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Friday, February 03, 2006

Tinklenberg's Tacky Moves


Elwyn Tinklenberg came to Patty Wetterling's announcement Press Conference, then claimed the microphone after the Press Conference to stage his own press conference to whine about Wetterling's entry into the race.

Shawn Towle from Checks and Balances has coverage:

The Wetterling Anouncement, Rebuttals and Some Controversy

As expected Patty Wetterling (D) announced her reentrance into the 6th Congressional District race at the Anoka County Government Center this morning. Wetterling acknowledged the number of calls she has received asking her to run for the position.

At her press conference a number of Republican operatives were present. Michael Brodkorb, of Minnesota Democrats Exposed fame blogged live from the event, Bill Walsh, Campaign Manager for Phil Krinkie (R), Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-16B, St. Cloud), Mike Tavernier, Campaign Manager for Jim Knoblach (R) and Mark Drake, Communication
Director for the Minnesota Republican Party were a few of the most visible GOP notables.

The Knoblach and Krinkie campaigns and the Republican Party had press releases for the event.

The Krinkie press release just parroted Republican Party and Elwyn Tinklenberg campaign talking points. Jim Knoblach took the high road:

Knoblach Strongest Republican in 6th District

Knoblach said, "With Patty Wetterling now entering the race, the Democrats have two strong contenders. Republicans need the strongest possible candidate in the race to hold the seat. I am that candidate."

Knoblach continued, "The numbers show I have consistently posted the strongest election results among the Republican candidates. I bring people together and assemble strong campaign efforts. We're going to need that in 2006. Others in this race have historically been unable to get conservative Democrats and independent minded voters to support their campaigns."

"I have also built a voting record that will appeal to voters in central Minnesota. Wetterling's natural electoral base is in my backyard – which is one of the most Democratic areas of the district," said Knoblach.

Knoblach was a class act here.

Krinkie parrots the breathless talking points of the Drama Queen.

Krinkie Statement on Wetterling Announcement

"I'm not going to run for the 6thDistrict.The numbers show me that. . . I will not win."

--Patty Wetterling,Pioneer Press, April 20, 2005

"Tinklenberg on Thursday said Wetterling had assured himrepeatedly that she would stay in the Senate race. 'I take her at her word,' he said."

Star Tribune,January 20, 2006

Circle Pines, MN – The Phil Krinkie for Congress Campaign questioned the credibility of Patty Wetterling today after she announced she is running for Congress in the 6th District. Wetterling has made several strong public statements claiming she would not run for the 6th District Congressional seat, now she's going back on her word.

"If we can't trust Patty Wetterling to keep her word about her political plans, how can voters in the 6th District trust her promises during the campaign?" said Phil Krinkie. "First she said she couldn't win in the 6th District, so she ran for the Senate. Now she realizes she can't win the Senate race so she's back to the 6th District. What's next?"

Krinkie also noted he is the most prepared to face off against Wetterling if she becomes the Democrat nominee because he has consistently led the Republican field in fundraising and has the most election experience, having won reelection seven times over 14 years.

With $266,000 cash on hand, Krinkie leads all candidates (Democrat and Republican) heading into the 2006 election year. He is the only Congressional challenger candidate in the country to be endorsed by the Club for Growth and the Free Enterprise Fund PAC, two nationally recognized pro-growth, free enterprise organizations.

Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District covers all of Benton, Sherburne and Wright Counties, and most of Anoka, Stearns and Washington Counties.

Krinkie would be better off having his surrogates attack Wetterling in his press release - and focus on the contrast between his vision and Wetterling's vision. Gil Gutnecht is being criticized for promising term limits the first time he ran and now going back on his word.

Krinkie's release parrots the Republican Party line.


Broken Promise Follows Repeated Assurances Wetterling Would Not Enter Race

"With her deeply disappointing decision to break her word and run for Congress again in the Sixth Congressional District, Patty Wetterling sadly became just another politician today.

"During her brief U.S. Senate campaign, Patty Wetterling said repeatedly that she would not run again in the Sixth District. Patty Wetterling has acknowledged that she cannot win in the Sixth because she is too far to the left of most people in the district. Today's announcement will no doubt dishearten many who took Patty Wetterling at her word."

-Ron Carey, Chairman of the Republican Party of Minnesota

More from Checks and Balances:

Wetterling Campaign Manager Carol Butler was asked by the media for
copies of the recent poll results the campaign had. She said she did not have them with her and she directed them to Checks & Balances.

After the Wetterling event, Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) held his own press conference. While we did not remain on site for his response we learned he released a letter, claiming endorsement from the four Democratic members of the Minnesota Congressional delegation (Congressmen Jim Oberstar, Martin Sabo, Colin Peterson and Betty
McCollum). We understand that this letter was originally circulated in mid-November, well before Tinklenberg had a challenger in the race. It is our understanding the original intent was for this to be an introductory letter for Tinklenberg and not an endorsement letter. Conveniently the date of the letter was not included in its release to the news media.

We contacted both Martin Sabo and Betty McCollum's offices and have been told on no uncertain terms that neither Sabo or McCollum considered their support to be an endorsement, but rather strictly the type of letter they would sign for pretty much any unopposed Democratic Congressional candidate.

