How competitive is Minnesota’s First Congressional District?


To judge from the chatter dutifully blogged by the Rochester Post Bulletin’s political reporter and Tea Party stenographer Heather Carlson, readers might think that Democratic Congressman Tim Walz was in danger of losing his seat long before the Republican Party endorses a candidate next year.

Other indices are not so dire.

Over at the Minnesota Independent, Paul Demko notes in the Cook Political Report that Bachmann and Paulsen are still the only competitive House seats:

Both incumbents face a pair of Democratic challengers. Maureen Reed and Tarryl Clark are taking on Bachmann, while Paulsen faces opposition from Jim Meffert and Maureen Hackett.

The November 6, 2009 Rothenberg Political Report also omits MN-01 from its districts in play.

Another handicapping service maintained by CQ Politics does include the first in its list of competitive districts, but ranks the seat “Likely Democratic.”

In light of the RPM state party chair’s sabre-rattling, perhaps the oddest thing of all about this seat is the near total avoidance of mention by the state’s conservative blogs of the exploratory bid for office by conservative stalwart Republican Allen Quist.

Unlike those political figures rumored to be considering running, such as Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau or State Senator Julie Rosen, former state Representative Quist has a web site, a Facebook group with 351 fans, and a Twitter account. Capital Communications political consultant Brad Biers sent out a press release for him and has been in the district;  Biers served as Brian Davis’s first campaign manager in the 2008 cycle; he is now posting on the Quist for Congress web site.

The site is taking contributions; can the FEC committee filings be far behind?

The National Review Online says that Quist is a candidate to watch. My Republican sources in the district say the staunch conservative is meeting with party activists throughout the district. Minnesota’s conservative bloggers say they want to support true conservatives rather than RINOS. Why the silence on this particular bid?