NEW ULM - Pete Hegseth, a Republican challenger to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, pressed his GOP "new blood" approach Thursday during a visit to New Ulm.
Only a small group attended the meet-and-greet. But, Hegseth remained energetic and passionate in his discussion with local residents.
He said that this year's election would be an important moment in the effort to reduce federal debt and promote job growth. He said the primary focus of voters will be on the economy, jobs and possibly Obamacare.
He touted the need to replace Klobuchar by claiming she was far more liberal than people perceive her to be. He also criticized her by claiming she was only willing to take on small, safe legislation.
Hegseth, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, started campaigning only a few months ago after finishing his tour of duty. He is one of three candidates seeking endorsement Saturday at the Republican State Convention.
He served as executive director of Vets for Freedom, which advocates for political candidates who supports the war on terror.
Staff photo by Josh Moniz
Pete Hegseth, a potential Republican challenger to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, spoke with area residents Thursday about his campaign.
His age, 31, sets him apart from the other two candidates - Rep. Kurt Bills (R-Rosemount), age 42; and Dan "Doc" Severson, age 57, and a perennial entry in political races.
He hopes to use his age to his advantage as he pushes the image of being a Republican "new blood." He plans an energized campaign to promote himself as someone who has not been maneuvering for political positions his entire life.
One surprising and interesting twist to this Senate race has been the emergence of Ron Paul supporters as an influential force among delegates. Bills has been endorsed by Paul.
Hegseth feels he can remain competitive against Bills and unify the Paul supporters behind him if he wins the endorsement, despite disagreeing with Paul's foreign policy. He said his campaign is hoping Paul supporters will keep an open mind while finding his emphasis on individual responsibility, free enterprise and liberty in line with their beliefs.
(Josh Moniz can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org)