Washington report: Long-shot candidate eyes Bachmann seat

  • Updated: March 22, 2014 - 5:51 PM

– Republican Allan Levene is giving a whole new meaning to the term “carpetbagger.”

The would-be congressman hasn’t set foot in Minnesota in about 20 years. Yet Levene is angling to represent the state’s Sixth District, where conservative congresswoman Michele Bachmann is calling it quits at the end of the year.

It’s one of four open U.S. House seats Levene is targeting in four states. The 64-year-old information technology consultant knows he’s a long shot in each: Minnesota, Michigan, Hawaii and his home state of Georgia.

“We had to look at the demographics, voting patterns and other factors,” Levene said. “We think that outside of my Georgia district, the three chosen states, including Minnesota, represent the best chances.”

But with three established candidates — Tom Emmer, Phil Krinkie and Rhonda Sivarajah — vying for the GOP endorsement in the Sixth and little interest in his campaign from the state Republican Party, Levene admits that “Minnesota’s not looking very good.”

Levene’s multistate campaign is legal. The Constitution requires that an elected representative “be an inhabitant of that state in which he shall be chosen,” and Levene vows to establish legal residency in any of the states should he actually win a primary.

His best shot may be in Georgia’s 11th district, where GOP congressman Phil Gingrey is vacating the seat to run for Senate.

Levene faces long odds there too. His campaign has struggled for contributions.

Covering parts of Detroit and Honolulu, the Michigan and Hawaii districts are Democratic strongholds with early August primaries.

With its Aug. 12 primary, Minnesota would be his last stand and final shot at landing on the November ballot.

“You all go to the same place in Washington,” Levene said. “Where you’re voted in doesn’t really matter.”

Obama urged to sign LGBT protection

Six of the seven Democrats in Minnesota’s congressional delegation are among the House and Senate members pressuring President Obama to sign an executive order protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans from workplace discrimination.

All told, 195 members of Congress signed the letter, including U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar and U.S. Reps. Keith Ellison, Betty McCollum, Rick Nolan and Tim Walz; Democratic congressman Collin Peterson did not. With the order, Obama could ban employment discrimination by government contractors.

“Issuing an executive order … would build on the significant progress for LGBT rights made during your time as President and would further your legacy as a champion for LGBT equality,” the letter reads in part.

Corey Mitchell

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