Minnesota: Oberstar Gets on Clark’s Campaign Train in 6th

Posted December 2, 2009 at 6:32pm

State Sen. Tarryl Clark (D) continues to round up Democratic establishment support for her campaign to unseat Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) in the 6th district. The latest endorsement comes from Rep. James Oberstar (D), the powerful chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who has represented the neighboring 8th district for 18 terms.

“I’m proud to support my friend, Senator Tarryl Clark, in her campaign for Congress,— Oberstar wrote in an e-mail to Clark campaign supporters, calling Clark “a seasoned, experienced legislator.—

Clark received the backing of freshman Sen. Al Franken (D) last month.

Clark faces a potential primary challenge from Maureen Reed, a physician and former Independent Party lieutenant governor candidate who has surprised observers with her strong fundraising since joining the race in the spring.

In Minnesota, the party endorses a candidate at its spring convention, which often leads opposing candidates to drop out. But Reed has openly considered running in a primary even if she does not get the party nod.

Democrats think Bachmann is beatable in her third campaign given her penchant for polarizing rhetoric.

Walz Getting Companyas Republicans Eye Seat

Rep. Tim Walz (D) won his 2008 re-election campaign with a 30-point cushion, but that hasn’t stopped a crowd of Republicans from jumping in the race to knock him off in 2010. And on Wednesday, the Minnesota Republican Party jumped on the anti-Walz bandwagon with a new radio ad, running in the southern Minnesota district into next week, that goes after the Democrat’s support of the health care overhaul.

Joining the 1st district Republican field this week were Randy Demmer, assistant Minority Leader in the Minnesota House, and Jim Hagedorn, son of former Rep. Tom Hagedorn (R).

Demmer is making his second run for the seat, after losing out on the party endorsement in 2008. Hagedorn was a longtime Congressional and executive branch staffer and until recently a blogger by the name of “Mr. Conservative.—

Allen Quist (R), a member of the state House from 1983 to 1988 and now a conservative education activist, announced his candidacy in November.

Lawrence Jacobs, professor of political studies at the University of Minnesota, said Walz is potentially vulnerable, despite his comfortable win in 2008, hence the abundance of interest in his seat. “He personally hasn’t done anything wrong,— Jacobs said. “It’s more that conditions are prevailing against him.— Jacobs said the 1st district has traditionally been competitive — “just the kind of district that would be vulnerable for Democrats— in 2010.

But, he added, much will depend on who the GOP nominates and whether the party can avoid a bruising primary.

The two candidates who party leaders in Washington, D.C., believe could be the most promising — state Sen. Julie Rosen and former state Rep. Brad Finstad — remain on the sidelines, though neither has ruled out a run.

John Wade (R), former president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce, is another name that has been floated.