MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The biggest and most surprising political story of the week is that former WCCO Anchor Don Shelby is considering running for Congress against Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen in Minnesota’s Third Congressional District.
Paulsen cruised to victory last November winning 57 percent of the vote.
Paulsen is so well regarded in Republican circles that many in the party hoped he might challenge Sen. Al Franken or even Gov. Mark Dayton in 2014. But Congressmen Paulsen said no thank you and is planning to run for re-election to the House.
He already has $1.3 million in his campaign war chest. Then out of the blue, a man with instant name recognition across the state, Shelby announced he may run against Paulsen.
Shelby said he disagrees with Paulsen on environmental issues and that Paulsen has “lined up with the right wing of the Republican party on every vote.”
Congressman Paulsen appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning. When asked what he thinks about the possibility that Shelby would run against him, Paulsen said, “Well, first of all, the election is more than a year away. I am focused on doing my job and couple of priorities repealing the medical device tax, growing the economy. These are bipartisan efforts that are making sure we are finding some results. That is my focus. That is my attention. There is plenty of time for some few other opponents that will probably surface as well and that process will get worked out a little over a year for now.”
Shelby said he will decide within the week if he will run. Paulsen won reelection easily last November — but Barack Obama also narrowly carried the district. And recent redistricting has brought in more Democrats. But knocking off incumbent members of the House of Representatives is very tough — statistics show they win re-election more than 90 percent of the time.
You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.