BECKER, Minn. – Three-term Republican state Rep. Jim Newberger is leaning towards a run to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2018.
Newberger told Alpha News that he will be announcing his final decision in a public announcement on Saturday. He says the contrast between himself and Klobuchar is stark, as the issues they clash on include, “Just about everything.”
“I think the biggest issues are going to be immigration for sure,” Newberger said. “Immigration would be the big undiscussed area that really needs to be addressed, also social security, and our national debt is now over $20 trillion. I also think that Sen. Klobuchar is really not representing Minnesotans.”
Newberger works as a paramedic, and is currently the vice chair of the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Policy and Finance Committee. He also serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance, and Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance committees.
The married father of three believes that much of Minnesota goes unrepresented in the U.S. Senate by the tandem of Klobuchar and Sen. Al Franken.
“There’s one voice for Minnesota in the Senate right now and that’s a very progressive left leaning voice,” Newberger said. “There’s a whole lot of moderate and conservative Minnesotans who don’t have a voice.”
Newberger would be the first Republican candidate to enter the 2018 Senate race. While there are no other challengers to Klobuchar yet, Newberger said that if he does enter the race, he promises to abide by the party’s endorsement process.
Klobuchar won a blowout victory in her bid for a second term in 2012, winning 65 percent of the vote compared with one-term State Rep. Kurt Bills’ 30.5 percent. In her first election in 2006, Klobuchar took 58 percent to three-term State Rep. Mark Kennedy’s 38 percent.
Newberger is not deterred from a run by these margins however, and the closeness of Minnesota’s Trump-Clinton contest in 2016 makes him cautiously optimistic.
“Right now I think that that’s a strong indicator that this is a race that we can win,” Newberger said of the 2016 election. “But it’s going to take an enormous amount of work and it’s going to take a lot of money to do this.”