More than any other race pitting two women together, the race for Congress in Minnesota's sixth district features two women who are exact opposites: Michele Bachmann (R) who is seeking her third term against Tarryl Clark (D).
Both women have impressive resumes and are highly educated with advanced degrees. Both women are civic leaders and active in their churches and communities. Both are wives and mothers. Both are lawyers. Both have served as state senators. Both opposed TARP.
That's where the similarities end.
Both women have opposing endorsements. Bachmann is supported by the Susan B. Anthony List and Tarryl Clark by EMILY's List (website was down at the time this was written). Both woman have raised significant amounts of money, making the Minnesota 6th race the most expensive in the country. Bachmann set fundraising records and raised more than $11 million and a total of $15 million has been raised according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Polls conducted in the district, including surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling and SurveyUSA, all have Bachmann as the clear leader. A September SurveyUSA poll shows Bachmann up by 9 points, 49% to Clark's 40%. However, since Bachmann is below the 50% mark, she is on the vulnerable side. (Bachmann's highest victory was in 2006 with 50% of the vote.)
Key Issues in this race:
Because of Bachmann's leadership in the conservative movement and her staunch pro-life stance, this race is is highly contentious. The candidates sparred in two debates, which covered taxes, economic issues, abortion, and social security.
Below is a video following the two contenders after a recent debate:
About Michelle Bachmann
As the darling of the Tea Party movement, Bachmann, aged 54, has gained attention as a conservative leader in only four short years in Washington. A pro-life activist since college, she translated her experience into leading the grassroots revolts against TARP, the Stimulus and the Democrats' health care bill. Bachmann holds a J.D. from Oral Roberts University and a L.L.M. in tax law from the College of William & Mary and worked for the U.S. Treasury Department as an attorney for the U.S. Tax Court before quitting to be a full-time mother. She later served in the State Senate from 2000-2006. She has five children with her husband, Marcus, and has fostered 23 children in Minnesota. Click here for her website.
About Tarryl Clark
Clark, aged 49, rose to fame after becoming the associate chair of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party following the death of Mary McEvoy, who perished in the same plane crash that killed Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife Sheila. She previously worked for a number of nonprofit and community organizations including the YWCA, Habitat for Humanity, and Minnesota Community Action Partnership and has served in the State Senate since 2005. She holds a graduate degree in education from Arizona State University and a law degree from William Mitchell College of Law. She and her husband, Doug, have two sons. Click here for her website.
Update 1: 7:15 p.m.
Minnesota polls close at 9 p.m. Eastern time according to Mark Halperin.
It's rumored that if Bachmann wins re-election, she'll pursue a leadership position as the House Republican Conference Chairman, a position recently vacated by Congressman Mike Pence (R-IN). This is likely to make the left crazy but could be a shrewd move for Boehner, who is considered too establishment by many conservatives and Tea Party members.
Update 2: 9:45 p.m.
Despite my best efforts, news from the Tarryl Clark camp is just hard to find. This appears to be the consequence of running against a high profile incumbent.
Minnesota Public Radio confirms that voter turnout was very high -- 62%.
Polls closed 45 minutes ago, but Minnesotans are still waiting for returns. Follow #MN2010 on Twitter.
ABC 5 in Minneapolis also has results. Bachmann is currently up 53% to Clark's 39% with 5% of precints reporting.
Update 4: 11:05 p.m.
Earlier tonight, Bachmann did a round of media interviews. Real Clear Politics has the video at Chris Matthews.
The race still hasn't been called yet. With 51% of precincts reporting, Bachmann is up by 10%.
Update 5: 11:20 p.m.
MSNBC and AP have called the race for Bachmann with 51% of the vote with 35% of precincts reporting. Minnesota Public Radio reporting.
Update 6: 11:25
Bachmann's speech is currently live at Fox 9.
Adrienne works in the conservative movement and blogs at Cosmopolitan Conservative.
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