Retired Navy commander wades into Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race for GOP

Published 10:42 am Tuesday, January 30, 2024

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By Clay Masters, Minnesota Public Radio News

A retired Navy commander and political newcomer embarked Tuesday on a U.S. Senate campaign against three-term Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a race that has drawn little interest from established Republican officeholders.

Joe Fraser of Minnetrista said the incumbent deserves a spirited challenge. He traveled to Duluth as part of a kickoff campaign that will be as much about introducing himself.

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Fraser, who spent 26 years in naval intelligence, said he has worked in the business and banking sector since leaving the military. Since 2022, he has been president of the Minnesota Council of the Navy League of the United States, a nonprofit civilian group that assists families of people in sea branches of the military.

He said in a written statement that he would make border security, inflation and the national debt his campaign focus.

“The very definition of insanity is maintaining the status quo and hoping for change,” Fraser said. “Despite spending 18 years in office, Amy Klobuchar hasn’t made the lives of Minnesotans any better — in fact it’s gotten worse.”

Klobuchar has a bulging campaign account, with more than $4 million in the bank as of Oct.1. A new report is due to federal regulators this week.

In her three prior elections, she notched comfortable wins. In 2018, Klobuchar defeated former state Rep. Jim Newberger by 24 percentage points.

Republicans hope this time is different and plan to use her national ambitions as a campaign messaging point. Fraser brought up Klobuchar’s 2020 White House run in labeling the incumbent as “a failed presidential candidate.”

Fraser isn’t the only Republican who has taken at least steps toward a run. Four other candidates have filed campaign committees with the Federal Elections Commission.

The process of picking a nominee begins in late February, when active partisans head to precinct caucuses and people seeking to become delegates to the state party endorsing conventions start down the path.