Bachmann’s charges need review by all voters in 6th

Don Heinzman
ECM Columnist

Voters of the Sixth Congressional District have an obligation to understand the issues and the importance of their decision to elect their representative in November.

This is a race the nation will be watching because it involves Rep. Michele Bachmann who has become a darling of the right wing of the Republican Party and a lightning rod on controversial issues with questionable evidence.

Michele Bachmann is running for a fourth term. She is endorsed by the Republican Party and has two primary election opponents: Aubrey Immelman and Stephen Thompson.

She will most certainly win the primary and her opponent in November will be James Graves, a founder of the AmericInn Hotel chain from St. Cloud, who is endorsed by the DFL Party.  He has no primary election opponent.

The realigned Sixth District includes all or most of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright, Anoka and Washington counties. Some of its cities include: Elk River, Forest Lake, Woodbury, St. Cloud, Andover and Blaine.

Residents must register to vote either at their county court houses or by filling out a form they can find online by Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. to be on the roster. In Minnesota, voters can also register on election day.

This race has drawn national attention because Bachmann has become a leader of the Tea Party movement. She also organized a Tea Party Caucus of the  House of Representatives.

She was a contestant for nomination for President of the United States until she dropped out of the race Jan. 4 of this year.

Rep. Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is drawing criticism for claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the government. She and four other congressional members are asking the inspector general to look into “potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government.”

She also is questioning how Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, received a security clearance. She claims Abedin’s deceased father of two decades did business with someone who headed an organization who had connections with the Muslim Brotherhood.

This accusation drew a condemnation by Sen. John McCain who said it had no logic, no basis and no merit.

McCain said, “These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American and a public servant.”

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, told a reporter for USA Today that Bachmann’s remarks of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration are false.

Minnesota Third District Congressman Eric Paulson, a Republican, says her allegations are not appropriate and not true.

When Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat and the only Muslim in the U.S. Congress, challenged Bachmann to show proof that Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Bachmann attacked him. On the Glenn Beck radio show, she said Ellison has a long record of being associated with the Council on American Islamic Relations and with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rep. Ellison has denied any connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Graves, Bachmann’s DFL opponent, said her charges are based “on nothing but conjecture and wild conspiracy theories.”

Meanwhile, Bachmann’s backers continue to support her and await results of requests for investigations.

Some critics question why the Sixth District continues to re-elect someone who makes such reckless charges, with little evidence to support them.

Voters of the Sixth District have a duty to cast an informed vote when they go to the polls in November. Examining these latest charges is a good place to start.

  • s pat

    I stand with Michele Bachmann I am glad she has the courage to stand up. She has my vote

  • http://www.immelman.us/ Aubrey Immelman

    My enthusiasm upon seeing the headline of ECM columnist Don Heinzman’s commentary, “Bachmann’s charges need review by all voters in 6th” (Forest Lake Times
    Aug. 1, 2012) was quickly dampened upon reading the content of the column:

    “Bachmann … is endorsed by the Republican Party and has two primary election opponents: Aubrey Immelman and Stephen Thompson. She will most certainly win the primary and her opponent in November will be [unopposed] James Graves … who is endorsed by the DFL Party.” …

    “Some critics question why the Sixth District continues to re-elect someone who makes such reckless charges [false accusations of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the U.S. government], with little evidence to support them. Voters of the Sixth District have a duty to cast an informed vote when they go to the polls in November. Examining these latest charges is a good place to start.”

    The author missed a golden opportunity to focus on the primary election, in which Bachmann has two rational Republican challengers, and to encourage readers of all political stripes to make the Aug. 14 open primary a referendum on the reckless, irresponsible Bachmann. There will be plenty of other opportunities between the primary and the Nov. 6 general election to focus readers’ attention on the GOP-DFL contest.

    Here are a few points I wish Mr. Heinzman would have raised with Forest Lake Times readers:

    Minnesota’s open primary system is Bachmann’s greatest vulnerability, because it offers reasonable Republicans, Independents, and Democrats to ability to join forces in voting against Bachmann in the open primary.

    1. What Democrats need to know:

    The political makeup of the 6th Congressional District — it’s Minnesota’s most conservative district, and even more so after redistricting this year — makes it a near-certainty that Bachmann will be reelected in November if she wins the Aug. 14 open primary. It’s practically impossible for a Democrat to beat Bachmann in the November general election, because only about one-third of 6th District voters self-identify as Democrats.

    [Analysis at http://www.immelman.us/news/can-a-democrat-beat-bachmann/ ].

    2. Bachmann’s greatest vulnerability:

    As noted above, Michele Bachmann’s greatest vulnerability is Minnesota open primary, in which state law gives voters the freedom to vote in the party primary of their choice.

    Just how vulnerable Bachmann is to defeat in the open primary was demonstrated in the 2008 primary election, in which 19,127 voters voted for Bachmann (47% of primary votes cast) and 21,436 (53%) voted for someone other than Bachmann.

    Unfortunately, 17,474 of the “non-Bachmann” votes were cast in the DFL-column for Bachmann’s unopposed Democratic opponent, who did not need any votes to advance to the November general election.

    By letting Bachmann slip through the primary gate, Democrats voting for the unopposed DFL candidate inadvertently sealed his fate: a general election defeat at the hands of Bachmann, who could have been knocked out of contention in the primary if Democrats had used the opportunity afforded by Minnesota law to vote against Bachmann in the primary.

    This year’s DFL candidate, Jim Graves, will more likely than not suffer the same fate if DFL voters fail to help common-sense Republicans and Independents stop Bachmann in the primary.

    [Statistics at http://www.immelman.us/news/after-the-election-day-1/ ].

    3. The greatest mistake a DFL voter — or any anti-Bachmann voter — can make:

    Not voting against Bachmann in the Aug. 14, 2012 primary.

    In the 2008 primary election, more than 90% of registered voters chose not to vote. With 385,279 registered voters staying home on primary election day or sitting on their hands, Bachmann was in effect returned to Congress with a mere 19,127 votes.

    To defeat Bachmann, the most important election date in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District is not in November; it’s August 14.

    But unfortunately, Mr. Heinzman pointed readers in the wrong direction.

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