Voters of the Sixth Congressional District have an obligation to understand the issues and the importance of their decision to elect their representative in November.
This is a race the nation will be watching because it involves Rep. Michele Bachmann who has become a darling of the right wing of the Republican Party and a lightning rod on controversial issues with questionable evidence.
Michele Bachmann is running for a fourth term. She is endorsed by the Republican Party and has two primary election opponents: Aubrey Immelman and Stephen Thompson.
She will most certainly win the primary and her opponent in November will be James Graves, a founder of the AmericInn Hotel chain from St. Cloud, who is endorsed by the DFL Party. He has no primary election opponent.
The realigned Sixth District includes all or most of Benton, Sherburne, Stearns, Wright, Anoka and Washington counties. Some of its cities include Elk River, Forest Lake, Woodbury, St. Cloud, Andover and Blaine.
Residents must register to vote, either at their county court houses or by filling out a form they can find online, by Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. to be on the roster. In Minnesota, voters can also register on election day.
This race has drawn national attention because Bachmann has become a leader of the Tea Party movement. She also organized a Tea Party Caucus of the House of Representatives.
She was a contestant for nomination for President of the United States until she dropped out of the race Jan. 4 of this year.
Rep. Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is drawing criticism for claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood is infiltrating the government. She and four other congressional members are asking the inspector general to look into “potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government.”
She also is questioning how Huma Abedin, an aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, received a security clearance. She claims Abedin’s deceased father of two decades did business with someone who headed an organization which had connections with the Muslim Brotherhood.
This accusation drew a condemnation by Republican Senator John McCain who said it had no logic, no basis and no merit.
McCain said, “These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable citizen, a dedicated American and a public servant.”
Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, told a reporter for USA Today that Bachmann’s remarks of Muslim Brotherhood infiltration are false.
Minnesota Third District Congressman Eric Paulson, a Republican, says her allegations are not appropriate and not true.
When Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat and the only Muslim in the U.S. Congress, challenged Bachmann to show proof that Abedin had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Bachmann attacked him. On the Glenn Beck radio show, she said Ellison has a long record of being associated with the Council on American Islamic Relations and with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Ellison has denied any connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Graves, Bachmann’s DFL opponent, said her charges are based “on nothing but conjecture and wild conspiracy theories.”
Meanwhile, Bachmann’s backers continue to support her and await results of requests for investigations.
Some critics question why the Sixth District continues to re-elect someone who makes such reckless charges, with little evidence to support them.
Voters of the Sixth District have a duty to cast an informed vote when they go to the polls in November. Examining these latest charges is a good place to start.
Don Heinzman is former editor at the Elk River Star News and a member of the ECM Editorial Board.