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Associated Press, Published June 17 2013

Rochester lawmaker to challenge Walz in 1st

ROCHESTER, Minn. – A two-term Republican state legislator says he’ll try to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz in the 2014 election.

Rep. Mike Benson told the New Ulm Journal that he would seek his party’s nomination in the 1st Congressional District. Walz has represented the southern Minnesota after toppling an incumbent to get to Washington in 2006.

Benson’s home base of Rochester gives him a footing in the district’s most populous city. He first won his state House seat in 2010.

While he has embraced conservative positions on social issues, Benson has strayed some from his party on taxes. He once pushed to boost the state’s tobacco tax as a way to raise money for schools and trim business taxes. But Benson has since criticized higher taxes on smokers.