Is Tarryl Clark planning to challenge U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann? That’s been the persistent buzz in recent days, but Clark’s not talking about her plans. Calls to the Senate Majority Leader’s office and cell phone in recent days were not returned.
Clark has been rumored to be eyeing either the governor’s race or a congressional challenge for months, but she has remained cagey about her ambitions. What’s known is that Clark has been testing the waters with party activists in the district.
“She is actively considering getting into the Sixth Congressional District race,” says Nancy Schumaker, chair of the DFL in the district. “I don’t know what her timetable is to make a final decision.”
But Schumaker doesn’t rule out a gubernatorial bid by Clark either.
“My best answer is she is looking at both and trying to make up her mind and getting advice from others in the party,” she says.
While Clark would undoubtedly be a formidable challenger to Bachmann, she’d have to fight for the DFL endorsement. Both Elwyn Tinklenberg, who narrowly lost to Bachmann in 2008, and Maureen Reed, a former Independence Party candidate for lieutenant governor, are seeking the party’s backing. The latter announced today that she’s raised more than $230,000 in just the two months since announcing her campaign.
The Sixth Congressional District has not been friendly to Democrats. Along with being the most conservative district in the state, it’s also proven fertile ground for third-party candidates. In 2008 Bob Anderson won 10 percent of the vote running as an Independence Party candidate — even though he wasn’t the party-backed challenger and didn’t mount much of a campaign. (Tinklenberg was endorsed by both the DFL and the Independence Party, but only one party affiliation can be listed on the ballot.)
“The bottom line is there are a lot of voters who don’t pay attention,” says Jack Uldrich, chairman of the Independence Party, noting widespread disaffection with the two dominant parties. “When they saw that there was a third option they just went with Bob Anderson.”
Uldrich says the party hasn’t spent much time thinking about the Sixth Congressional District contest yet. Reed has indicated she will seek cross-endorsement — a prospect that Uldrich believes would be “met warmly” by many Independence Party members.
“I’m not actively recruiting candidates up there,” Uldrich says.
Tarryl Clark neeeeds to run. She would be such a good rep. Here's a video from her YouTube account about Pawlenty's healthcare fail:
she's kind of a rookie to the whole public speaking thing, but she's outspoken about important issues and challenges the Republicans in the state all the time, I think she would be so great. If she could hold on to her home base in the district and win all the same places Tink did, she would win in 2010, I think, and the whole country could rejoice as Bachmann slinks off to her new job serving lunch in the Fox News headquarters cafeteria.