Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Maureen Reed to run against Michelle Bachmann

Could 2010 be the year we finally Dump Bachmann?

Political Muse of Liberal in the Land of Conservative is reporting (and I have been able to independently confirm) that 2006 Independence Party Lt. Governor Nominee Dr. Maureen Reed spoke to a meeting of the 6th District DFL tonight and announced that she will be running against Rep. Michelle Bachmann as a DFL candidate in 2010.

This is a very interesting development. Reed would be a very strong candidate. First. Who is she?

Dr. Maureen Reed currently serves as a diplomate in internal medicine with the American Board of Internal Medicine and a fellow of the American College of Physicians. She formerly served as medical director for HealthParners and as a member and chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. In 2006 she ran for Lt. Governor on the Independence Party ticket with Peter Hutchinson. If she does indeed run she would be the first candidate to announce a run against Bachmann so far this cycle. 2006 and 2008 DFL candidate El Tinklenberg is also rumored to be mulling a run.

However I don't believe a Democrat is likely to beat Bachmann unless one of three things happens: Minnesota passes fusion voting in time for the 2010 election, Minnesota passes Instant Runoff Voting in time for the 2010 election or only two major parties run candidates on the ballot in 2010.

First of all. Why does one of those things need to happen for a Democrat to have a strong chance of winning? In Minnesota three political parties have qualified for major party status. The Republican Party (which will nominate Michelle Bachmann should she run for re-election), the DFL Party and the Independence Party.

In 2006 El Tinklenberg was endorsed by both the DFL Party and the Independence Party. However Minnesota law does not allow candidates to appear on the ballot for multiple parties so Tinklenberg filed to appear on the ballot as a DFLer. You might expect no one to file for the Independence Party seeing as they'd already endorsed Tinklenberg, however someone named Bob Anderson plunked down the 300 bucks to file thus ensuring his appearance on the general election ballot as the Independence Party candidate.

In November Bachmann got only 46.4 percent of the vote. However she still won the election beacuse Anderson pulled 10 percent of the vote which split the anti-Bachmann vote and let her sneak into office again with a plurality. If this happens again and the Independence, DFL and Republican Parties all run candidates I do not think that Democrats have a good chance of winning the seat. However if a former Independence Party member like Reed runs and one of these three things happens I believe we can Dump Bachmann.

1. Pass into law and and implement Instant Runoff Voting before for 2010 elections

This is my preferred solution and probably the least likely to happen. It would allow both the DFL and IP to run candidates and allow voters to choose whoever they thought was the best candidate. As long as a majority picked the DFLer or IP candidate before Bachmann she would be defeated. However it seems very unlikely that this could happen before 2010 as Tim Pawlenty would surely veto it if it came to his desk.

2. Pass into law and implement fusion voting before the 2010 elections.


Fusion voting allows a candidate to be endorsed by multiple parties. It is currently in use in New York. Reed could then run for both the DFL and Independence Party endorsements and appear on the ballot and the candidate for both parties. Had this been the law in 2008 Tinklenberg would have appeared on the ballot for the DFL and IP and I believe he'd be the congressman currently.

Unlike Instant Runoff Voting fusion would not require replacing the current machines and so it might have a better chance of passing but I still doubt it will be made a priority and get Pawlenty's signature before 2010.

3. Have only two major party candidates on teh ballot in 2010


Of the three I believe this one is the most achievable beacuse it does not require a change in law that could be blocked by Pawlenty.

First Reed or another candidate would need to secure the backing of both the DFL and Independence Party as Tinklenberg did. They would then need to make sure that unlike in 2008 no other Independence Party candidate filed and thus put three major party candidates on the ballot.

It may not be necessary to do anything to make sure that happens. Anderson was the only person to file as a Independence Party candidate after Tinklenberg had won the official IP endorsement and perhaps no one would do the same this time making sure the IP had no candidate on the ballot. However it's always possible that someone WOULD file thus potentially making a split outcome that sends Michelle Bachmann back to Congress.

So how to prevent that possibility? I see only one legal way. Run a front candidate. Now I know that doesn't sound very nice but if Reed or another candidate wins both the DFL and IP endorsements and wants to win in November I think it needs to happen. Essentially assuming that does happen someone needs to file for the IP primary on a platform of dropping out to make sure the officially endorsed IP candidate doesn't lose in the general. If it turns out no one else files they can end their campaign up to two days after the filing deadline, if someone else does file they have to win the primary and then they can drop out leaving the November ballot with just two major party candidates and giving the DFL and Independence Parties and chance to unseat the worst member of Minnesota's delegation to Washington.

Personally I think the final option is the most realistic. If we want to Dump Bachmann Democrats, IP members, independents and sane Republicans are going to need to join together. Dr. Reed is well positioned to do just that. It will be interesting to see how her campaign plays out.

UPDATE:
Political Muse is reporting and I have been able to confirm that she did indeed speak to the CD6 meeting tonight and officially announce her campaign. No video but my source says she sounded a theme very simular to what I said above. We have to unite the DFL and IP parties and put together a coalition that also includes independents and moderate Republicans if we want to win in the 6th. Here's a note that Muses's source sent:

Yes she announced officially.

I talked to her quite a bit and she is really a good 'people person', listener and has a good handle on health care, job creation and the mortgage crisis.

She calls herself a 'blue dog' which turned some off, but I'm willing to give her a chance.

She understands the need to gain both the DFL and Indepence party endorsements and understands that other IP candidates need to be out of the mix. However knows legally she can't really do anything about it. But she has been a big part of the IP party so her influence may mean something.


In addition I've been able to confirm that she has already started building a campaign staff and will be making hires in the upcoming weeks. As I said before, it will be a very interesting race. We'll keep you updated.

1 comment:

Charlie said...

Here is Maureen Reed's website:

http://maureenreedforcongress.com/