escapade consisted of one sentence. “Tarryl Clark is a legend in her own mind,” Martin observed wryly.
7th District Congressman Collin Peterson, who is now facing Clark in a primary, is clearly amused by her actions. “I think she spent so much time with Michele Bachmann that she’s hearing the same voices,” he said, dismissing her candidacy with a laugh.
Even after being rejected by those who know her best, Clark remains defiantly determined to continue her search for a job in Congress, albeit alone. “Those thankless rubes won’t have Tarryl Clark to kick around anymore” she declares with a sharp toss of her head as she bolts out the door to catch her April Fool’s Day flight to Manchester.
We wish her a soft landing – in whatever district or state that may be.