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With an ambulance and a dream, Abeler confirms Senate primary run

  • Blog Post by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
  • June 3, 2014 - 8:02 PM

Republican Jim Abeler on Tuesday said, despite his lack of money or party backing, he is going to vie in an August primary for Senate.

"I've got a lot of shoes. I'm going to wear out some shoes," said Abeler, a 16-year veteran of the Minnesota Legislature.

Abeler will face far better funded Republican businessman Mike McFadden, who dashed expectations by picking up the party's nod for his run last weekend. McFadden, with cash and party support, will dominate the race.

During the Republican Party's state convention, both St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg and state Sen. Julianne Ortman had their hopes for endorsement smashed. Dahlberg withdrew from the race on Saturday. Ortman said on Monday she would formally withdraw by the Thursday deadline.

"Republicans can win in Minnesota again when we respect all Minnesota voters and reject divisive and deceitful tactics," she said in a statement. "We should always strive to run honorable races that all Minnesotans can be proud of."

Abeler, too, is working to make Minnesota proud.

"I'm giving the people a choice," he said, standing in front of his ambulance turned campaign vehicle.

He said his ambulance, which flashes lights, has his name and "It's serious business" emblazoned on the side. It is is meant to draw attention -- and make a point, he said.

"America is at peril," he said.

As to the jokes it has already invited that its a sign his campaign is on life support, he said with a smile, "That's just harsh."

Abeler, a chiropractor who has long represented the politically mixed suburb of Anoka, said that he is prepared to deliver on the promise of better health care, lower debt and solutions to the country's foreign policy problems.

"I don't think you can govern by slogans," said the former chair of the House health finance committee. "I'm going to talk about a vision, a dream of what America can be."

David Carlson, Patrick Munro and Ole Savior will also join Abeler and McFadden in the Republican primary. Carlson won 35 percent of the vote in a 2012 primary for the U.S. Senate. Savior is a frequent candidate, who sometimes decorates his campaign literature with besparkled stars and Munro says on his campaign website that he's a "humble foot soldier for liberty, freedom, and prosperity."

Like Abeler, who has the most electoral experience of anyone in the race, none have amassed significant campaign cash.

That, said Abeler, shouldn't be the requirement. America, land of George Washington's battles and settlers struggles, invites people to dream big, he said.

But, he added, "I didn't say it would be easy."

© 2014 Star Tribune