By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The election for Minnesota governor may be 13 months away but the tragic events in Las Vegas are already affecting the debate among some candidates.

Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz is considered a leading candidate for the DFL nomination

But his support from the NRA is drawing criticism from candidates running against him.

Democratic Congressman Tim Walz has represented the Republican-leaning 1st Congressional District since 2007. He is a 24 year Veteran of the Army National guard and former chair of the Congressional Sporstmen’s caucus. He has been a strong voice for gun owners’ rights, even enjoying an A rating from the NRA.

Now that he is a candidate for Governor, that support from  the NRA has come under fire from other DFL gubernatorial candidates including Rep. Erin Murphy and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman.

After the Las Vegas shooting Walz announced he was donating the campaign contributions he received from the NRA  to a group that helps families of fallen soldiers. He insists the move is not political. He says that the NRA and his own views on gun control have changed.

Congressman Waltz was a guest on WCCO Sunday Morning. Esme Murphy asked Representative Walz, “What do you say to those critics about a switch you have made on this issue?”

“Well I would say Sandy Hook happened since then, Las Vegas has come,” Walz said. “I certainly know that I have voted against the NRA when need to be.”

And in a move widely seen as boosting his standing with progressives, Walz announced his running mate for lieutenant  governor will be state Rep. Peggy Flanagan. If the Walz-Flanagan team is elected she would become the highest ranking Native American office holder in the nation.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Mike Augustyniak every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.


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