Elwyn Tinklenberg took on Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., in 2008. And after she imploded on live television, he almost beat her. He was going to try again next year, but announced Tuesday that he's withdrawing from the race.
Tinklenberg said he made his decision because of a crowded field in the Democratic primary.
"We are faced with the prospect of the next thirteen months being a battle among Democrats," the Star Tribune quotes him as saying. "We will be spending large amounts of time and money trying to defeat each other rather than defeating Michele Bachmann."
Two other candidates remain in the race: Maureen Reed, a former Independence Party candidate for lieutenant governor, and Tarryl Clark, the assistant majority leader in the state's senate. Reed has raised $230,000 since May, the Star Tribune reports, but it's Clark who seems best positioned to get the backing of the Democratic establishment.
As I said last month in a post about Bachmann's race, if the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee believes that the congresswoman's seat can be won, one of the first moves the DCCC would be likely to make is one to clear the primary field. Tinklenberg's abrupt exit might be part of that, and might signal determination on the DCCC's part to at least give Bachmann a real fight.