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Minnesota: Independence Party Wants to Give ’Em ’El

Former state Transportation Commissioner Elwyn Tinklenberg (D) scored the Independence Party endorsement this weekend in his bid against freshman Rep. Michele Bachmann (R).

It means the third party, which is influential in Gopher State politics, will not run a candidate in the 6th district race and will encourage its members to vote for him.

Tinklenberg served in former Gov. Jesse Ventura’s (I) administration, though his campaign said he did not seek the Independence Party’s endorsement.

Tinklenberg is making his second bid for the seat after losing the 2006 nomination to eventual nominee Patty Wetterling (D). However, Democrats are optimistic that Tinklenberg’s Independent profile might play better than Wetterling’s in a district that leans to the right: President Bush carried the district with 57 percent of the vote in 2004.

Barkley Won’t Run, Favors Ventura Bid

Former Sen. Dean Barkley (I) has reportedly ruled out seeking a return trip to the Senate this year.

According to the Associated Press, Barkley has declined an Independent bid against Sen. Norm Coleman (R), but hopes his one-time boss, former Gov. Jesse Ventura (I), will get in the race.

Barkley told the AP that a new employment opportunity has prevented him from running.

Barkley was in the Senate for only two months; Ventura appointed him to serve out the remainder of the Sen. Paul Wellstone’s (D) term after he died in a plane crash days before Election Day. Coleman won his first term in that 2002 race.

Democrats have endorsed comedian Al Franken to oppose Coleman this cycle in what is expected to be one of the most expensive and competitive campaigns in the country.

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