David Gerson, a Tea Party favorite who has twice challenged Rep. John Kline for the Republican nomination in the Second Congressional District, wasted no time getting his campaign rolling the day after Kline announced he will not seek reelection.
Gerson, an engineer by training, thanked Kline for his service before railing against the "Washington establishment and its tired and ineffective leadership."
He said his first order of business would be to vote for someone other than Speaker John Boehner for Speaker of the House. Boehner is seen as too establishment by Tea Party activists, though his opponents have never mustered a serious challenge to him. So, Gerson could wind up beginning his term on the wrong side of the Speaker.
Gerson is a small government Republican. He said he favors a plan to eliminate the deficit but did not specify how he would do so. He said he would raise the Social Security retirement age and begin reducing benefits for the well off, also know as "means testing."
Other potential Republican candidates include Sen. Dave Thompson, R-Lakeville; Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa; Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake; Dakota County Commissioner Mary Liz Holberg; Sen. Eric Pratt, R-Prior Lake.
Kline's retirement creates an opening for Democrats; President Obama won the district in 2012.
Mary Lawrence, a doctor, and Angie Craig, a St. Jude’s Medical executive, have already announced they are running. Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said he would make an announcement about his intentions next week. Rep. Rick Hansen, DFL-South St. Paul, is another potential candidate.