The DFL – and their national benefactors – went all-in on Tarryl Clark against their bete noir, Michele Bachmann.
Clark is getting clobbered. Hammered. Beaten like a cheap steak. She’s going to lose by 10 points, and I actually starting to think I’m being conservative.
And the regional left is starting to have second thoughts about their monomania.
A few weeks back Dave Schultz – former head of überliberal “Common Cause Minnesota” and reliably lefty professor at Hamline University – bemoaned the imbalance of the spending:
There is virtually no chance the Democrats will defeat Bachmann. I have argued this for months. Bachmann’s sixth district seat is apportioned approximately six points ahead for Republicans. She is a conservative candidate in a conservative district. She is the Tea Party leader in a Tea Party GOP year. She fits her district well and has already survived several attempts to knock her off in previous years (most recently ’08) more favorable to Democrats. Democrats would be better served to wait until 2012, after reapportionment, when new lines may change the Sixth and make it more competitive, or when Bachmann makes the foolish move to run for the senate againt Klobuchar and gets waxed by her.
Yet Democrats cannot resist themselves. Democrats from around the country are pouring millions into this race and yet there is no evidence that Clark is catching up or gaining ground. Yes, Democrats have to challenge her and force her to campaign at home so that she does not travel and fundraise and campaign for others. But from a cost-benefit perspective, pouring millions here makes no sense. Sure there might be a symbolic victory in knocking her off, but with Democrats having to defend so many seats and having to decide where to best spend, resources need to be placed where it makes the most sense. That is why Minnesota’s Third District makes more sense.
Nick Coleman – still writing for the Strib (who knew?) notes the dearth of attention paid to Shelly Madore, whom John Kline is going to beat by eleventy billion points in the Second District next month:
The media either go gaga or go to sleep. In the northern suburbs, it’s gaga all the way: Republican Michele Bachmann and her opponent, Democrat Tarryl Clark, have drawn donations and attention from near and far. Still, just 40 percent of likely voters supported Clark in a recent poll, and the New York Times’ influential “FiveThirtyEight” website gives Clark tiny 1.2 percent odds of beating Bachmann.
It’s hard not to conclude that most of the attention to Minnesota’s Sixth District race is due to the flamboyant incumbent, not her worthy challenger. But at least Bachmann has agreed to debate Clark three times. That will allow voters to consider their choices and balance their view of the candidates, evaluating their message and their performance. However the race turns out, that’s good for the voters.
John Kline isn’t about to let that kind of thing happen in the Second District
But then, either is Keith Ellison in the Fifth. Or Betty McCollum in the Fourth – yet. Or, as far as I know, Oberstar in the Eighth, or Peterson in the Seventh. Because candidates who perceive themselves – rightly or wrongly – to have insurmountable leads realize – rightly or wrongly – they have nothing to gain and plenty to lose by debating dark-horse challengers. It’s a testimony to Bachmann’s love of the scrap and the fact that she just plan destroys Clark on facts (and the fact that both parties perceive the race as at least hypothetically competitive) that she’s debating at all.
At any rate – by November 3, the DFL will have wasted millions trying to unseat the, effectively, un-unseatable Bachmann.
Would the solid, long-term incumbent John Kline have been vulnerable to the skittery Madore?
Would the fringey, netroots-y Meffert have had a shot against an Erik Paulsen that seems to be growing more conservative as his district seems to follow suit?
We won’t know this year.