Barnes to challenge Paulsen

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A businessman and Navy Reserve veteran from Edina is seeking the DFL endorsement to run against Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen in Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District.

Brian Barnes announced his candidacy today at a news conference at the State Capitol. He said Paulsen has campaigned as a moderate but sided with conservative Republicans on major issues.

“He not only broke his promise about creating jobs. He’s voted against nearly every jobs bill since he’s been in Congress,” Barnes said. “This guy has been so reckless that he even played politics with our nation’s credit rating.”

When asked, Barnes wouldn’t say whether he’d vote for President Obama’s jobs bill. Instead, he said he wouldn’t be in a position to vote for it. Barnes said, however, that there were some strong parts to it.

“It starts by putting 1.9 million people back to work. There are 14 million out so that’s a good start. The other thing it does is it takes people who are unemployed and puts them to work in our public schools so people like my mother don’t have to put a trash can under a leaky roof.”

Barnes said he has not run for political office before but has been active in local DFL politics. He’s seeking the DFL Party endorsement and will drop out of the race if he doesn’t get it. He also said redistricting is unlikely to change his mind about the race.

“I will challenge Erik Paulsen regardless of where the lines are drawn,” Barnes said when asked about his intentions if his Edina home is no longer included in the 3rd District when the political boundaries are redrawn.

Plymouth resident Sharon Sund is also seeking the DFL endorsement.

Paulsen was first elected to Congress in 2008. His spokesman issued a statement saying Paulsen isn’t focused on politics right now but is focused on creating jobs and reducing government spending.

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