A National Journal headline caught our eye: House Races Heat Up Twin Cities when it Mr. Google sent it our way. Given that headline, we figured we'd be reading about the red-hot race in MN-03 that Ash Madia is running, with a dash of the Mr. El and Michele show. The lead looked promising [emphasis added]:
The presidential race isn't the only contest heating up the Twin Cities. No less than three congressional races in Minneapolis and its outlying suburbs are competitive this year, and they offer a microcosm of the national political landscape. . .
Cool, we thought. Steve Sarvi as well.
. . .In one contest, the parties are battling over an open seat; in another, a Republican incumbent is fending off a tough Democratic challenge; and in the third, a Democratic incumbent is on the defensive.
That puzzled us, then we laughed out loud to learn that this Twin Cities suburban district is none other than our beloved Southern Minnesota:
Meanwhile, two area House freshmen are facing big challenges come Election Day. In the 1st District, which includes the southernmost part of the state, Democratic Rep. Tim Walz has drawn a serious challenger. Walz upset six-term Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht two years ago, 53 percent to 47 percent.
Articles like this make us happy that the National Geographic Education Foundation gave Congressman Walz the "Geography Legislator of the Year" in honor of his "commitment to promoting improved geographic literacy." The National Journal needs some geography lessons.
The First isn't a suburban district that "includes the southernmost part of the state," dear National Journal staff, it is the southern tier of counties. It's not a suburb of Minneapolis, however outlying it might be.
We're also wondering why the staff thought this race is a "big challenge":
This time, his likely Republican challenger is Brian Davis, an oncologist at the Mayo Clinic, who won the state party's endorsement in March. However, state Sen. Dick Day, who lost out on the GOP nod, is still hoping to defeat Davis in next week's primary. Both emphasize their conservative principles and a desire to restrain Washington spending. Although Walz's district leans Republican, The Cook Political Report has rated this race "likely Democratic."
Pretty much every other political handicapper has done so as well, with the exception of CQ Politics, which puts it in the "leans Democratic" column. (The Mankato Free Press's Mark Fischenich put together a good review of the rankings last week; see the material under the subheading "A competitive race").
We also suspect that rankings for the seat may possibly change in Walz's favor, given both Brian Davis and Dick Day's miserable fundraising performance, documented by their recent pre-primary filings at the FEC. Even with the GOP's endorsement, Davis could barely crack $95,000 in individual contributions, party funds and PAC contributions, while the maverick senator Day took in close to $17,000. As we observed in Brian Davis's nomentum; or, the loan that won't die, Davis has to re-loan $124,000 to his campaign to push his cash-on-hand above $300,000 (it would have been under $200,000 without the candidate's cash).
Incumbent Walz reported around $250,000 (two-thirds from individual contributors), putting his August 20 cash on hand at $1,263,829. By that date, Walz's grassroots army of volunteers had knocked on 60,000 doors and made 100,000 phone calls.
The "big challenge" here maybe the geographically challenged media itself. We recommend that the DC press corps come out to Southern Minnesota and check it out: Rochester's booming medical metropolis, the growing sustainability movement in Southeastern Minnesota's driftless area, the hopping college towns of Winona, Mankato, and St. Peter, the wind industry gleaning power from the very air across district, the Mayberry-esque small towns, the packing towns of Austin and Worthington, the history. . .
And some of the best beer in the country from Schell's in New Ulm. Two hours away from the airport--pick a designated driver, please.
Photo: Our mom's hometown of Madelia, Pride of the Prairie, and Minneapolis's newest outlying suburb.