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Continued: Ramstad's exit sets off a scramble in 3rd District

  • Article by: KEVIN DIAZ and BOB VON STERNBERG , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 17, 2007 - 11:41 PM

He voted with the GOP against a troop reduction in July and for funding for the war without withdrawal deadlines in May.

How competitive a district?

"On most substantive issues in this Congress, Jim Ramstad has voted with the Democrats," said DFL Party chair Brian Melendez, who said he expects Democrats to be strongly competitive in wresting the seat from Republicans after Ramstad retires.

Republicans dispute that notion, noting that the district tipped in favor of Republicans George Bush and Tim Pawlenty. "We feel very confident about our chances of retaining this seat," said Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

"This is a Republican-leaning district that will perform well for us," he said. As for Ramstad's apparent popularity as a centrist, he noted, "The Third will elect a Republican who represents its values."

But Democrats say the electorate is changing, and it's shifting their way.

"There's an openness in this district to someone who can get things done," said Melendez.

As for Ramstad, however, there was little dispute as to whose turf it was. "The seat was probably his for as long as he wanted it," Melendez said.

Staff writers Pat Doyle, Mark Brunswick, Nina Petersen-Perlman and Rochelle Olson contributed to this report. vonste@startribune.com • 612-673-7184 kdiaz@startribune.com • 202-408-2753

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