Newt Gingrich's press conference for governor candidate Tom Emmer this afternoon featured a surprise guest: Chip Cravaack.

Cravaack, the Republican challenging 18-term DFL incumbent Rep. Jim Oberstar, got pulled onto the program because of a recent internal poll that shows him within striking distance of Oberstar.

Oberstar's campaign disputes the credibility of the survey, which was paid for by the Cravaack campaign and asserts the former Navy captain trails Oberstar by three percentage points among likely voters (42-45). The Cravaack campaign has declined to release the questionnaire.

Gingrich nonetheless threw some of his political capital behind the findings, saying Cravaack is "going to be one of the great upset stories in the country this year."

"I was startled by the poll numbers," Gingrich said. "I suspect Oberstar is startled by the poll numbers."

Oberstar and Gingrich served together until Gingrich resigned in 1998.

"I like Jim Oberstar as a person," Gingrich said. "We worked together on the aviation subcommittee, we have a good relationship. But he also represents every element of big tax, big government, Washington-centered, politician-dominated systems."