Skip to main content

Congress is in turmoil,  state government is deadlocked and yet the main issue emerging in the 8th congressional district race is that of residency and roots.

Relationships often matter more than issues in the 8th district. This is particularly true on Minnesota's  Iron Range, where the first two questions one is asked are "who are you" (what is your ethnicity) and "where are you from" (are you one of us).

It should be of no surprise, then, that those are the first questions candidates for the 8th district congressional seat are being asked.

On the Iron Range, we call outsiders 'packsackers'. This term comes from the early days of mining when many came from outside the area (carrying their possessions in packsacks) to seek temporary work in the mines. Today it is used to describe those who are not from the Range, even those who have lived here for 20 years or more.

It is the perfect term for both Rep. Chip Cravaack and DFLer Tarryl Clark, who, unlike Duluth City Councilor Jeff Anderson and former Congressman Rick Nolan, are not one of us.

Cravaack, who came to Minnesota from West Virginia via Ohio, is perhaps the worst offender. He gave a national television interview "from his district" while in Minneapolis,  moved his campaign committee from North Branch to St. Paul, transferred his account from a bank in Chisago City to one in Minneapolis, hired a New Jersey law firm to serve as legal counsel, and is moving his family to New Hampshire because his wife has a full-time job in Massachusetts. His visits in the district seem to consist more of pushing the agenda for the Tea Party rather than constituent service. His actions reflect loyalty to himself rather than to the citizens of the 8th whom he is supposed to represent.

But Tarryl Clark, who moved to Minnesota from Virginia via Arizona, is not one of us either.  One certainly cannot question her commitment to Minnesota since she represented the people of St. Cloud (and served them well) in the state senate. But the 6th district is clearly where she belongs. No matter where I am, whether it's North Branch, Duluth or Hibbing, the very first thing I hear people say about Tarryl Clark is "carpetbagger" or "packsacker". Unlike Cravaack, Clark does seem to know where the 8th district is, but her move to Duluth for the sole purpose of running for office has soured people to her candidacy. The fact that she sees it as a non-issue shows how little she understands the Great 8th.

This packsacker status of the two Virginians is particularly noxious when they are competing against our native sons from the Cayuna Range (Nolan) and the Vermilion Range (Anderson).

The first congresswoman from Minnesota, Coya Knudson of the old 9th district, faced a "Coya Come Home" campaign in 1958.  Likewise, "Packsacker Go Home" is clearly the theme of the 8th congressional district race in 2012.

Cross-posted at Minnesota Progressive Project

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site