BEST GADFLY (1998)
When she finally decided to make a run at the mayor's office late last spring, Carlson told CP she didn't have a snowball's chance at unseating Sharon Sayles Belton. Her sole goal was to bring issues to the table, get people gabbing, and light a fire under Her Honor. She did just that, and more. The characteristically casual and often off-color rhetoric that framed her campaign stirred up impassioned responses on the dailies' op-ed pages, led to a memorable postdebate brawl in North Minneapolis, and caused both candidates to literally cry--one in frustration, the other in regret. In the end Carlson got closer than the pundits believed possible, narrowing Sayles Belton's lead to the single digits at one point and causing the mayor to at least poke her head out from under her shell. Admittedly, most of what our gadfly had to say was as scary as it was absurd, especially considering her tabloid-fodder past: Test parents for competency; build a city orphanage (and hand over the reins to Sharing and Caring Hands' Mary Jo Copeland); set up a border patrol in Hudson and send the criminals back to Illinois. Still, in a DFL-dominated city populated by monied liberals, Carlson was willing to replace the comfortable silence with disquieting questions. Perhaps she'll keep it up as KSTP's new morning host. Minnesota Nice needs a good kick in the Babs.