Tarryl Clark, who is looking to unseat Rep. Chip Cravaack in the 8th Congressional District, says she’ll be taking her campaign to the primary.
“The stakes are too high to let politics and process override the voice of the people,” she wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “Today, I’m announcing that I will let the people decide who will be the DFL nominee in the election this year.”
It represents a notable shift in tactics for the DFLer, who has said in the past that she would abide by her party’s nomination process as long as it was fair.
“By going directly to the people in the primary, I will encourage every senior, every student, every teacher, every veteran and every Minnesotan from the 8th district who cares about restoring the priorities of our families and communities to vote this August,” she wrote.
Clark spokesman Brandon Pinette said that the campaign is taking this approach given low turnout during the caucuses last month. In a straw poll on caucus night Clark received only 406 votes, coming in third among the candidates.
“Opposed to allowing a couple hundred people to choose the nominee through the endorsement process, it’s far more important to make sure that we are reaching out to as many people as possible to choose the DFL nominee,” Pinette said.
Pinette said that roughly 80,0000 people voted in the last 8th district primary.
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin just weighed in on Clark’s decision, saying the party is “disappointed to hear that Tarryl Clark will not be abiding by the DFL endorsement.”
Here’s his entire statement:
“As a former associate chair of the State DFL Party, Tarryl Clark knows the importance of the endorsement process. By forcing a primary election, we risk wasting valuable DFL resources and drawing the focus away from the real goal of defeating Chip Cravaack.
“There is far too much at stake in the Eighth Congressional District to focus on anything other than making Chip Cravaack a one-term Congressman. That is why it is so important that we unite as a party in support of a DFL-endorsed candidate who understands the values of the Eighth District and who is committed to representing the people of northeastern Minnesota in Washington.”