Minnesota's former transportation chief Elwyn Tinklenberg says the 35W bridge collapse pushed him to make another run for Congress.
The Democrat is running for freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann's seat in Minnesota's 6th District.
He said he made the decision while he had dinner with his family the night the bridge fell.
“And all of us knew that we could no longer tolerate sitting by, while so many things were happening in our country that were the result of the kind of inattention that we're facing in our infrastructure,” Tinklenberg said.
This will be Tinklenberg’s second run for Congress. He ran in 2006 but lost the DFL endorsement to Patty Wetterling. After that, he said he was done.
But this summer Tinklenberg's profile rose when KARE11 and other media called on him repeatedly to analyze the bridge failure.
Hamline University’s David Schultz said the infrastructure issue will help Tinklenberg.
“Now, when you talk about the fact that maybe we need to spend more money, or we need to get our priorities right to make sure that no more bridges fall down, that resonates,” Schultz said.
Tinklenberg also opposes abortion, which could help him in the conservative district.
Schultz also said Bachmann could have a harder time winning a second term.
“While Bush is not up for re-election, Bachmann has tied herself to an unpopular figure and to a very unpopular cause.”
Schultz said two high-profile gaffes by Bachmann – her determination to kiss President Bush after his State of the Union address, which was replayed several times on television, and her claim that she had insider knowledge about an Iranian plan to partition Iraq – could cost her swing votes.
Rich Dunn, a spokesman for Bachmann, released a prepared statement today.
It said, in part, “While another candidate competes for endorsement among the liberal DFL activists, Michele is working hard in Congress to keep our country safe and fighting for Minnesota.”
The two other Democrats running for the seat are lawyers Bob Hill and Bob Olson.
If one of them wins the DFL endorsement, Tinklenberg wouldn't say Monday what he'll do.
Last time he ran, he pledged to drop out if the endorsement wasn't his.
The Minnesota Republican Party issued a statement calling Elwyn Tinklenberg "just another politician" who broke his word because he said he wouldn't run again.
That's the same line the party used, successfully, to characterize Patty Wetterling when she ran for the seat in 2006.
(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)