Repubican state Rep. Mike Benson to challenge Congressman Tim Walz

State Rep. Mike Benson, a Republican from Rochester in his second term, says he wants to run for Congress in the 1st District against U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

Benson told the Rochester Post-Bulletin that he’s concerned about the growing number of federal mandates and regulations being forced on the states.

Walz, in his fourth term in Congress, was first elected in 2006.

The paper said several other Republicans may jump into the race against Walz:

In addition, former state Sen. Al DeKruif of Madison Lake, said he is thinking about a run. Former state Sen. Mike Parry, who ran for the seat last year but lost in the Republican primary to former state Rep. Allen Quist, is considering another run. Also seriously considering a bid is Byron resident Aaron Miller, a command sergeant major in the Army reserves who was awarded the Bronze Star and works for a medical technology company.

Another name being mentioned is Jim Hagedorn of Blue Earth, who ran unsuccessfully for the 1st District Republican endorsement in 2010. At this point he said it is “premature” to talk about whether he will run for the seat, but said he is not ruling it out. His father is former 2nd District GOP Congressman Tom Hagedorn.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin offered his reaction in a statement:

As a state representative, Mike Benson has pandered to the far right in St. Paul. Now he has set his sights on Washington D.C.

After Michele Bachmann announced her retirement, Benson said that her voice will be missed in Congress. Benson will try to fill her void as an extremist who cares more about partisan politics than getting things done for constituents.

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