Last month, Republican Tyler Kistner launched a rematch bid against current U.S. Rep. Angie Craig. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran lost to the Democrat in 2020 by only two percentage points in the Second Congressional District, which includes the Twin Cities’ southern suburbs and parts of six counties.
“In Minnesota, we know the results of letting radical liberals destroy our state. Minnesota parents know the fear of having police defunded, our communities burned, and feeling unsafe in our homes,” Kistner said in his April 20 announcement video. “Last election we were one of the closest elections in the country. Next election, we’re one of the top races in the country.”
The 2020 race was thrown into flux by the September death of a Legal Marijuana Now Party candidate, who remained on the ballot and received over five percent of the vote, larger than Craig’s victory margin.
The 34-year-old sat down with Alpha News this week for a wide-ranging discussion.
Alpha News (AN): How have the first few weeks gone since the campaign launch?
Tyler Kistner (TK): The support we’ve received since launching the campaign has been incredible. We’ve raised over $100,000 and had over 150 people show up to our launch event. And everywhere I go, people are telling me they’re excited we’re running again and asking to help out in any way. It’s been amazing so far, and it’s only going to get better from here.
AN: What did you learn during the 2020 race, and what can you do differently this time to win?
TK: As a first-time candidate, there is always a lot of learning during a campaign, but add to it a global pandemic, then the uncertainty of the election being canceled, then uncanceled over the death of a third-party candidate. The last election in MN-02 was undoubtedly more unusual than most elections. As a Marine officer, we always flourished by adapting and overcoming the situation presented, and that’s the way I handle the campaign. The top thing I learned as a challenger is that you constantly stress what you would do differently from your opponent. It’s one thing to complain about what they’re doing that’s bad, but you have to offer your vision and tell the people why you’re a better option.
AN: What current U.S. representative do you admire or want to emulate?
TK: Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin. He’s a Marine veteran like me, and he does a good job putting the country’s interests before politics. I think Mike is an excellent example for all younger members on how to stay true to your principles and values when you get to Washington.
AN: What’s your platform, in general, other than what we can glean from your website and intro video?
TK: When I worked with Capitol Hill while still in Marine Special Operations Command, I saw how so many politicians are self-serving and not working for the people’s interests. So my top priority is to be a servant leader who will be a resource to the people. I’m going to be an independent thinker who is not beholden to special interests. This can be achieved through common-sense solutions to the hard issues facing our nation.
With the Biden administration pushing for massive tax hikes, dangerous reform to law enforcement, and destroying our education system, my top priority is to fight against the radical agenda of Washington and put American families’ interests first. We can continue the Trump administration’s work with the 2017 tax cuts and help middle-class Americans get more money in their bank accounts. I also want to fight to protect our law enforcement to keep our communities safe, while upholding law and order. Lastly, we need to address the issues in our education system by empowering parents and allowing school choice while fighting to get our kids back in school full-time.
AN: How can your military experience help you as a politician?
TK: As an officer in the Marine Corps, I was taught to always look out for others and be a resource for those around me. That’s the same mentality I’m going to bring to Washington to fix the dysfunction we have from elected officials. Too many politicians are selfish and only looking out for their next election or to climb the political ladder. In the military, we serve the American people as a public servant, and I’ll never forget that as I walk the halls of Congress each day.
A.J. Kaufman is an Alpha News columnist. His work has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Israel National News, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, Star-Tribune, and across AIM Media Midwest and the Internet. Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.