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John Myers, Forum News Service, Published September 26 2013

Dahlberg enters GOP race for Franken's seat

DULUTH - Chris Dahlberg, a St. Louis County commissioner and Duluth attorney, announced Thursday that he officially is running in the Republican race for Minnesota’s U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Al Franken.

Dahlberg, 51, made the announcement in the Twin Cities suburb of New Brighton on the front porch of supporters, promoting what he calls a return to “front-porch leadership.”

He plans a similar media event Saturday at his Duluth home.

Three other Republicans have announced they are seeking the nomination: state Sen. Julianne Ortman, state Rep. Jim Abeler and businessman Mike McFadden.

Dahlberg, who serves in the U.S. Army Reserve, said he is retiring from the Reserve on Oct. 1, enabling him to focus on running for the Republican endorsement at the party convention in May. It’s likely that at least two of the candidates will run in the party’s September primary no matter who gets the endorsement.

“I’m pushing for all of the candidates to abide by the (party) endorsement,” Dahlberg said in an interview Thursday. “But if the others don’t, that kind of puts me in a bind.”

Dahlberg said he has established a Dahlberg for Senate committee and soon will file with state elections officials. He served one term on the Duluth City Council from 1992-94 and last year won a second, four-year term as St. Louis County commissioner.

Dahlberg said Republicans need to find candidates who are electable across Minnesota, a state that tilts towards Democrats.

“We need to appeal to a wider range of voters. Any credible Republican can get support in strong Republican districts, but what good does that do?” Dahlberg said in his announcement. “We need a candidate who’s not only a strong fiscal conservative, but one who has also proven an ability to appeal to Democrats and independents. I’m that candidate.”

Dahlberg is considered one of the more conservative members of the County Board. But contrary to several media reports in recent weeks, Dahlberg never has won a race running as a Republican. Both the City Council and County Board positions are nonpartisan, meaning there’s no party declaration and no party identification next to a candidate’s name on the ballot.

Dahlberg is single with one daughter, Maija, 9.

Dahlberg’s intentions first were announced Thursday by TV news stations owned by Stanley Hubbard, an influential Twin Cities Republican who wrote a letter of support and recently donated to Dahlberg’s campaign.