Continuing to frame himself as a Washington outsider, Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack strode into St. Paul on Wednesday to begin one of the most grueling and hotly-contested congressional re-election races in the nation.
“I am excited for the opportunity to continue to serve the hardworking citizens of the 8th District,” said Cravaack, who filed for re-election. “My time in Washington has shown me that Washington is still broken, and the failed policies of the past are not going to restore our country to prosperity.”
Cravaack, a former airline pilot from Lindstrom, stunned Minnesota political watchers nearly two years ago when he rode a strong Republican wave to knock off veteran U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, a Democrat.
Cravaack, 53, is now a top target among Democrats around the nation who are vowing to spend big to return to the district to Democratic control.
“I know I am one of the most targeted Republicans in the country,” he said as the left the Secretary of State's office.
Three Democrats are facing off in an August primary to challenge Cravaack, including Rick Nolan, Jeff Anderson and Tarryl Clark.
Cravaack said all three potential rivals are basically the same, all pushing for "more taxes, bigger government, more regulation."
To prepare for what he expects to be a Democratic onslaught, Cravaack said he is raising money and has doubled his campaign team.
Cravaack touted his work to speed airport security screening for soldiers, build a new road in his district and protect harbors as key reasons why voters should send him back to Congress.