State Rep. Ryan Winkler, D-Golden Valley, said he is considering a possible run for northern Minnesota's 8th congressional district.
"I have had conversations about the possibility of it," said Winkler. "I think the DFLers up there are casting a wide net for candidates and I've had discussions about it."
He said he was born and raised in Bemidji and has a lot of family in Bemidji and the Iron Range. He said he last lived in northern Minnesota through college but would move north if he made a run for it.
"If I were to ever run for Congress, I would never do so without living in the congressional district," he said. If he were to run for Congress, that would mean he would have to resign his legislative seat because state lawmakers have to live in their districts. Members of congress do not.
The 8th Congressional District, which encompasses the northeast corner of Minnesota, had long been a Democratic stronghold, represented by Rep. Jim Oberstar for nearly 20 years. Last year, U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack ousted Oberstar and put the seat into Republicans hands.
Winkler said, at this point, a congressional run is "just speculation." Asked when he would make a decision, he replied, "as soon as humanly possible and as carefully as necessary."
UPDATE on May 11, 2011:
Rep. Winkler announced on May 11 that he was not running for the 8th District seat.
He said that he was supporting former U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan's bid to oust Cravaack.
Nolan told the Brainerd Dispatch last month that he was eyeing a run.
Winkler's announcement comes two days after former Sen. Tarryl Clark, a DFLer, said she would run against Cravaack. She said on Sunday that she had bought a condo in Duluth so she could live in the district. The next day the Minnesota House produced redistricting maps, which are not expected to become law, that would cut Duluth from Cravaack's district.
Under the map from the House, Brainerd would be part of the Cravaack's House seat.