ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A U.S. Army veteran and political novice joined the race Wednesday to be the Republican challenger for Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s seat.

While acknowledging an uphill battle against the popular incumbent, Pete Hegseth told The Associated Press that he thinks she has been too politically cautious at a time when the country faces major challenges.

Hegseth, 31, has never run for political office, and said he knew he was getting into the race late after returning to the state only weeks ago from a deployment in Afghanistan.

“We’re building this plane while we fly it, and trying to do something in eight months that normally takes two years,” Hegseth said. But he said he believed he could appeal to voters with a message of fiscal conservatism, as well as pointing out Klobuchar’s support for the Obama administration’s measures such as universal health care and the financial bailout. He also described himself as socially conservative, but said he intends to campaign on how he’d target the national debt and reduce the deficit.

Klobuchar’s campaign manager did not immediately return a call seeking a response.

Hegseth joins three other Republicans in the hunt to run against Klobuchar: St. Bonifacius City Councilman Joe Arwood, St. Paul businessman Anthony Hernandez and former state representative Dan Severson. Of the four, Hegseth is the only one who hasn’t explicitly promised to leave the race if he does not win a party endorsement in May, which could extend the GOP contest until the Aug. 12 primary.

“We intend to win the endorsement,” Hegseth said, but would not say what he’d do if another candidate gets it.

Given Klobuchar’s massive advantages in name recognition and fundraising, a drawn-out contest would likely have negative effects for the eventual Republican candidate.

Hegseth, who is married and has a son and another child on the way, was born in Minneapolis and raised in Forest Lake. He graduated from Princeton University with a degree in political science, and was a member of ROTC.

Hegseth said he deployed to Guantanamo Bay just days after graduation, and was also a platoon leader in Iraq and later a civil military operations leader with the 101st Airborne. More recently, Hegseth was a counterinsurgency instructor with the Minnesota U.S. Army National Guard in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Between his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, Hegseth served as executive director of Vets for Freedom, a national group that advocated for President George W. Bush’s Iraq surge. Hegseth said he was proud of that work but didn’t expect it to be a focus of his campaign.

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

Comments (46)
  1. Citizen Kane says:

    What has Klobuchar accomplished?

    Aside from approving all of Obama’s horrendous budget busting spending.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Klobuchar has brought many issues to the forefront and demanded action, and a lot of them were from private citizens facing crisis. You may not agree with her political party, but you can’t deny that she has helped Minnesotans, sorry. And this isn’t coming from a Democrat.

      1. Rube says:

        I’m a taxpayer and get nothing from the government…. Please summarize what she has done for me again.

        1. Jason says:

          Well, you are paying taxes which means you are most likely employed, or receiving some sort of income, and probably don’t need anything from the government. Are you just complaining cause your party doesn’t hold the presidency or control the senate. Just be happy you have the house and crawl back in your hole.

        2. jackactionhero says:

          Do you remember the faulty drain in the public pool that sucked the intestines out of a young girl, eventually causing her death?

          Amy sought laws ensuring a standard for acceptable safe drains for those pools. I’d say that was good for Minnesota.

          You may have a different opinion, but your attitude seems to leave something to be desired.

      2. Cathleen says:

        Very well said, she has done a lot for Minnesota!!! Will for sure be voting for her. Have personally met her and she is a very humble caring person.

      3. Brett says:

        Yeah, like POOL DRAINS, and Stuff……

    2. Tom says:

      @ Citizane Kane

      And the GOP and Bush didn’t?

      1. Tom says:

        @ Jason

        Did you ACTUALLY look at that chart? Did you see what they are saying were actuall numbers and what numbers were estimates? That being said yes the RED represents Obama’s term and the blues represent Bush and Clintons last 4 years in office. And apparently you are ready to blame Obama for his spending and give Bush a pass. And apparently to you believe that spending money here at home is a travesty, but you have no problem with Bush spending alot of money in Afgan and Iraq, two tax cuts, etc, and none of that was paid for. And apparently you are giving Bush and Cheney a pass for leaving Obama with debt when he came into office in 2008, but what Obama has done by adding debt unto the debt he was handed is unforgiveable. And just out of curiousty who did you vote for in 2004?

        1. Frozenrunner says:

          Yes Tom, the Republican turn a blind eye to the spending of Bush, They miss the cost of the years of war under Bush that were not part of the deficit. Often times they have never read the link they have posted. Someone may counter that many people have not read the link they have posted, it may be true.

    3. Frozenrunner says:

      Please enlighten me on anything but rubber-stamp GOP policies Norm Coleman, Chip Cravaak, Erik Paulson, Rod Grams, or John Kline has ever done.Not much of the work a legislator does gets some publicity. What gets them publicity is when they get some money spent for their district. If the desire was to spend less money, the afore mentioned people have never come up with a workable plan on how to do so.

