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A consistent conservative
Unlike his moderate mentor and predecessor Republican Rep. Jim Ramstad, he’s been a consistent if quieter conservative.
According to opencongress.org, a site that tracks congressional voting trends, Paulsen votes with his party 95 percent of the time.
“Before he could say, ‘I’m just like Jim Ramstad,’ ” Sund said. “Now we know he’s far from that.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the campaign arm of House Republicans, commissioned a poll during last year’s federal government shutdown that showed Paulsen trailing a generic, unidentified Democratic challenger.
Paulsen eventually broke ranks with GOP leaders to end the shutdown.
Despite their frequent criticism of Paulsen, the DCCC has not thrown its full support behind a Paulsen opponent since 2008, the year the seat came open with Ramstad’s retirement.
Paulsen had $1.7 million banked for his re-election bid at the end of 2013, the most of any Minnesota U.S. House candidate.
A report from the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution found that it took, on average, $1.6 million to win a House seat in 2012.
A small-business owner, Sund had roughly $500 remaining from her 2012 congressional run. She’ll release her latest campaign finance report before the Tuesday due date.
Downey, the state GOP chairman, doubts that Paulsen will take the race lightly despite his advantages.
“I don’t think he cares who the Democrats are putting up [against him]; he’s going to take it seriously.” Downey said.
Corey Mitchell is a correspondent in the Star Tribune Washington Bureau. Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell