Today my series on Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District continues with the first of several posts about the DFLers running to unseat Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN8). Today I’ll post two items about the candidates who’ve announced, Jeff Anderson and Tarryl Clark. We begin in alphabetical order with Anderson.
A Duluth city councilor, radio station ad manager, Ely native and active DFLer, Jeff Anderson boasts a strong resume for the run. He’s announced. He’s raising money. He’s been active on the trail. Anderson’s Iron Range roots and Duluth address tie him to two of the district’s most important and historically significant regions, both of which supply most of the DFL votes in MN-8.
Friendly, smart, an experienced speaker, Anderson would adapt well to the role of a congressional candidate. An Army National Guard veteran who’s well-connected to the Duluth business community, he can interact comfortably across a wide spectrum of the electorate.
He faces some challenges. He’s not as well known outside Duluth and Ely. His historic role as Duluth’s first openly gay city councilor is an admirable badge of courage in this traditional district. Nevertheless, in a year that will see a divisive anti-equality constitutional amendment on the ballot, he’ll be forced to talk about his personal life in ways others wouldn’t. That’s not right, but it’s a thing. To his credit, Anderson is acutely aware of the challenge and speaks about it openly in his meetings with DFLers. It’s possible that voters won’t be as concerned with the issue as some believe.
Many know Anderson from his work in Duluth media, though a city councilor always faces an uphill climb for name recognition when running for Congress. Anderson joins Clark as being the only candidates currently raising money at this stage, and among only three or four rumored candidates who are likely to be able to raise the necessary funds.
Anderson’s big advantage is that he’s the only candidate in the mix right now who doesn’t have a complicated story to explain where he’s from and what he’s been doing for a living. In my personal experience, those are the two most important pieces of biographical information to the people of northern Minnesota.
Tony Sterle at A Little Bit of Liberal did an interview with Anderson recently. I’ve talked to Anderson and will be doing a series of formal interviews with all the candidates before the precinct caucuses. I’ll have a post about Tarryl Clark up at noon and a look at other potential DFL candidates Tuesday.
Read Part 1: Redistricting Scenarios; Part 2: Chip Cravaack. or Part 3: The non-candidates. Follow MinnesotaBrown on Facebook or Twitter for news. My book, a humorous primer on life north of the metro, is “Overburden: Modern Life on the Iron Range.”