DFL Congressional Race Goes Negative

Video by Kristen Larsen
Two of the three Minnesota Democrats vying to replace Republican Congressman Chip Cravaack took aim at each other on Thursday as Tarryl Clark released
a negative ad aimed at DFL endorsed candidate Rick Nolan. The ad accuses Nolan of “taking lavish trips overseas” and says he “fought to get one of the highest taxpayer funded salaries and a $200,000 guaranteed bonus.”

The accusations apparently come from Nolan’s tenure as Chairman of the Board on the Minnesota World Trade Center in the 1980s.

In Duluth, Nolan responded saying his tenure at the World Trade Center created jobs for Minnesota and accused Clark of using “outside money” in an attempt to “buy this election.”

“I am very disappointed that Tarryl Clark has decided to air these desperate, deceitful, and dishonest ads attacking my strong record on job creation. This is last minute, 11th-hour, gutter politics at it’s worst and is not worthy of the 8th District,” said Nolan. The primary election is this coming Tuesday. The winner will face Republican Congressman Cravaack.

DFL Chair Ken Martin said Clark’s attack on Nolan reduce the chances of defeating Republican Cravaack this fall.

Nolan did pick up the endorsement of St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O’Neil. It’s was the latest in the endorsement arms race between Nolan, Clark and Jeff Anderson. Clark has the endorsement of President Bill Clinton. Nolan has the backing of Vice President Mondale. Anderson has the backing of the Duluth News Tribune.

Videos from the news conference and full text of statements.

Steve O’Neil endorsement statement:

“Rick Nolan has impressed me since th is campaign began. I have been impressed by the commitment we share to finding affordable housing and decent medical care for all our citizens. But mostly, I am impressed with his approach to public service. Rick has run a positive, issue-oriented campaign from the beginning. He inspires people to public service and reminds me of Paul Wellstone in many ways. I urge everyone in Duluth to support Rick on Tuesday, August 14.”

Statement from Nolan:

“I am very disappointed that Tarryl Clark has decided to air these desperate, deceitful, and dishonest ads attacking my strong record on job creation. This is last minute, 11th-hour, gutter politics at it’s worst and is not worthy of the 8th District.

Tarryl moved into this district to run for office and her campaign is based on outside money attempting to buy this election. These desperate, negative campaign tactics simply show the true colors of an overly ambitious politician who will do anything to get elected.

Let me be clear, I am very proud of my time leading the Minnesota World Trade Center Corporation.

My friend, Governor Rudy Perpich, talked often about ‘job-jobs-jobs’ and we shared a vision for growing Minnesota’s economy globally. The Minnesota World Trade Center was a huge part of Perpich’s vision.

The idea for the Minnesota World Trade Center Corporation was to provide a home for Minnesota companies eager to expand abroad. Our late, great Governor Perpich asked me to help him create and build this critical project and I did so successfully, working as an unpaid volunteer and Chairman of the Board, spearheading Perpich’s project for the first four years of the process.

We secured over $60 million in private sector money just for the building of the facility, which created hundreds of good-paying, union construction jobs.

I am proud of the accomplishments we made to help expand the market for Minnesota manufacturers and small businesses. This project helped to put Minnesota on the map in a global economy.

Governor Perpich’s administration saw the creation of 328,000 jobs during his term of service, and the World Trade Center played an important role in creating those jobs. I am proud of that fact.

Let me be clear, for the record. Tarryl Clark’s ad is dishonest, untrue and simply not based on facts.

I have worked my entire adult life creating jobs in Minnesota, and will continue to do that as the next Congressman for the 8th District. The only job Tarryl Clark seems interested in creating is one for herself in Congress.”

Statement from DFL Chair Ken Martin:

“When she chose to take her campaign to the primary, Tarryl Clark made a promise to our party and to the DFL voters of Minnesota that she would not resort to launching negative attacks against her fellow DFL candidates in order to win. It is with great disappointment that we learn she has broken that promise.

“Clark’s decision to go back on her word and attack Rick Nolan only hurts the primary winner’s chances of defeating Chip Cravaack this fall. Starting a fight with another DFLer distracts from the real goal of making sure we take back this seat from Chip Cravaack, who’s done nothing to help create jobs and rebuild economic security for middle class families in the Eighth District, and who’s voted time after time against the people he was elected to represent. The only way we’re going to defeat Cravaack is with a unified party and Clark’s ad makes that process more difficult.

“Rick Nolan is an accomplished Minnesota leader of strong personal character. So is Tarryl Clark. That’s why it is so unfortunate that Clark has chosen to steer this discussion away from the issues we need to address in Washington and toward the kind of negative attacks that Minnesotans are tired of seeing.”

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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