Responding to the huge number of small donations pouring into her opponent's coffers, Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann told the Politico on Monday that "almost to a one, these are people who never would have considered voting for me if they lived in Minnesota. In fact, most of them have probably never voted for a Republican."
Not so, says her opponent, El Tinklenberg.
"Republicans who have never voted Democratic in their lives are sending me money because those kind of comments [made by Bachmann] are intolerable to them," Tinklenberg told the Huffington Post, adding that many of the donations have come with notes attesting to this fact. "That makes me feel good -- that they're rejecting this across the board. It's no longer a partisan thing, and it shows they're understanding finally we are all Americans, and we all need to come together to move forward and the issues we're facing. ... And it's certainly been reflected in the fundraising."
In the first 72 hours after Bachmann's Friday appearance on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews -- during which she appeared to suggest that members of Congress should be investigated for "anti-American" sentiment -- Tinklenberg's campaign has received over $800,000 in donations. Adding to the bonanza, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has decided to make a priority out of the race, adding more dollars.
On Monday, Bachmann took to the pages of the Politico to defend her original remarks, decrying the distortions of a liberal "spin machine" that she blames for fanning the flames of the story. (Colin Powell, however, has also blasted her remarks, saying: "we have got to stop this kind of nonsense.")
And what had once looked like a relatively safe seat for the GOP may now be in trouble. Though polling has been sporadic in the sixth district, the DCCC released a poll last week (before Bachmann's comments) that showed Tinklenberg within the margin of error. On Sunday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune featured a story with the headline "Suddenly, Bachmann race looks different."
Now, Tinklenberg says the momentum has swung even more in his favor. "In regard to her comments, they have been pretty universally and broadly discredited, as they should be. I think everyone has weighed in and understands them for what they are in terms of their divisive nature. ... Colin Powell is not taken to hyperbole. And he read it and he listened to it and he saw it the same way. This questioning of patriotism -- of whether we're anti-American or pro-America -- people heard it for what it was. And she is only backing away now because she has seen what the public's reaction to this has been."