WASHINGTON — National Republicans today declared Randy Demmer one of their top House candidates for the fall, bumping him to the top tier of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ‘Young Guns’ list.
“Randy Demmer has proven that he’s ready to take on incumbent Tim Walz, an out-of-touch Democrat who has blindly supported his party’s failed agenda of job-killing policies and reckless spending,” NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions said in a statement announcing the move. “Randy’s campaign is a symbol of the growing momentum behind Republican candidates in Minnesota and across the country.”
Demmer is challenging two-term Democratic incumbent Tim Walz in the 1st District, which stretches across the southern border of Minnesota from South Dakota east to Wisconsin.
The district is a classic swing one — voting for George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004 but most recently picked Barack Obama over John McCain. However, Walz has a history of running well above the national ticket. Obama took 51 percent of the vote in the 1st in 2008 while Walz took 62.5 percent.
Walz has a large lead in fundraising, having raised more than $1.4 million with $655,000 cash-on-hand as of July 21, according to the most recent federal fundraising reports submitted by his campaign. At that same time, Demmer had raised $418,000 and had a little less than $200,000 cash-on-hand.
Those numbers are slightly out of date though, with campaign watchers keeping their eyes out for the next set of financial reports that are due at the end of this month.
FiveThirtyEight rates the 1st as the most likely seat in Minnesota to flip, though it gives Walz a 96 percent chance of holding the seat. While the Rothenberg Political Report counts it as safe, CQ Politics and the Cook Political Report rate it as “Likely Democratic.”
Update: Demmer and Walz react
“I am honored to receive this recognition as an acknowledgement of the support that we have received from voters across Southern Minnesota. Throughout my campaign I have heard nothing but frustration with Tim Walz. His active support for an agenda marked by massive expansions of government and unsustainable levels of debt have betrayed the trust placed in him. Try as he might, he can’t hide from this record, and voters won’t tolerate his irresponsibility any longer.”
Walz (via spokeswoman Sara Severs):
“Representative Demmer may be a “young gun”, but he can’t shoot straight. He’s a typical, career politician whose record proves he has no new ideas, only the same failed policies of the past. There is a clear choice in this campaign and we’re confident southern Minnesota voters will recognize his pitiful record for what it is.”