Elwyn Tinklenberg just announced his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District seat held by Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. His press conference was full of interesting and seemingly contradictory elements, yet it was a well-done and carefully orchestrated event. He was flanked by union members, but the former minister was clear that he is pro-life although he said it was not his "mission to eliminate Roe" and he supports civil unions. He wouldn't commit to abiding by the DFL endorsement, he said he would work hard for it, but noted that he hasn't gotten DFL support in two previous campaigns. His moderate/conservative social credentials are important in this Republican district, but it also puts him at odds with party activists. Tinklenberg was transportation commissioner for Gov. Ventura and he said the 35W bridge collapse pushed him to run. Republicans' press release says "Tinklenberg Breaks Word" after saying he wouldn't run in this race again. But all candidates and PR people should take notes on this announcement because it was how to run a press conference. Tinklenberg didn't bury his head in notes, he looked up spoke to the audience and the cameras with passion. He talked for 10 minutes and finished questions in 20 minutes. He was well-prepared for some tough questions and not defensive. PR wizard John Wodele deserves some serious credit here. Let me also say that Tinklenberg is up against an effective communicator herself, who many Dems underestimated last time around. Michele Bachmann's ties to President Bush (especially The Kiss) could hurt her, but she now has incumbency at her back. The question for Tinklenberg is if he can get passed more liberal candidates to face Bachmann who's kept a low profile lately, I hear on purpose. (emphasis added).
It's interesting to see the evolution of Tinklenberg's endorsement statement.
At his 2008 Campaign press conference, he wouldn't commit to abiding by the DFL endorsement.
In St Cloud, more than a month later, he appeared to have moved towards abiding by the DFL endorsement.
At a December DFL meeting in Buffalo, Tinklenberg stated he would abide by the DFL endorsement if the process was open and fair.
I also find it interesting that he defines himself using the conservative frame "pro life" but then works to put his position on social issues to a more moderate position, at least more moderate than in his 2006 campaign announcement.
Is he trying to get the best of both worlds?
From his recent Dump Bachmann interview, it would appear that Tinklenberg's positions on the social issues move him to position that mirror's Bob Olson.