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Latest developments in the DFL race to defeat Michele Bachmann

by The Big E on October 13, 2009 · 17 comments

I’ve been out of commission, blogging-wise (you know … paying job, big project, blown deadlines), for a little more than a week and during that period did things cool off in the MN-06 DFL endorsement race to accommodate?  Hardly.  Both DFL candidates Tarryl Clark and and Maureen Reed have been busy.

Reed hired a staff, announced she wouldn’t abide by the DFL endorsement and reported her fundraising numbers.  Clark collected another endorsement and released some awesome fundraising numbers for her first few weeks in the race.

Analysis after the fold.
Let’s begin with Maureen Reed’s campaign staff.  Obviously, she’s got enough money to hire people and feels confident about her fundraising.  Brian Falldin reported this here at MPP.

The slot of campaign manager will be filled by Jason Isaacson.  Jason has worked on numerous Minnesota democratic campaigns for the past 10 years, and recently supported the Franken for Senate Campaign as a field and convention consultant, but also worked as either a field consultant or organizer on the Judi Dutcher, Bill Luther and David Lillehaug campaigns.  

From what my sources tell me, Jason was the field director for the last democrat who won the sixth district.  

Joining Isaacson on Reed’s campaign will be Emma Olson as field director, Aaron Rothe as a field organizer and researcher, and Trevor Willett, as communications coordinator, who joins the campaign from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Reed’s campaign has also entered into working relationships with Lake Research Partners, whose president, Celinda Lake, is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists and Sandberg Communications, a strategic communications firm that handles public relations, public affairs and community relations for a variety of clients.

Up until now the Reed campaign has been clueless about outreach.  I had tried repeatedly to get an interview with Reed, but the campaign didn’t understand the importance of the blogosphere and blew me off.  As far as I can tell she hasn’t spoken to any MN bloggers.  Hopefully, Isaacson, Lake and Sandberg can do better.  

Our last candidate to go up against Bachmann didn’t understand the importance of the blogosphere until it dumped well over a millions dollars in his lap inside three days.  How will the Reed campaign convince the MN and national blogosphere that her candidacy should be taken seriously?  They’re already starting at a huge deficit.  Tarryl Clark is already blogging at Daily Kos and has established good communication with the MN bloggers.

So let’s get to the campaign numbers for Q3:

Reed – $130,000
Clark – $308,000

Reed has been fundraising for the entire quarter while Clark more than doubled her haul in a mere nine weeks.  Here’s an excerpt from the Clark campaign press release (emailed to me):

State Senator Tarryl Clark set a break-neck pace in the race for Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District, raising $308,015 in just nine weeks.  Clark, who entered the race mid-quarter on July 28th, becomes one of only a few challengers nationwide to raise more than $300,000 in a single quarter.

Clark’s 2,412 donors contributed an average of $107.  The campaign finished the quarter with just under $270,000 in the bank.

Obviously, she has set a “break-neck pace,” but can she maintain it?  Obviously, her fundraising staff know what they’re doing so she certainly has a chance.  This pace puts her among the premier Dem challengers in the country.  $300K in nine weeks projects at around $400K for a whole quarter.

Eric Black had this to say:

Clark’s number is especially impressive because she entered the race at the end of July, so she had only two months to fund-raise. Reed’s fall quarter is a drop from the previous quarter when she raise and impressive $232,000. The Reed press release says she has over $300,000 cash on hand. Clark claims $270,000.

When you combine Clark’s fundraising acumen with her connections to the political structure and with her outreach is she taking all of the oxygen out of this race?  Are we now seeing why Elwyn Tinklenberg pulled out rather try and match her?

A DFLer needs to excite a whole lot of people.  She’s going to need the unions, the DFL activists and the Michele-haters to all come together behind her.

So Reed’s announcement that she wouldn’t abide probably isn’t going to sit well with the activists and it seems to me that she’s already conceding the endorsement.

Sixth District Congressional candidate Maureen Reed said she’ll no longer pledge to abide by the DFL endorsement after being overlooked by labor unions.

Since entering the race, Maureen Reed has said she would seek the DFL endorsement to challenge incumbent Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. But Reed’s pledge to abide is now wavering.
(Polinaut, h/t Bill Prendergast)

Okay.  Let’s face the excitement issue head on.  Clark v. Reed.  Cage match.  

Clark makes strong statements and stands by her record in the MN Senate.  She wants to give voters a reason to vote for her.  She doesn’t think it’s enough to just say “I’m not Michele Bachmann.”  Tinklenberg did that but didn’t give voters enough reasons to vote for him.  

Reed won’t be pinned down on much of anything.  Her interview with Eric Black of MinnPost was embarrassing.  Activists aren’t going to get excited about someone who won’t stand up for our shared values.  

Many, many activists are going to drive up to the district and try and unseat Michele.  The question is how many more would come up if they were excited about the Democrat running?  It’s a long drive for some of us, so it’s gotta be worth the effort.  As it’s looking right now, MN-06 is the only hotly contested House race in MN.

Finally and to probably little surprise, Clark received another endorsement.

The Minnesota Nurses Association announced today that is has endorsed Tarryl Clark in her bid for Minnesota’s 6th District Congressional seat.

“Tarryl has been a long time champion of nursing and working families,” said MNA President Linda Slattengren, RN.  “She has been an advocate for universal health care both in the legislature and in the community. We look forward to working with her in Congress.”

“I am honored to receive the support of nurses – the people Minnesotans trust to provide for their health and well-being,” said Tarryl Clark.  “As the people on the front-lines of health care, I’ve been proud to partner with the Nurses as both a community leader and as a legislator.  I couldn’t be more proud to continue our work together as their endorsed candidate.”
(MNA press release email)

So here’s the list of Clark’s endorsements so far:

  • MN Nurses Association
  • VP Walter Mondale
  • Child Advocate and 2006 candidate Patty Wetterling
  • SEIU
  • Building and Construction Trades
  • Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota (LIUNA)
  • Carpenters
  • AFSCME Council 5
  • SFSCME Council 65
  • Teamsters Joint Council 32
  • Teamsters Local 120
  • St. Cloud College Dems
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