MN-06: Two challengers for Bachmann
Targeting Michelle Bachmann is a top priority for many Democrats and the prospect of being a netroots favorite proved appealing to two candidates who announced they would challenge Bachmann this week.
The first is Elwyn Tinklenberg, the party’s 2008 nominee. In the final weeks of October, Bachmann’s comments on “un-American” congresspeople led Tinklenberg to receive more than $1 million in donations the span of a few days. But that money came too late for Tinklenberg to have time to use it: He was left with more than half-a-million. In March, Tinklenberg transferred $250,000 of his leftover funds to the DCCC. At first, I took that as a sign that he would not seek a rematch, but his gesture now looks to have been intended to get in the DCCC’s good graces.
Indeed, state Democrats might decide that Tinklenberg wasted a great opportunity in 2008 (the environment was favorable, Bachmann was the center of a firestorm) and that a new candidate deserves a chance. Enter Maureen Reed, the former Chairwoman of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents and the Independence Party’s nominee for LG in 2006. Reed announced this week that she would seek the Democratic nomination; a DCCC official cheered her entry.
Reed announced that she will also seek the Independence Party’s endorsement. If she does secure the support of both parties, it could boost her general election campaign. (Last year, the Independent Party nominee got 10% of the vote; that might have cost Tinklenberg the support of many anti-Bachmann voters and contributed to his 3% defeat.)
But Tinklenberg also has a major asset: His campaign still possesses the list of people who donated to his campaign in 2008 - including the thousands of out-of-staters who helped him raise $1 million in the space of four days; many of them are presumably still interested in helping defeat Bachmann so Tinklenberg has a far larger network of potential donors than your average challenger starts with.
CO-04: Markey gets top challenger, with more likely to come
In a district narrowly won by McCain, freshman Betsy Markey might face a tougher race than she did last year: The environment is likely to be less favorable, and her opponent should be more electable than the anti-gay-obsessed Marilyn Musgrave. This week, state House minority whip Cory Gardner announced he would challenge Markey - giving the incumbent a credible challenger who should be able to drawn on establishment support to mount an aggressive campaign. (Gardner will not have the GOP field to himself, however.)
VA-02: Drake will not seek a rematch
We knew former Rep. Thelma Drake was vulnerable in 2008, but she was still considered a slight favorite to win re-election. But the Democratic wave that submerged the Old Dominion proved too much and allowed Glenn Nye to score a 4% victory. Drake had been considering a rematch, but she announced this week that she will not run.
While Drake would obviously have been a dangerous opponent for Nye to face, the GOP has enough of a bench not to be worried about the former representative’s withdrawal. In fact, repeat candidates often have a tougher time than new names as voters are often unwilling to reconsider their past decision without a clear reason to do so.
MI-11: This is what happens when all obvious candidates bow out
Thad McCotter, who sits on an economically distraught district Obama won by 9%, is one of the most obviously vulnerable House Republicans but Democrats are proving unable to recruit a strong challenger. Well, they now at least have a candidate: Fundraising consultant Natalie Mosher announced her candidacy this week.
While it is always good to have a challenger in a race in case circumstances get really tough for the GOP, McCoter is entrenched enough that he is unlikely to lose to anyone but an experienced Democrat fully supported by his national party. And Mosher, well, isn’t quite at that level. As Roll Call reports, the DCCC’s welcome was not particularly warm: “A spokeswoman for the [DCCC ...] confirmed that Mosher had contacted them about her bid, but she added that there are several other candidates still looking at running for McCotter’s seat.”
A final note on CA-47
My post on Van Tran’s candidacy in CA-47 generated some discussion about Tran’s ties to the district. A number of you pointed out that much of Tran’s state legislative district is not part of the congressional district he is running in and that this might pose a problem for him in the general election.
Well, it looks like Tran himself is already furthering that meme. His campaign’s first event is drawing mocking articles in the local press because it was not held within the 47th district but in the neighboring 46th. Tran’s staffers insist that they had not overlooked this and that the event was only one block away from CA-47, but they should be more careful given that this only plays into a pre-existing attack line. And it’s never good for a candidate when the main news out of his campaign kickoff is that the event was held in the wrong location…