  2. Kevin says:

    Its time to boot all of them out! All of the Senate and Congress needs to get booted! They are all worthless! People are suffering and all they do is play games. We need to make the Senate and Congress all a flat 4 year term. We need to also make a flat rate max of 1 million dollars for any and all campaign spending. With both of these in place….they will be more likely to stick to their guns and shove through their agenda. They would not worry about upsetting anyone and not getting reelected….

    1. deltadawn says:

      Term limits K-man!!!

  3. DontTread says:

    A democrat looking to plunder us into oblivion with debt-creating policies or a war-mongering republican. I’m looking pretty fondly upon Mr. Arwood.

  4. Summerbreeze says:

    Amy supports a progressive agenda! C’mon get with it PPL! 🙂 Vote AMY!

    1. Brett says:

      Don’t you mean REGRESSIVE?? What’s so “progressive” about Amy?

  5. Take A Deep Breath says:

    I don’t vote democrat, but I will not make a blanket statement or assumption that she is ineffective. I do see her actively involved in Minnesota affairs. If there is a legitimate issue… it seems she will likely be it’s voice. Take that poor Edina girl who was horribly sucked into a pool’s drain in 2007. She urged a bill to be passed changing things for the better. I can go along with that kind of involvement. I, however, do not see Senator Frankin’s presence at all. I would direct my efforts toward him. Amy is representing us well. As a Republican, it would take a heck of a candidate to get me to not vote for her. Parenthood softens one a bit.

  6. molly says:

    Anyone but Klobucher

    1. jackactionhero says:

      What an insightful and well thought out argument. Thanks molly.

  7. Ines Beag says:

    Just keep in mind that 14% of vets have PTSD. At least have Pete Hegseth take a mental exam and make it public.
    “served as executive director of Vets for Freedom, a national group that’s now inactive”.

    1. Brett says:

      Pretty blind and stupid stereotype, if I ever saw one. Actually, I think that both amy and al should be getting the FULL mental exam.

      1. Hal says:

        If Ines is blind and stupid, what does that make the rest of your comment.

  8. Guy says:

    Well, rotsaruck to that turd.

  9. no contest says:

    dude likes war and killing. must be a mental case.

    1. thumbelina says:

      Elena, shining is not only about pienossrofal development. I think we should strive to be better human beings and i see no problem in constantly trying to develop our ability to forgive or love, for example.

  10. Debbie says:

    He’ll have my vote! Get Obama and all his idiot followers out of office!

    1. go pete says:

      Right-on Debbie, I’m with you….get obama and his cronies&followers out of office!!! thats the goal in Nov. and go Hegseth,,you’ve got my vote!. Amy K left liberal must go

  11. Luke says:

    He has my support. 1035 days without passing a budget. She is a failure.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Amy Klobuchar is not in charge of getting the budget passed.

      If this is indicative of your level of knowledge of state-level government, you’d do well to take a civics class… Quick….

  12. mary s says:

    the news article is on the new challenger Hegseth–why the picture of Amy and not him…and why is it that his name isn’t mentioned until the second paragragh–promotional strategy for Amy?

    1. Larry says:

      thats right CCO, wheres your fairness in reporting?? the news isn’t so much about Amy,,,its mainly about the new challenger P.Hegseth,,,the article should be mostly about him,,,,oh CCO just can’t help itself,,,liberal bias always spills out. gets tiring.

      1. Hal says:

        Maybe wcco did not have a file photo. At this point he is fairly unknown outside of a small circle.

        1. Ines Beag says:

          Ya, that 14% circle.

  13. Tom says:

    He already has my vote, by by Amy.

  14. Brett says:

    Amy is a nice person, but we don’t need “nice” in Wash DC these days. We have many serious problems, and we need a senator with a BACKBONE, and some solid principles to get things straightened out NOW. Amy is a fence sitter who is playing it safe to get re-elected, and that is the LAST thing that this state or country needs right now. We CAN do better.

    1. bob says:

      I agree whole-heartedly!! Amy must be voted out!! Mr Hegseth will have my vote.

      1. Orrest says:

        Mr Hegseth has a track record of following orders and being head of a defunct organization. He has no track record for innovative thinking or problem solving.. One again another election where the GOP is looking to find yes men, not thinkers.

        1. gammarae says:

          Not to mention his mysogynistic and racist writings, and his slavish devotion to GWB, the Unelected Imbecile. The kid glorifies war. No thanks. Bad for Minnesota, bad for America.

    2. Ines Beag says:

      Then why don’t you run for office? You seem to know it all!

      1. Ralph says:

        Brett does not even know what Charmin is for

  15. just remember, says:

    All republicans are rotton filth.

    1. Ralph says:

      Jim Ramstad is a fine human being who happens to be a Republican

  16. Federico says:

    Thanks for flagging this Eric! We did riveece your app. One thing I noticed is that if a user misses a required field in the embedded app, the page does not scroll back up to the top automatically, so you don’t automatically see that a field is highlighted for response. Right now I am getting confirmation page on Firefox after completing app. If anyone else is having issues, please let me know! Thanks, Jon

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