And the three-debate series is really more like two and a sixth in Quist’s view. After challenging the Republican primary election winner to three 90-minute debates, Walz reneged and scheduled only two of that length and a third 15-minute encounter on KSTP-TV.
Those who missed the KSTP “At Issue” mini-debate hosted by Tom Hauser last Sunday, it will be rebroadcast on KAAL — the ABC station out of Austin — this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 10:30 p.m.
In any case, Tuesday’s showdown in Mankato will be the finale of the 1st District debate season.
Walz went into his third re-election bid as a member of a small list of incumbents that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee considered most likely to face strong challenges by the Republican Party. The group was singled out for special assistance from the national party, but the DCCC has apparently changed its mind about Walz’s vulnerability, Minnesota Public Radio reported this week.
The DCCC has pulled back $260,000 in scheduled broadcast ads aimed at helping Walz win a fourth term, according to MPR. The ads originally were planned to run later this month.
If Quist is going to pull off the upset victory he’s been promising, some hints of progress will probably need to show up soon. While no 1st District polls have been publicized, the absence of investment in the race by the national parties or affiliated groups, and the lack of political celebrities visiting southern Minnesota, suggests that internal polling shows a safe lead for Walz.
Compare this year’s race to Walz’s 2006 upset of 12-year incumbent Republican Rep. Gil Gutknecht. At this point six years ago, Walz was announcing that his fundraising was approaching $850,000 — far more than any other Gutknecht opponent had raised.
By early October, then-House Majority Leader (current House Speaker) John Boehner had announced that he was coming to Mankato to campaign with Gutknecht, and Newt Gingrich had already held an event in Rochester with the incumbent.