BECKER, Minn. — Most candidates for higher office use the Minnesota State Fair as an unofficial kick-off for the next campaign cycle. Now, Minnesota Republicans can look to State Rep. Jim Newberger (R-Becker) as a candidate to defeat senior U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Newberger, 53, announced Saturday that he will seek to unseat two-term incumbent Klobuchar, according to the Pioneer Press.
A paramedic by trade, Newberger was first elected to his seat in St. Paul in 2012, and has handily won his races by 15 points or more.
“Today I am formally announcing that I will seek the GOP Endorsement for the United States Senate race in 2018,” Newberger wrote in a Facebook post announcing his bid for the Senate seat. “For over a decade, millions of Minnesotans have had no voice in the U.S. Senate. Senator Amy Klobuchar has rejected them.I will be the voice that supports reforming our refugee resettlement program. I will be the voice that will say “YES” to fixing our 20 trillion dollar national debt. I will be the voice that helps to steer our Social Security system away from the brink of insolvency. I will be the voice that speaks out for the unborn. I will be the voice that votes “YES” to repealing the failed Obamacare experiment. I will be the voice that fights for a simplified tax code. I will speak out to defend our mining and energy producing communities and allow them to grow and prosper. After nearly a decade of ignoring millions of Minnesotans, it’s time to bring some balance to the United States Senate. I have been listening to my fellow Minnesotans, and I hear your voice. I am Jim Newberger. I will be your voice in the U.S. Senate.”
Newberger faces an incredibly tough race ahead, one that he fully acknowledges.
“This is a race that most folks are hesitant to get into because of her [Klobuchar] status,” Newberger told Alpha News. “That to me is more of a motivator than anything.”
Klobuchar is a household name in Minnesota, one with clout and positive approval. She has even been touted as a serious contender for the 2020 presidential race, a rumor she has not denied.
A Star Tribune poll conducted at the end of April reports that Klobuchar had an approval rating of 72 percent approval rating and a 19 percent disapproval rating.
Klobuchar also has a significant war chest, with more than $4 million in cash-on-hand as of the latest Federal Election Commission report from July.
Newberger could see some help from the wave of support President Donald Trump received from Minnesotans in 2016.
MNGOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan told Alpha News that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to make an appearance in Minnesota to help the state party’s efforts of making the state red in 2018.
However, do not expect Trump’s loss by less than two percent to translate to an automatically close race for Newberger. Trump’s appeal in Minnesota did not translate down ticket for Minnesota Republicans on the ballot. Candidates like the Republican challenger of U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, Stewart Mills lost their race, despite the fact that Trump won the district by large margins.