Friday, May 31, 2013

Minnesota Lean

Tea Party Caucus founder and Lutheran, Representative Michele Bachmann announced that she would not be seeking re-election on Wednesday.  She assured us via a video on her website that her decision was definitely not about this or this.  Rather she claims that eight years is long enough, hence our Constitutional term limits for Presidents, and that she can do, more good for the the country, elsewhere. Representative Bachmann had her opportunity to profess her support for term limits in the form of a joint resolution but as of this writing, has not signed on as a co-sponsor.  But I digress.

Her Democratic challenger in the 2012 election, Jim Graves, who was up until this point gearing up for another run in 2014, announced on Friday that he would no longer be running in 2014.  Graves ran as a direct challenge to Representative Bachmann.  He said that her no longer running was a "mission accomplished."  This is a bit of a change of heart from his announcement on Wednesday where he announced he still planned to run and wasn't running just to run against Representative Bachmann.  Graves said that part of his decision was influenced by the thought of less support from the Democratic party.

Graves who was outspent in the race nearly 12 to 1, only lost to Representative Bachmann by a few thousand votes, losing 50.5-49.3.  A lot of this can be attributed to the polarizing nature of Representative Bachmann.  The 6th Congressional District of Minnesota voted for Mitt Romney by an even 15 points (56.5-41.5). Representative Bachmann's failed presidential campaign certainly did not help, as she made ridiculous claim after ridiculous claim.  Somewhat surprisingly, this helped her nationally, though.  Almost all of the money that she raised came from out of state donors.  She must have appealed to someone, even if it was people outside of her district and state.  Despite her claims, otherwise, she ran in a more Republican district in 2012 than 2010.  If she would have ran again in 2014 against Graves, it probably would have been a toss-up election.  But that's obviously not the case. It's hard to compare election results from two elections when there are two distinct districts involved.  But combined with the presidential electoral results of 2012 and the general favorability for incumbents running in the House, it's fairly clear that Bachmann was hurting more than helping.

Following this same format, if the Democratic party wants to re-take the seat in 2014, they should be rooting for a hard-line or far-right Conservative to win the Republican primary while a more moderate candidate wins the Democratic primary.  If this happens, it could easily be a toss-up, again.  But I imagine that the Republican party is aware of this and will push hard to find a more moderate candidate to run in the wake of the almost defeat of Michele Bachmann. But the general rule of primaries, especially for Republican primaries, is to find more extreme candidates.  If Minnesota Republicans know what they're doing, they can easily choose a more moderate Republican who will likely identify with them and help them out more than a hard-line Republican who has no chance of being elected.

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