U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, DFL-Minn.

file, Star Tribune

GOP selects Miller to challenge Rep. Tim Walz

  • Associated Press
  • April 5, 2014 - 6:03 PM

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Republican delegates on Saturday selected businessman Aaron Miller to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz this fall, and the two defeated candidates agreed not to run in the official primary in August.

Miller, a hospital account manager with Revo Biologic, told delegates that his experience in health care means he can help congressional Republicans offer alternatives to the federal health care act rather than simply try to repeal it. He also said his work in the private sector would give him an advantage against Walz in the general election.

"Let's send him into retirement," Miller told the cheering delegates gathered at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea.

Miller defeated Rochester state Rep. Mike Benson and Blue Earth businessman Jim Hagedorn after three rounds of balloting.

Benson, who finished in last place on the first two ballots, dropped out, leaving Miller and Hagedorn as the only two candidates on the third ballot.

In the final round Miller got 56 percent of the vote, short of the 60 percent a nominee needs for victory under convention rules. However, Hagedorn stepped aside for the sake of party unity.

All three candidates agreed beforehand to abide by the convention's decision and not to run in the Aug. 12 primary.

In remarks prior to the voting, Miller told the convention he hopes to bring Minnesota back to national prominence. He was joined by large group of young people at the convention, which helped him win the support of attendees like Jerrold Dettle of Freeborn County.

"Aaron Miller did a great job bring youth to the party, and he deserves the nomination," Dettle said.

Hagedorn spoke in favor of shifting the nation's power balance from the federal government back to the states. And Benson said he wanted to hold Walz accountable for supporting the federal health care law.

DFL Chairman Ken Martin released a statement saying Minnesota would rather support Walz, a congressman willing to work toward finding bipartisan solutions. He said Republicans selected a candidate who'd be a rubber stamp for a "reckless tea party agenda."

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