DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — Democratic Duluth city councilman Jeff Anderson said Wednesday he plans to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in Minnesota’s 8th District, saying Cravaack’s tea party views don’t fit the area.
Anderson announced his run in a news release, saying he’s been hearing from many residents, including some who voted for Cravaack, who are not impressed with the way the conservative freshman has represented them since unseating 18-term Democrat Jim Oberstar in November.
In an interview, Anderson said Cravaack and other lawmakers aligned with the tea party movement are “willing to give the wealthiest Americans a free ride” while putting the burden of balancing the budget and fighting wars overseas on middle-class Americans. He said the focus needs to be on creating jobs and encouraging economic development in northeastern Minnesota.
Anderson, 34, a small business owner and radio sales executive in Duluth, is originally from Ely. He is the second Democrat to formally announce a challenge to Cravaack.
Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark said earlier this month she planned to move from St. Cloud to Duluth so she could run against him. She tried unsuccessfully to unseat GOP U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the 6th District last year.
A Cravaack spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The 8th District covers northeastern Minnesota, including Duluth and the Iron Range, and extends south toward the outer fringes of the Twin Cities metro area. It had been considered a Democratic stronghold, but it’s not clear whether it will retain its present form for the 2012 election.
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed a redistricting map passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature that would have put Cravaack, who lives in Lindstrom, into a new GOP-friendly 7th District and created a new 8th across the northern third of Minnesota, where Democratic U.S. Rep Collin Peterson would have been the incumbent. The redistricting process is expected to end up in the courts, as it usually does.
Anderson said courts haven’t made major changes to the 8th District in the past.
“To take on an incumbent like congressman Cravaack, any congressional candidate has to start early. We don’t have time to wait around until potentially February to see what the courts do,” Anderson said.
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