ST. PAUL, Minn. — The great Minnesota get-together is the unofficial kick-off for the political season.
The start of the 2017 Minnesota State Fair is no different, with the Minnesota Republican Party hosting a congressional forum at its booth Monday afternoon.
Candidates from congressional districts one, seven, and eight showed up for the hour-long panel moderated by Andrew Lee of the Justice and Drew Morning Show on Twin Cities News Talk.
The candidates consisted of Jim Hagedorn, the lone Republican candidate in CD1, Pete Staubert, the only Republican to announce his candidacy against U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan – though Stewart Mills has not ruled himself out of the race- and CD 7 candidates Dave Hughes, State Rep. Tim Miller, and Matt Prosche.
Hagedorn, who is running for the seat left open by U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’ gubernatorial run, believes the incumbency advantage Democrats have had in the district due to Walz’s representation is now gone.
“He [Walz] had better name ID and connections around the district,” Hagedorn told the crowd. “In some ways, that now flips over to us as we’ve been working the district for four years and continue to work the district.”
The candidates for office rarely differed from one another when it came to big ticket items such as health care and protecting the border.
All of the candidates called for a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act and also called for increased protections on the southern border. All candidates agreed that a single payer health care system would be bad for the country .
“Obamacare has been a disaster,” Stauber told the crowd. “Even our Governor [Mark Dayton] has said it’s unaffordable.” Stauber referenced a small business owner he met on the trail whose premiums went up by $2,400 this year. “Its unconscionable,” he said.
Prosche called Obamacare a “socialistic program” that needed to be repealed and replaced.
Hughes called for a repeal of Obamacare, but did not want the federal government to replace it.
Candidates also expressed their support for President Donald Trump and the support they are seeing in their districts.
Miller told the crowd that people in CD7 seem to be excited about Trump, and talked about people at a local county fair coming to the GOP booth for Trump stickers.