Craig kicks off campaign to challenge Kline

Democrat Angie Craig, photographed Monday, Apr. 6, 2015 at MPR in St. Paul, will challenge U.S. Congressman John Kline in the 2nd district. Jennifer Simonson | MPR News

An executive at St. Jude Medical officially kicked off her campaign for Congress Monday.

Angie Craig is one of two Democrats who say they want to challenge Republican U.S. House Rep. John Kline in 2016. Mary Lawrence, a physician who worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs, is also running as a Democrat and will officially kick off her campaign later this week.

Craig, who lives in Eagan, said she’s running because she thinks the policies that Kline backs are out of line with Minnesota’s 2


Congressional District. She said she’ll focus on education, college affordability and health care if she’s elected.

“We really have to think about what are the paths of opportunity for our kids and their future and how do we think about and begin to restore the American dream for the next generation,” Craig said.

Craig was short on specifics when it came to addressing policy. For example, she said she was “willing to listen to ideas” when it came to college affordability. She also said she wants to look at cutting waste and fraud from Social Security but didn't take a position on whether she would support raising the eligibility age.

Craig also said she was willing to look for ways to fix the Affordable Care Act but didn't think scrapping it was the answer.

“When we think about preexisting conditions, when we think about charging women more than men, when we think about allowing our children to be on our health insurance until they’re 26 years old, those are wonderful aspects of the Affordable Care Act so we can’t go back,” she said.

Craig says she just started raising money six days ago so it’s unclear whether she’ll raise enough  to mount an aggressive campaign against Kline. She said, however, that she intends to seek the DFL Party endorsement and will drop out of the race if party delegates back another candidate.

Lawrence's campaign released a statement saying Lawrence raised $515,000 in the first quarter of the year. It isn't clear how much of that money came from Lawrence herself.

A spokesman for Kline downplayed the challenge from both Craig and Lawrence.

“While Washington Democrats prepare for a costly primary battle between multiple DFL candidates in and out of the 2nd District, Congressman Kline will continue to work for Minnesotans by providing commonsense solutions and real results for his constituents,” said Kline campaign spokesman Troy Young.

Kline is also facing a challenge for the Republican Party endorsement. David Gerson says he’s more conservative than Kline on many issues.

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