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Commenter: Bachmann's campaign dysfunctional?

Although I was disappointed by her win, I'd say Michele Bachmann won pretty convincingly over Patty Wetterling. True, she received just barely over 50%, but she outperformed Wetterling by 8 points, in what was supposed to be a down-to-the-wire race. John Binkowski doubtlessly pulled more votes from Wetterling than he did from Bachmann (on many issues he was more liberal than Patty), he wasn't the deciding factor in the race. All other things being equal, with Binkowski out of the race, Bachmann still would have won.

However, over at the blog Residual Forces, Andy Aplikowski, aka "Triple A," who wrote occasionally for rival blog Bachmann v. Wetterling, thinks that Bachmann's 8-point margin was an under-performance:

“Bachmann underperformed terribly. She mustered only 50%, and fell tens of thousands of votes behind Kennedy’s previous performances in 04 and 02. The state party made it a sport of attacking the great St. Patty, as did the NRCC. I believe that was detrimental to the case that Bachmann was a better choice for voters.?

As I recall, Mr. Aplikowski was a gleeful participant in many of those "sporting" attacks on Patty Wetterling. But we'll let that pass for now. The really interesting stuff came in a comment by commenter "Jonathan," responding to Andy's assertion:

You can hardly blame the Bachmann race on the state party. The failure of the Bachmann campaign to win by a large margin was a result of having lackluster campaign management. The reason for their marginal victory was because the campaign manager didn’t work on weekends until the final weeks of the campaign, had two staff members working on yard signs months after they should have been distributed, didn’t even attend all of the candidate’s debates. And the list could go on and on.

Not being, obviously, involved in the campaign, I can't attest to the truth of any of this comment's assertions, but I do recall that, at the beginning of the summer, the Wetterling campaign had many more signs out in Stillwater and the surrounding areas than Bachmann did--in her home turf! Could this be due to a poorly-run Bachmann campaign? It sounds plausible.

I still don't think an 8-point win is an "underperformance," but could this be one reason why Mr. Andy Parrish is now relegated to purse-holder status? Of course, if it's true, the reason he's still around is because, for all his alleged shortcomings, he still has a bigger work ethic than Michele Bachmann.

Drop me a line if you have any "insider" info on either of the campaigns, or Binkowski's for that matter.


Underperformed refers the vote totals not percentage. Compare the results from 04 and 02 in the 6th and I think you should understand.

It should also be pointed out that had Patty matched her last vote total, she's be packing for Washington.

Percentage don't give you the real support for candidates. You have to look at how many people really vote for them. Both women in this case underperformed in my opinion.

Here are the vote totals for the 2002 midterm elections, which are a better comparison to this election than 2004 (a Presidential year):

Kennedy (R) 164747
Janet Robert (DFL) 100738
Dan Becker (IP) 21484

Compare to 2006:

Bachmann 151248
Wetterling 127144
Binkowski 23557

Voter turnout in 2002 was over 83%; the MN SOS website doesn't list turnout for 2006 but it looks to be lower than that 83%.

Was 2002 an unusually high-turnout year? (Possibly because of the Wellstone plane crash and manufactured controversy around his memorial service?) Or was 2006 a low-turnout year in the Sixth (possibly due to Republican demoralization? Or did the extremely negative campaign turn off voters and drive down turnout? Or did a lot of voters choose not to vote in the Congressional race?)

Bachmann and Wetterling each received about 50,000 less votes than Kennedy and Wetterling did in 2004, which is astonishing, but turnout overall was much lower from the Presidential year. Also, in that race, there was no IP candidate. Since Binkowski drew ~25,000, we can estimate that turnout was down by 75,000 votes in 2006 from 2004.

Interesting stuff.

Thanks for commenting.

I think Andy favored Krinkie going into caucus, and there was DFL support for Tinklenberg; so "coulda, shoulda, mighta" second guessing is possible in both camps - but Krinkie lost his seat outright in a smaller venue than Bachmann won in, and Tinklenberg's still happily consulting, which Krinkie may take up, so the beat goes on. Given election results nationwide Bachmann is hard to criticize on campaign effectiveness grounds. She won the district and the district picked her; so now we see how she performs in a bigger circus tent and what the district got itself with its vote. Winning is everything until the votes have been counted. Then you have to attend to the job.