Calling the race in Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District competitive, a national Democratic committee signaled Tuesday that it would commit significant financial support to DFL candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is adding Tinklenberg to its Red to Blue program, a list of candidates deemed capable of beating a Republican incumbent and worthy of extra money. Two years ago 56 Democratic candidates received an average of $400,000 each from the program.
Tinklenberg has trailed Rep. Michele Bachmann in fundraising.
His campaign released new financial reports Tuesday, showing it raised $469,000 in the third quarter of this year, for a total of $1 million during the 2007-08 election cycle. He has $357,000 in cash on hand.
The third-quarter reports are due to be filed today with the Federal Election Commission. While Bachmann did not release her latest figures Tuesday, she had far outpaced Tinklenberg through the second quarter of this year, raising $2.2 million and having $1.4 million in cash to spend.
She and the National Republican Congressional Committee have so far committed to spending more money on television ads than have Tinklenberg backers.
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen, a congressman from Maryland, cited "a solid campaign organization and strong momentum in the district" as reason to believe Tinklenberg will be competitive.
Others are more skeptical. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington said the Sixth District is a likely Republican victory but has the potential to become competitive.
Independence Party candidate Bob Anderson is also running in the race.