WASHINGTON, D.C. — Dr. Maureen Reed — a candidate for both the DFL and Independence Party endorsements for Congress in the 6th District — traveled to Washington this week to introduce herself to the Minnesota congressional delegation, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the media and potential campaign consultants.
“It’s important to know what’s going on in D.C. and to have folks here get to know who I am because I am not a career politician,” said Reed, who also visited Washington in July.
Although Reed is well known in health care circles and chaired the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents, her challenger for the DFL endorsement is state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who is more politically connected and has already received campaign contributions from Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar. At the same time, the 6th District incumbent is Rep. Michele Bachmann, one of the most recognizable Republicans in the U.S. House and a consistently strong fundraiser.
Still, it is early in the race and Reed, whose campaign has more cash on hand than Clark’s campaign (although Clark raised $169,081 more than Reed this quarter), projected an attitude of confidence while in Washington.
“I am walking on air,” Reed said. “To have this strong a cash-on-hand position… We are really, really pleased.”
Reed also remained upbeat when asked about Ellison, Peterson and Oberstar’s combined $5,000 in contributions to the Clark campaign.
“You watch who the money is coming from and who is aligned with whom,” said Reed. “And I certainly expect at some point that people will chose sides, if you will, and make their interests known. But we look for the opportunity of continuing to have conversations and really productive relationships with everybody.
“I am absolutely going to win this race,” Reed said.
Asked what she would do if the DFL endorsed Clark, Reed said she was “keeping [her] options open.”
“But, what I will say is this, with absolute certainty: I was the first one into this race and I will be the last one out of this race,” she said, implying that she might stay in even if she does not secure the DFL endorsement.
Reed, who portrays herself as a moderate Democrat, said it is this position that enhances her electability in the 6th District where a majority of voters supported Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., during the presidential election and former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in his 2008 race against Al Franken.
“The essence of winning this district is getting that independent voter, that middle of the political spectrum,” Reed said.
In evaluating why she thought she could prevail against Bachmann when two Democrats before her have failed, Reed took a shot at the outspoken Republican, who has a reputation for making over-the-top and sometimes misleading claims.
“It is that I listen, think and talk, in that order,” Reed said. “And I have high expectations for government. I don’t throw stones at government and I don’t throw money at government.”
And, on the major debate of the moment — health care reform — Reed said that she supports a government-run public option, which would negotiate rates like private insurers. This version of the public option was included in one of the House bills and is the favored by some Blue Dog Democrats.
Reed, like Minnesota’s entire delegation, also said that she favors Medicare payment reform that would incentivize quality over quantity of care.
“Medicare rates at the moment disfavor Minnesota to the max,” Reed said. “It’s been bad for decades we know it has been bad for decades.”