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Don Shelby reportedly considering congressional run

WASHINGTON — The former WCCO anchor is interested in challenging Erik Paulsen, according to the Star Tribune.

MinnPost photo by Bill Kelley
Don Shelby

WASHINGTON — Former WCCO anchor and MinnPost contributor Don Shelby is reportedly considering mounting a challenge to Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen in the 3rd District.

The Star Tribune’s Kevin Diaz has the details

Shelby’s interest burst into the open amid remarks by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who mentioned it at a Washington fundraiser Wednesday attended by about 30 or 40 campaign contributors, lobbyists and Democratic activists.
Peterson’s account of Shelby’s interest was confirmed by two prominent Minnesota lobbyists who were at the luncheon. Both said Peterson described Shelby’s long career in Minnesota broadcast journalism. …
“I don’t know if he’s in or not,” said DFL Chairman Ken Martin. “If he is considering his options, I don’t think there’s any question that he’d be a very strong candidate against Congressman Paulsen. The fact is, if he gets in the race, it [the district] would become an immediate target for Democrats, not only in this state, but around the country.”
Shelby, 66, did not respond to an emailed interview request. But several DFL sources said he has been courted as a potentially game-changing candidate who does well in party polls of potential candidates.

Shelby told BringMeTheNews, “I’ve been asked … I’m flattered. It’s worth thinking about, but I haven’t in any way made up my mind.”

Shelby worked at WCCO for 32 years, and later contributed environmental reporting for MinnPost. He left the site last April.

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Shelby would bring a lot of buzz (for both sides) to what has been a pretty sleepy congressional district for the last couple election cycles. Paulsen has won each of his two re-election campaigns by 15-plus points, but neither of his challengers had name recognition like Shelby’s. 

Paulsen passed on a U.S. Senate campaign earlier this year but he’s been stocking up for a House re-election campaign. He has $1.3 million in the bank.

Devin Henry can be reached at