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2 Klobuchar Challengers Leave GOP Contest

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(credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Two Republican candidates dropped their bids Monday to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in November.

Anthony Hernandez, a St. Paul businessman, and Joe Arwood, a city councilman in St. Bonifacius, abandoned their Senate campaigns. Hernandez said he decided instead to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul, while Arwood posted on his campaign’s Facebook page that the financial demands and time commitments of the campaign were taking a toll on his family.

That leaves former state Rep. Dan Severson and perennial candidates Harold Shudlick and Bob Carney as the declared GOP Senate candidates. U.S. Army captain Pete Hegseth, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan deployments, has said he plans to kick off his own campaign later this week.

Klobuchar, first elected in 2006, is running for a second term this year. Republicans have had trouble recruiting big-name candidates to take her on, given her formidable fundraising and her popularity with voters in opinion polls.

Hernandez, a political newcomer, said he decided the congressional race was a better fit for him. Hernandez has a banking and finance background, but left that career several years ago after he was nearly killed in a car accident.

McCollum is running for her seventh term in a district that covers St. Paul and some of its suburbs. Another Republican, retired Naval officer Dan Flood, is also pursuing the GOP endorsement.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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