OWATONNA, Minn. — The race to replace to U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the first congressional district has a new contender.
Walz, who announced his decision to run for Governor earlier this year has left the district vulnerable, as President Donald Trump won significantly in the district and Walz barely won re-election.
Former Minnesota State Sen. Vicki Jensen announced her bid for congress on Monday.
“Our ability to achieve our goals as individuals, families, businesses and communities depends on our courage to work together for our future,” said Jensen. “I believe people want to send someone to Washington who tells it like it is, gets a seat at the table representing everyone, and solves problems.”
Jensen, a Democrat who served one term in the Minnesota Senate representing Dodge, Rice, Steele, and Waseca counties narrowly lost her race in November to Republican John Jasinski.
In her initial release, Jensen calls for a need of stability in the era of Trump and a Republican-led Congress.
“With all the uncertainty and dysfunction in Congress, we need representation from someone with roots in this district who understands the issues and works hard to ensure our rural communities don’t get left behind.”
Jensen, who narrowly lost her race in a district won by Mitt Romney in 2012 and President Donald Trump in 2016 will face a tough campaign as she challenges Republican candidate Jim Hagedorn.
Hagedorn hopes the third time’s the charm to winning the district. He has won the Republican nomination since 2014 and lost by less than one point in 2016.
FEC filings show Hagedorn campaigning hard, raising more than $200,000 in the first quarter.
However, Jensen’s previous service as a state senator may give her an advantage in the race against Hagedorn. Jensen was quick to note her prior experience as a public official.
“When I served in the State Senate I advocated for farm families and fought for educational opportunities and job training, transportation improvements, health care reforms and public safety. In Congress, I will continue fighting for those issues along with economic and scientific innovation, trade, and investments in infrastructure, including housing, energy and broadband technology.”
Candidates for office still have more than a year to campaign before the election in November 2018.