Cornish ponders Walz challenge in 2016

State Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, says he’s thinking about challenging DFL Rep. Tim Walz in 2016. Cornish said he’s talking to people about a possible run early with the hope of building a solid campaign.

“I don’t want to have an ineffective campaign and raise a few dollars and put out a minimal effort,” Cornish said. “I want something that could wheels underneath it right away.

The Mankato Free Press was the first to report about Cornish’s possible bid. Cornish, who has been a vocal backer of gun rights, said he thinks he would be able to pick up considerable support from gun owners despite Walz’ solid rating with the National Rifle Association.

“He’s been coached to vote on just the right issues to keep interest in his candidacy and keep them on the fence where I’m more outspoken and everybody pretty much knows beforehand how I’m going to vote,” Cornish said.

Cornish was also quick to point out that his comments about a possible run are by no means a full-fledged kick off to a 2016 campaign. “If Tony Cornish is going to make an announcement it’s going to be with much more fanfare,” he said.

In a statement, DFL Party chairman Ken Martin described Cornish as being out of touch for showing interest in the race so soon after the election.

“Rep. Cornish should be thinking about getting to the State Capitol and getting to work to solve problems. Instead, he’s insulting the wishes of the voters and putting his own personal ambition ahead of his responsibility to serve his district,” Martin said.

Cornish was first elected to the Minnesota House in 2002.

Walz defeated Republican Jim Hagedorn by nearly 9 percentage points on Tuesday. He was first elected to Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District in 2006. The 1st District stretches along most of southern Minnesota.