Minnesota's Sixth: The district is home to one of the most interesting (read that: competitive) woman vs. woman congressional races of the year. Democrat Patty Wetterling is ahead of Republican State Sen. Michelle Bachmann by 5 percentage points in a poll released this week. Majority Watch, which conducted the poll, "is a partnership set up by two independent polling firms to look at competitive House races nationwide in an effort to predict which party will win control the House on November 7. A total of 1,024 likely voters in the First District were interviewed in the automated telephone survey. The margin of error was listed at 3.08 percent."
One Republican spokesman for another congressional candidate told the Mankato Free Press he was suspicious of Wetterling's lead because it contradicted earlier polls. The district also leans Republican. But what could explain Wetterling's lead is the timing of her race to fill the seat left vacant by Rep. Mark Kennedy, a Republican, who's running for the U.S. Senate. The Foley page scandal has given Wetterling a big boost in recent weeks, and the Democrats selected Wetterling to deliver their weekly radio response to President Bush's Saturday radio address. Her topic? Child safety.
The news cycle couldn't have been more helpful to Wetterling, who has spent the past 17 years working on child safety legislation. "Since her son's abduction in 1989, Wetterling has worked with three presidents, including President Bush, to help pass critical child safety legislation, including sex offender registration laws and Amber Alert," according to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Wetterling and Bachmann are both mothers, wives, and professional women, but that's where the similarities end. "Bachmann is a social conservative who has been running hardest on economic and national security issues lately. Wetterling is reminding voters of her record on child safety matters as controversy swirls around a House member who sent inappropriate E-mails to teenage pages."
In Missouri's Eighth, former teacher and Democrat Veronica Hambacker's chances of unseating five-term incumbent Jo Ann Emerson seem slim at this point, although I could find no recent polling in the district. At a Democratic-sponsored "Had Enough?" rally earlier this month in Missouri, "Hambacker told the gathering that she is struggling in an uphill battle to unseat five-term incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson. Hambacker told of her career as a teacher and her life growing up on an Ozark farm before attacking Emerson for voting with President Bush 91 percent of the time and supporting tax breaks for oil companies.
That said, Emerson is enormously popular, having won the 2004 election with 72 percent of the vote. The treasurer of her fundraising arm, Team Emerson, is David Limbaugh. No, he's not the David Limbaugh who's Rush's brother, but he is a cousin.
Up Next: New Mexico's First Congressional District and attack ads