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GOP Searches For Klobuchar Senate Contender

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A second Republican jumped into the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar Monday, and he calls himself an average Joe.

Literally.

Joe Arwood, a St. Bonifacius City Council member, says he’s running to “give America back to the middle class.”

Arwood, who has no money and little state-wide name recognition, is taking on a U.S. senator with high approval ratings and millions of dollars in the bank. He is doing so because it appears no one else in the GOP will.

“I’m Joe. I’m your neighbor. I live next door to you,” said the 38-year-old sales consultant.

Arwood, who is also a former volunteer firefighter, says the nation is burning.

“I’m the kind of person that when I see something on fire, I run to it. I want to be part of the solution,” he said.

On his Twitter page, Arwood describes himself as a constitutional conservative who:

-would not have voted for the recent debt ceiling deal.

-would repeal the new federal health care law, including sections regarding pre-existing medical conditions, lifetime benefit limits, and coverage of adult children.

-would scrap the current tax code and replace it with a flat tax.

-is a supporter of GOP presidential candidates Ron Paul and Herman Cain.

About the closest he’ll come to criticizing Klobuchar is on her voting record.

“Is voting the party line 93 percent of the time taking a stand for what’s good for the people, or is it voting for the party line?” he asks.

In fact, the Minnesota U.S. Senate race could be a serious problem for the GOP. Instead of a campaign, the Republicans are currently mounting something of a search party.

Two GOP heavyweights, former governor Tim Pawlenty and former senator Norm Coleman, say they aren’t interested.

This lack of serious Republican Senate contenders gives Klobuchar about as close to a free pass as there is.

University of Minnesota political science professor Kathryn Pearson said that some Republican who had already been elected to public office would be able to give Klobuchar a run for her money.

“Someone who has statewide name recognition, someone who could raise easily $15-$20 million,” Pearson said. “And we haven’t seen that kind of candidate emerge.”

A year out from election day, Klobuchar has raised $5 million.

Another Republican candidate, former state representative Dan Severson, has raised only $3,700.

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