Patty Wetterling came very close to winning the Sixth District in 2004. Where the DFL candidate, Janet Robert, a socially conservative Democrat, lost by 22 points to Mark Kennedy in 2002, Patty Wetterling lost by just 8 percent in 2004. Then, she was running against an incumbent who raised millions from conservative PACs and ran vicious, degrading, and false ads impugning Wetterling's character, distorting facts, and ascribing views to Wetterling that were completely untrue. One ad showed pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, implied that Wetterling had been against the war in Afghanistan (she supported the military action there), and claimed she had taken $80,000 from MoveOn.org, when FEC records showed she had received only $32.
Patty's friend John Walsh, a Republican and host of TV's America's Most Wanted, appeared in an ad defending Patty from Kennedy's vicious smears and endorsing her candidacy.
The Pioneer Press, which I would rate as having a moderately conservative editorial page, endorsed Wetterling, saying the following:
Voters in the 6th, a diverse district of rural, exurban and suburban communities, have two excellent candidates who can represent them in Congress. We think that Wetterling is the better choice. ...
Wetterling is an extraordinary person, a moral presence with her feet planted firmly on the ground. She is just the kind of person who can dilute the partisanship and mean divisions that are preventing Congress from solving problems with civility. She has grown quickly as a candidate, gaining knowledge about the issues. [...]
It also is discouraging to see the Kennedy campaign go fiercely negative against Wetterling. The baseless anti-Wetterling ad Kennedy began airing late last week shows appalling judgment. She has kept the campaign on a positive plane. That's where we see the future of productive congressional decision-making for the people of the 6th and the nation. Patty Wetterling is an extraordinary person who salves terrible wounds with constructive action.
Below is some reading material on the '04 race. Remember the old saying, "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Fellow Sixth Districters, let's not repeat history. Never fall for the GOP smear tactics again. Vote for the "extraordinary...moral presence" in this race: Patty Wetterling.
City Pages: "Mother and Country: How personal tragedy made a politician of Patty Wetterling"
MPR: "Negative ads suggest close race in Minnesota's 6th District"
MN Republican Watch's October 2004 Archive