KIMT News 3 – The legislative sessions are wrapping up and many area politicians and candidates are hitting the campaign trails.
For the first congressional district in Minnesota, it was looking like it would be between incumbent Tim Walz and Republican challenger Aaron Miller.
Just as things were clearing up this campaign season, a shakeup has added some confusion again.
“We came out of the Albert Lea convention as a united party and by not going to a primary, that was seen as a way to challenge Congressman Walz,” Miller said.
The latest shakeup all dates back to April’s nominating convention in Albert Lea.
It takes 60 percent of the votes in the first round of balloting for a victory. Miller only got 56 percent. But Jim Hagedorn decided that he would not force a Republican primary election, instead backing out of the race to support Miller.
“I just felt at that time, under those circumstances, the best thing to do for everyone was to ask for a unanimous endorsement,” Hagedorn said.
He said Miller is not doing enough to outwork incumbent DFLer Walz and through a video posted to his Facebook page, he said he is back in the race.
“People have asked what’s changed since the nominating convention six weeks ago and I think the answer to that is nothing, and that’s the point. There wasn’t an aggressive race being raced against Congressmen Tim Walz,” Hagedorn said.
Miller said he has been out meeting with people all along.
Now, he said they will go from having a united Republican party to one where voters will have to figure out who to stand behind again.
“We’ve had an outpouring of support, even from folks that maybe initially didn’t support me at the convention. We’ve had an outpouring of support from them as the endorsed candidate,” Miller said.
Local Republican party leaders say there were complaints about Miller recently, but not to this extent.
Miller said this will not really change their campaign approach other than having to spend money that they were not planning on using until this fall.
Meanwhile, Hagedorn said they will pick up where they left off. He said this is the best option for the party and voters.
The primary will be held on August 12.