Sunday, April 19, 2009

Maybe Michele Bachmann isn't crazy after all

While the entire left leaning blogosphere has been pointing our fingers and laughing at all the crazy things that Michelle Bachmann says, the Sixth Congressional district representative has been hauling in the dough. Apparently there is a method to her madness. In Q1 Bachmann raised $313,686, a 20% increase over her haul from Q1 '07 and almost 30% more than the next biggest Minnesota fundraiser, Eric Paulson. In fact the three Republican members of the Minnesota delegation collectively raised more money than the five Democratic members.

On the surface this looks like bad news for state Democrats, but there are some caveats, the biggest one being that none of the seats held by Democrats are likely to be competitive in 2010; of the five congressional races that Democrats won last November Tim Walz 62%-33% victory was the closest. So there isn't really any fundraising pressure on any of the Democrats, but for Bachmann and Paulson, both of whom can expect vigorous challenges in 2010, there is a very pressing need for cash now.

In Michelle Bachmann's case:

In addition to her growing national profile, the Republican's fundraising success likely also stems from concern in some quarters that she could be financially vulnerable in 2010.

Her 2008 opponent, El Tinklenberg, had nearly $453,000 on hand at the end of the election and still has $183,503. Tinklenberg gave away significant chunks of his war chest, returning $250,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and much smaller amounts to Minnesota members' PACs and election committees.

Regardless of that, over $300,000 in the first quarter of a non-election year for a two-term member not in any kind of leadership role is an impressive haul. For some context, Bachmann raised more money than Colin Peterson and Jim Oberstar combined, both of whom are chairmen of powerful House committees. Michelle Bachmann, all by herself, raised half as much as the five Democrats combined.

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