The crowded GOP field of candidates who want to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken now includes an elected Republican from the very Democratic city of Duluth.

Chris Dahlberg, who chairs the St. Louis County Board, said he is running under a banner of "front porch leadership" and will emphasize the importance of returning money and decision-making power to local governments.

"The best decisions are made closest to the people, rather than in Washington D.C.," Dahlberg said in an interview following his official announcement. He said he will try to avoid themes that have gotten GOP candidates "clobbered" in recent elections.

"We put forward these people that get too much into deep-into-the-weeds philosophical debates," he said, when voters want someone "who's going to make their lives better."

State Sen.Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen; state Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka; and investment banker Mike McFadden are the best-known candidates in the GOP field, which also includes Monti Moreno of Marine-on-St.-Croix, who sought a Senate seat in 1996.

Ken Martin, chairman of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, said "Dahlberg is just another name on a growing list." Franken, elected following a lengthy recount in 2008-09, is up for re-election in November of 2014.

Dahlberg said his view of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that it should be repealed and the issue returned to the state of Minnesota to "have decisions made in Minnesota on how you're going to do health care reform."

His resume includes a one-man law practice in Duluth; 25 years in the Army Reserves, including a stint in Iraq in 2004-2005; service on the Duluth City Council from 1992-1994 and on the St. Louis County board since 2009. He is a Duluth native who garnered 60 percent of the votes in his 2012 board re-election campaign and was endorsed by the Duluth Building & Trades Council and the Teamsters Joint Council.

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