Politics in Minnesota recently ran an article that talked about potential challengers to 8th District Rep. Chip Cravaack. Some of the names are pretty unusual. (Click here for the full article.)
For example, former 6th district state Rep. Tarryl Clark, who challenged Michele Bachmann in the last election, is said to be literally looking for a home in the 8th district in order to run against Rep. Cravaack.
Tim Faust, who lost his Minnesota House seat by 12 percentage points, also said he is contemplating whether to run.
The last notable candidate is state Rep. Ryan Winkler of Golden Valley. He would also need to move in order to run. He grew up in Bemidji, which is a part of the district, so we can presume that would provide the basis of his justification if he decided to resign his House seat and move back to the district.
Perhaps it goes without saying that these candidates are very weak. Yet this brief glance at their biographies still doesn’t seem to suffice in describing what a mismatch they would be for the district upon which they may place their future aspirations.
The 8th congressional district is a place in which values are very traditional; it may even be said that they are very old. For example, in the history of the state, the district has never elected a woman to Congress. Tarryl Clark should take a few moments to chew on that before she invests her political career in the district.
Ryan Winkler’s A.B. in history from Harvard is nice, but would his future district really value that high-end degree?
Since 1947, only three men have represented the district. Incumbent Chip Cravaack was a Captain in the Navy. The second-to-last representative, John Blatnik, served in the United States Army Air Corp in 1942. Though never enlisting in the military, former Rep. Jim Oberstar still worked as a civilian language teacher in the Marine Corps.
Residents of the district often seem to favor candidates who they could envision working in a coal mine. Democrats who fit that description enough to win in the district -- like the heavy drinking Rep. Tom Rukavina, who received a DWI in 2004 and ran for governor in 2010 -- have already ruled out running.
Folks like Ryan Winkler or Tarryl Clark simply do not come across like people who could relate to residents of a district that is full of miners, loggers and heavy drinkers. The divide that exists between them and the reality of the district could not be any more gaping.
For the time being, Democrats do not seem to have a candidate that could run an effective campaign against Rep. Cravaack.