Sixth DFL Candidate Announces Bid to Replace Walz in Southern MN

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A Rochester based community activist has declared her intention to run for the congressional seat being vacated by gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Tim Walz.

The DFL primary in the first congressional district is quickly becoming a crowded one. Community activist Regina Mustafa has become the sixth candidate to launch a campaign for the seat Walz barely won over Republican Jim Hagedorn in 2016.

Mustafa joins former State Sen. Vicki Jensen, Rochester based website developer Johnny Akzam, Byron teacher John Austinson, U.S. Army veteran Dan Feehan, and electronic pull-tabs salesman Colin Minehart in seeking the DFL nomination, reports the Post Bulletin. Mankato based attorney Joe Sullivan is also considering running for the seat.

Mustafa is currently working on a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Winona State University, reports the Post Bulletin. She moved to Minnesota twelve years ago from Philadelphia. Originally she wanted to work as a border patrol agent, but has a condition that rendered her legally blind and therefore she was deemed unfit for service.

She has instead taught English abroad in South Korea, and has founded a nonprofit called the Community Interfaith Dialogue on Islam, reports the Post Bulletin. While she is Muslim, her radio show, the Faith Talk Show, interviews guests from a wide variety of religions on issues of faith.

“I don’t want to be a candidate just for the Muslim community. My work always has been interfaith,” Mustafa told the Post Bulletin. “And I want my campaign team to also be interfaith because that’s always at the heart of everything I do.”

Hagedorn is the only announced Republican running. He ran against Walz in both 2014 and 2016. In 2014 he lost to Walz by a margin of 54-46, but the gap tightened significantly in 2016. Walz won reelection by just over 2,500 votes, a 0.7 percent margin.

Anders Koskinen