WASHINGTON – Angie Craig, a vice president at a medical device company, announced Monday that she plans to run against GOP Rep. John Kline next year in the Second Congressional District.
Craig told the Star Tribune that next month she plans to step down from the executive leadership team at St. Jude Medical to prepare to seek the DFL nomination in 2016.
She plans on staying with the company, where she has worked in various management positions for a decade, in a strategic capacity.
She has never before run for political office..
The 42-year-old Eagan resident said she felt compelled to challenge Kline, who is serving his seventh term and chairs the House Education Committee, because she is increasingly disappointed by his voting record.
Craig called him “out of touch.” She cited two recent votes: one to defund President Obama’s executive order on immigration and another GOP measure requiring the workweek to be defined as 40 hours, rather than 30 hours.
“I don’t think that represents who we are,” she said. “I believe we need new perspectives and leaders willing to work toward progress more than ever.”
Minnesota’s Second Congressional District is slightly Republican-leaning and is dubbed an R+2 by political observers, meaning a generic Republican would beat a generic Democrat by two percentage points in a hypothetical election. Kline beat Democrat Mike Obermueller by 17 points last year.
Craig said she hopes to build a platform that “further strengthens the economy and make sure we have economic security for the middle class.”
Craig is married to Cheryl Greene and together they have four sons, two 17-year-olds, a 16-year-old and an 11-year-old. She said she was raised by her mother and grandmother in a trailer park in Arkansas. She has lived in Minnesota for 10 years.
“I’m incredibly fortunate and humbled,” she said. “I believe my business background and my life experiences make me uniquely qualified to advocate for policies for every family in America.”
Republican David Gerson, who has twice before challenged and lost to Kline in the primaries, said Monday he hoped to challenge him again next year.
A Kline spokesman declined to comment on either Craig or Gerson.