Republican State Sen. Mike Parry announced Friday that he will challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in 2012.
Parry is a business owner from Waseca who is serving his second term in the Minnesota Senate. He is currently chair of the State Government Innovation and Veterans Committee.
Walz, a former teacher from Mankato, is serving his third term representing Minnesota's 1st Congressional District. Parry says he thinks next year's race will focus almost entirely on the economy.
"What I'm hearing from southern Minnesota is the economy and it's jobs," said Parry. "That has to be the top priority when you move forward in your representation and heading to Washington."
Parry would not speculate on how much money he'll have to raise for the race. A campaign spokeswoman for Walz said the congressman is working hard for southern Minnesotans and is focusing on creating jobs, getting our economy back on track and advocating for our nation's veterans.
Walz has been a GOP target since knocking off an incumbent in 2006. He survived his toughest contest in 2010 when he defeated a state legislator by 5 percentage points in a four-way race.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)