St. Louis County commissioner joins Senate race

Published 10:34 am Thursday, August 22, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS — St. Louis County Board Chairman Chris Dahlberg, who bills himself as a pragmatic fiscal conservative, has become Minnesota’s latest Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Al Franken.

Dahlberg said by phone Wednesday that he had planned to wait to formally announce his candidacy until closer to when he retires from the U.S. Army Reserve on Oct. 1, but he was outed this week when Stanley S. Hubbard, chairman and CEO of Hubbard Broadcasting, disclosed his support for the Duluth attorney in a note to friends and colleagues.

Dahlberg is the first GOP candidate in the race from outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area. He chairs the board of a county that sprawls over 7,000 square miles of northeastern Minnesota, a traditional Democratic stronghold, and represents a Duluth district that leans Democratic. He won re-election last year with 60 percent of the vote and two major union endorsements, from the Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council and Teamsters Joint Council 32.

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The major is also an Iraq War veteran with more than 25 years in the Reserve. He served in Baghdad in 2004 and 2005, working in economic development.

Dahlberg said it might seem a stretch to some people to make the jump from a county board to the U.S. Senate, but he sees it as a logical move for someone who supports returning government to the local level.