This speaks to the honesty and integrity of Elwyn Tinklenberg's campaign. Tinklenberg's campaign should apologise to Sabo and McCollum.

C&B continues:

We have obtained an earlier draft of the letter that was rejected by the four Congressional members because of the wording and we wonder if John Wodele, Tinklenberg's campaign manager, is circulating the final draft of the letter the Congressional members did not agree to sign or if it is an earlier version. Interestingly enough the letter Wodele released did not have any formal signatures of Oberstar, Sabo, Peterson or McCollum.

I noticed that over on the Drama Queen's website. C&B posts the text of the letter.

The Tinklenberg Introductory Letter: (Drafted on November 9, 2005)


Dear xxxxxxxxx,

The 2006 election promises to be an exciting year for House Democrats: a bright opportunity to reclaim the majority in Congress.

For the past five years the nation we love has endured harsh challenges and a national government that is alternately unable or unwilling to address them. We know that we can do better for the people we serve. Democrats in the House have new, exciting ideas on reforming the ethics process, lowering gas prices, improving health care, restoring long-term retirement security, and investing in infrastructure for our people.

That is why we are so hopeful about 2006.

In Minnesota, we have one of the most exciting House candidates in the country. His name is Elwyn Tinklenberg and he is running in the nationally targeted Minnesota Sixth Congressional District.

Elwyn Tinklenberg exciting? That's a new one.

We are confident that El has the experience, the ideas, and the sophistication to serve admirably in our Caucus. We know he can win and claim a seat that the Republicans have held for too long, but which is now an open seat.

El was a successful mayor of Blaine and Minnesota's Commissioner of Transportation. He understands the challenges in suburban Minnesota and has the experience to be a great Member of Congress. El has impressed us with his views on health care, education, and improving the lives of children. He comes from the heart of a proud legacy of DFL leaders in Minnesota.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel have already visited Minnesota to help El. We are invested in his success and in helping Democrats in Minnesota win a nationally targeted seat.

We ask you to join us by contributing generously to El's campaign.

Please send a contribution today -- $250, $500, $1000 or any other generous amount – in the enclosed envelope. El will be calling you to give you a more detailed update on the aggressive campaign he is building. His campaign has proved worthy of our confidence and, we believe, yours as well.

Thank you for all you've done to help Minnesota Democrats. Please extend that effort by helping El Tinklenberg and sending a message that Democrats are united in standing for the priorities of the people of America during these challenging times.



C&B also posts a copy of a Tinklenberg campaign email.

Also we have obtained an email solicitation from the Tinklenberg Campaign that lists a number of supporters including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel. We have a call into the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to see if this is an accurate list of supporters, but at this time have not received a call back.

It should be noted that in the email the names of McCollum and former Senator Tom Daschle are incorrectly spelled.

The Tinklenberg Email:

Dear Friend,

I am writing to you to say Happy Holidays and give you an update on the progress of my campaign for U.S. House of Representatives in Minnesota's 6th District. The campaign is gaining momentum and new supporters every day. Here are just a few of the positive developments in recent weeks.

Union endorsements
The United Steel Workers
The United Transportation Union
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

Democratic Leadership Supporters
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel
Senator John Kerry
Senator Barack Obama
Former Senator Tom Dashel
Congressman Jim Oberstar
Congressman Colin Peterson
Congressman Martin Olav Sabo
Congresswoman Betty McCullum
General Wesley K. Clark (U.S. Army Ret.)
The New Democratic Network
The Blue Dog Democrats

None of these are support from the district. Elwyn Tinklenberg is running a Washington DC campaign.

I am honored and humbled by the support I have received from labor unions and the National Democratic Party but I will not be able to win this race without the support of Minnesotans like you. Any Contribution you can make will help the campaign immensely. I would not ask, and I would not even be running, if I did not absolutely believe we could win in the 6th and help the Democratic Party take back the House.

It seems like every day you open the paper a new example of corruption and the abuse of power is being uncovered. Just this week the New York Times ran a story about the U.S. Government spying on American citizens without a court order or oversight from Congress. Together we can change the culture of cronyism and secrecy, and restore trust and accountability to our federal government.

Tinklenberg's Pac Man campaign strategy doesn't seem to back up the spin of Elwyn Tinklenberg as a "reform candidate".

I fully expect to be attacked in this race in the same way that other Democratic candidates were assailed in the last few election cycles. But, this time we must fight back! To do that I need to raise money.

It is because I think it is so important that I ask you to help my campaign with a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford.

You can contribute by credit card at my website:

Or by sending a check made out to Tinklenberg for Congress to:

P.O. Box 49787
Blaine, MN 55449

Thank you in advance for your support. I know that together we can move this country closer to the nation we all know it can be.

With warmest regards for a safe and happy holiday season,

Elwyn Tinklenberg
Candidate for Congress
Minnesota's 6th District


UPDATE: A reader notes:

Bill Walsh is not the campaign manager for the Krinkie campaign. He is working with the campaign full-time, but the manager is still Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah.

Shawn Towle - and I stand corrected.