Angie Craig

Angie Craig

WASHINGTON -- Angie Craig, a vice president at a medical device company, announced Monday she was planning to run against GOP Rep. John Kline in the Second Congressional District next year.

Craig told the Star Tribune that next month she planned to step down from the executive leadership team at St. Jude Medical to prepare to seek the DFL nomination in 2016. She plans on staying with the company, where she has worked in various management positions for a decade, in a strategic capacity.

She has never run for political office before.

Craig, 42, said she felt compelled to challenge Kline, who is serving his seventh term and chairs the House Education Committee, because she is increasingly disappointed in his voting record.

Craig called him "out of touch" with residents of the Second District. She cited two recent votes: one to defund President Barack Obama's executive immigration order and another GOP measure requiring the work week to be defined as 40 hours, rather than 30 hours.

"I don't think that represents who we are," she said. "I believe we need new perspectives and leaders willing to work toward progress more than ever."

Minnesota's Second Congressional District is slightly Republican leaning and is dubbed an R+2 by political observers, meaning a generic Republican would beat out a generic Democrat by two points in a hypothetical election. Kline beat Democrat Mike Obermueller by 17 points last year.

Craig said she hopes to build a platform that "further strengthens the economy and make sure we have economic security for the middle class."

Craig is married to Cheryl Greene and together they have four sons, two 17 year-olds, a 16 year-old and an 11 year-old. They live in Eagan. She said she was raised by her mother and grandmother in a trailer park in Arkansas. She has lived in Minnesota for 10 years.

"I'm incredibly fortunate and humbled," she said. "I believe my business background and my life experiences make me uniquely qualified to advocate for policies for every family in America."

Republican David Gerson, who has twice before challenged and lost to Kline in the primaries, said Monday he hoped to challenge him again next year. 

A Kline spokesman declined comment on Craig or Gerson.

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