MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Former WCCO-TV anchor Don Shelby has made it official: He’s not running for Congress against third term Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen.
Shelby says he was asked to consider running for the 3rd District seat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, but he says there are many reasons he wanted to stay out of the race.
Gridlock in Washington is among the most important reasons.
“When you see statements by John Boehner that says our job is not to pass laws but to repeal them, it makes you wonder who in his or her right mind would really want to get into that business, especially if they come from a background of trying to change things … trying to be helpful, trying to be a true public servant,” Shelby said.
Shelby retired from WCCO in 2010 after 32 years. He’d be 67 if he won election, far down the list in seniority, and likely in a Democratic minority.
“I would come in as an older person, as a freshman, and I wouldn’t have much of a voice,” Shelby said. “What I would like to say are things to bring the parties together. It does not seem like the parties want to come together.”
Nowadays, Shelby spends his time writing, reporting, and lecturing. He’s also helped raise millions of dollars for the Washburn Center for Children, a mental health clinic.
And he continues working on climate change, an issue he says should never be political.
“Let’s agree there’s a problem,” Shelby said. “Now, get to work on a public policy. But let’s at least agree on the science.”
After decades of working nights away from his family, Shelby now wants to stay close by — not in Washington.
And he’s reluctant to give up a 50-year journalism career, because he says he’s not a Democrat or a Republican.
“Sometimes conservatives have the facts, and then you should go with the conservatives, because that’s where the facts are,” Shelby said. “Sometimes the liberals have the facts. You should go where the facts are. That means you support the liberals. It’s not one side that always has the right answer.”
Moreover, Shelby said he’s been asked by Republicans to run for office, too.