Marine combat vet launches Republican primary campaign against Kurt Bills

(David Carlson officially kicked off his campaign on the steps of the State Capitol MPR Photo/Tom Scheck)

David Carlson says he's challenging the Republican-endorsed candidate for U.S. Senate because he thinks State Representative Kurt Bills' tie to Ron Paul will make Bills unelectable in a general election.

In 2008, Carlson had the Republican endorsement in the state house race in district 67-B, but lost.

In a news release announcing his U.S. Senate campaign, Carlson stated that he thinks Bills is the wrong candidate for Minnesota Republicans.

"I wholeheartedly believe that if we nominate Kurt Bills to represent the Republican Party, leading the state ballot, his radical affiliation with Ron Paul will crush any chances the Republican Party has of maintaining the Minnesota State House and State Senate," stated Carlson.

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Carlson, 30 years old, planned a Friday morning State Capitol news conference to talk about his campaign.

Minnesota Republicans endorsed Kurt Bills at their state convention in St. Cloud on May 18, 2012. Texas Congressman and GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul backed Bills over Republicans Dan Severson and Pete Hegseth who were also seeking the endorsement. Severson and Hegseth ended their campaigns.

The Bills campaign said it had "no comment" on Carlson's primary challenge.

According to information on the Minnesota Secretary of State website, Carlson filed his campaign papers on June, 5.

The winner of the Republican primary will run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in the November general election.

You can listen to Carlson's speech here:

MPR's Tom Scheck contributed to this report.


At a campaign stop in Rosemount Kurt Bills didn't sound too concerned about the primary challenge.

"I have never met David Carlson. I'm sorry I don't really know who he is. I'll have to look into him, we'll investigate, but I'm a Kurt Bills Republican and that's who were going to go out and talk to Minnesota about," Bills said. "And once they get to know me, they're going to vote for me in November. I just know it."