Michele Bachmann looks more secure than ever in Minnesota’s Sixth CD, but she’s not taking anything for granted, even in this midterm cycle. Bachmann has accrued a substantial campaign fund and she puts it to good use in her first ad, “Meet Taxin’ Tarryl.” Tarryl Clark won the Democratic nomination with just over 60% of the vote while running against a primary opponent who had withdrawn weeks earlier. Why didn’t Clark get more support in an all-but-unopposed primary? The ad makes it pretty clear:
Clark was part of the Democratic coalition that demanded tax hikes as a way to close the budget gap in Minnesota when the economy soured. Tim Pawlenty refused to budge, demanding spending cuts instead. Clark fought to hike taxes and put more burdens on the very capital we need to create jobs in the state. She now wants to claim that she’s a tax-cutter for the middle class, but that’s not going to fly when people see her record.
Given that we have the same problems, only much worse, at the federal level, what will Clark do if elected to Congress? Will she be a voice for spending cuts, or for government to take an even bigger chunk of private capital? Based on her track record in Minnesota’s state legislature, Clark will be foursquare behind Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama’s big-government agenda, the same one that has stifled any hope of real economic recovery.
Politico takes a look at the race:
The ad accuses Clark of raising taxes every year since she has been in the state Legislature. Clark has been a state senator since 2006, and her campaign argues that she has voted to keep taxes down for the middle class. “Tarryl Clark consistently voted to hold down taxes on 95 percent of working Minnesotans, including reducing property taxes,” Clark campaign manager Zach Rodvold said in a statement.
That “95 percent” line sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? It’s right out of the Obama/Pelosi playbook.
Bachmann’s race against Clark promises to be one of the most expensive House contests this cycle. Bachmann has raised $4.5 million and has more than $2 million in cash. Clark brought in nearly $2.4 million and had nearly $800,000 to spend as of the end of July.
That $800,000 will buy a lot of ads in MN-06, in the smaller media market of St. Cloud, so don’t assume that Clark is too underfunded to play. With at least a third of her own voters so unimpressed with her that they voted for the candidate who withdrew, however, Bachmann should have little to worry about this year.
Update: Gary Gross has a partial list of tax and fee hikes supported by Taxin’ Tarryl:
- Higher registration renewal fees on future new car purchases, but no increases on currently owned vehicles.
- A half-cent rise in the general sales tax in the seven-county Twin Cities area, imposed without a voter referendum, plus a $20 excise tax on new vehicle sales in the metro.
- Local-option authority for half-cent sales-tax increases in the rest of Minnesota, subject to voter approval.
- Authority for all 87 counties in the state to impose a $20-per-vehicle annual wheelage tax. Three suburban counties levied the current maximum of $5 per vehicle last year.
- Increased fees for leased vehicle registrations, license plates, titles and drivers’ licenses, plus a $20 reinstatement fee for a license suspended for theft of gasoline.
Gary notes that these seem pretty regressive for someone claiming to have cut taxes for 95% of Minnesotans.