Bachmann may have a fight on her hands in 2010

Democrats are lining up to take on the controversial Minnesota congresswoman

By Alex Koppelman
Published July 16, 2009 7:35PM (EDT)

We might not have Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to kick around for much longer. The congresswoman, who's known primarily for her passionate -- and bizarre -- stances, and her conspiracy-minded thinking on everything from anti-American members of Congress to the Census, only won reelection by two percentage points in 2008. Now, it seems like three Democrats will fight over the privilege of running against her in 2010.

Elwyn Tinklenberg, who lost a close one to Bachmann last time around, says he's thinking about trying again. Maureen Reed, an Independence Party candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006, says she's going to run for the Democratic nomination. And Minneapolis' KSTP reports that Tarryl Clark, the assistant majority leader in Minnesota's state senate, is planning to launch a campaign of her own. (Hat-tip to Political Wire.)

Someone like Clark, especially, would make a strong challenger. Plus, Bachmann might have embarrassed her district enough recently to become really vulnerable -- in 2008, she didn't make the famous "Hardball" appearance that breathed life into Tinklenberg's campaign until mid-October, but he did still manage to come close to knocking her off.

It'll be interesting to see what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee does here. If they really want Bachmann's seat, they might try to clear the primary field for their preferred candidate, and will get ready to pour some money into the general election. But there is the question of whether they really want to get rid of Bachmann. Obviously, no one ever wants to forfeit a winnable race, but giving up that one seat might help the party win others elsewhere -- Bachmann energizes Democrats all over the country, and can help them raise money outside her district. Plus, she can be used as a club against her fellow Republicans.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Michele Bachmann R-minn.