DFL congressional candidate Tim Walz gained national media attention recently when Wall Street Journal reporter David Rogers referred to Walz as “the Republican nightmare” in a piece entitled “Minnesota May be Tip of Political Iceberg.”
Walz, who has never run for elected office before has been picking up national press since last spring because of his status as a veteran of the post-9/11 era. Walz has appeared in Atlantic Monthly magazine, The Boston Globe, Roll Call as well as on Foxnews.com and Air America Radio. However, most recent press attention including the Wall Street Journal article focuses on the fact that Walz is not only a retired National Guard Command Sgt. Major but also a well-rounded candidate who is having a great deal of success fundraising and connecting with voters.
The article goes on to contrast Command Sgt. Major (ret.) Walz with his opponent Congressman Gil Gutknecht:
Here in the First District, Tim Walz, the high-school teacher and coach and ringer for Speaker Hastert, has the Democratic field to himself. A retired master sergeant in the Army National Guard, he served overseas during the early war in Afghanistan. When his old artillery battalion deployed to Iraq last week, Mr. Walz’s emotions showed after traveling down to Mississippi to say goodbye.
“There were soldiers down there that I taught in school. They were my students in my classroom, I coached them,” he said. “This is not something that is a political game or a political loss.”
Mr. Walz’s opponent, Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a former auctioneer, served 12 years in the Minnesota legislature before joining Congress in 1995. He emails progress reports on Iraq to constituents but prefers to talk up immigration, where he is taking a tougher line in response the influx of illegal immigrants working in agriculture-processing facilities in the district. “It’s a hotter issue and it’s more clear-cut,” he says. Unlike Iraq, “people know which side they’re on.”
In a statement, Walz challenged Gutknecht’s refusal to discuss Iraq because it wasn’t “clear-cut” enough, saying “Iraq is a serious issue and it needs to be addressed, no matter how complex the discussion is. If Rep. Gutknecht’s career as a politician has not adequately prepared him to deal with this issue, then he should step aside and allow those of us who are willing to tackle this issue take the lead.”
The Wall Street Journal article appeared March 30, 2006 on pg. A4.