Bakk Picks State Senate Over U.S. House

Tom Bakk says he prefers working in the Minnesota Senate, and has turned down requests that he challenge rookie U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in next year’s election.

“In recent months, I have been overwhelmed by the numerous phone calls, letters and emails I have received from citizens encouraging me to run for Congress,” Bakk wrote to editors. “It’s clear that many in the 8th District are frustrated with the partisan gridlock that has gripped Washington since the last election, and are eager for a new direction – and new representation – in Congress.”

However, he wrote, the best way he can serve is to remain in the state Legislature “and continue my work as the leader of the Minnesota Senate DFL caucus.”

Bakk attacked Minnesota Republicans, accusing them both of shutting down state government and forcing property tax increases. That likely is a preview of 2012 Democratic-Farmer-Labor campaigns.

All legislative and U.S. House seats are up next year, and there will be less than the normal amount of time for candidates to campaign because new district lines may not be drawn until late this year or early next year.

Planning a run for the U.S. House is especially difficult. Bakk, Cravaack and other potential candidates have no idea what district they will end up in since a court panel likely will decide on new district lines after they need to begin campaigns.

There has been talk, for instance, that one possibility is that all of northern Minnesota, from east to west, could be in one district. That could put Bakk’s home near Cook in the same district of incumbent U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson of Detroit Lakes, but leave out Cravaack, a Lindstrom Republican who lives far enough south of Duluth that he could be in a different district once the new lines are drawn.

Clark, meanwhile, bought a Duluth condominium so she could run against Cravaack, even though it is possible that her St. Cloud home could end up being in Cravaack’s new district while Duluth isn’t.