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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Will Wetterling Jump in 6th CD Race

A 6th District Democrat unhappy with the Democratic choice in the 6th District takes it to Democratic Underground.

Tinklenberg offers no reason why he's the best Democrat for the 6th CD

I got a three-page letter from Elwyn Tinklenberg this week soliciting my support for him in the 6th CD race. Beyond some tiresome platitudes about why he is better than George Bush or a Republican candidate ("return fairness and balance to our economic policies," "return accountability and professionalism to the management of government,", blah blah blah), he didn't offer one position on an issue that shows why I should support him over another Democrat. He drops a few names of high-profile supporters, and a bunch of union endorsements (not very good research on their part to be endorsing someone before all the horses are out of the stalls), but not one specific issue or solution or position on anything! That probably should come as no surprise, since his website is an equally blank slate.

Is this what you call faith-based voting? Just trust the candidate who says "I can win," throw money and votes at them blindly and ask questions later. Or is it because Tinklenberg has some beliefs that run contrary to the DFL's core principles--like anti-choice and anti-gay?

This whole notion in the DFL of "Screw the caucuses and conventions and grassroots, we'll decide your candidates from the DCCC because we know better" is getting pretty old. It's time for progressive DFLers to push back against this hijacking of the party and elect the candidates based on what they believe, not what a bunch of inside-the-Beltway political hacks and consultants believe.

Tinklenberg better start letting people know where he stands on the issues before he starts begging for money and support. I, for one, won't support any candidate whose positions are still "coming soon."

Matt from MNPublius posted about Tinklenberg's fundraising.

Checks and Balances reports on a Wetterling poll.

Wetterling Polling

As soon as Patty Wetterling (D) prepared to announce her withdrawal from the U. S. Senate contest, we stated unequivocally, she would once again be a candidate in the Sixth Congressional District. Much attention has been focused on her statement made back in April when she said, "The numbers there (in the Sixth) tell me I can't win". Our understanding of that issue is Wetterling concluded this from the election results in her own race and those of Bush v. Kerry in the district. If that is the case, then we have obtained exclusive internal polling numbers from the Wetterling campaign and these numbers tell a different story.

In a poll of 400 Sixth Congressional Districts residents with a margin of error of +/-4%, Wetterling beats all comers in a head-to-head match-up. The poll conducted by the Mellman Group, was weighted heavily in favor of Republican voters with 40% represented and only 28% being Democratic voters. Of the respondents 42% percent self-identified as Conservative, 24% self identified as Liberal and 29% self-identified as Moderates.

Now we know her critics will be quick to refer to Wetterling as a candidate who sticks her finger in the wind to determine her direction or as a candidate who needs a poll to help her make a decision. But we will ask with a straight face what candidate does not poll and we will say that particular candidate will likely always be just a candidate and not a officeholder.

In hard name identification Wetterling polled at 76% while Elwyn Tinklenberg barely made double digits at 15%. In the break down:

Of the respondents, only 4% had never heard of Wetterling and 22% did not know enough to form an opinion, compared to 45% had never heard of Tinklenberg, and of those who had, 40% did not know enough to form an opinion.

At the beginning of the survey respondents were asked their preferences in head-to-head match-ups against the field of Republicans and the first cut is as follows:

Patty Wetterling 43%
Michele Bachmann 38%
Patty Wetterling 41%
Phil Krinkie 33%
Patty Wetterling 41%
Jim Knoblach 34%
Elwyn Tinklenberg 22%
Michele Bachmann 35%
Elwyn Tinklenberg 21%
Phil Krinkie 25%
(The Tinklenberg/Knoblach question was not included to conserve time.)

One interesting facet of this poll was that Wetterling out polled her Republican opponents significantly with Independents while Tinklenberg trailed the Republicans.

The poll then retested respondents after informing them of issues Wetterling opponents may use as negative attacks during a campaign, including abortion, guns, reentering the 6th race and going back on her word – and found no footing on those issues. This in effect is an attempt to push poll. As they tested potential attack points it was clear nothing moved these possible voters from their prior positions and even improved Wetterling’s support and diminished her opponents support.

We have said before that the negative attacks against Wetterling in 2004 may have created fertile ground for a backlash effect that any candidate directly or through surrogates may mount. Wetterling challengers should heed this warning, attack Wetterling at your own peril.

Patty Wetterling 43%
Michele Bachmann 36%
Patty Wetterling 42%
Phil Krinkie 31%

(The Wetterling/Knoblach question was not included to conserve time.)

We are expecting information on an announcement later in the day.

Developing. . .

UPDATE: Polinaught (MPR blog) says that Wetterling will be announcing something on Friday. It's not clear from the C&B information who performed the poll and what questions were asked. It's clear that Wetterling commissioned the poll.